Parking bosses have issued a rude apology in the wake of a massive parking queue in which a stubborn clerk refused to let a woman leave – sparking a huge backlog of angry drivers.
Dozens of frustrated drivers were stuck in the parking lot of the Circle on Cavill shopping center in Surfer’s Paradise, Queensland, for more than half an hour on Thursday.
An angry customer service representative had refused to let a woman who did not have a ticket through the gate.
Video of the incident exploded online and was viewed more than a million times on TikTok, with the vast majority of commenters siding with the female driver. Many called for the clerk’s resignation.
Now Care Park, the company that manages the car park, has apologized to the driver and “all the people affected by the delay” – admitting a corporate blunder caused the incident.
A woman (above) whose parking ticket didn’t work was stuck at a barrier for more than half an hour
The driver claimed she had paid her parking fee, but the attendant disagreed and showed no sympathy for the other drivers in the parking lot – telling the woman to just reverse.
That was impossible, given the dozens of cars behind her.
It has now been confirmed that Care Park was wrong. The company admitted on Friday night that the women’s pass was “accidentally deactivated.”
Care Park does not want to say whether the supervisor has been punished or fired.
“Care Park has apologized for the situation that befell the lady when she attempted to resolve the card issue at the exit gate,” a spokeswoman for Care Park said.
“Care Park is grateful for the public assistance this lady has received to help pay her parking fee to exit the parking lot and the tremendous support shown to her.
“Care Park has taken appropriate action and held urgent meetings with the entire team involved to ensure we improve our customer service processes going forward.”
However, the spokeswoman stressed that the intercom is a “one-way line that allows only one person to speak at a time and therefore comes across as the customer service representative speaking across the parking lot.”
The video that set the internet ablaze begins with a frustrated man getting out of his car to find out what’s holding up the woman at the front of the line.
She explained her dilemma and said the parking attendant tried to charge her $25 because her membership card won’t scan.
The man then called the assistant using the electronic help button and got into the middle of a heated argument.
He told the assistant, “You have about a hundred cars in this lot because one of your machines isn’t working.
“This lady has a membership to get out.”
The assistant then told him, “She doesn’t actually have a valid membership.” She doesn’t have it with us, so she has to pay the amount on the screen.’
The woman tried to explain that her card didn’t work, to which the assistant replied, “I’m sorry, but if everyone has to pay for their parking, you should too.”
As more and more cars remain parked in the small parking lot, the woman repeatedly tried to tell the assistant that she paid for a month’s parking and shouldn’t be expected to pay $25.
However, the assistant repeatedly interrupted her and told her to call the membership company and “figure it out.”
“Either charge back or pay the amount on the screen,” the assistant said.
The man then joined the conversation and said, “We can’t back up, you have a hundred cars here.”
A man who filmed the dispute between the woman and a parking assistant said there were about 100 cars stuck in a line (above) behind the woman
The assistant again told the woman to “pay as everyone else has to pay.”
As the frustrations began to reach a peak, the man snapped at the assistant to “open the gate” and offered to pay the $25 fee so everyone can leave.
The angry assistant kept talking about him and the upset woman until she finally decided that he can pay the fee if he walks back to his car and takes his card to the box.
The man tried to explain that his car was far away and down a hill and asked if she could open the gate and let the line through so he could drive up instead.
“No, sorry you can’t,” she said. “The rules are clearly posted at the entrance gate and it says that a condition of entering our car park is that you pay the amount on the screen.”
The man replied, “I’m trying to pay for it, I just can’t get my car here because there are a hundred cars… I ran all the way up the hill because there’s a huge traffic jam because you’re not human.”
After some more back and forth, the assistant told the man she didn’t care if he had to walk the distance and said, “Okay, then do that.” For my part I can do nothing.
‘We’ll wait here. We are waiting for you. That’s no problem.’
As the upset woman and rude assistant kept talking about the payment, people started yelling at the assistant from the line of cars.
The parking assistant (above) repeatedly told the woman she would have to pay ‘like everyone else’ and refused to lift the barrier
A frustrated man shouted, “We have to get out of here. Open the gate.’
The man finished the video by telling the assistant that he has recorded their conversation and will report her to the center’s management.
“That’s no problem,” she said.
Aussies were quick to call the parking attendant.
“The fact that you were willing to pay for her and they STILL refused to release her is ridiculous,” one said.
Another wrote: ‘What about all the other cars in line with a valid pass? Are they expected to stay there because they don’t want to let her out? Complete idiot.’
A third added: ‘Can the rest of the waiting people get a refund from the car park because of the extra time they waited? The lady behind the intercom is crazy!’
“That person on speaker is in a power outage,” a fourth added.
“My worst nightmare,” said another.
The man later shared an update saying another angry customer yelled at the woman to open the gate and they could drive through.
FULL STATEMENT OF CARE PARK
Care Park is the parking manager of the Circle on Cavill car park.
Care Park has investigated the situation where a customer with a deactivated pass was unable to leave the car park. The situation was recorded and then released on TikTok.
A fellow parker tried to help the woman whose pass had failed and documented the situation and spoke to our customer service representative.
As they tried to resolve the situation at the exit gate, the line of cars trying to leave the premises grew.
The customer service representative who handled the case at the exit gate reviewed the situation and saw in the system that the customer’s parking card had been deactivated and therefore she had to pay for her parking space and was not allowed out until payment was made.
Unfortunately, there were a number of issues that were not apparent at the time:
1. The customer interface on the intercom is a one-way line that allows only one person to speak at a time and therefore comes across as the customer officer talking about the car park.
2. The lady pass was accidentally deactivated during the monthly check of paid parking customers.
3. The lady had spoken to Care Park about her parking pass the week prior to this incident and the matter was then resolved.
4. Unfortunately, that conversation was not recorded in the monthly audit of parking customers and therefore should have kept her parking pass active.
5. Our customer service representative then spoke to the lady about the incident and explained how the situation arose when her parking pass was deactivated and we advise that she was understanding of the situation.
Care Park has apologized for the situation that befell the lady when she tried to solve the card issue at the exit gate.
Care Park is grateful for the public assistance provided to this lady to help pay her parking fee to exit the parking lot and the tremendous support shown to her.
Care Park has taken appropriate action and held urgent meetings with the entire team involved to ensure we improve our customer service processes going forward.
Care Park apologizes to all people affected by the delay in exiting the Circle on Cavill car park on Thursday afternoon, March 2nd.
Care Park recognizes that we could have handled this situation better and we immediately implemented better parking management tools to prevent a similar situation from happening again.
Customer service training is imperative to ensure the highest standards of customer interface are delivered and a priority for Care Park staff