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Taken for a park and ride

A week ago the Telegraph reported that NHS staff faced losing their homes after a court ordered them to pay thousands in parking fines racked up at a Cardiff hospital:

A judge has ruled that the employees, including nurses, doctors and admin staff, must pay the charges dating back to April 2016 after losing a legal fight with Indigo, the private operator that manages the car park at the University Hospital of Wales.

One nurse reportedly owes £150,000 after the court ruled that £128 must be paid for each unpaid ticket, plus £26,000 in court fees.

You need to read the full report to get both sides of the story because it's easy – but incorrect, I think – to cast Indigo as the baddies.

Nevertheless last week's report coincided with my own stand off with the company. It's insignificant by comparison but bear with me while I get it off my chest.

Back in May I had to go away on business for a few days so I left my car in the car park at my local train station.

The car park is managed by Indigo but parking tickets can be purchased at the station ticket office.

I asked for a ticket to cover the period I was going to be away – Monday May 8 to Thursday May 11 inclusive.

The ticket office gave me two tickets, one for May 8 (half-day, £3.30), the other to cover a further three full days (£17.40).

I assumed the second ticket was for the period 9-11 May but the ticket office had made an error. Ticket number two began on May 8 and finished on May 10.

The two tickets therefore overlapped instead of covering the four consecutive days I had asked for.

I've been using that car park for almost 20 years and I've never had a problem before so it never crossed my mind to check.

Consequently when I returned on Thursday I found a penalty charge notice on my windscreen with a demand for £60 if paid within 14 days or more if I didn't.

So I appealed, explained what had happened, and sent photographs of my two tickets as evidence.

A month later I received an email from Indigo rejecting my appeal even though I had paid the full and correct fee for the time I was parked.

To add insult to injury the company's response to my appeal referred to my "motorcycle" and claimed I had parked within a "20-minute" bay. I don't have a motorcycle and my car was parked in a normal bay.

The email further informed me that "you have now reached the end of our internal appeals procedure" but added, "Should you remain dissatisfied with this decision, you may further your appeal to the Parking On Private Land Appeal service (POPLA)."

This I have done (albeit I may have missed the deadline by 48 hours) but I have no expectation of winning because no-one ever does, do they?

I know this is a trivial matter of no interest to anyone apart from me but what a shit world we live in where an honest mistake that has not hurt, inconvenienced or cost anyone anything (apart from the admin involved in rejecting my appeal) has led to a fine that is now in excess of £100 and could go higher if I choose to fight it further.


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Reader Comments (6)

And this is how privatisation of public functions denies accountability.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017 at 0:22 | Unregistered CommenterVinny Gracchus

You do know it's not a FINE don't you?
Indigo can't issue fines or penalties,
you need to have a look on the parking forums, you don't owe anything.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017 at 1:59 | Unregistered CommenterMikerb

Sorry, but unless I've misunderstood, the error was made by the person in the ticket office. How can you possibly 'lose' in such a scenario. Perhaps you could point out that you can sue them for falsely demanding monies with menace, or something. Surely you have contract law on your side!

Wednesday, July 26, 2017 at 4:59 | Unregistered CommenterMwaPW

In paying the correct fee, and being able to provide evidence, it's clear that there was no intention on your part to defraud the company: the company has made a mistake (and there's evidence that it seems to be prone to making mistakes when it thinks that you had a motorbike). Don't pay the'fine'. If the company can get away with demanding that customers pay for its mistakes, who knows if it's tempted to be careless?

Wednesday, July 26, 2017 at 8:26 | Unregistered CommenterJay

Stick to your guns but be wary of dodgy tactics. I am about to go to court with a different bunch of Parking company highwaymen who have gone as far as to create "evidence" retrospectively and submit it to the court for thier case.

Really there is no sewer low enough that these companies will not swim in.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017 at 17:57 | Unregistered CommenterJohn

Go to court, to win they have to prove loss, you paid they haven't lost anything!

Thursday, August 3, 2017 at 15:09 | Unregistered CommenterLfb

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