If you’ve ever lived in Canberra, ACT, Australia for a substantial period of time, you’d be familiar with the Canberra Centre. It’s Canberra’s biggest shopping mall. Today, I will rant about how I got overpriced at the Canberra Centre carpark on Boxing Day, December 26, 2009.
Upon entering the Canberra Centre car park today, Saturday 26 of December 2009, I paid close attention to the Centre’s rates. It shows the prices for normal shopping days and then at the bottom, prices for non-normal shopping days.
It clearly states that for Sundays or Public Holidays, there is flate rate of $2.
I was surprised and disappointed when upon paying for my stay today, the machine charged $5.60 for about 3 hours of parking. Now I know today is not Sunday but I’m pretty sure the 26th of December – otherwise known as Boxing Day – is a public holiday!
I tried to locate the centre’s management office and after finally finding the place, I realise it is closed. I rang the out of hours contact number (a mobile phone number) and to my surprise the number is out of service.
Realising that there isn’t much I could do, I went back into the Canberra Centre, withdrew $20 from an atm, and made my way back to the ticket machine to pay my $5.60 worth of parking.
WHAT THEY SHOULD’VE DONE
They should have placed a sign outside all the entrances to the Canberra Centre car park stating that today parking is charged at normal rates. That the Canberra Centre does not consider Saturday the 26th a public holiday. It just so happens that on the 26th of December every year, the two biggest retailers: David Jones and Myer have enormous stocktake sales.Thousands of shoppers visit the Canberra Centres and other malls on this day.
I’m not going to cry for too long about being overcharged $3.60 but when you consider the hundreds of cars that went in and out of the boom gates today, it’s big cash.
MY COURSE OF ACTION
Having left the carpark, I now have no evidence that I was ever there and complaining to management tomorrow or any other day seems pointless. This is why I rather express my disappointment publicly over the internet – not that It’ll accomplish much either. Perhaps other Canberra Centre customers today noticed the unethical pricing rationale.
My only other satisfactory course of action is to not park in the Canberra Centre this week when I go back to use up the rest of my gift voucher and from then on do my shopping at Westfield Woden or Westfield Belconnen. At least Westfield let you shop for two hours without charging parking and I have yet had a similar incident over there.
To add more insult to this rant, a proud Canberran once mentioned to me that one of the worst planning decisions ever made in Canberra was when the Canberra Centre was permitted to construct on Ainslie Avenue. As it has since then ruined the line of sight from City Hill to Mount Ainslie.
ALL I ASK FOR
We, the customers aren’t stupid.
- If you put a sign up stating your rates, we can read and accept them before entering but just be honest.
- If you’re going to charge a flat rate of $2 for public holidays then you should keep your end of the bargain and adjust your ticketing machines to reflect this on every public holiday.
- If you’re going to be cheeky and charge people normal rates on public holidays, at least let us know before going in and parking the car there for three hours.
- If you’re displaying an after hours contact number, make sure the number is in use and that the call will be answered.
I think I’ll do my shopping at Brand Depot and Direct Factory Outlet as they have enough parking and guess what? They don’t even charge. Other than that, the two Westfields in town are more reasonable with their pricing system.
Rather than sue me for defamation, I would like it if the Canberra Centre could take on my comments as constructive criticism and see to it that this doesn’t occur again. I’ll be watchful of their pricing during the rest of the year to see if this was a one-off or a regular occurrence.