One recent Saturday I used the Wilson Parking website to pre-book and pre-pay for a parking spot for the same evening in a Wilson carpark in the Sydney CBD. Access to the carpark is via Bligh Street. When I arrived at Bligh Street, I found that the whole street was barricaded off at the entrance to the street, with what looked like a large film crew at work taking up the street. Short of crashing through the barricades and driving through the film set, I couldn’t see any possible way to get the car anywhere near the carpark.
I was a bit frantic about what to do, especially with heavy traffic and the next carpark I came to being full. Fortunately I was able to find somewhere else to park in time, at only a slightly higher cost than the pre-booked parking.
The next day I contacted Wilson and asked them to refund the cost of the parking that I prepaid them for.
This seems a pretty straightforward and reasonable request to me, since Wilson was unable to deliver what I’d paid for – it wasn’t a change of mind on my part. I’m also assuming that Wilson received plenty of warning about the road closure, since this is usual for businesses in Sydney affected by this sort of filming.
However, there have now been several back-and-forth emails with Wilson, but no refund as yet. They have offered me a voucher for my next parking visit as a “gesture of goodwill” in recognition of the inconvenience.
Do you think there is any reason I shouldn’t be entitled to a refund? If none is forthcoming, I think the next step is to dispute the charge through my credit card… what do you reckon? Thanks in advance for your thoughts.
(For info: yes, I did have a reason for not taking public transport that night, and I did have a reason for paying for the “convenience” of expensive city parking.)
It is a difficult one and without knowing the full circumstances, many assumptions which may or may not be correct could be made. For example…
Was Wilson Parking advised of the road closure. It is both possible they were and weren’t?
If they were, then they should have informed you and cancelled your online booking. Such is allowed for under their Terms for parking. They then should issue a refund.
If they weren’t, then it could be argued that the film crew organisers or landlord/building owner may be (partly) responsible for you being unable to fulfil your paid parking commitment. I say landlord/building owner as they could have been advised but failed to notify businesses in the building. Wilson Parking might not be obliged to refund your money and you should seek restitution from another party.
Could be carpark be accessed even when the closure occurred? If the carpark could be accessed say by advising traffic control you have a paid booking, they might have been able to let you through. There might also have been special arrangements for access by alternative points of access for the temporary road closure. If this was the case, it could be seen in part as a change in mind.
How long did the closure last and was it running on time? If it was a short term closure then maybe access was possible closer to your booking time. If access was fully closed and continued over the start of your booking time and access was not possible, then there was no reasonable way for you to fulfil the booking. Closure overruns possibly would be the responsibility of the film crew organisers and not Wilson Parking.
It is difficult to know what you may be entitled to as there is a number of unknowns. The responsibilities associated with why you couldn’t meet you parking commitment is also unknown and could be that of anyone involved (yourself, film crew organisers, landlord/building organiser, Wilson Parking etc).
As such it makes providing any advice difficult.
You could try a credit card chargeback, but be prepared that it won’t be successful as it appears that you may not know the full circumstances of the situation at hand. This allows Wilson Parking to potentially challenge any chargeback with the ‘facts’.
This is an example of s**t happens. No doubt the car park would have lost business due to the road closure. Perhaps the company were made aware of the street closure, but that doesn’t mean they could do anything about altering the booking system to reflect that situation.
Take the credit voucher for a future booking. Seems fair to me.
Were there traffic controllers present? Did you approach the traffic control in place at the site? If so were you turned away?
The filming would have affected more than your access. It would also have affected those with vehicles in the car park prior to the closure from exiting. If normal use and access to and from the car park was prevented by the filming, Wilson should have been made aware of the loss of income as would the council as part of the approval. Potentially a cost to the production to reimburse.
The alternative is access was permitted, and the traffic control plan in place for the closure should include what was agreed for any business and residence during the road closure.
Note there may have been a public notice in advance of the closure. If there were alternate arrangements in place for access to Wilson during the filming Wilson should have been aware and advised customers as a matter of good business practice. IE to ensure they did not loose customers.
