THE BEST OF 2016! What's your favorite airline, car rental company, cruise line, travel insurance, and more? Find out now.

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

Cynthia Farmer/Shutterstock
Cynthia Farmer/Shutterstock
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 parking lot 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.

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 Premier Parking 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.

Premier Parking didn’t respond.

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 parking 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? I think he’s been more than polite, considering this happened in June.

Should I mediate Peter Gildenhuys's case?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

Christopher Elliott

Christopher Elliott is an author, journalist and consumer advocate. You can read more about him on his personal website or contact him at chris@elliott.org. Got a question or comment? You can post it on the new forum.

More Posts - Website - Twitter - Facebook - LinkedIn - Google Plus

  • LFH0

    The claim of Mr. Gildenhuys does not arise out of his use of the company’s website and the information contained therein. Rather, his claim arises out of the alleged failure of Premier Parking to properly release his parked automobile. It seems to me that the website text was simply boilerplate language intended to protect the operator of a website. Perhaps there is some other agreement as to the limit of liability (I would look specifically at the back of the parking ticket given), but the website language does not appear to be relevant here.

  • Carver Clark Farrow

    Good luck. LFHO is correct about the terms and conditions being irrelevant. However, the general legal principle remains true, it is rare to recovery consequential damages. Premier Parking would have had to know or suspect that the OP would incur such a large bill and presumably charge for the extra risk.

    She has a second problem. Was taking a taxi home reasonable under the circumstances? Premier will argue that she should have mitigated her damages and either rented a car or taken a shuttle. Disclaimer: I don’t know the dynamics of that airport, but international airports tend to have 24 hour ground transportation options.

    I suspect that a cruddy outfit like Premier doesn’t car about the bad publicity.

  • TonyA_says

    Please just add Premier Parking to your do not use list. By boycotting it we can put it and other lousy businesses out of misery.

  • FQTVLR

    Premier had a duty to inform Mr. Gildenhuys of its operating hours. Once they sent the receipt they tacitly said that he would be able to retrieve his car at 1 AM. But he also could have looked quickly at a shuttle for the trip back to his house. It was his choice to spend the money. And I had a good laugh at the 2 children thrown in. Seemed like an add-on to get extra sympathy. No need to mention that. Always makes me wonder when an OP has to throw in something to gain extra attention in the request for help.

  • John Baker

    Good luck Chris… Probably the best you’ll be able to get is a refund of the parking fee but go get what you can….
    Note to self: Avoid Premier Parking at all costs

  • SoBeSparky

    So how was this company chosen? Price?

    How difficult is it to render parking services, including a shuttle? Pretty simple operation in my experience. So check out Yelp. Horrid reviews going back to April. While I do not trust Yelp implicitly, this is a better indication than none. Lots of better choices, most at 4 1/2 stars.

    You cannot protect a consumer from his own freely made choices. If you do not bother to research a vendor, then how can the outcomes be anything but unpredictable?

  • MarkKelling

    He could have stayed at any of the Newark airport hotels for probably a lot less than the taxi fare. And did he really need to take a taxi? There are multiple shuttle options, but I have never tried to get one at 01:00 in the morning so maybe that really wasn’t an option. Is this another case of someone choosing the lowest cost option that provided the lowest level of customer service and then expecting more than was offered?

  • BillCCC

    I think that you should mediate because of the lack of communication from the company. There is no indication that he couldn’t pick up his car, twenty minutes is not a lot of time to wait. Was the parking lot actually not open? The title of the article is extremely misleading since he was not locked out of the parking lot.

  • typhn

    With two young children, that late at night, I can readily empathize with the OP – you cannot think very clearly. (I’ve been there, in that situation). Only thing perhaps – he might have taken a cab to the parking lot and if no one was there, taken it on to his destination.

  • Jeanne_in_NE

    I decided to look at Yelp reviews for my own favorite off-airport parking site, which I do choose because it’s the cheapest. The only reviews were 2 very disgruntled individuals, which I immediately wrote off because they were, how to say this politely?, idiots. It’s for that reason I don’t trust Yelp reviews; most are written either because they are related to the owner or have an axe to grind.

  • Jeanne_in_NE

    I went to Premier’s website for their Newark operation. The website says that the operation is a 24 hour operation and that there is a guard at the gate. It also says shuttles run continuously approximately every 15 minutes. See: premierparkingusa dot com/newark-airport-parking-ewr

    I’ve never had to call an airport shuttle place to be picked up, just hotel shuttles, but I don’t know what the OP was told to do. If I’d been in the OP’s shoes, I would have stood outside with my luggage and my 2 small children in the shuttle lane and made my phone calls while waiting for a shuttle to come by. If Premier’s shuttle didn’t come by, I would have waved down another company’s shuttle and asked them if they had a way to contact the other company’s people. Finally, I would have flagged a taxi to take me to the parking lot and alerted the guard on duty.

    In my opinion, the OP overreacted by taking a taxi all the way home.

