To the editor:
On Saturday, April 10, I drove to Salem to go to the Peabody Essex Museum.
I parked at the Church Street long-term parking lot. I then went to the machine to pay for my parking.
After spending about five minutes trying to make the machine work, I pushed cancel in order to retrieve my $10. I got a refund ticket, but no money. Nowhere on the ticket does it say how to get a refund, plus there is no telephone number.
I then went to the visitor center to find out what I should do. The man next to me also had a refund ticket for $10.
The National Park Service ranger said she had taken four calls from people who all had the same problem. She was nice enough to find the parking authority's phone number.
On Monday, I spoke to James Hacker, the parking authority head, who asked how long I had parked there. I said three hours, so he said he'd refund $5.50. I indicated that for all the trouble I had to go through, he should forget about charging me $4.50 for parking. He refused to do so. He said I should mail the ticket to him to get the refund.
While his approach may be technically correct, I still feel that because of all the hassle I had to go through, he should have just ignored the parking fee and refunded me the full $10.
Prior to going to that lot, I drove up to the parking garage, but decided I didn't want to pay to park, so I looked to park elsewhere. Unfortunately, the only choice I found was the long-term lot. What was more disappointing, the park ranger said parking in the garage was free on Saturday. However, there was no sign indicating this was so, only a sign for the parking fees.
I guess it goes without saying I wasn't pleased with my trip to Salem.