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Old 8th January 2012, 08:35   #1
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Default Lifestyle - Austin Town Valet Parking woes. Be careful

Yesterday we happened to visit the Lifestyle store in Austin Town, Bangalore. We usually go there regularly as past experiences have been good. Looking at the scarcity of parking space i was always weary that something might go wrong someday with their Valet parking service, and it did, yesterday. Here is the complete chronology of events. Readers are advised to be cautious.

When i arrived gave my car for valet parking the attendant wrote MGP (meaning MG Road Parking), felt little uncomfortable but let it pass and gave the keys to the guy. Once we were done with shopping, i came down and saw many car owners fighting with the attendants regarding their car taking ~1hr to get delivered.

Gave my slip to the guy and kept waiting. After about 45mins pushed the guy some more regarding the car, he said its coming from MG Road parking.

Another 5 mins and the car arrives, took a round of the car, did not see any dent or anything a miss hence sat inside, thats when i felt something fishy. All the blinkers were blinking, not sure what was wrong i turned the ignition off and tried turning on again. The car refused to start.

Thats when i realized that the car was alarming about not being unlocked properly, reached out for the remote to unlock the car the LED on the remote would not glow. Opened the remote and to my horror the remote battery was missing.

Got out of the car and had a good 30mins of shouting, yelling, scolding with the guys to get the battery of the car so as it can be unlocked and started again. No one seemed to bother. Saw a Lifestyle executive standing there and escalated it to him. He pushed the parking attendants (or the outsourced folks who park the car) and finally after 15 more agonizing minutes i got the battery. Inserted it into the remote and unlocked the car and was happy to get it started, and head off home.

Once in my parking lot, while locking i saw something more amiss, the beeps that inform that the car is locked was missing. Tried unlocking and locking again and no Beeps.

Seems like the attendants have disconnected the alarm, need to go to show it to someone, also when the car had stopped and all lights were flashing, i feel it was alarming (with sound) but as the alarm sound was disconnected it was only showing flashing lights.

There were others in the group who were unable to locate their cars, or some were unable to locate the keys.

Readers are advised to be careful. Thanks
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Old 8th January 2012, 09:29   #2
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Default Re: Lifestyle - Austin Town Valet Parking woes. Be careful

Bad news for Shoppers and consumers indeed.

I hate giving my vehicle to any of these parking creatures.

Hence it is preferable to get up early and go to the shops as soon as they open - say 1030-11am, complete your shopping and get out quick!

Else park in a proper safe place yourself and commute by auto to the shop / destination of choice.

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Originally Posted by mayankjha1806 View Post
Yesterday we happened to visit the Lifestyle store in Austin Town, Bangalore. We usually go there regularly as past experiences have been good. Looking at the scarcity of parking space i was always weary that something might go wrong someday with their Valet parking service, and it did, yesterday. Here is the complete chronology of events. Readers are advised to be cautious.

Readers are advised to be careful. Thanks
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Old 8th January 2012, 09:49   #3
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Default Re: Lifestyle - Austin Town Valet Parking woes. Be careful

This is shocking to say the least. You should have lodged a complaint with the higher ups. Also, should have lodged a police complaints.

I never trust these Valet drivers. I usually drive myself. Else, best, if I shop,I go on my bike or take a public transport. Basically, I never take my car to a place where I might have to hand over the keys to someone else.
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Old 8th January 2012, 10:38   #4
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Default Re: Lifestyle - Austin Town Valet Parking woes. Be careful

I usually avoid this place on weekends as this problem is more severe on weekends, but sometimes you have to bow to the wishes of LOTH (a term coined elsewhere).

With this experience even she is no longer interested in going there anymore. A blessing in disguise i guess.

As long as the parking is done either in the basement or the school next door its fine. When the rush is too much they have outsourced and got some parking space on MG Road as well, this is a real big problem.

Apart from this the parking attendants were utter disgrace, with no accountability. At first the guy who took the car refused that there was a battery in the unit, and then refused to accept that he even took the car. Finally things were sort of getting sorted when the executive from lifestyle intervened.

