May 5, 2015 11:57 am
Updated: May 5, 2015 11:58 am

Hamilton man’s truck burned in a fire at Toronto Park ‘N Fly

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WATCH: A Hamilton man who used the Park ‘N Fly valet lot in Toronto says his truck was burned in a fire while he was away on business. This follows several other consumer reports of problems at the service. Sean O’Shea reports.

HAMILTON – Frederick Sparks says he was one of Park ‘N Fly’s most loyal customers until two recent experiences. Once, Sparks says he returned to find expensive Euro-style tail lights missing; but when he was away on a business trip in March, he got a phone call that left him awestruck.

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“My truck burned up? What do mean my truck burned up!” Sparks remembers thinking as he played the message.

A Park ‘N Fly representative explained that his truck needed to be boosted and that it caught fire a couple of minutes later. She said, “We’re sorry — it’s inconvenient for you and us.” Sparks was a dumbfounded: how could a vehicle catch fire on a parking lot?, he wondered. Sparks says he had installed a new battery two months earlier.

Sparks arranged for a tow truck to retrieve the vehicle which was later written off by his insurance company. He also arranged for his own return transportation to Hamilton. More than six weeks after the incident, Sparks says no one from the company has contacted him or offered to pay any additional compensation.

“It’s not fair, it does make me angry,” said Sparks, who has since replaced the truck. However, he says he is still out-of-pocket about $10,000 as a result of the incident because his insurance policy didn’t take into account the full value of the burned truck which included modifications.

“If you can establish the car was blown up by someone who didn’t know what they were doing you can probably go after Park ‘N Fly,” said John Schuman, a partner with Devry Smith Frank LLP, a Toronto law firm.

Schuman says companies that offer valet service are held to a higher standard than a regular parking lot.

“A valet has more responsibility. He is getting paid for driving (your car). When you pull into a parking lot, all you are doing is renting a space,” Schuman said.

Park ‘N Fly refused to discuss Sparks’ case. General Manager Brent Ford denied an interview request, although he had earlier addressed complaints from other consumers who say their vehicles were damaged or had extra kilometres while in Park ‘N Fly’s care.

Ford told Global News it wasn’t possible for a vehicle to have extra kilometres on it while in the company’s care.

Sparks is frustrated because he hasn’t been contacted by Park ‘N Fly since his return.

Once burned, twice disappointed — Sparks says he will never park at Park ‘N Fly again. His advice to other consumers: “Don’t do it.”

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