A couple of weeks ago I parked my car in a car park and paid the £4.00 charge for a stay of 4 hours, as instructed on the parking signs. I returned to my car well within this time limit and went about my business.
A week later I received a 'Parking Charge to Owner' document from a company called ParkingEye, PO Box 565, Chorley, PR6 6HT. This notice stated that I had overstayed my time in the car park and could I please pay them £90.00, which they would kindly reduce to £60.00 if paid within 7 days.
Now, we can all be a bit absent minded at times but I was sure that I had paid the correct charge for my stay, so I immediately rummaged in my car to see if I could find my ticket, Success! There, amongst the sweet wrappers and assorted debris, was my ticket which would prove I was in the right.
However, when I checked the ticket it showed that I had paid £4.00, as I had thought, but apparently this only purchased 2 hours of parking and not the 4 hours I had expected. So, still being convinced that the charge in this car park was £4.00 for 4 hours parking, I hit the internet to see if I could find the parking tariff for the car park. Success! I was proved right, there in black & white was - £4.00 fee buys 4 hours parking. But hold on, how come the machine was only giving 2 hours parking? Is this a bit of a scam? Are ParkingEye ripping people off?
Well, obviously the next thing I did was write to ParkingEye refuting their charge and I await their response. I also decided to Google the term 'ParkingEye complaints' and, lo and behold, 10,500,000 results came up! There were complaints galore, with forums set up just to discuss the dirty deeds of ParkingEye and even an appearance on BBC Wtachdog!
I immediately emailed Trading Standards to inform them of the situation.
So, beware ParkingEye, PO Box 565, Chorley, PR6 6HT are out to rip you off!
Take my advice:
1. Always check your parking ticket to make sure the machine has printed the correct number of hours purchased.
2. Never park in a car park controlled by ParkingEye PO Box 565, Chorley, PR6 6HT. They operate across the country.
I will keep you posted if there are any further developments.