A Sydney mother was allegedly threatened with legal action twice by a private parking company over a $173 fine notice that was never received for an infringement that did not occur, a court has heard.
And when the young woman rang up to reason with the owners of the company she was allegedly told "nothing will come of it ... you have to pay".
I remember it, because it was my baby's birthday.
The woman, Sibel Kaan, is giving evidence against Australian National Carparks, a company that manages car parks for stores such as Woolworths and Aldi and, until recently, McDonald's, in locations from Cabramatta to Nelson Bay.
The company is facing two counts of "undue harassment over threats of legal action regarding unpaid parking fines" in Parramatta local court. It has pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Ms Kaan is said to be among a number of drivers who received multiple legal threats from ANC or its solicitors over spurious parking fines.
The Department of Fair Trade, which is prosecuting the company, has been flooded with thousands of letters from angry drivers claiming they have been harassed or ripped off.
After receiving the first legal letter nearly a year after her alleged parking infringement at Fairfield Aldi, Ms Kaan wrote back to say she believed she had only stayed in the facility for about half an hour, because she had her baby with her.
"I remember it, because it was my baby's birthday," Ms Kaan said.
She said she tried to explain this to ANC in a letter but received another threatening letter in reply.
"I was very upset that I got a second notice so soon after, demanding money from me that was excessive, and in my opinion not right."
She rang the company and spoke to person who had written the second letter, ANC employee Hamish Smith, but says she was given short shrift.
"I said ... if I was at this shopping centre, it was only for half an hour, can I negotiate to pay the daily rate? But he said, 'no, you have to pay $173'.
"I said, 'is there anyone I can send a letter to?'
"He said: 'Nothing will come of it, but you can sent it to me if you want. You'll have to pay $173.'
"I was very shaken and very nervous, very upset. I had every intention of coming to an agreement that was reasonable. He had no intention of listening to me. He was pushy and intimidating."
The hearing continues.