  • Ed Lawrence

    I think the “he should have taken a shuttle” comments are not reasonable.

    Consider: Usually, a taxi does not charge per person. Shuttle trips often do. So, a shuttle trip, if available, might not have been much cheaper. Most shuttle services have a limited service area,

    Also, $293 for a taxi indicates a long trip. I live more than 20 miles from Boston. For a very early departure (or late return), I have to take a taxi. The typical fare plus tip is about $100. Does a shuttle service go that far?

    And consider the kids. Often one has to wait upwards of an hour for a shuttle.

    I think a local hotel might have been an option, but remember, you’re probably still talking at least $120/night plus taxes for a hotel near an airport. I think the parking agency would ignore his requests for any reimbursement.

  • NoraG

    In my opinion, two young children is a valid reason for not just staying there to retrieve the car when the lot opened.

  • EdB

    Would a small claims case possibly be able to recover the loss?

  • Ian Parrish

    Good point about the shuttle. I just checked. Super Shuttle, which is the most well-known of shuttle companies doesn’t even serve the closest couple destinations I checked in Pennsylvania. Not sure that there were other cheaper options than a cab if he wanted to actually get home.

    A hotel might have been a better option. Unfortunately, with 2 kids at 1 AM, one isn’t always thinking at the highest levels of rational, so I’d give him a break here.

  • Alan Gore

    Wouldn’t it have been cheaper to have stayed in the vicinity of the airport that night? A hotel room is a great place to get on one’s laptop and give Premier Parking a scathing Yelp review.

  • Blake Fleetwood

    Sue them in small claims court ,,, they will settle before court. It will cost them $1000 for a lawyer to show up.

    Use official airport parking lots.. It not worth the savings to go out of the airport.

    Keep you’re keys

  • MarkKelling

    At DEN I often have to call the parking shuttle because my “favorite” airline often doesn’t get me there until after midnight on flights that should arrive not later than 20:00 (but that’s another topic for another day). They are always there to answer the phone and have a shuttle there to pick me up within 15 minutes. I would hope it is the same everywhere when the parking site advertises 24 hour service. But something apparently didn’t work that way in this case.

  • SoBeSparky

    Granted. Yelp is not reliable. But is yelp an overall plus or minus. If I saw one with two bad reviews, and one with two positive reviews, I would pick the positive, just playing the odds.

  • MarkKelling

    At the airport I fly from, the official parking lots are the worst. The off airport lot I use actually costs a couple dollars more but provides pickup and delivery directly to your vehicle where the official lots just drop you and you have to walk to find your vehicle. The offsite lot also offers shuttles every 10 to 15 minutes while the official lot only has a bus every hour except during peak travel days.

  • EvilEmpryss

    While I believe you should indeed mediate the case, I can’t help but think the cost of a one-day walk-up rental at the airport (returning it the next day so he can go pick up his car) would have been a heck of a lot cheaper than cab fare. This is like saying “my budget hotel didn’t have my reservation ready, so I stayed at the Hyatt Regency instead and now I want that reimbursed”. The company owes him a response and an apology, at the very least, and I think a refund on the lot fee for his inconvenience. The almost $300 cab fare? Not so much.

  • EdB

    Lawyers are not allowed in small claims for the most part. Most likely it would be the lot manager or other management that would show up, if anyone bothered to show up.

  • Randy Culpepper

    What if the children had school the next morning?

  • emanon256

    Heck yes you should! Wow, I am honestly surprised you don’t get more airport parking cases. I do however wish the OP had brought it up at the time. Did the OP pay for parking when he left? I hope not after that fiasco. I am curious what Carver thinks about their disclaimer, part of me thinks it doesn’t apply in the case the lot actually caused damages.

    I refuse to ever park in these privately owned off-airport parking lots. I know they are cheaper, but I was burned twice many years ago. Both times were in Indiana, but I won’t park off-site anywhere anymore. The first time I went to a lot that said $5.50 an hour on the sign. When I left, they charged me $7 an hour, I told them the sign said $5.50 and they said that was only for members of their parking program which would cost me $200 to sign up for. I argued and they said I could pay $7 an hour, pay $200 plus $5.50 an hour, or leave my car and they will auction it off to pay my bill. The booth operator had the security guard come and stand next to my car brandishing his shot gun, so I paid and left. The next time was another off-site lot that was $6 an hour, they said they were open 24 hours. I got in around 1-pm and called, and got no answer. They didn’t even have voice mail. After about 20 minutes, I walked the 2 miles to the lot, and found my car, and got in. But the gate was down. Fortunately, they didn’t have those one-way tire poppers, so I drove out the entrance.

    After both of those experiences, airport parking is worth the ridiculous price.

  • emanon256

    I have reported many fake reviews to Yelp, and I always get a review back stating the review stands. I have also seen a few places that show as 5 star, but when I read the reviews there are several bad ones, but they don’t get counted in overall rating. I am drastically cut down on leaving reviews on Yelp for this very reason.

