The Queensland government says it will launch an investigation into private parking operators after an ABC story exposed the frustration of inner-city residents who were hit with demands for payment for overstaying and using parking spaces more than once a day.
Most important points:
- Mark Bailey has commissioned an investigation into private parking operators
- The operators say they don’t fine people, but bill them for breaking terms and conditions
- The Office of Fair Trading says people who use parking lots are contracting with operators
Three Coorparoo residents complained about bills they had received from ParkPay and Smart Compliance Management, which manage Coles Coorparoo and McDonald’s Coorparoo car parks respectively.
Ricky Geniatsos got an $88 bill for dropping her daughter off for a shift at McDonald’s and returning three hours later to pick her up because the parking policies had a “no return” policy.
Transport Minister Mark Bailey said it was a “scam”.
“I weeded out similar operators in the tow truck industry a few years ago and will gladly do the same here,” he said.
“I will ask my department to review the situation and [be] working with other departments to find a solution as we cannot allow Queensland residents to be scammed.
“I would also advise companies that use these types of parking operators to lose customers quickly and reconsider their use.
“The advice I’ve been given is that it’s illegal to fine people in a private parking lot.”
ParkPay and Smart Compliance Management insisted they were not issuing fines.
The companies are legally allowed to issue invoices to customers who do not comply with the conditions of the car parks.
A spokesperson for the Office of Fair Trading said customers contracted with the operator when using a private car park and that the terms and conditions “should be visible and not mislead the parking user”.