In the past two weeks I’ve been the victim of two attempts of corporate extortion and been infuriated by reading about a third example.
I had a motorcycle accident two weeks ago where a driver turned right across traffic when signs prohibited it and hit me. My damaged bike was towed from the scene of the accident and stored by Garden State towing at their premises in Abbotsford. I arranged with a bike mover to collect my bike from there and move it to the bike repair shop, and Garden State acknowledged and agreed to the date set for it to be picked up.
When the bike mover arrived, he was not allowed to pick up the bike. They told him there were too many cars in the way to get it out of their yard, and he had to come back several days later, even though they had several days notice that he was coming to collect the bike.
When Garden State billed me for the towing and storage, they included the days they had held my bike contrary to our agreed plans. I refused to pay, and the boss of Garden State refused to negotiate with me until I lost my ‘attitude’. Apparently the ‘attitude’ of refusing to be intimidated was not commonly experienced by this thug.
When I informed him of my understanding of the law he became more agreeable and removed the extra days from the bill, but not before lying to me that he had not agreed to the pick up date and refusing to release my bike unless I paid the bill immediately by credit card over the phone.
I call this extortion based on his legally dubious possession of my motorbike. My permission for him to store it ceased on the date we agreed on to have it removed from his premises. He had no right not to release it on the agreed date and no grounds to attempt to charge me storage for the extra days.
Last Sunday I drove to Barkly Square shopping centre in Brunswick. Parking used to be free. Now to park for free you have to obtain a ticket from a machine. The car park is run by Australian National Car Parks Pty Ltd (ANCP).
Because I was used to parking there for so long without a ticket I forgot to get one. Now I have received a $66 ‘fine’. This parking situation has received a lot of press and the legal advice is that ANCP does not have the legal authority to issue fines and the practice is therefore unlawful. This forum contains lots of similar stories and a link to legal advice (30kb PDF).
Many people have found themselves in similar circumstances and like others I will now boycott Barkly Square until the parking issue is changed. I’ll be going to Northcote when I need a larger shopping centre than what Smith St and Brunswick St can provide.
Barkly Square management does not seem to care about losing customers, or alienating the local community. In 2007 Moreland Council Mayor Mark O’Brien was evicted from the shopping centre for protesting about the parking extortion.
These car park bullies are common criminals. Their supposed business model is a form of organised crime that threatens people who accidentally forget to obtain a ‘free’ ticket for ‘free’ parking. These people do not cost ANCP anything. ANCP make money by fraudulent, misleading, deceptive and unconscionable conduct.
Finally, there was the disgraceful story about the Yarra Trams staff who bullied and manipulated the 16 year old son of Geoff McClure. They confiscated his ticket without lawful grounds, falsely issued him with a fine for an offense he did not commit, then conspired with each other to support each others’ lies to obstruct justice and prevent the truth from being discovered.
Yarra Trams should name, shame and dismiss their corrupt staff. The traveling public demands to be treated with honesty and respect. Again, the public is talking about the issue online.
Corporate scum and their bullying corrupt staff are on notice. Citizens and consumers refuse to be abused, exploited and cheated. You will be held accountable for your actions.
This is my response to ANCP, with the aid of Withnail: ‘You can shove your ‘fine’ up your arse for nothing and fuck off while you’re doing it.’ Ditto Barkly Square management and Yarra Trams. The fuckers will rue the day…