  • emanon256

    Sadly, Newark hotel walk up rates are often around the same price as his cab fair, if there was even availability. I’ve spend then night in the airport because of lack of hotels.

  • EdB

    “The booth operator had the security guard come and stand next to my car brandishing his shot gun”

    I would have been on the phone to the police at that point. If the sign advertising yhe $5.50/hr rate didn’t have a disclaimer, I think this could have been considered armed robbery. In any case, I would have paid with a credit card and then disputed the charge.

  • emanon256

    Sadly, this was sort of the norm when I was in Indiana. And they were cash only, so no option to dispute. I wasn’t willing to stick around and wait for the police in this situation. I did call the police after the fact, and was all but laughed at.

  • bodega3

    Did the OP check with a rental car desk at the airport for the cost of a car before taking a cab to the lot in case he couldn’t get his car and had to take the same cab back to the airport?

  • DavidYoung2

    Small claims is almost always a possibility. I took Continental to small claims and they immediately paid up, in full, plus court costs (a whopping $35.) Same with DirecTV. They always pay because it’s easier then fighting.

    Also, Small Claims (at least here in California) is a court of equity. That means, they decide based on what’s fair and not necessarily what’s in a lopsided agreement.

    People don’t really understand how quick and easy small claims can be. And it doesn’t have to be adversarial – “I think this and you think that so let’s not argue and instead let somebody else decide” is my attitude. I’ve used it probably six times in the past 20 years. Four times they paid up immediately and twice they showed up and lost.

  • SoBeSparky

    Granted all that. But when you have a half dozen parking places with 4 1/2 stars (all fakes?) and one with 1 1/2 stars, how much common sense does it take to avoid the 1 1/2 star place?

  • Justin

    Question. I understand the law requires people take reasonable steps to mitigate damages. At what point does the court agree the necessary steps were taken? If the OP rented a limo and threw a champaign party, wed all agree the circumstances were abused. However, at 1 am with kids en tow, does the OP need to spend time sitting at the car lot calling around rental companies to find one open? Presumably, not all airports run 24/7 serives. A reasonable expectation existed her car wouldn’t be held ransom, so a cab might have been the best or only option?

    P.S. Say the ticket limits damages to the cost of parking. Is the OP automatically out of luck?

  • jim6555

    I’ve lived in three states and lawyers were allowed in small claims court in all three.

  • Justin

    Rental car presuming availabilities and the office being open at 1 am. Short of a rental, cab seems the only option.

  • EdB

    Which state are those?

  • lvswhippets

    This may be off subject a bit but something like this happened to me. Four of my friends & I went to San Francisco for a fun weekend.( many years ago) I was driving & got tired of listening to all the advice so pulled in to a parking garage & told them that was where the car would stay. Unfortunately when we went to retrieve the car on Sunday, we found the garage tightly locked up with no access. Obviously we had not read the sign.There was a policeman walking the side walk & we went to him for help. He called the garage owner who left a wedding across the bay & came to open up the garage. Now that is what I call service. We were saved & maybe the owner was glad to get way from the party.

  • jim6555

    It’s not that easy to get to the rental car counters at Newark. They are located in a building about a mile from the passenger terminals. You have to walk or take an elevator up to the AirTrain platform. An automated train comes by and takes you to the rental cars building. The trains run every four or five minutes during the day but only every 15 minutes after midnight. The one time that I arrived at Newark after midnight, lots of flights were arriving late due to a weather problem earlier in the evening. The trains were full and I had to wait for over an hour before I was able to board. I would hate to put anyone with baggage and two children through this misery without knowing for sure that a car would be available once the got off the train at the Rental Cars stop.

  • jim6555

    The states are Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Florida.

  • bodega3

    They are a minus IMHO.

  • bodega3

    That is a step I don’t understand as to why the OP didn’t try. A shuttle call not being answered doesn’t mean your car can’t be accessed.

  • emanon256

    Oh wow, that’s awesome. Glad it turned out good in the end. I had another bad experience in Philly once very recently. My cousin and I parked in a garage that had a web deal on the corporate web site. We printed the coupon and when we parked, showed it to the attendant, who said they will accept it. The coupon was for $20 for 24 hours, the regular price was $35. When we went to leave the next day, the attendant, same guy, wanted us to pay $35 and said he doesn’t accept coupons. We reminded him he said it was fine yesterday, and he said it is no longer fine. My cousin wanted to let it go so went to pay, and the attendant said he doesn’t accept credit cards, I pointed to the credit card sign on the wall and he said his machine broke. I called the corporate office, which was closed on the weekend. I then told the attendant I only had $20 cash, take it or leave it, suddenly his credit card machine came out and was working. He would still only take $35 and then had the nerve to ask for a tip. My cousin later disputed the charge and got it knocked down to $20.

  • emanon256

    Good point, in that case, I agree.

