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Private carpark operator (Source : secureparking.com.sg)

Netizens voice unhappiness over practices of carpark operators

In a Straits Times forum dated Tuesday (26 August), a member of public, Mr Gerard Tan Boon Heng wrote his complaint regarding carpark operators.

Mr Gerard wrote that, in Singapore, carparks are allowed to charge any amount after you have consumed the service or product.

"Many carparks in Singapore either do not display their fees prominently or place their signs in such a way that the driver has no means to avoid going through the toll gantry after they have seen the fees," he wrote.

He stated that the worst carparks are those that do not have a "grace period", adding that even if there is a "grace period", it may be rather inconvenient for the driver to exit the carpark.

Mr Gerard wrote that many drivers have had exorbitant fees charged to their CashCards in their in-vehicle units with no recourse.

"This business practice, which is prevalent in Singapore, is unfair and tantamount to ransoms being imposed on drivers. This practice needs to be examined by the authorities," he urged.

Agreeing with Tan's letter, many netizens echoed his sentiments on the matter.

William Chin Fs wrote, "Mr Gerard Tan, you are absolutely too good to raise this issue that none of our nations had ever mentioned. The relevant authorities should take immediate action to look into this loophole to ensure members of public are alerted & have their choice. Do remember that all services are displayed with a price list that was imposed by the authorities."

Decry Hardiyanto Bin Zayidi wrote, "I actually agree. Try Sim Lim Square carpark. Anyway if carpark owners wants to charge premium price, then they should be responsible if any vehicle is damage in their carpark."

Chan Kok Weng wrote, "How do we even know if the time at the gantry is correct? Once thought I entered a carpark after 6pm when the radio and my watch says it's 6.03pm, but when I entered the gantry showed 5.58pm. I was charged an extra half hour for entering early."

Michael Goh wrote, "Charging parking fees is not wrong, but charging per block instead of per min is not right cause it will inconvenient consumer's freedom of time needed. The 10 minutes grace period is too short, should be 15 minutes cause some carparks especially in shopping Centres are huge and sometimes it can take more than 10 mins to get out if it is on weekends. Signages of charges should be clear and simple."

Woon Zoe wrote, "To be fair, carparks do display their parking charges. However, when you enter , it is too late since they display them on the barrier and worse when you realize there is no grace period! Problem is, they can just deduct any amount when you exit since there is no indication of how long you parked and how the charges are calculated. Once, I was double charged and wrote an email to the mall management. Now, what proof do we have to substantiate our claims to get a refund? And how many people actually realize they are double or triple or anyhow charged?"

Aloysius Kwan wrote, "Yes indeed. I went into Sim Lim Square and dropped off my friend at the gantry and I was charged $2.14. Don't even have a grace period."

Simon Soh wrote, "Would suggest carparks follow Changi Airport's good practice. first 10mins free regardless you exit or not within that period. make sense. we are paying for parking. not for looking for a lot or travelling from gantry to lots and vice versa."

Ng KiatKuan wrote, "Yes. I was charged $2.50 when entered wrongly in DBS tower and simply drove out to go to the correct carpark. That was a long time ago."

Peng T Tay wrote, "Please also check your cash card balance regularly. Because, recently, I was double charged again. My 5th double charged in the last 3.5 years!"

JJ Wong wrote, "Check online the charges before you depart . There are always cheaper ones around. Don’t walk in a Michelin 3 Star just because you are hungry & standing outside that restaurant."

However, a few such as Loh Wai Poon disagreed with the writer of the letter. Loh wrote, "I don't understand the posting. Driver is informed of the carpark charges before they enter the carpark. It is not like he drives his car into a carpark without knowledge of the charges. So how can this charge of being charged any amt after the driver has consumed carpark service? It is a willing buyer - willing seller transaction. Car park charges is expensive in Singapore esp in the CBD, airport, some suburban malls. But to accuse the car park operators as doing almost daylight robbery to drivers is not fair."