‘Oldie’ takes $120 parking ticket to task
An East Auckland grandmother has declared victory over a parking company following a prolonged row over a parking ticket.
Eighty-year-old Pip Van Duyn says the first she had heard of the ticket was via a letter, six weeks after the private company accused her of inappropriately parking in a disabled space outside a South Auckland medical centre.
‘‘But I am always careful to display my mobility sticker — and no, I have not been diagnosed with alzheimers,’’ the Pakuranga resident says.
Gordon Ward, of sales and marketing for Elite Parking Services, says they void half a dozen tickets every week for people who have mobility passes but forget to display them and had no reason not to do so in Duyn’s case. ‘‘The elderly, they consider themselves honest-to-goodness straight-up citizens, so when they get a ticket they get quite offended.’’
Van Duyn says she emailed Elite Parking Services evidence of her permit but more letters arrived announcing that with late fees included her fine had jumped up to $120. She called the com- pany, but said she was told the photo ‘‘didn’t prove anything’’.
‘‘So I said ‘well, it proves I’ve got a mobility sticker’ and that surely this fine is unfair.’’
Ward says the increased fines were processed automatically.
The first correspondence they received from Van Duyn in reply was a physical letter from her dated September 29 where she complained an email with a copy of her mobility ticket attached, had failed. By that time another letter increasing the fine was already on its way to Van Duyn.
The ticket was voided after they received her letter in the mail but Ward admits they should have posted a reply confirming this.
Van Duyn says she felt ‘‘rather anxious for a few weeks’’ after she was given notice of the fine and while she didn’t want to pay what she considered an unjust fine, she also didn’t want to get into further trouble.
She had received a ticket from a different company for not displaying her permit ‘‘because it had slipped out of view’’.
‘‘That time they stuck a ticket under my windscreen wipers, like normal, and when I explained the situation and sent them a photo they waived the fine,’’ she says.
Van Duyn says she first got the sticker, which lets holders use specially marked wider car parks, years ago when her ‘‘first knee went dodgy’’. She now has two dodgy knees and uses a cane.
In the end, Van Duyn contacted the media. ‘‘Anybody that knows me knows I don’t give in easy,’’ she says.
Van Duyn had been worried the company might be picking on her because her advanced age made her an easy target.
‘‘So my advice is: Don’t take on an oldie just because they’re old,’’ she says.
Ward says mobility cards aren’t linked to licence plates and if they aren’t displayed there’s no way to tell if a driver is mobilityimpaired. ‘‘We’re not so desperate for cash that we need to chase people for cash for the wrong reasons.’’
Pip Van Duyn refused to pay the $120 fine a parking company slapped her with because it struck her as unfair.