  • Carver Clark Farrow

    Great question. What is reasonable depends on the totality of the circumstances. The lot is an off-airport lot, presumably with a shuttle. That means the OP was going to have to wait around anyway. How easy would it have been to get a rental car at the airport at 1am? Did the airport have a bank of manned counters at 1am where he could have simply walked over and gotten a car. Why not call around? He has a cell phone. Why not get a shuttle? These are some of the questions a court would want to know.

    The biggest problem is that he should have had the cab swing by the lot and see if the car was accessible. Then the OP would have only been out an easily defensible $20.

    The ticket itself probably doesn’t matter. Its probably insufficient notice.

  • Raven_Altosk

    Newark. The armpit of America.
    I’m surprised the parking lot was closed, though. Those places are usually 24/7. I also question why he didn’t have cab drive by the lot on the way home.

  • Carver Clark Farrow

    Not necessarily. Where I live, the shuttle charges a flat $10 for each additional passenger regardless of the distance. So a shuttle would have been infinitely cheaper, if available.

    Edited. The shuttle also goes at least 70 miles where I live.

  • bodega3

    There are toll free numbers to call, too, just to be prepared.

  • Carver Clark Farrow

    Why not take a cab to the parking lot and see if anyone is there?

  • Carver Clark Farrow

    +1

  • Carver Clark Farrow

    Not at all. The presence of children impacts the reasonableness of any actions. For example, it kills any legal requirement that he should stay in a hotel.

  • Carver Clark Farrow

    In fairness to the OP, how often do we review a business if we are just making a minor transaction. Like you said, how difficult is it to render parking service. It wouldn’t have occurred to me that a company could screw this up

  • Carver Clark Farrow

    Staying at a hotel would not be considered a reasonable or necessary mitigation under these circumstances. Kids have school, he has places to be, etc. Staying at a hotel means getting home probably 8 hours late.

  • Carver Clark Farrow

    I agree. That’s why the OP is almost certainly unable to recover. For all we know, the phone operator might have been in the bathroom.

  • Carver Clark Farrow

    At San Jose, the small lots (really dinky compared to the ones at SFO), require you to call them for a pickup.

  • Carver Clark Farrow

    In many small clams court, attorneys are not allowed unless they are a party. But honestly, even then an attorney only has a small advantage.

  • Carver Clark Farrow

    It depends on the disclaimer. Here in CA, a parking lot disclaimer is governed by statute. It as to say such and such, be viewable prior to entry, and be so and so sized. Otherwise the disclaimer is invalid. I suspect other states have the same law.

    If not, it may be enforceable, depending on whether its considered adequate notice in NJ.

  • Carver Clark Farrow

    Your luck sucks.

  • Carver Clark Farrow

    and smart phone apps.

    Sounds like a big hassle. The question is, if the OP knew he couldn’t get his money back, would that hassle still be too much?

  • emanon256

    I sometimes feel that way too. The sad thing is the bad stuff always happens when I look for the cheapest option. If I stayed in the hotel lot, which was $45, it probably would have been fine.

  • Jonathan Woodman

    Question: Why didn’t the OP take a taxi to the Premier lot where his car was? That seems a lot more reasonable than a $300 cab ride to PA.

  • bodega3

    Hassle yes, but better to know your options.

  • emanon256

    I am very confused by all these down votes I keep getting.

  • Jeanne_in_NE

    This wasn’t a small lot – I did investigate further after SoBeSparky made a stronger case for checking online reviews. It’s a huge lot, but still requires a phone call to get the shuttle notified of the number of people to be picked up. Guess size doesn’t matter. :)

  • Jeanne_in_NE

    So am I. I thought when you changed your avatar that you were golden once again. I reserve my down votes for opinions expressed that are far from the accepted norm (insults, that kind of thing). I don’t use them to indicate disagreement – that’s what the reply button is for. At least that’s *my* personal standard of online behavior.

    But your comments have been fairly innocuous, so what’s the deal?

  • Jeanne_in_NE

    Ooh, good question!

  • emanon256

    I’m with you on the down votes, and the replies. I think I up vote a lot, but try to use down votes for trolls or really outrageous ridiculous comments. I understand getting down voted when I say something controversial. And agree that a reply is far better. I remember one of the moderators saying Disqus shows them when people have good and bad reputations based on the votes. I think he said Tony A has the highest reputation on the site :) I would believe that for sure.

  • LFH0

    You’re right about international airports typically having 24 hour ground transportation service, but oftentimes the overnight service is quite limited, usually only between the airport and the nearby city center. Such is the case here.

    The last “shuttle” from EWR to Pennsylvania–the Trans-Bridge Lines bus to Allentown–departs the airport at 12:00 midnight (and we don’t know if that bus goes anywhere close to his actual destination in Pennsylvania). Direct transportation service to New York City (Coach USA bus and New Jersey Transit train) shuts down between 1:00 and 2:00 a.m., not to resume until early morning, and all that operates overnight is the local New Jersey Transit bus (route 62) to Newark Penn Station. The no. 62 bus then connects with PATH trains to World Trade Center in lower Manhattan (and the overnight Amtrak train to Philadelphia). And then once in New York City, one would have to head over to Port Authority Bus Terminal and try to search out an overnight bus trip to Pennsylvania.

