A retired company director says he will fight ‘on principle’ after being slapped with a parking fine from the Lido car park where he had made three attempts to pay and then left ten minutes later in frustration.
Lizo Ngqobongwana and wife Janet, who moved to Broadstairs last year, say they tried three times to pay via mobile phone when parking on August 5 but kept receiving an error message. In the end the couple gave up and found somewhere else to park.
The 67-year-old, whose company created finance software for the NHS, said: “On August 5, just after 9pm, I drove into the Lido Car Park, parked my car in a designated parking bay and went to look at the large notice board with the payment instructions. This is normal practice for me because I have parking apps like RingGo and PayByPhone.
“The Lido Car Park instructions were different and I was directed to send my vehicle registration to a 5 digit number and follow further instructions. After trying to follow the instructions on three occasions and getting error messages I gave up in frustration and left the car park to search for alternative parking.
“Not long after I received a Parking Charge Notice for £100 in the post. I immediately appealed providing evidence of my repeated attempts to pay. However, I received the devastating news that my appeal was unsuccessful.
“I believe charging me £100 (£60 if paid within 14 days) for being in a car park trying to pay for parking is grossly unfair and unjust and intend to challenge this charge because this reminds me of the days when unscrupulous companies used to clamp motorists and demand cash payments to release them. It’s tantamount to extortion!
“I considered all this hassle for £60 but it is the principle. I’m going to go through the process and am going through POPLA ( independent appeals service ) now and will take it as far as I can.
“I have also contacted councillors and my MP.”
The Lido car park is operated by ParkingEye Ltd. A spokesperson for the company said: “The car park at the Lido in Cliftonville, is monitored by ANPR camera systems and has prominent and highly-visible signs throughout providing guidance on how to use the car park responsibly. Visitors have the option to pay by phone or by using one of two user-friendly machines.
“The motorist didn’t make any payment for his parking and therefore received a parking charge notice. Our records show that on three occasions guidance to successfully pay was sent by text on how to pay by phone and the payment machines took transactions successfully during this timeframe.
“Parkingeye operates a BPA (British Parking Association) audited appeals process, which motorists can use to appeal their Parking Charge Notice. If anyone has mitigating circumstances, we would encourage them to highlight this by appealing.”
Lizo is receiving advice from veteran Thanet entertainer Gordon (Battell) Clarkson, who in 2020 won his battle to have a ‘disingenuous’ parking fine from the Lido withdrawn.
The performer was slapped with a £100 fine for spending six minutes in Cliftonville’s Lido car park despite not parking or even turning off his engine.
The 59-year-old, best known as children’s entertainer Simple Simon, contested the fine and even took part in a BBC Watchdog investigation into private parking companies in Britain.
He was eventually notified that Parking Eye Ltd would not contest his appeal so the fine has been scrapped.
Ward councillor Alan Currie is also due to contact the company to ask that the fine be scrapped.
The ‘small print’ on one of the Lido parking signs states: “By parking, waiting or otherwise remaining in this car park, you agree to comply with the parking contract, including making payment as required.”
The sign does not address whether motorists driving in, finding the car park is full and then leaving, would also be liable for a charge.
Good for Lizo. Fight these rip off merchants any way you can.
Agreed. Wonder if making it difficult to pay is part of the business plan?
Good luck Lizo in your quest for justice, there are always problems with metering machines in carparks. Pleased to hear you have someone helping you who has had the same issues,
Parking Charge Notices are not legally enforceable. They are speculative invoices and ought to be ignored.
What a fuss, just write to them and send them a cheque for 60p which is what 2 hours would have cost + a bit more for admin. Google it, there are templates online for this kind of thing.
I went over time by a few mins on harbour arm back when ringo was not an option and I just sent them a cheque for £1 or £2 and told them that it covers my extra mins and admin. They cancelled the fine.
Just to add, I know his situation is different, he didnt go over time and is being ripped off, but a simple letter stating the facts and a cheque to shut them up would have been easiest option than going to press and involving a councillor.
