Customer from Hell

by Terence

I don’t enjoy being a nasty customer, and I usually try to be nice in the first letter, but when I don’t get the response I was expecting, I turn into… THE CUSTOMER FROM HELL!!!

I got fined $100 recently for parking temporarily at the loading bay next to my flat on 12 October 2008 (Sunday).

This was my first appeal to HDB on 14 October 2008:

Hi,

I would like to request for a waiver on the parking fine that I received for my car [XXX] on 12 October 2008 at the service road next to block [XYZ].

I parked the car at the loading/unloading lot in order to unload heavy filming equipment and props from my car. I was intending to re-park the car back at the carpark after unloading, but I was fined before I could do so.

Appreciate if you can waive the fine as was legitimately using the loading/unloading lot to unload equipment from my car.

Terence Lee

HDB replied to me on 17 October 2008:

Dear Mr Terence Lee

1 We refer to your letter regards to the abovementioned parking offence notice

2 We wish to explain that the loading / unloading are provided for the purpose of immediate loading and unloading of goods from vehicles. Drivers who are carrying out loading / unloading of goods should move on immediately after the goods have been unloaded from vehicles. Delivery service providers should ensure that they have sufficient helpers, so that their drivers can move on quickly after unloading the goods. For the benefit of HDB shop tenants and residents who need to carry out loading and unloading activities, we will check against the misuse of the bays.

3 On 12 Oct 2008, your vehicle was found parking and left unattended at the loading / unloading bay at Block [XYZ] car park. There was no sign of loading / unloading activities being conducted. After a grace period, at 12:29 pm the above notice of parking offence was issued to you.

4 We have considered your appeal. In view of the infringement of the parking rules, we regret to inform you that we are unable to waive the above notices of parking offence.

5 To facilitate payment, we have extended the expiry of the notice to 12 October 2008. Please make arrangement to pay the composition amount stated in the Notice at any HDB Branch Office or at our Cash Office, the Atrium, on 3rd Storey, HDB Hub, West Wing, 480 Toa Payoh, Lorong 6, Singapore 310480.

Yours sincerely

[Name Deleted]

Huh?? So I have to leave the car door open while unloading stuff so that your guy will believe that I am offloading stuff from the car?

The reply reeked of careless nonchalance, and this prompted my second attempt at getting a waiver:

Dear [Name deleted]

As a resident of block [XYZ], I am not aware of the rule that loading and unloading have to be done on the spot, or that there was a grace period for loading and unloading activities. I hope that you can reconsider your decision and waive the fine. As my wife is in the television industry, I often have to help her to load/unload equipment while she brings our infant daughter up to our home, and I do not have the luxury of another person to help me with this task.

Secondly, the loading and unloading bay in question is not a busy one as there are no shops or tenants nearby. Also, I hope that HDB will take my feedback into consideration when designing new flats. If you look at the layout of the estate, the flats are lined up in a long row, and the multistorey carpark is situated at the two extreme ends, and it is very inconvenient for residents like myself who live right in the middle to move things to and fro the carpark, especially with heavy groceries and a baby in tow.

I have a valid season parking coupon, which I pay for promptly each month. Logically, there is no reason I would insist on parking my car at the loading/unloading bay and risk getting fined if it was convenient for me to do so, especially since your officers work tirelessly, even on weekends and public holidays to ensure that lawbreakers like myself are brought to justice, and Singapore is surely a safer place as a result of their vigilance. Perhaps if HDB had loaned some of your officers to ISD, Mas Selamat would still be in our custody.

Next, I would like to bring attention to your generous offer to extend the expiry of the notice for the parking offence following my first appeal on 14 October 2008.

Originally, I was to have settled the fine by 31 October 2008. I was appalled to note that you have generously changed the expiry date to 12 October 2008!

Whatever the settlement date that you had intended, I hope that HDB will reconsider my waiver appeal.

Yours sincerely

Terence Lee

Let’s see how this goes. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that they will waive the fine.