Ina Opperman

By Ina Opperman

Business Journalist

R480 to park for 40 minutes at OR Tambo airport

Picking up a friend from the airport turned out to be an expensive favour recently, but Acsa says look where you park.

Picking up a friend at OR Tambo International Airport cost a consumer R480 for parking after she inadvertently ended up in the long-term parking garage, with staff insisting she pays the full amount although she was only there for about 40 minutes.

“As I have done in the past, I chose the second parkade on the right and noticed a sign that said this parkade is only for long-term parking, but at that point, I could not safely reverse and I was trapped. However, I have parked in long-term parking places before and was still charged by the hour. Nowhere did a sign say that if I took a parking ticket I would be immediately liable for R480.”

After collecting her friend, she went to the pay point and it indicated she owed R480, but there was no one to ask. She then went to the boom at the exit, put her card in the machine to show that she had been there for about 40 minutes and pressed the “help” button.

ALSO READ: OR Tambo airport issues new parking tariffs

Pay up, says Acsa

“The person I spoke to was unmoved. She said it did not matter that I had been there for 40 minutes and that I had to pay R480. I asked, pleaded and told her I had made an honest mistake and would happily pay for 40 minutes, but could not be expected to pay R480, but she would not listen, was rude and aggressive and put the call down on me. Twice.”

The signs indicating long stay parking at OR Tambo.

The consumer then went to find the parking management office and asked a security guard to direct her. He told her the same often happens to other consumers. However, parking management refused to sort it out and she was forced to pay R480 for less than an hour of parking.

Afterwards, she found numerous online complaints and tweets about the same thing.

ALSO READ: Where to park, as OR Tambo reopens

Acsa’s answer

The Airports Company of South Africa (Acsa) said in response that it had placed directional and information signage to assist passengers in identifying the long-stay parking and its offerings since January 2018.

“There is a large and clear warning about long-stay parking before a driver turns in and gets stuck on the ramp.”

Acsa says parking tariffs are also posted at the boom and before a ticket is dispensed, a voice note cautions consumers that the area is a dedicated long-term facility. It also acknowledges that people on occasion enter and realise they have made a mistake, but says that they would normally inform the control room using the intercom.

The response to customers would be that they have five minutes to exit the area and drive to the correct parkade. Most of them immediately go to the parking office and are allowed to exit.

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