Earlier this year I parked my car at a local mall that offers free parking.
But I was fined £100 by the operator, Premier Park. The reason given was that I had occupied more than one marked bay.
That’s true – but I had no other choice. I had parked my car between two already parked cars and to allow everyone to get in and out I parked an equal distance between them which got me over the marked line.
Parkpalaver: Our reader has attempted to appeal his £100 PCN from Premier Park as he thinks it is unfair but have so far been unsuccessful (stock image)
If I hadn’t done that, I would not only have blocked the other drivers, I would have risked damaging my own car and theirs.
I was just being reasonable and don’t know why I should be penalized for others’ bad parking.
I contacted the independent complaints body, Popla, but they rejected my complaint on the grounds that I had broken the parking rules. Is there anything else I can do? IW, Nottinghamshire
Helen Crane of This is Money responds: These private parking companies routinely drive drivers to the wall and at This is Money we hear a lot of horror stories.
From payment machines that don’t work to opaque “rules” about where, when and how long you can park, it’s easy for motorists to get caught and land a dreaded PCN on their doorstep — despite thinking they will they did the right thing.
A change appeared to be on the cards this year as the government drafted new official guidelines on the code of practice for private parking.
CRANE ON THE CASE
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These aimed to halve private parking fees from £100 to £50 and give drivers more powers to challenge unfair tickets.
However, the guidelines have been temporarily withdrawn by ministers in June and are now up for review after park companies took legal action to challenge the proposal.
This is Money’s deputy editor, Lee Boyce recently wrote about his run-in with a private parking companywho sent him a £100 fine even though he had paid for a ticket.
He managed to get the charges overturned, but not before a frustrating administrative back-and-forth.
His tips are to always contest a fine if you weren’t wrong, never tell the company who was driving, and put your case together as best you can.
Lee also urged drivers whose appeals were denied to persevere, as park company tactics appear to be to deny an initial appeal on how reasonable or correct you are.
You approached me after Popla rejected your appeal, not knowing what course to take next.
I agreed that the charge seemed unfair in this case – after all, you were just trying to park safely and without interfering with other drivers, even though that’s also against the terms stated on signs.
I have contacted Premier Park to get your point across. After a couple of weeks they told me they had turned around and offered a £80 reduction in the fee which means £20.
Private parking companies are notoriously inflexible, as I’m sure many motorists will attest, so I’m counting that as a win. Premier Park did not respond to my request for comment.
You still have the option to take the company to court and contest the outstanding amount.
But the hassle of proceeding with the claim – which has already taken a lot of time – would probably outweigh the £20 gain and I suspect they know it.
In my opinion, this compromise means the end of the road. You unintentionally broke the rules, and it serves as a parking reminder to other motorists – don’t do the same just because others have done it.
Bathroom mistake: Kate’s soft-close toilet seat stopped working, but Royal Bathrooms replaced it quickly and free of charge
Hit and Miss: This week’s naughty and nice list
Each week I look at the companies that have fallen short on customer service and those that have gone above and beyond.
blow: Reader Kate told me she felt flushed after receiving a free replacement toilet seat Royal bathrooms.
She bought a vanity from them earlier this year, including a soft close toilet seat, which recently stopped working as intended, leading to some mishaps in the bathroom.
When she contacted Royal Bathrooms, she expected to be simply told to buy a new one.
But they asked them to send a video of the toilet seat in action and within two days a new seat arrived by courier free of charge.
It’s nice to hear from a company that acts with a little bit of compassion and I’m glad you found their service beyond paltry.
Camer-gloomy: Our reader saw that her trip to Yaoundé was canceled when the flight was canceled
fail: More stories of travel chaos this week as reader H. from Manchester wrote to me that she is still awaiting a refund on a flight that should have taken place in February.
That was well before that summer of vacation hell began, which doesn’t bode well for those trying to get their money back on more recent trips.
She said: “I have planned a holiday to Cameroon for February 2022 and booked a return trip from Manchester to Yaounde on British Airways via Lastminute.com and paid £822.67.
“The first leg of the journey was a flight from Manchester to London. When I got to the airport it was delayed for hours before finally being cancelled.
“I am disabled and was stranded at the airport without assistance. I had to walk around the airport trying to find my luggage so I could go home.
“Then I had to ask a friend to pick me up in a rented van and pay for the parking. The cancellation also made the transportation I originally booked to take me to and from the airport a total waste of money. In addition to airfare, that was around £400.
“After all the hassle and expense I just wanted my money back so I could plan another trip. I’ve been calling Lastminute for four months and keep getting told I’ll get the money “in a few days” but it never arrives.
“I think the refund should be for the entire round trip as the first leg of the trip was cancelled.”
Lastminute.com initially said there would be no refund until it was paid back by BA
I contacted Lastminute.com to ask why the refund was taking so long.
She apologized for the delay and informed me: “When purchasing a stand-alone airline ticket, we act as an intermediary and the consumer’s contract for an airline ticket is directly between the customer and the airline.
“Unfortunately, this means that we are obliged to comply with the rules and timetables set by the airline.
“It is also important to note that as the changes and subsequent cancellation were last minute, we did not have advance notice of this so that we are able to proactively reach out to the customer.
“Our teams have investigated this case and we can confirm that we have not yet received the funds from the airline.”
However, as a goodwill gesture, it agreed to “anticipate” the refund and immediately refunded you the full round-trip fare. That wasn’t so difficult, was it?
With delays and cancellations disrupting travel plans this summer, vacationers should note that booking through a travel agent is likely to take longer to process their refunds.
This is because they usually insist on getting back the money they paid the airline before passing it on to the customer.
Travel torment: Vacationers will be plagued by flight cancellations this summer
This is an excuse I hear regularly from agents, and while I understand they can’t pay everyone back out of pocket, this clearly needs to change.
Either airlines and agents find a way to refund customers in a timely manner, or agents need to make it clear to customers at the time of booking that refunds will take longer to obtain.
Also, judging from the emails I’ve received, the airlines aren’t particularly good at refunding customers who book direct with them.
Often booking a package holiday instead of individual flights offers better protection if something goes wrong as they are usually ATOL protected.
But for those booking standalone flights and hotels, cutting out the middleman and going straight to the airline for the flights could make the refund process a little less painful if something goes wrong.
I also asked Lastminute about the additional costs that you incurred as a result of the cancellation. It said you had to go straight to the BA for that, which you do.
I sincerely hope it matches your claim as your experience at the airport sounded terrible – and if not I’ll be right on the phone.
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I parked in more than one designated parking bay, can Premier Park still fine me £100?
Source link I parked in more than one designated parking bay, can Premier Park still fine me £100?