Warn­ing for mall cus­tomers as car towed from park

Auckland City Harbour News - - NEWS - By JOE DAW­SON

Shop­pers head­ing to St Lukes this Christ­mas sea­son could find their cars be­ing towed if they walk be­tween the var­i­ous shop­ping cen­tres.

Pt Che­va­lier res­i­dent Sarah Dowling had her car towed from the St Lukes Mega Cen­tre car park last Wed­nes­day and wants to warn oth­ers.

Ms Dowling parked at the com­plex with the in­ten­tion of vis­it­ing a shoe store, which she dis­cov­ered had moved into the West­field mall.

In­stead of driv­ing over the road and find­ing another park, she de­cided to walk. When she re­turned a short time later her car had dis­ap­peared.

She says she was away for less than the sign­posted 120 minute time limit and her first thought was her car had been stolen.

the Auck­land Tow­ing com­pany ad­ver­tised in the car park – Auck­land Tow­ing – re­vealed she had been ob­served leav­ing the car park and was no longer con­sid­ered a cus­tomer.

Ms Dowling be­lieves that was an over-the-top re­ac­tion. It was a mid-week af­ter­noon and there were plenty of parks avail­able.

When the Auck­land City Har­bour News vis­ited the car park there were no signs alert­ing shop­pers to the threat of tow­ing. At both en­tries there were posts in place but the signs were miss­ing.

Across the road at the Wa­gener Shop­ping Cen­tre there are signs ad­vis­ing the car parks are for ‘‘bona fide’’ shop­pers only.

Ms Dowling says mov­ing be­tween the Mega Cen­tre, West­field and the Wa­gener Shop­ping Cen­tre on foot seems the nat­u­ral thing to do.

‘‘Most peo­ple seem to think they are con­nected but ac­tu­ally if you want to shop be­tween them you have to drive, which is a bit stupid re­ally.

‘‘The ob­vi­ous thing to do is walk be­tween the three places.’’

She says a ticket might be a more ap­pro­pri­ate way of deal­ing with peo­ple who park for too long.

The St Lukes Mega Cen­tre, which is home to re­tail­ers such as Noel Leem­ing and Dick Smith, is owned by Chit Wing Or who did not re­ply to mes­sages.

A spokesman for the Auck­land Tow­ing Com­pany says he can­not com­ment with­out per­mis­sion from the owner.

Ms Dowling paid $250 to re­trieve her car.

Con­sumer spokesman Paul Doocey says the ac­tions of the tow­ing firm were ‘‘mean’’.

‘‘It’s a bit harsh to say the mo­ment you find out a shop has moved you have to move your car.’’

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