Locked out of the parking lot at Newark – can I get a refund?

Photo of author

By Christopher Elliott

No one ever complains about airport parking lots because these businesses typically say what they do and do what they say. In other words, it’s a place to park.

So when someone does call me about a parking problem, I pay attention. Which is exactly what I did when I heard from Peter Gildenhuys, who recently parked his vehicle at an off-airport parking lot in Newark.

Getting it to the parking lot wasn’t a problem. Getting it off the lot? Problem.

The issue was a delay by several hours on his return flight. He phoned the operator, Premier Parking, and advised a representative that he’d be getting in at 1 a.m. The company sent him a new receipt verifying his arrival time.

I’ll let him pick up the story from there:

When we arrived in Newark, I phoned the number on the ticket stub I was given when I left my car, following the procedure I was instructed to follow in order to reclaim my car.

No one answered the phone.

I called repeatedly for twenty minutes but no one picked up. It was impossible even to leave a message, as a recording stated that the voicemail box was full.

Not knowing what to do, and having two young children with me, I opted to take a cab home with my family.

Southwest Airlines is dedicated to the highest quality of customer service delivered with a sense of warmth, friendliness, individual pride, and Company Spirit. We are committed to providing our employees with a stable work environment with equal opportunity for learning and personal growth.

Gildenhuys had to spend a total of $293 to take a cab back home to Pennsylvania, and he thinks Premier Parking should reimburse him for it. After all, it sent him a receipt saying it expected him at 1 a.m., didn’t it?

The next day, he picked up his car without incident. It isn’t immediately clear why he didn’t ask for a refund then. Maybe he was just happy to have his car back, or needed to be somewhere. At any rate, he drove away from the parking lot with the $293 bill unresolved.

He called the Newark Premier Parking operation, but it referred him to a phone number with — you guessed it — a full voice mail box. So he called at the corporate level. This time, he left numerous voice mail messages, none of which were returned.

Finally, he wrote a letter to the chief operating officer of Premier Parking. It was a polite, thorough description of what had happened to him, asking for a refund of the cab fare. (Here’s our ultimate guide to contacting the CEO directly.)

Premier Parking didn’t respond, and this isn’t the first time.

Maybe it doesn’t have to. Its terms and conditions are pretty clear about its liability in a situation like this. It has virtually none.

“The aggregate liability for Premier Parking USA and its associates, parking lot owners, and hotel owners to you for any and all claims arising from the use of this web site and information is limited to no greater than the cost of the reservation,” it says. (Yeah, I cleaned up the grammar a little.)

I’m not sure if Premier Parking owes Gildenhuys, but I think it does owe him an answer. How can you just ignore multiple phone messages and a polite letter? My advocacy team and I think he’s been more than polite, considering this happened in June.

Should I mediate Peter Gildenhuys's case?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...
Photo of author

Christopher Elliott

Christopher Elliott is the founder of Elliott Advocacy, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that empowers consumers to solve their problems and helps those who can't. He's the author of numerous books on consumer advocacy and writes three nationally syndicated columns. He also publishes the Elliott Report, a news site for consumers, and Elliott Confidential, a critically acclaimed newsletter about customer service. If you have a consumer problem you can't solve, contact him directly through his advocacy website. You can also follow him on X, Facebook, and LinkedIn, or sign up for his daily newsletter. He is based in Panamá City.

Related Posts