12-15-2007, 10:37 AM #1
Norway parking sticker shock: $148,000
OSLO, Norway - When it comes to wiping out a bank account, forget holiday shopping. Just parking their cars cost some Norwegians between $37,000 and $148,000.
At least 26 motorists were left baffled and broke when they used their bank debit cards to pay for street parking in municipal spots in the central Norwegian city of Trondheim last week.
Because of a computer glitch, the machine dispensing windshield parking permits multiplied the amount of time they bought by 10,000, and automatically deducted it from their bank accounts, the city-owned parking company said Friday.
Motorists who parked were charged between $37,000 and $148,000, parking official Steinar Myhr said on state radio network NRK.
For many, the withdrawal of the vast sums on Wednesday left their bank accounts spectacularly overdrawn, and their debit cards frozen in the middle of an already hectic Christmas shopping.
"This is a very stressful situation in the middle of the Christmas rush," one of the unlucky motorists, Marthe Stork, was quoted as saying by the newspaper Adresseavisen.
She said she tried to buy some groceries Thursday, but her bank card was rejected because the account was overdrawn.
"I can understand that it caused problems," Myhr said. "I'm sure some saw the humor in it."
He said banks were racing to correct the erroneous transaction, and the parking company said it wanted to compensate the motorists.
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