At a minimum discovering what arrangements should have been in place on the day. This will clarify whether Wilson should have been aware of the loss of access and not accepted your booking, or the traffic management on the day failed to provide access the responsibility of the permit holder. It may take some time and effort. More than the value of the parking?
Establishing who failed should help put the prior feedback from @phb and @Gregr into context.
City councils can be helpful, or not. Multi million dollar film productions are seen by many including state governments as high value customers.
Consider also any private arrangement between the production and Wilson for the duration may not have been provided to council.
Wilson Parking offer affordable & secure parking at 1 Bligh St Car Park, located at O’Connell St in the heart of Sydney CBD.
This indicates that while the carpark is called '1 Bligh Street Car Park, it is located and accessed from O’Connell St. If this is the carpark you booked, access to the carpark should still have been possible from O’Connell Street as this is the carpark access point. If this carpark was booked, then not arriving at the carpark is a mistake on your part and would be considered a change in mind. Change in mind as it was decided that the carpark couldn’t be accessed through your own mistaken belief. In such case Wilson Parking would have no obligation to provide you with a refund or remedy, and a credit card chargeback won’t be successful.
There is another Wilson Carpark at the Sofitel Hotel, which is called the ‘Sofitel Sydney Wentworth Car Park’. It is located at 2 Bligh Street and appears to he accessed from Bligh Street. I can’t imagine the Sofitel being happy with the full road closure outside their hotel preventing their guests accessing their hotel. If it was the Sofitel Sydney Wentworth Car Park you booked, the the information in all the above posts by members would apply.
Thanks all for your thoughtful responses - really helpful and I especially appreciate the insights into reasons Wilson may not have been aware of the closure. This helps me give them the benefit of the doubt.
Carpark entrance is 2 Bligh St - no access except through Bligh Street which was barricaded off
I couldn’t see anyone staffing the traffic barricades. There probably should have been someone, but they were not placed anywhere I was going to see them or be able to seek their help. (Also it was heavy oncoming traffic coming down Bent St so I couldn’t just wait indefinitely in the hope of someone arriving to open the barricade.)
Wilson have neither agreed nor disagreed with me about whether access was possible, and are not saying whether or not they were aware of the closure. I will give them the benefit of the doubt.
I arrived at the time booked.
I now understand (from livetraffic.com) the street closure was from 2am Saturday to 2pm Sunday, so my booking was right in the middle of that time. It would be reasonable to expect that the notification processes should have enabled Wilson to be forewarned, but I can’t confirm this actually happened.
The reddit photo 2/3 is quite similar - in the evening, there were more trucks etc in the middle of Bligh St behind the physical barriers across the street, but I didn’t specifically notice any NYPD livery.
It’s not really worth the time and effort of further research. Thanks again for your input - greatly appreciated.
It’s also possible there was no notice. A recent closure at a popular tourist spot here was done without notifying anyone, apparently - it was on a public road in a national park. As visiting this location was somewhat of a ritual for me at the time, I asked the ‘security guard’ at the closure point what it was for - he refued to tell me, so I asked to see some official notice authorising the closure - he had none and started making excuses. After a short ‘meeting of the minds’ I proceeded uninhibited much to his disappointment. It was some TV show apparently. Some time later I spoke to a park ranger who expressed similar surprise that nobody knew - seems it came as a surprise to them also.
Many years ago we lived on a road that was part of a section of a popular rally - we were bombarded with letters and a visit or two etc etc - lots of information and notice about us being ‘taped off’ in our property for the whole day. This is how it should be done.
Part of me imagines there might be wildly varying attitudes among the people who organise these things depending on how important or famous they might imagine themselves or their ‘event’ to be
Ultimately I believe ‘in a perfect world’ the responsibility should flow - Customer claims from car park, car park claims from film company - or if there was fair notice, carpark wears the loss. Where any landlord involvement might be just complicates it, as it it wasnt complicated enough already …