Has parking at BCIT gone from service to scam?
Yesterday, my karma took a hit: I spent approximately 12 minutes yelling at a customer service representative at Impark, BCIT’s parking despot.
The root of my rage, which was taken ungracefully out on an Impark peon, is that thrice this school year, I have trudged across the parking lot to my beige Honda to find a malevolent, light-blue, $80 parking ticket plastered smugly to my windshield.
Getting a parking ticket is fairly commonplace, I know — but each of these times, I’d already paid $4.50 for my stall and (luckily) still had a crumpled receipt in my pocket.
Still might not sound like a big deal: people are ticketed mistakenly all the time. But I’ve found that Impark is one of the most irresponsible companies in our small solar system, with a customer service centre run by lemurs.
From November 2012 until March 2013, I phoned Impark almost once a week in the hopes I could dispute my ticket. Every time, a pre-recorded voice told me,
“We are dealing with a higher than normal call volume.”
Even if I called at 7:00am. Or 4:00pm. Sometimes, the machine even hung up on me, which (in hindsight) tipped me from indignant to irate on the Rage Richter.
[pullquote]”Each of these times, I’d paid $4.50 for my stall and (luckily) still had a crumpled receipt in my pocket.”[/pullquote]
In desperation, I wandered BCIT’s campus looking for an Impark representative or a BCIT staffer with a direct line, or a suggestion for how to proceed — to no avail.
Defeated, I stapled the stall receipts to my smirking, blue tickets, put the contents in an envelope labeled “GOD IS SMITING ME” and continued with life. Occasionally, I’d send a Tweet to Impark about how irresponsible they are, or hurl a hasty email rant in their direction.
Some time passed, and I pushed the whole ordeal into the cobwebbed corner of my brain reserved for my memory of when Shelley DeWitt told me I look like a pig, a recollection housed in the same vault as the memory of my first period.
Now one of my tickets has gone to collections. The operator at the collections agency in Ontario said, “Oh, Impark. That company has terrible customer service. We get calls all the time.”
Unfortunately, she was unable to help me and had to direct me back to Impark.
When I called Impark to deal with this latest blow, the customer service representative told me in a rather bored tone,
“The only thing I can do right now is accept your payment of 80 dollars.”
Hmm… Not the wisest response. She actually thought I was going to fork over a cool eighty, even though I was literally holding a stall receipt for the ticket in question.
Given her total inability to come up with a meaningful solution (take my receipt number, erase the ticket), I can only conclude that she was desperate to meet me in person and was hoping her idiotic responses would prompt an in-office visit.
After what can only be called a tirade, she “released the call”. Thus, my shameful journey with Impark continues and I’ll likely have to head down to the office, for a parley with my lemur.
[pullquote]”Purewal suspects that Impark’s system is designed to deter people from clearing erroneous tickets.”[/pullquote]
Although many would handle this situation differently, foregoing a tantrum laced with obscenities, the fact remains that there is a real problem with Impark and how it does business at BCIT.
It’s nearly impossible to get in touch with an Impark human being to discuss parking tickets, which presents a problem when so many tickets are doled out speciously.
Other students have found unwarranted tickets sticking to their cars. Sukh Purewal says it was a struggle to clear two tickets from his record.
“The first ticket took me three hours, over two days. Twice I got through [to a customer service representative] and they told me they couldn’t deal with it on that line, and gave me the exact same number.”
In fact, the process was so difficult that Purewal suspects that Impark’s system is designed to deter people from clearing erroneous tickets.
It’s not hard to find people who’ve been given the run-around by Impark and its agents. A glimpse into Impark’s Twitter shows that positive comments about the company are scarce.
For the purposes of this piece, and to avoid a legal situation, I attempted to phone Impark for comment. After numerous tries, my call was returned by “John” at Impark. He wouldn’t provide a last name for “personal safety”, but his job is to liaise between Impark and BCIT’s lots.
John told me that a “directive” handed down “yesterday” prevents him from commenting to media, but that he’d do his best to find someone who could speak with me.
Then he gave me the number of Impark’s Marketing Coordinator, Jeff Powell (who apparently isn’t worried about his personal safety). This number turned out to be a fax machine. Impark’s comment is hereby recorded as, “Beeeeeeeeeeeeep.”
Given that we’re stuck with Impark, perhaps BCIT could devise a system for better communication with the company — maybe an on-campus representative or a direct line for students from the campus security office. After all, Impark’s lots are the only parking choices for students and staff on campus. It shouldn’t be such a fiasco if there are valid reasons to dispute a ticket.
Regardless of the track BCIT takes to deal with these parking wars, the fact remains that Impark is a company seemingly unable to complete the very basic tasks of picking up telephone calls and honoring “paid” receipts.