App to be ‘clearer’

FREMANTLE’S parking app provider PayStay has committed to making its registration process “clearer” after more complaints from users about unexpected costs.

Following the Herald’s story about a “hidden” 29-cent fee for reminders last week (“Hidden fee anger,” March 23, 2019), other users have complained about the lack of transparency in PayStay’s pre-pay system.

It automatically takes $10 out of users’ bank accounts when they sign up, but that’s only revealed in the company’s 11-page terms and conditions.

When Vasco Pimentel parked on Marine Terrace for $3.50 using PayStay, he was surprised to see his $10 disappear from his bank account.

“They should be clearer about these charges and not withdraw money without prior approval,” Mr Pimental said.

Mr Pimentel said he was also angry when he got a 29-cent reminder fee as he hadn’t read the terms and conditions when signing up. The app’s default setting when registering is to send reminders.

PayStay told the Herald it was not the company’s intention to be deceptive and it hadn’t received any complaints from Fremantle users.

Feedback

“PayStay values the feedback from our users, we actively review and respond to the feedback of our user base and incorporate feedback into future development of the app,” an anonymised response from “Paystay Customer Service” said in response to our questions.

“We understand how you may interpret the registration process you have experienced as unclear and we will take steps to make this clearer.”

PayStay launched in Australia five years ago. It now has 630,000 users and is the first app to combine real-time parking availability and payment.

Lanie Chopping, director of retail and services at Consumer Protection, said traders should be up-front about fees and charges.

“Where most people would reasonably assume that there would be no charge and there is one, then it may be that the onus would be more on the trader to make the charge even more explicit,” Ms Chopping told the Herald.

Prior to switching to the PayStay app, council used the operator CellOPark which had a pay-as-you-go system, but the city said it only accounted for 3 per cent of parking transactions in Fremantle.

by AMY EWERS

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