A furious pensioner claims she is being ‘blackmailed’ into paying a £170 parking fine, despite putting £1 in a machine while on a shopping trip to Iceland. Mary Jones, 72, and her husband Mike’s desperation showed when they went shopping at the Barnstaple branch.
They parked in a parking lot they thought belonged to Iceland, but was run by Excel Parking.
Explaining the circumstances surrounding the January 18 trip, Mary said: “My husband stayed in the car as he cannot walk at the moment. I went to the machine to take out a note, put the money in and no note or my pound came out.
“I went to tell her to keep an eye out in case the chappie arrives. I had a note in Iceland to explain what had happened, and that I didn’t have a ticket. The lady double checked and confirmed that it should be fine.”
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She said after shopping she got back to the car after 40 minutes and drove back to her home in Chulmleigh. “I didn’t want to stay long because we don’t hang around with frozen food,” she said.
Having given up on her trip, she was shocked when on February 2 she received a letter from Excel Parking, addressed to her husband, with a £100 fine. “I wasn’t impressed that I thought everything was settled,” she said.
“I contacted them on the phone and explained to them what had happened. All I got in response was that they told me it was not Iceland’s place to say I could park there. I also explained that if they checked the money that entered the machine, it wouldn’t match mine by at least a pound. The proof was there if they managed their accounts correctly.
Ms Jones appealed the decision, but the request was rejected. In its response, Excel Parking wrote: “We cannot accept your appeal. Signs in the car park make it clear that a valid ticket must be purchased for all vehicles parking or entering the park, making it clear that the land is private property and a charge of £100 will be levied if vehicles overrun park outside the park. terms and conditions posted.
“The signs also state that when a ticket is purchased, the full and correct registration number of the parked vehicle must be entered into the P&D ticket machine. The vehicle detailed above was parked without payment of the on-site vehicle parking fee and you became liable for the advertised charge.
He adds: “We note your comment that you were unable to buy a ticket because the machine was not working. In these circumstances, if you should have looked for alternative parking or called the helpline. By failing to pay for the parking period in question, you become liable for the charge notice issued.
“Signs on site clearly display a helpline telephone number which is available to motorists who have any problems or questions regarding their use of the car park. In this case, the driver should have called that helpline so that arrangements can be made or advice given regarding any problems encountered.
“We take note of your comments that you have been offered advice on how to park. Icelandic staff on site are not permitted to park motorists in contravention of the terms and conditions posted in the car park It is the sole responsibility of the motorist to ensure they park properly.If you could not park properly, you had the option of phoning the helpline for advice or to find another car park.
Devon Live has contacted Iceland and Excel Parking for comment, but has not yet received a response.
Ms Jones said the response left her “very annoyed”. “I just can’t honestly believe this,” she added. “They were told what had happened, that I wasn’t trying to scam them out of a pound, and now I’ve been told to pay £170 with now the threat that if it’s not paid, the ushers arrive.
“I’m just furious. Mike is more concerned about them threatening the bailiffs. They threaten county legal proceedings, potential impacts of having a CCJ, negative impact on your credit rating and current employment, although we are retired anyway so it doesn’t matter .
“They say this will allow enforcement actions to begin such as obtaining a garnishment on income, placing a charge or restriction on property and applying for a warrant. of execution which will result in bailiffs. Where are you going? Am I ignoring it? I’m more worried about my husband because he’s not fit for this stress right now. I don’t want to pay it; I don’t think that’s fair. It’s blackmail.
“This letter is really stupid. The pound came in, they have the pound which I couldn’t claim, which I could have done if I had a ticket anyway. I thought at the time that I had better things to do than just lose a pound in the machine and after talking to the staff at Iceland they said I was fine. Someone is at fault, isn’t it? »
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