Car park bosses have issued a grovelling apology in the wake of a huge parking row which saw a stubborn attendant refuse to let a woman leave – causing a huge backlog of angry drivers.
Dozens of frustrated drivers were left trapped for more than half an hour in the Circle on Cavill shopping centre car park in Surfer’s Paradise, Queensland, on Thursday.
An angry customer service employee had refused to let a woman who didn’t have a ticket past the gate.
Video of the incident blew up online, amassing over 11million views on TikTok, with the vast majority of the commenters siding with the female driver. Many called for the attendant to be sacked.
Now Care Park, the company which runs the car park, has apologised to the driver and ‘all the people affected by the delay’ – as it admits a head office blunder sparked the incident.
A woman (above) whose parking membership card wasn’t working was stuck waiting at a boom gate for more than half an hour
The driver claimed that she had paid her parking membership fees, but the attendant disagreed, and showed no sympathy to the other drivers in the car park – telling the woman she should just reverse.
That was impossible – given there were dozens of cars banked up behind her.
Now it has been confirmed that Care Park were in the wrong. The company admitted on Friday evening that the lady’s pass was ‘deactivated accidentally’.
Care Park would not comment about whether the attendant has been disciplined or sacked.
‘Care Park has extended its apologies for the situation that occurred to the lady while trying to resolve the card issue at the exit gate,’ said a Care Park spokeswoman.
‘Care Park is grateful to the public help extended to this lady to help pay her parking fee to exit the car park and the enormous support shown to her.
‘Care Park has taken appropriate action and held urgent meetings with all the team involved to ensure we improve our customer service processes going forward.’
However, the spokeswoman stressed that the intercom is a ‘one way line which allows only one person to speak at a time and therefore comes across as the customer officer speaking over the top of the parker’.
The video that set the internet alight starts with a frustrated man getting out of his car to find out what’s holding up the woman at the front of the queue.
She explained her dilemma and said the parking assistant was trying to charge her for a $25 lost ticket fee because her membership card won’t scan.
The man then called the assistant using the electronic help button and got caught in the middle of a heated argument.
He told the assistant: ‘You’ve got about a hundred cars in this carpark because one of your machines isn’t working.
‘This lady has a membership to get out.’
The assistant then told him: ‘She actually does not have a valid membership. She doesn’t have one with us so she needs to pay the amount on screen.’
The woman tried explaining that her card wasn’t working, to which assistant replied: ‘I’m sorry but if everyone else must pay for their carpark, so should you.’
As more cars continue to build up in the small parking space, the woman repeatedly tried to tell the assistant she had paid for a month’s worth of parking and shouldn’t be expected to pay a $25 fee.
However, the assistant repeatedly cut her off and told her to call the membership company to ‘sort it out’.
‘Either reverse or pay the amount on screen,’ the assistant said.
The man then jumped into the conversation and said: ‘We can’t reverse, you’ve got a hundred cars here.’
A man filming the dispute between the woman and a parking assistant said there was about 100 cars stuck in a queue (above) behind the woman
The assistant again told the woman she must ‘pay as everyone else must pay’.
As frustrations began to reach a head, the man snapped at the assistant to ‘open the gate’ and offered to pay the $25 fee so everyone can leave.
The angry assistant continued to talk over him and the upset woman until she finally decided he can pay for the fee if he walks back to his car and brings his card to the box.
The man tried to explain his car is far away and down a hill and asked if she could open the gate and let the queue through so he could drive up instead.
‘No, sorry we can’t,’ she said. ‘The rules are clearly stated at the entry gate and it says a condition of entering our carpark is you pay the amount on screen.’
The man replied: ‘I’m trying to pay for it, I just can’t get my car here because there’s a hundred cars… I ran all the way up the hill because there’s a massive traffic jam because you’re not being a human being.’
After more back and forth, the assistant told the man she didn’t care if he had to walk the distance, saying: ‘Okay, then do so. There isn’t anything I can do from my side.
‘We’ll wait here. We’ll wait for you. That’s not a problem.’
As the upset woman and rude assistant continued to talk over each other about the payment, people began hollering to the assistant from the line of cars.
The parking assistant (above) repeatedly told the woman she would have to pay ‘like everybody else’ and refused to lift the boom gate
A frustrated man yelled: ‘We’ve got to get out of here. Open the gate.’
The man finished the video by telling the assistant he’s recorded their conversation and will report her to centre management.
‘That’s not a problem,’ she said.
Aussies were quick to call out the parking attendant.
‘The fact that you were willing to pay for her and she STILL refused to let her out is ridiculous,’ one said.
Another wrote: ‘What about all the other cars in the line with a valid pass? Are they expected to stay there because they won’t let her out? Absolutely ridiculous.’
A third added: ‘Can the rest of the people waiting request refunds from the carpark due to the additional time they waited? The lady behind the intercom is crazy!’
‘That person on the speaker is in a power trip,’ a fourth added.
‘My worst nightmare,’ another said.
The man later shared an update and said another angry customer yelled at the woman to open the gate after which they were able to drive through.
CARE PARK’S FULL STATEMENT
Care Park is the parking manager of the Circle on Cavill car park.
Care Park has investigated the situation where a customer’s deactivated pass did not allow her to exit from the car park. The situation was recorded and then released on TikTok.
A fellow parker tried to assist the woman whose pass had failed and recorded the situation and interface with our customer service officer.
While trying to resolve the situation at the exit gate, the queue of cars trying to leave the premises grew.
The customer service officer handling the matter at the exit gate looked into the situation and could see in the system the customer’s parking pass had been deactivated and therefore she needed to pay for her parking and would not be granted exit until payment had been made.
Unfortunately there were a number of issues at play that were not evident at the time:
1. The customer interface on the intercom is a one way line which allows only one person to speak at a time and therefore comes across as the customer officer speaking over the top of the parker.
2. The lady’s pass had been deactivated accidently during the monthly audit of paid parking customers.
3. The lady had spoken to Care Park the week prior to this incident regarding her parking pass and the matter resolved at that time.
4. Unfortunately that conversation was not captured in the monthly audit sweep of parking customers and therefore should have kept her parking pass active.
5. Our Customer Service Officer has subsequently spoken with the lady about the incident and advised how the situation arose with her parking pass being deactivated and we advise she was understanding of the situation.
Care Park has extended its apologies for the situation that occurred to the lady while trying to resolve the card issue at the exit gate.
Care Park is grateful to the public help extended to this lady to help pay her parking fee to exit the car park and the enormous support shown to her.
Care Park has taken appropriate action and held urgent meetings with all the team involved to ensure we improve our customer service processes going forward.
Care Park apologises to all the people affected by the delay exiting the Circle on Cavill car park on Thursday afternoon, March 2.
Care Park acknowledges we could have handled this situation better and we have immediately implemented better car park management tools to avoid a similar situation occurring again.
Customer service training is imperative to ensure the highest standards of customer interface are delivered and a priority for Care Park staff