Wollongong's parking meters have upset many since their introduction but yesterday delivered an early Christmas present - a day of free parking.
A fault caused them to record the wrong time and fail to dispense a ticket, so Wollongong City Council declared a ticket-free day in metered parking zones.
Customers and shop owners in lower Crown Street were pleased with the result.
"I don't think anyone will be complaining," Sugar Cube customer Christian Strazzeri said.
"It took a dollar from me but it's just one dollar. I think everyone will be pretty happy."
Time limits still applied to city parking.
University students Jordan Hartley and Jessica Moore were impressed with the free parking.
"We didn't really understand what was wrong," Ms Hartley said. "We tried to pay but it wouldn't accept the money. We'd come down here more often if there were more free parking days."
Local shop owner Andrea Gregoriou tried several meters in an attempt to pay for a parking ticket.
"They didn't say anything about it being free," she said. "They should have had signs on them or something."
Council's rangers were still issuing fines for people who overstayed the parking restrictions.
The system glitch also affected other local government areas that use the same Sydney-based company which provides software for the parking meters.