Try this next time you get stuck with a parking ticket and you might just get out of paying

Publish Date
Thursday, 27 December 2018, 10:34AM

Parking is expensive enough, let alone when you end up ten minuites over the time you paid for with a massive fine stuck to your car.

Good news: it's not legal.

That's right, those tickets aren't worth the paper they're printed o, because private landowners have no power to 'fine' you.

Although you agreed to a legally binding contract as soon as you drove into the parking lot, New Zealand law protects consumers from the exploitative clauses that corporates love to slip in the fine print.

According to the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, under contract law, parking companies can only claim for "the actual and reasonable costs they incurred".

So here's how you get out of it.

Work out how much you actually owe – in the example above, it's about 10c. The operator also has a cost for issuing tickets, so you could round that up to a few dollars. Write out a cheque, or make the payment by internet banking, then send them this letter.

Dear Parking Company,

I was [time] minutes late in returning to my car due to [Your Reason Here].

I have made payment of $5 to cover my transgression.

As you will be aware, by law you are only allowed to charge for the actual and reasonable loss suffered by my overstaying, rather than impose any sort of penalty.

I therefore consider this matter settled in full.

Regards,

[Your Name Here]

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Chances are the company will drop it on the spot. The only other option is to take you to the Disputes Tribunal – at their own expense – and they'll probably lose.

Of course, it's best not to get a ticket in the first place, but give this a next time you're in a sticky situation.