WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - In November, cruise ship passengers returned to the Port of Miami to find their keys missing. It caused a headache then, and it's still a problem for one of those passengers now.
“It was a birthday present for me,” said Scott Wierzbinski of his cruise to celebrate his 50th birthday.
All the fun memories were a distant memory when he returned to land and saw the parking situation with his car.
“It looked like it was a free for all,” stated Wierzbinski.
Wierzbinski said it took eight hours to unravel the chaos he found at Premier Parking Ventures, the spot where he left his car in Miami.
“There was quite an extensive amount of keys that were missing,” said Wierzbinski.
Wierzbinski paid a locksmith to make a duplicate key. He thought the adventure was over until months later, a parking ticket arrived by mail, unlocking another problem with Premier Parking.
“While this ticket occurred, I was on a cruise ship in the Atlantic Ocean,” said Wierzbinski.
A ticket for parking on a street, not in the lot where he left his car. With the costs adding up, Wierzbinski asked Premier to pay up. When that didn't happen, Wierzbinski called the Consumer Watchdog.
“Their disregard for professionalism, business, and courtesy it just can't be described,” said Wierzbinski.
He's not the only customer describing chaos to the Consumer Watchdog.
“It's been a nightmare,” said Fred DeLoreto.
DeLoreto parked his car at Premier's Fort Lauderdale lot, but when he arrived for his cruise, there weren't enough spots in the lot.
“We had to leave our keys in our car parked on the street,” said DeLoreto.
And he says he had to dig through a pile of keys to find the ones that matched his car when he returned from his cruise.
“People should know the way they treat their customers; the way they treat automobiles,” said DeLoreto.
The Consumer Watchdog went to Tampa to get answers, but surprisingly found an empty office. We also went to downtown Tampa to corporate headquarters, which emptied into a lawyer's office, but nobody there wanted to answer questions either.
While our original phone calls were not returned, soon after our visit, the Director of Operations called to clear up the problem, offering refunds for both customers. However, DeLoreto said he hasn't received one.
The company blamed a former employee for the lost keys mix up in Miami and a busy travel season for the lack of parking spaces in Fort Lauderdale.
Many customers said they chose Premier because of their low rates, but you can't always choose a product based on the price. Make sure you read the reviews too.
Premier Parking Ventures issued the following statement:
"I appreciate you taking the time to speak with me the other day and go over the issues that where pending. I contacted both customers and I'm in the process of resolving both issues. Premier Parking services over 3000 guest a week across the country and cares about each customers parking experience . In the case of the Parking ticket the customer spoke with two managers that are no longer with us and gave up after that. The customer and myself never where able to speak until yesterday. I will be compensating them for the ticket, locksmith, and lost keys. They sent me three receipts and all three will be covered. Premier Parking never lets a issue go unresolved and if we find out it has. Premier Parking corrects the situation immediately. The customer out of Ft. Lauderdale was staying with us at our previous location and two out of the three reservations ended up parking with us. The reservation that did not park with us will be refunded based on Premier Parking refund policy. I asked the customer if there keys where missing or if their car had any damage from the two reservations that parked with us. The guest replied no everything was fine in that regards. They where upset about the wait and I apologized for that. They where cruising at one of the busiest times of the year and we try to accommodate all customers as quick as we can. There are times it takes over an hour to get in and out of the port but I never see a story on that. Premier Parking offers affordable parking for guest that can't afford to pay the Ports rates. Premier Parking strives to give 100% customer satisfaction every time. When both issues are completely resolved I will send you an email letting you. If you ever need anything in the future you have my number don't hesitate to call."
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