Anyone team BHPian was there yesterday night and had similar or different problems?
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Old 8th January 2012, 10:56   #5
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Default Re: Lifestyle - Austin Town Valet Parking woes. Be careful

You may look cheap if you don't give for valet but even when I go to a 5 star hotel I do not give my cars for valet. People may give their BMW and mercs and valet guys are wondering why a Figo or Altis driver is so bothered but at the end of the day they are my cars and the valet guy gives you a slip that says parking at owners responsibility and the establishment is not responsible for any theft or damage. That's enough reason for me to go and park myself.

If they insist on valet ask them where they usually park and go park their on your own.

Lifestyle is always crowded. If I don't get the basement parking I park further down or on MG road area and walk back.
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Old 8th January 2012, 11:15   #6
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Default Re: Lifestyle - Austin Town Valet Parking woes. Be careful

New twist to old behavior. After clutch burnings & miscellaneous stories, this one now !
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Originally Posted by Vid6639 View Post
You may look cheap if you don't give for valet but even when I go to a 5 star hotel I do not give my cars for valet.
+1. I have refused to hand over the Sumo to the parking attendants in Oberoi, but instead went & parked at my cousin's office near by. Peace of mind is far more valuable than what other people think.
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Old 8th January 2012, 11:26   #7
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Default Re: Lifestyle - Austin Town Valet Parking woes. Be careful

Went to the basement to check, after opening the bonnet took few minutes to locate the alarm. Clearly visible was someone had manually disconnected the wire (It has a male/female latch to connect wire). Reconnected it back and whoa the alarm was back.

Now i am also going to follow the same rule as Vidyut suggested, no valet parking for me.

Question, what do guys do at restaurants like Little Itly (or Italia) which takes keys and parks the car? If i refuse to give them the keys i will have to park my car on the road? Although i have seen the drivers are decent but you never know.

Last edited by mayankjha1806 : 8th January 2012 at 11:28.
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Old 8th January 2012, 11:50   #8
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Default Re: Lifestyle - Austin Town Valet Parking woes. Be careful

Quote:
Originally Posted by mayankjha1806 View Post
Went to the basement to check, after opening the bonnet took few minutes to locate the alarm. Clearly visible was someone had manually disconnected the wire (It has a male/female latch to connect wire). Reconnected it back and whoa the alarm was back.

Now i am also going to follow the same rule as Vidyut suggested, no valet parking for me.

Question, what do guys do at restaurants like Little Itly (or Italia) which takes keys and parks the car? If i refuse to give them the keys i will have to park my car on the road? Although i have seen the drivers are decent but you never know.
Before you leave, decide on a place to park. Even if you have to walk for 10mins you get peace of mind.

Around little Italy in Indiranagar there are a few lanes you can park at. Just look for a good spot where your car is safe and walk back.
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Old 8th January 2012, 11:51   #9
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Default Re: Lifestyle - Austin Town Valet Parking woes. Be careful

Mayank, a few years ago my friend's Elantra came back from valet parking with a big fat dent on one side. The attendant denied all responsibility and they tried to pull that "it's at your risk" nonsense. My friend escalated to the store manager who apologised and took responsibility for the incident. He suggested that my friend claim insurance and they would pay the balance. My friend was quite happy with this arrangement and the store manager was true to his word.

I'd say she was lucky, because in general the understanding is very clear- valet parking is at owner's risk. I generally avoid such places altogether or only go to trusted places where I know the valets somewhat.
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Old 8th January 2012, 12:12   #10
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Default Re: Lifestyle - Austin Town Valet Parking woes. Be careful

Why take a risk by giving your car to some unknown person and suffer for wrong done.I never under any circumstance give my car to any stranger for parking. I personally search for a safe place and most of the time i will be aware of the parking lot and i always park myself and walk for considerable distance.
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Old 8th January 2012, 13:02   #11
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Default Re: Lifestyle - Austin Town Valet Parking woes. Be careful