    Could a stranded traveler–one who may not have the foregoing knowledge–have been able to reason through all of this at 1:00 a.m., especially when emotionally upset over the circumstances? All-in-all, I think it is unreasonable to expect such a person to have been able to utilize any type of “shuttle” service at that hour.

  • Mark Cuban

    You go to one of the cheapo off-site parking lots you’re pretty much at their mercy. The long term lot at the airport is a couple more dollars a day, and I can bet on it being open 24/7.

  • polexia_rogue

    was $293 for BOTH the trip to get his family home AND the trip to get his car back?

    that would make more sense, other wise that is an abnormally huge taxi fare

  • Mark Cuban

    Kids can’t sleep in a hotel? Why would that be unreasonable?

  • Mark Cuban

    Yelp allows subscribers of their services to edit “unfair” reviews. They are not reliable.

  • Mark Cuban

    Most airports, SJC included, all have long term lots. They are few dollars a day more expensive but they’re well lit, patrolled, and always accessible.

  • MarkKelling

    He still had to make the trip back to get his car. Did he spend another $300 for the cab ride back again? My choice would have been to stay in a hotel, if I could find one at a reasonable price, and be at the parking lot earliest possible time in the morning. Whether this is legally the best option I don’t know since I am not a lawyer.

    How is staying at a hotel at the end of the trip because you can’t get your car any different from being a day late because your flight got cancelled and you got stuck in a hotel in some other city before you fly home? Either way you and the people traveling with you run the risk of missing a day of scheduled activities.

  • omgstfualready

    I haven’t read the comments yet but their website boasts 24/7 staff and security. Mediate away.

  • omgstfualready

    I first thought that but it was so late and he had kids with him, I can see thinking ‘just end the night and deal with it tomorrow’.

  • MarkKelling

    I am asking myself the same question about the down votes. Not that being voted down really bothers me, but I have not posted anything inflammatory, derogatory, or otherwise offensive. Oh well

  • Carver Clark Farrow

    It’s one thing for an adult to roll with the punches; kids miss mommy, their blankie, etc. a parent has a much stronger case for wanting to get the kids home and in familiar surroundings

  • Carver Clark Farrow

    Your point?

  • Carver Clark Farrow

    Options. Stuck in another city, no options. Stuck close to home, options.

  • EdB

    Because the car parks don’t have all the clauses and rules the airlines have to protect them from failure to perform.

  • dave3029

    The rules for how Small Claims Court cases are handled vary greatly from town to town (or in some cases, whatever town handles the case – – not all towns have their own courts for this). Additionally, in many cases I’ve seen in my area, the sued company simply has the case kicked up to the next level court (which is their right), which they can easily afford since they have their own legal teams in-house or on retainer. In the majority of those cases, the cost for the plaintiff to hire an attorney far exceeds the amount they’re looking to recover, and if they go into a higher court trying to represent themselves, they are hopelessly outgunned.

  • DReinig

    The OP jumped to a conclusion that he could not get his car out of the lot because no one answered a phone. Premier Parking is open 24 hours (check the web site) and shuttles are run every 15 minutes. He even had an email confirmation showing they were aware of his arrival time change. Granted, he couldn’t reach them by phone, but I myself have run into this late at night at Avis at an airport. Since he got a taxi, he should have first tried going to Premier Parking site, knowing that it was open 24 hours. Pennsylvania is over an hour’s drive on route 78. Why would you hop in a taxi and head straight home without going to see if you could pick up your car?

  • EdB

    I wouldn’t go by what the website says. It claims shuttles every 15 minutes yet no shuttle came by during the 20 minutes he was trying to call them. If they were running every 15 minutes, one should have come by during the 20 minutes.

  • Cybrsk8r

    Makes me appreciate that BWI operates their own lots with almost endless space.

  • bpepy

    I agree!!!

  • Name

    If he was instructed to telephone the parking people on his arrival, he is absolutely owed a reimbursement of his cab fare home when nobody answered. Come on guys, two kids and luggage? 1am? Those of us who travel know exactly how you feel at a point like that, exhausted, drained and just wanting to get home. This is why we love you, Chris, go get ’em. OTOH, if he was instructed to take the shuttle over, then he’s to blame. Taking a cab TO the parking place is clever … but given the circumstances, something I would have thought of about 3 days later … remember it’s 1am and there are two kids plus luggage? I have dragged my butt into hotels after midnight several times over the years and believe me, your brain is FRIED.

  • http://ladylighttravel.com/ LadyLightTravel

    And they fill up during the week and you have to use off-airport parking.

  • Carver Clark Farrow

    As you know, its all about the specific facts. I can’t speak at all about EWR. At SFO, shuttles run 24/7 and travels pretty far. A 70 mile shuttle trip would have cost him $105 for him and his three kids. $210 for a taxi.

