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Shoppers complain of high parking fees at Al Wahda Mall

ABU DHABI // Shoppers have complained of high parking fees at Al Wahda Mall as customers shop during Ramadan and ahead of Eid.

One shopper, Sanober Shah, said she was “shocked” to have to pay Dh100 after spending seven hours at the mall, where she has shopped for years.

“As far as I knew, the first three hours of your cark parked there are free, then you pay Dh10 for each hour afterward,” she said.

She expected to pay about Dh40 after shopping for Eid Al Fitr, having iftar and taking her kids to the play area, but ended up paying Dh100.

“I thought it was ridiculous. Considering how we didn’t just idle away our time there and actually did a lot of shopping, this felt like a rip-off. We must have spent more than Dh2,000 on that day in the mall,” said Ms Shah, 26, from India.

“You would think that customers who bring business would be handled better. This felt like you were penalised for shopping there.”

M A, who asked that his name not be used, said he paid more for parking fees than he did for his purchases while shopping this week.

“In countries like UAE, malls are not just meant for shopping. It is a complete package for a family to do lots of activities.

“But if the mall is charging you more than your shopping spending, then there is something terribly wrong with the management approach,” the 45-year-old Jordanian said.

From 11am to 1am, parking at the mall is free for shoppers for the first three hours. Afterwards, the fourth hour is Dh10, the fifth Dh20, the sixth Dh30, the seventh Dh50 and the eighth is Dh100.

Shoppers are charged Dh150 for parking more than eight hours.

Nanda Kumar V, spokesman for the mall management and head of corporate communications at LuLu Group International, said that the system had been in place since January last year.

“Al Wahda Mall has one of the most beneficial and cost-effective ways of parking systems anywhere in the country. We allow three hours of free parking to everyone, regardless [of whether] they shop in the mall or not,” he said.

Cinema goers and LuLu customers take the most time at the mall, he said. Both have parking validation available for visitors who exceed the free time.

“We are assuming that many people residing or working near the mall were using our mall free parking instead of paying the Mawaqif charges,” he said.

“Through our parking fee structure, we definitely want to discourage them, because it deprives genuine shoppers [of the use of] the mall parking area.”

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(via The National)