I find it really silly on the part of the authorites to permit commercial building to operate without sufficient parking space. Lifestyle, Sapphires on the same road, BigBazaar on OMR, just to a name a few, these are all new complexes say a few years old. They may have space for parking but I bet half of it is taken up by the regulars/shop owners and rest is used as a godown (check big baazar on OMR).
When ever I visit these places, I try to park the car myself or plan in such a way that I park somewhere close by say Garuda mall and walk down to Lifestyle.
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Old 8th January 2012, 14:28   #12
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Default Re: Lifestyle - Austin Town Valet Parking woes. Be careful

Is it possible to start the car when its not been unlocked properly?

When he got the car it was running, only when i turned off the ignition and tried turning on again i noticed the blinkers being on and engine refusing to crank (i guess immobilizer at work here), but how did he started the car?

Following could have happened
  1. Car attendent takes the car to park, parks it in the MG road parking place, locks the car, and drops the keys on road accidentally.
  2. Keys and Nippon hit the road, Nippon opens up and the battery pops out. Attendant does not notice it.
  3. When he gets a call to get the car back, he tries to open the car with Nippon buttons, as there is no battery the car does not open.
  4. He then tries the brute force method. Opens the door with the keys, Car starts shouting.
  5. Opens the bonnet and disconnects the alarm.
  6. Tries starting the engine, the engine refuses to crank
  7. How can he start the car now to get to me?

Will pushing the car and trying to start work?
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Old 8th January 2012, 14:35   #13
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Default Re: Lifestyle - Austin Town Valet Parking woes. Be careful

Quote:
Originally Posted by mayankjha1806 View Post
Is it possible to start the car when its not been unlocked properly?[*]How can he start the car now to get to me?[/list]Will pushing the car and trying to start work?
Am assuming you car was fitted with a normal auto cop or xenos alarm system and not an engine immobilizer.

That auto cop system doesnt do anything with starting the engine, it just starts the indicators and alarms when some one tries to force open any door using screw driver or duplicate key so that people are alerted unlike engine immobilizer in which if you dont insert the proper key the engine just wont start, you push start or do anything.

These alarm systems are too easy to disarm, just cut some wires and you are good to go.

Engine immobilizer works with the key and doesnt depend on the battery of your remote so the alarm can go on but if you have the right key the car would start, what am amazed is that why couldnt you start the car when the driver could.

Which car do you have?

EDIT : Just checked its a Civic, woah, how did the valet get it started and is the key in Civic with a built in transmitter or like Fiat which has a foldable key fob?

Last edited by coolboy007 : 8th January 2012 at 14:46.
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Old 8th January 2012, 16:18   #14
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Default Re: Lifestyle - Austin Town Valet Parking woes. Be careful

Quote:
Originally Posted by Vid6639 View Post
You may look cheap if you don't give for valet but even when I go to a 5 star hotel I do not give my cars for valet. People may give their BMW and mercs and valet guys are wondering why a Figo or Altis driver is so bothered but at the end of the day they are my cars and the valet guy gives you a slip that says parking at owners responsibility and the establishment is not responsible for any theft or damage. That's enough reason for me to go and park myself.

If they insist on valet ask them where they usually park and go park their on your own.

Lifestyle is always crowded. If I don't get the basement parking I park further down or on MG road area and walk back.

So true , Cant see my cars in anyone else's hands. I never bother what they valets think as I have seen the Valets parking at Shipra mall. I could hear the full lock slam of the steering outside of the car.
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Old 8th January 2012, 16:25   #15
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Default Re: Lifestyle - Austin Town Valet Parking woes. Be careful

Quote:
Originally Posted by Vid6639 View Post
You may look cheap if you don't give for valet but even when I go to a 5 star hotel I do not give my cars for valet.
+1. I never give my car keys to a valet - atleast 95% of the time. Exceptions are when there's some contingency. Even in the few times I actually did fall to temptation, valet guys have twice dented/scratched my car. Once at (then) kemp Fort, and at Total ORR (towards OMR) :-(

Park yourself, and walk back!
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