    That convoluted route would certainly strengthen the OP’s case against a shuttle. Unfortunately for him, he has too many other insurmountable hurdles, most notably, why not have the taxi swing by the lot.

  • Carver Clark Farrow

    But what is he realistically expecting from Chris. The parking lot owner is going to swear that the lot was open and that the OP could have come by and taken his car at any time. Asking for $300 is likely to get the middle finger of friendship.

  • Carver Clark Farrow

    At SFO, they used to give you vouchers for short term parking at long term rates. Now, its the employee parking lot next door :(

  • Carver Clark Farrow

    Some states permit attorneys in small claims. Most do not unless the attorney is a party.

  • Carver Clark Farrow

    We both got downvoted????

    I made a joke to you, which you seemed fine with and gave a thumbs up to and we both got downvoted. Truly amazing.

  • Carver Clark Farrow

    Trolls. That’s my answer.

    Some of us have people who hate us. You could say that ice is cold and get downvoted.

  • Carver Clark Farrow

    That question will 99% kill the already slim chance of a recovery from the parking lot.

  • Carver Clark Farrow

    Alas, that may have been a $300 choice.

  • Carver Clark Farrow

    Unfortunately, from a legal point, he isn’t owed anything. It would have been trivial to have the taxi swing by the lot. No further effort on his part except speaking a sentence or two. I totally understand his brain being fried. I’ve been there myself. But his brain being fried isn’t parking premier’s problem.

  • bodega3

    Exactly. If the lot is open 24/7, then his choice might have cost him.

  • Andre_K_FL

    Personally if I was in that situation I would have called the police while at EWR and gotten them involved. But I definitely think that under the situation Mr. Gildenhuys should be reimbursed.

  • Carver Clark Farrow

    Called the police? For what? He called the lot and no one picked up? What crime is being committed?

  • Carver Clark Farrow

    Unlikely. He has a truly terrible legal case.

    1. No proof that the lot was closed
    2. Generally consequential damages are not recoverable
    3. Inadequate mitigation of damages (rent a car)

    I think the best he could hope for is the cost of a cab ride from the airport to the lot. If he’s really lucky, the cost of a one day rental car of the same type as his own car.

  • Jeanne_in_NE

    Ice is cold. Waiting . . .

  • Jeanne_in_NE

    He may have been waiting inside the nice, warm lighted airport with his two small children, making the calls.

  • emanon256

    I am at a loss.

  • Carver Clark Farrow

    ROTFLMAO!!

  • TonyA_says

    FYI this is not the first time we have a case concerning the same parking lot.
    http://elliott.org/blog/can-this-trip-be-saved-a-full-parking-lot-and-a-partial-refund/

  • Carver Clark Farrow

    Trolls.

  • EdB

    Not all ice is cold….

    http://www.wikihow.com/Make-Hot-Ice

    :) Just teasing you.

  • EdB

    Damn link filter…

    Not all ice is cold…

    www wikihow com Make-Hot-Ice

    :) Just teasing you

  • mythsayer

    Here is the issue with the mitigation here (I agree with you about it). He flew into NEWARK and lives in PHILLY! That’s three hours away!!! He should have gotten a hotel for the night and asked for that money back. THAT’S mitigation. What he did is not.

  • Carver Clark Farrow

    Absolutely. If the lot were closed, then he would have been well within his rights to get a hotel and demand that they pay for it.

  • mythsayer

    I think that it would be less traumatizing to sleep in a hotel from 1am to 6am or whenever the lot opened than to take a three plus hour cab ride home only to have daddy go back to the airport the next day to get the car. That’s just silly.

  • Justin

    Thx. Let’s say the OP did have the cab swing by and lot was unmanned. Would the cab then be a recoverable cost? I see two problems myself.

    Not all airports run 24/7 shuttles services. Airport by me is a rinky dink joint. Doubtful rentals or shuttles run all night, unless a hotel or car lot. Generally, cabs are about your only choice for a twilight flight transportation

    Presumably, if there was no shutte, and cab swung by to find lot was unmanned, does OP have a case? How does OP demonstrate either scenario, short of getting cabbie to write a notarized afidavit stating the facts.

  • Jeanne_in_NE

    I actually did this same experiment in one of my chemistry classes, so I knew the risks of posting the statement. :-D

  • mythsayer

    No… when home is THAT far away, taking a cab home is NOT reasonable. I guess you and I are opposing counsel on this one, because I simply don’t see taking a cab that far at 1am reasonable. Let’s say he finally got in the cab and on his way between 1:45 and 2am. That means he got home around 5am, at best. That means that he could have stayed in a hotel until just about 5 or 6 am, because I’m sure the lot opened by then and then driven himself home in his own car, and been home by probably 10 am. That’s not that different. It’s completely unreasonable to take a cab home in this scenario and to them expect reimbursement.

