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'Still furious': More concertgoers claim they were victims to a concert parking hustler

Author
Pierre Nixon,
Publish Date
Thu, 25 Jan 2024, 9:03PM

'Still furious': More concertgoers claim they were victims to a concert parking hustler

Author
Pierre Nixon,
Publish Date
Thu, 25 Jan 2024, 9:03PM

Ed Sheeran fans who attended his Auckland show last year claim they were also duped by a man in a hi-vis vest offering $20 for private parking, only to find their cars were towed.

They claim there are striking similarities to last weekend’s parking fiasco where a man sold fake parking on Neilson St in Penrose to people attending the Foo Fighters concert at Mt Smart Go Media Stadium.

About 10 people paid a person holding a sign to park at the front of a charity that supports children in need on Neilson St.

All those who parked in the private carpark believed the payment was a legitimate arrangement but found themselves hundreds of dollars out of pocket when they had to free their vehicles from a towing firm.

Concertgoers at Ed Sheeran’s show on February 10 last year at Eden Park in Auckland say they had an almost identical experience.

The crowd at Ed Sheeran at Eden Park stadium in Auckland on February 10. Photo / Alex Robertson
The crowd at Ed Sheeran at Eden Park stadium in Auckland on February 10. Photo / Alex Robertson

One Ed Sheeran fan, who did not want to be named, said while she and a friend were looking for a car park, they noticed a man holding a white hand-painted sign saying “$20 parking” who was ushering interested people into the nearby Kingsland VTNZ carpark.

She claims the man was wearing a hi-vis vest.

“They would’ve worked in a team, there were maybe two other guys further down New North Rd getting people’s attention with a similar sign and directing them to the VTNZ carpark.

“I paid $20 cash, my friend paid $25 bank transfer,” she said.

When she returned after the concert, her car was gone.

“When we came out of the concert, my car along with what we reckon were 10 other cars had disappeared.

“We weren’t sure if they got stolen or towed. I contacted police who advised it was towed and they directed us to Supercity Towing Limited where I chatted with a few others in the same situation,” she said.

She claims it cost her around $350 to release her car.

“I am still furious about it,” she told the Herald.

VTNZ declined to comment for this story.

Foo Fighters fan David Pasco found himself in a similar position on Saturday night, after parking his car at a charity on Neilson St.

Foo Fighters fan David Pasco, (in the middle, wearing the green and blue shirt) attending the concert with friends.
Foo Fighters fan David Pasco, (in the middle, wearing the green and blue shirt) attending the concert with friends.

“I came back and the carpark was completely empty.”

Pasco noticed a sign on the carpark’s fence from Amalgamated Car Parking Services, stating the carpark was private property and for authorised parking only.

The Amalgamated Car Parking Services enforcement message at the Neilson St carpark.
The Amalgamated Car Parking Services enforcement message at the Neilson St carpark.

After realising his car had been towed, Pasco contacted the parking agency, which informed him he would have to pay $385 to get it back.

“I thought I was doing pretty good, paying $100 for a ticket to a great show which cost $500,” Pasco said.

Another victim of the scam, Greg Christensen, earlier told the Herald he chose to park in the lot, thinking it was legitimate, as he thought the funds may have been going to the charity.

“For me, I had to laugh when, after the euphoria of an amazing Foo Fighters show, the realities of life quickly kicked in. I had a dozen or so newfound friends [the other victims] to bond with,” Christensen said.

The man who allegedly sold fake parking to people attending the Foo Fighters concert was caught on camera and his image has been provided to the Herald.

A man allegedly selling fake parking on Neilson St in Penrose to people attending the Foo Fighters concert at Mt Smart Go Media stadium last weekend.

A man allegedly selling fake parking on Neilson St in Penrose to people attending the Foo Fighters concert at Mt Smart Go Media stadium last weekend.

Police have confirmed they’re investigating the alleged parking scam but told the Herald that fraud is a “complex” matter to investigate.

“Police need to prioritise reports against demand and any lines of inquiry available.

“While a photo of a person of interest in this matter has been supplied to Police, at this stage there are no further lines of inquiry.

“We understand the victims’ frustrations over what has happened. As it stands the matter has been filed pending any new information that may come forward, which can be assessed for appropriate follow-up,” a police spokesperson said.

The chief executive of the charity that occupied the premises containing the parking earlier lot told the Herald they, too, are distressed by the deception that left concertgoers hundreds of dollars out of pocket.

“We’re really upset with what transpired at our private premises on Saturday night with an individual not associated with our organisation, illegally selling our car parks without our permission,” the chief executive said.

“This person filled our small space with cars, including the disabled parking space, and jammed them against our glass doors which is a security and safety risk. The police have our security footage and we will be working to find a more permanent solution to ensure this doesn’t happen again.”

The director of stadiums at Auckland Council’s facilities arm, Tātaki Auckland Unlimited, James Parkinson said the incident was an “unfortunate reminder” of the need for patrons to make efforts to verify they have the right to park on private property.

“We are disappointed to hear that the actions of one individual has soured the experience of a small group of patrons who attended the Foo Fighters concert at Go Media Stadium Mt Smart on Saturday, 20 January,” Parkinson said.

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