Drivers 'overcharged' at shopping centre car park slam council

A Sydney woman was visiting the popular Eastgate shopping complex when the automatic pay machine tried to overcharge her - and she's not the only one.

Eastgate car park pay machine.
The shopper claims she was charged for a 2-3 hour stay at Eastgate shopping centre car park, despite visiting for just over an hour. Source: Facebook

It's a familiar feeling experienced by Aussies across the country — making a dash for your vehicle at a shopping centre car park to avoid it ticking over time and being charged for another hour.

But for one shopper, her 75-minute stay inside a popular Sydney complex turned into a three hour visit. At least according to the pay machine which attempted to overcharge her — and it seems she's not the only one.

The Sydney woman visited Eastgate shopping centre in Bondi Junction on Sunday, with the automated sensor tracking her arrival at 8:44am. On leaving, the screen displayed 9:59 am. According to the parking times, 1-2 hours should cost shoppers $2.90 in fees.

"Got charged the 2-3 hour rate for parking for just over an hour," the woman shared on Facebook following her visit, along with a photo of the display screen as she attempted to pay for parking. The onscreen display asked her to pay $9.60 instead — the cost of 2-3 hour stays.

Eastgate shopping centre, Bondi Junction.
shoppers visiting Eastgate shopping centre in Bondi Junction claim they're regularly overcharged for parking. Source: Google Images

"The guy on the other end of the intercom didn't miss a beat, so it looks like this happens a lot," she suggested in a community Facebook group prompting a wave of residents to reveal it's also happened to them.

"Tried to charge me [$155.20] for a 15-20 min shop, guys on the intercom fixed it but made no sense," another woman revealed. A third shared, "it happened to me as well". "They didn’t want to know about it," the person added seemingly referring to the workers on the other side of the intercom.

Car parks such as this are designed with licence plate recognition technology which scans a car as it enters. Upon leaving, drivers are required to enter their rego number which should accurately display their length of visit.

The car park and pay system at Eastgate is operated by Waverley Council which, when contacted by Yahoo, said it "acknowledges occasional instances of overcharging in our parking system". A spokesperson explained the issue "primarily stems from factors such as number plate misreads, damaged license plates, and instances of tailgating."

"Like the council doesn't get enough money out of us already," the Sydney woman added to her post.

Eastgate car park, Bondi Junction.
The car park in question is operated by Waverley Council with residents accusing council of overcharging. Source: Michael Dahlstrom

"These issues are not unique to Eastgate but are common in operations utilizing number plate recognition systems, which can be resolved at the gate or with council car park staff," a spokesperson said in a statement to Yahoo on Tuesday.

"We have taken proactive measures to address these concerns, including the upgrading of cameras, installation of speed humps to deter tailgating, and the implementation of additional signage for customer awareness. We remain committed to ensuring fair and accurate billing for all patrons, and continue to monitor and improve our systems to minimize such occurrences."

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