Look on the bright side - they didn't clamp your car! Maybe they would have done that if they thought you were disabled or had preschool children.
It seems to me that clamping is inherently contraditory, they're saying "Because you inconvenienced us a liitle bit by not moving your car when you should've, we're going to make you inconvenience us for even longer". But from what I read in the papers, I had the impression that Chch was just a sea of clamp-lugging carpark attendants, so you're probably lucky to get off with the $45.
My understanding is that this is an illegal practice anyway. Unless something has changed my understanding is that a fine can only be issued by a cop or council, and the council only have the authority to do so on public land. I may be wrong here, but, I think you've got a pretty good case for taking it to court.
In fact if you wish to push it a little, pop into your Citizens Advice place (or police) and ask them, if they confirm my thoughts then lodge a complaint with the Police. It's called extortion. Others may know better on here, and if someone can confirm that would be great.
Viewers have complained about the Infringement Notices they get for overstaying Pay and Display Parks at Wilson Parking. One viewer, who got a $50 ticket for staying 15 minutes too long, took Wilson's to the Disputes Tribunal and won. He argued that private businesses cannot "fine" customers, only charge them Liquidated Damages representing the actual losses the infringement caused the company.
The tribunal referee found that Wilson's were attempting to claim a penalty fee which they were not entitled to. The complainant didn't have to pay Wilson's any money.
Fair Go believes that the "liquidated damages" demanded by Wilsons, and the cost of $160 to get your car back if it were towed away after 15 minutes, are a rip-off by comparison to the fines issued by local councils.
However, Wilson Parking argues that their liquidated damages do represent actual losses to the firm. They say people who overstay their pay and display parks are breaching their contract with the carpark owner and that warnings are posted on signs in the carpark.
If you've already paid out on a pay and display ticket issued by Wilsons you, also, may wish to try to get your money back from the Disputes Tribunal.
The arguments put to the Tribunal by Dr Roderick Mulgan in his successful challenge are as follows:
"Liquidated Damages may only be claimed for the actual loss arising from a contractual breach, even where the amount is specified in a contract, or in this case, a sign. It is a basic legal principle that an injured party in a contract may only seek what they have lost: they may not make a profit from he situation.
"As the parking company had not lost $50 for my extra fifteen minutes of parking time, it seemed to me that their claim was invalid. The cost of the attendant was a fixed one, and had to be met whether I or anyone else parked in their park or not. The only identifiable loss was for the extra time in the parking space. (i.e. 75cents in a $3 per hour park)
"Wilson Parking refused to accept this argument, although they did not provide a rebuttal of it." "