  • Justin

    Except the OP has children. What if there’s school tomorrow? Op has to get a hotel still?

  • Justin

    Kids have school, recitals, sports, dr appts, etc. Adults are flexible. Children not so much.

  • Carver Clark Farrow

    Maybe. But we don’t know the OP or the kids. Most telling though is the original plan was to drive back to Philly, so I guess the OP doesn’t agree.

  • Carver Clark Farrow

    Not really much of a problem. But unmanned and closed are not the same thing. I’m assuming closed. If open but merely unmanned ( smoke break, bathroom break, etc.) then he’s SOL.

    So lets the cab swings by and the lot is closed. The OP takes a picture with his cell. He has his proof that the lot is closed. Now, the question is only what actions are reasonable under the circumstances, which is a factual inquiry based on his specific circumstances. LFHO showed that a shuttle is not reasonable. What about a rental car? Can the cab take him to the nearest rental car company. Or he can use directory assistance and start calling around.

    That’s what the ultimate question will be.

  • Carver Clark Farrow

    Oh,we know that not necessarily true. It all depends on the circumstances. Lets assume no shuttles or rental cars are available.

    If he landed at SFO on a weekday, the cheapest hotel that’s devoid of prostitutes, drug dealers, and cheating spouses would cost him in the $240 range. Add taxes and you’re up to about $275, $20 less than the cab ride.

    A cab rise seems much more reasonable now :-)

  • Carver Clark Farrow

    Oh, at no point am I saying that the OP has to get a hotel. I don’t think that’s a reasonable obligation, for the same reasons as you. I’m saying that the OP has the option, if he so desires.

  • Andre_K_FL

    There are certain civil matters which police intervention would be appropriate. I can’t imagine that the port authority police department would not be able to help a traveling family being stranded from their vehicle by an airport vendor.

  • bodega3

    I could see calling if the lot was closed and he couldn’t get his car since they are suppose to be open 24/7, but what crime has been committed with not reaching someone in the office at the car parking location? He didn’t try to go there, he just headed home. Was he really stranded or could that cab have stopped first at the lot to check on the car?

  • Carver Clark Farrow

    Yes, there are certain civil matters, although those tend to be related to court orders and circumstances in which a breach of the peace is likely. For example, eviction proceedings. I would be very surprised in the police came out for that.

  • TonyA_says

    In this particular case, Newark Airport, the official long term parking lot has daily rate of $18. Premier’s website shows a rate starting at $5.99.

    Personaly, lousy location and parking is a reason I don’t use EWR and prefer to use JFK. That and of course my favorite Asian airlines all use JFK.
    I don’t blame the OP. With 2 young kids, I would get scared, too. A staff member from our office got mugged while using one of those lots in EWR. It ‘s a spooky airport. As you drive in along the frontage road, you see one of Jersey’s State prisons. Near it is a Howard Johnson and this premier parking lot.
    Hey it’s Newark, and they don’t call it the Armpit of America because it’s nice and safe.

  • Justin

    True. With 2 kids en tow, sitting around in a cab making calls while the meter runs, also seems impractical.

    I still think the OP is looking at an uphill battle on recovery, too.

  • Justin

    The cheapt oft becomes expensive. My luck in life, too.

  • Justin

    Emans luck is rubbging off :). Time to pull out that lucky rabbit’s foot.

  • EdB

    How lucky can those be? The rabbit had 4 of them but still got caught. ;)

  • emanon256

    My favorite part of JFK, is the Air Train.

  • TonyA_says

    Me, too. It’s the DIY answer to relying on a shuttle bus.
    I’m a user of the long-term parking lot near Lefferts Blvd.
    I take the Air Train (together with most airport and TSA agents since their parking lot is just across long-term) and love it.
    I try to stick with the official services of the airports.
    Chances are you get burned less (if at all) :)

  • emanon256

    I love that stop because the train is empty afterwards :) Then on to Jamaica. Actually, I had a really crazy flight once, and stayed in a hotel by the long term parking. I was flying from MSN-SFO and the routing of MSN-ORD-SFO and/or MSN-DEN-SFO were both $800+, however, MSN-ORD-LGA/JFK-SFO was in the $300s. So I took it as a an opportunity to have dinner with my family who picked me up at LGA and took the LIRR and Air/Train to the hotel and airport.

  • PolishKnightUSA

    I agree with Carver again. There has to be something wrong with this! (Perhaps that comet swinging by?)

    I voted NO on Elliott intervening. Getting a taxi home without first going by the parking lot, especially all the way back to Pennsylvania is ridiculous.

  • PolishKnightUSA

    I voted you up, Carver. We may disagree a lot of the time but I respect your experience and value thoughtful opinions.

  • PolishKnightUSA

    I hate to use the term “you shoulda” but you should have gotten a photo of the sign and, if possible on the sly, the goon brandishing the gun as well.

