Why ANCP SUX ....
According to Australian National Car Parks (ANCP), I parked my car at a particular parking lot and I did not display a valid ticket. Therefore I was meant to pay a grand total of $88 dollars, though if I paid within fourteen days they would be extra generous and only charge me $66 dollars.
To tell you the truth, I can't remember the actual day, but I do know the car park well because I use it a lot. I use it mainly to access a certain shopping strip and a Woolworth's store, and I always get a ticket. Always!
I know what you're saying - yeah right, you always get a ticket, sure you do. I really do. If I am only going in for a couple of minutes or a couple of hours, no matter where it is, I always get a ticket. It's a reflex from parking at Uni. They claimed that I had no ticket displayed. As a consequence of this, almost a year and half after the fact, I received a letter outlining their intention to sue me. So I wrote back to ANCP informing them that yes I think I could recall being there on the day they claimed, but I would have definitely had a ticket. I also told them that I hadn't seen any fine attached to my vehicle. In short I never received the actual fine itself. Whether the ticket jerk didn't put it under the wiper properly, or some nerd came along and ripped it out, who knows. The simple fact is I never got the fine.
When I informed them of this they then photocopied a copy of the fine and sent it to me.
From the very outset all this seemed too dodgy to be legit. First of all, they said I didn't display a valid ticket. INCORRECT. I did. Whether the parking inspector actually opened his eyes long enough to stay awake in his dead-end job, is up for debate, but I did have a ticket (I wish I had kept it - but who keeps parking tickets for a year and a half!).
Second of all, they sent an intention to sue over a year later, and all I had done was park my car in some parking spot where the first hour is free anyway, and where their dopy ticket cop failed to see my ticket. They are going to sue me over that! In all seriousness if the monetary damages I caused them were so significant, why did they wait so long before they sent me the notice? Is it possible they had to fight a day in court to actually get my private details in order to send the fine to me? How they won that one I'll never know.
Either way I had no initial chance to lodge an objection because I never go the ticket in the first place. That wasn't the only tardy notice.
When the intention to sue arrived in my mail box it said I had until such a date to comply otherwise they would automatically forward my debt to their lawyers, however the date stipulated in the letter was only three days away from when I had actually received it in the mail. So I had little to no time to seek advice and reply before their stipulated date. Bullying tactic perhaps?
Several months after I got the intention to sue (remember this is the first time I have heard about any of this because I never actually received the initial fine), another letter arrives. This one is a notice of intention to commence legal action from, in my opinion, a shyster lawyer in Sydney who goes by the name of John A Diacopoulos. That letter also arrived three days before the stipulated due date addressed within it. What are you meant to do with something that says - "Give me $88 bucks. You only got three days to do it, otherwise WHACK you're going to court!" yet again another example of bullying tactics.
I called this so called lawyer and all I got was some half baked phone recording pointing me to a mailing address.
I wrote several times to Woolworths asking why they saw fit to use car parks affiliated with such an organisation, inquiring if they were aware of the harassment occurring. After all, this particular car park and many, many others like it, are primarily and predominantly used to access Woolworths supermarkets. Surely they must have a vested interest in what was occurring to their valuable and loyal clientele. This is the response I received from Woolworths.
"I refer to your letter dated the 24th November in regard to our Safeway Supermarket at StKilda.
As shopping areas such as StKilda and others across Melbourne continue to grow and traffic conditions become more and more congested so does the impact on parking facilities for customers who visit our stores.
Safeway has been forced to employ contractors such as ANCP to manage our carparks to reduce the number of commuters and city workers who tie up valuable carpark spaces, in many cases getting the entire day car parking for free.
ANCP have a set of guidelines they need to follow and in all cases abide by these rules which are the terms and conditions for parking within the given carpark, as you stated in your letter you were not in the carpark long enough to warrant a ticket but in this case you did need to display a valid ticket for the time you were there.
I have spoken with the Store Manager and he ordinarily will speak with the ANCP management team and can get tickets cancelled or may offer a refund, however our stance is that we will continue to employ ANCP to manage the use of our carparks to maintain adequate spaces to be available to our customers needs.
I apologise for the inconvenience this has caused you and trust that we do monitor the actions of ANCP to ensure that they maintain integrity when issuing fines.
Area Manager 4.2
So if it is the stance of Woolworths to insist on hiring organisations that harass their customer base, customers who have done nothing wrong other than utilise a car park in order to shop at their supermarkets, then Woolworths suck every bit as much as ANCP. Why are we paying for car parks to use their shops anyway? If they actually cared about you, the customer, then surely they would pick up the tab for your car park. You are, after all about to give them a lot of dosh.
The biggest problem I have with all this is how am I meant to defend myself? Even if I still had the ticket, I still couldn't defend myself because each ticket granted has no actual association to any car. They're generic. Where are the logs from the ticket vending machines that tells the inspector that my car, with its particular registration was at this place at this time and that there was no ticket granted for it. Where is the proof of all this apart from a poorly scribbled/photocopied ticket stub. There are no boom gates on that car park so it's not as if I had to pay for a ticket to get in or out. If there were boom gates and if I didn't have a ticket as they claim, then I wouldn't be here because I'd still be stuck in the fucking car park!!
I researched all this further and found many people complaining of the same form of harassment. I then found some free legal advice (see the links section - or click here to open the PDF document), and used their response, faxing it to ANCP.
Update: It's now been over 2 years since they alleged I did not display a parking ticket. I still haven't heard directly from them, or from their debt collection agency, or that screwball "lawyer". I have not had to go to court, and I have not had to pay back the so called fine!
This is the letter I first received from ANCP. I initially never received the
parking ticket because it was not on my car. I got this letter 14 months
after they claim they issued the fine. It arrived three days prior to the
This is the photocopy notice I received claiming I owed $88.
I never actually received this fine on the date they issued it.
This is the letter I received after having ignored all the others. It too
arrived three days prior to the deadline.