    And no, don’t call the police (unless to get your car out where they will usually have to take your side at that point even if they are partly on the take) for a CONSUMER affairs complaint. Go online and look up consumer affairs for your STATE and that guy running THAT office usually doesn’t mind getting a few scalps. The photos of the sign and the goon should be sufficient to get them fined.

  • Chris Johnson

    I was sympathetic at first, but the website says the parking lot is open 24/7. I’m pretty sure that all the off-site parking lots at EWR, at least the really large ones right off of Route 1 & 9, operate 24/7. This is EWR after all. He could have just taken a taxi to the parking lot, as that’s probably what I would have done if I didn’t get an answer on the phone. All the OP has proof of is that they didn’t answer the phone at the parking lot (upsetting, I agree), not that nobody was there.

  • y_p_w

    New Jersey Transit from Philly to EWR is the cheapest option. Amtrak is faster but more expensive on short notice.

  • LFH0

    I don’t think there’s enough facts available to determine if a rental car would be reasonable. We don’t know if Mr. Gildenhuys is of sufficient age to rent, and if his driving record and credit are adequate.

    But what I think is the critical element here on reasonableness–something I missed on my first read–is whether the facility was closed, or if it were merely just the telephone that was not being answered.

  • Carver Clark Farrow

    I think it’s the other way. It’s reasonable under normal circumstances. Thus, the burden falls on him to show why he couldn’t.

  • y_p_w

    I’ve waited, and waited, and waited for a rental car shuttle before at Miami. I was just waiting for my particular company while seeing multiple Avis, Hertz, or Budget shuttles going by. I realize that stuff happens. I wouldn’t have given up.

  • y_p_w

    Depends on the airport and the company. When I made reservations for a car rental in Las Vegas last year, I specifically checked to see which rental agencies were open 24 hours. Several (including big names like Enterprise) were closed from midnight to 6 AM. I met my wife and kid there, and their flight was delayed until about 4 AM.

    I haven’t had that much experience with long term parking at airports. Only did it once at SMF while I was working around Sacramento. I weighed saving a couple of bucks a day by parking at a hotel or off-site lot, but the airport economy lot was only $9/day. When I got there at about 4 AM, there were often buses lined up waiting to pick up passengers. I’ve actually heard of some people in the Bay Area flying from SMF because the flights are cheaper, on-time performance is better, and the transportation options are excellent.

  • y_p_w

    Amtrak Northeast Regional can do that trip in 62 minutes. They absolutely fly through there at over 100 MPH. The NJT and Septa trains operate much slower, with the Amtrak trains just bypassing them on the inside tracks.

  • Jeanne_in_NE

    Oh my stars and garters, I’m snorting my adult beverage! Middle finger of friendship! Glad I decided to go back through the comments. :)

  • Jeanne_in_NE

    Yep – thanks for the link. Boy, I remember that case now. Maybe “Premier” is New Jersey-ian for “Screw You, Buddy!” ??

  • mythsayer

    I agree to that extent. My in laws live in nj and I’m forced to fly to Newark a lot so I’m kind of jaded here. I’ve gotten hotels for a lot less than $250 a night next to the airport but it’s not a great area and I guess it depends on your standards. And I did have my toddler with me when I was at this hotel so this comes from someone who actually would choose the hotel any day. But also… We don’t do taxis out here is Cali really so the idea of sitting in one for that long at 1am with sleepy kids is not appealing. I’d still take hotel. But I can see the argument on the reasonableness of the cost and I’d actually try to use your cost breakdown as an analogy. If they were really closed, then getting a hotel was entirely reasonable and if he can show a similar cost then he’s got a better argument. But I also think it’s unreasonable for him to have only waited 20 minutes.

  • Carver Clark Farrow

    :-)

  • Carver Clark Farrow

    I agree 110%. Incurring a $300 charge after waiting 20 minutes is very unreasonable. I do not believe that based on the facts as presented, the OP can even begin to defend his actions. It is unreasonable to assume after 20 minutes that the lot was closed, especially at 1am. How many times have we gone to a business at night, and the night shift is a sleepy college student. Combined with not having the cab swing by the lot. Agreed. Unreasonable

  • Carver Clark Farrow

    Thanks for the kind words. I appreciate that. Same to you :-)

  • Carver Clark Farrow

    Bwahahaha

  • TonyA_says

    Several hotels in Newark also offer airport parking with 24 hour shuttle service. In my hometown airport, even a school now offers airport parking.
    Must be the new way to make money during a depression.

  • ChBot

    When your young children arrive home at 4 AM (after 3 hours in a car and many in an airport / airplane), is it reasonable to expect them to go to school first thing in the morning ???

  • ChBot

    Getting home so late, better for them to skip it !

  • Justin

    We aren’t the ones to decide. The children can sleep on the way home, and maybe do well with car rides. Carver, the resident lawyer, notes courts are sympathetic to children.

    Kids are less flexible than adults. The expection of having to get a hotel is automatically null and void. What hurts the OP is failing to run by the lot with a cab. If the lot were closed, OP had a greater chance of winning. The major fault here.