I wrote to Parking Eye and explained to them in detail that I attempted to pay on three occasions. I even attached the error text messages I received from their system before I left to look for parking elsewhere. I researched the Company when they rejected my appeal. That’s when I spotted the press article about Gordon Clarkson.
Ah right, I think sending a cheque might have worked along with the letter unless things have changed in the last 5 or so years. If that failed then of course, out of principle you should do all you can to not let them get away with it.
I hope the attention you have got will make them back down.
Good for you Lizo, you have my full support – I am still being chased and threatened with court action for parking in the same car park 3 years ago, I even paid the full amount for my parking but the machine buttons were not working properly and only registered half my number plate – like you I appealed and was rejected, the company running the car park are joke, good luck
If it is a private car park then they have not sent you a fine it is in fact a invoice from them, if you chose not to pay the invoice they have the optopn to take you to the small claims court, this is there only option and they won’t as they will lose and have to pay all the costs. Just refuse to pay and tell them you will see them in court, I did exactly this in a similar situation and they then gave up!
The easiest option for him maybe, but it would not bring awareness of the unscrupulous actions of rip off companies. The contract wording needs looking at. Rouge companies tread a fine line with the law, which allows them to commit daylight robbery. Simply paying an unjust fine, gives them carte blanch to continue. Social shaming seems much more effective, these days.
I didnt say pay the fine. And what I did suggest is not only easier, but less time consuming and stressful. I think someone mentioned its possible to pay by cash instead? I dont know if that it true, but they might have him on that. So the letter + cheque would still be the best route.
Your right though, this being in the press might make someone aware of how this car park operates. Shame the years of bad press on a national level doesn’t seem to have changed the way some of these swine companies operate.
Forcing someone to pay by smartphone is discriminatory in itself.
There is an unhealthy assumption in many aspects of day to day life where we are expected to have a smart phone and to be tech savvy in order to complete simple transactions and a large proportion of our population have niether.
Public car parks should be required to offer a cash payment option.
As for this issue, ParkingEye is a miserable, ruthless company – go smash ’em Lizo!
It’s the same with those businesses forcing people to only pay by card. In recent years, Margate Winter Gardens (R.I.P.) wouldn’t accept cash for tickets even when purchased in person at the box office – hardly a way to get more bums on seats!
He could have paid at one of the machines instead, but apparently chose not to.
but it’s principle though seemed I wouldn’t send a dime if it wasn’t my fault either and yes I’m glad he brought it to pree and councilors too good for you lizo
The Government should remove the access to ANPR for private companies to abuse.
How can somebody agree to the unjust terms of the car park company when just driving in and out again or attempting to pay and cannot? That is unreasonable as anyone not leaving their vehicle is obviously not agreeing to small print terms. It should be appealed and taken all the way every time this happens.
There might be signs to tell you what to do but that does not prove their machines are working at that precise moment anyway. The Lido car park is just one of these rip-off businesses that are allowed to trade like this so be aware of others around. If you see cameras watching as you enter then you can be assured you are taking a big financial chance by parking there.
This forum: https://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/categories/parking-tickets-fines-parking
Absolutely excellent advice available there, with resources. First appeal to parking company itself is (almost) always rejected. The next level to adjudicator POPLA can be more time-consuming but the very experienced folk on the forum will happily read & comment constructively on your POPLA appeal if you’ve done your homework. I successively appealed against a ticket for myself and then on behalf of someone else. Almost enjoyable, especially when successful.
Never ignore a Parking Eye ticket, they can be very litigious.
One of the problems in that location is mobile phone coverage. If you are on Three or Smarty, expect no signal there and the other operators are scratchy at best. Likely you were on “e” on your phone (this means “edge”, a very slow data connection, or only had 2g which is voice and SMS only. If any part of the transaction required a data connection that may have interrupted the process.
If this can be proved, the car park operator surely cannot be expected to fine people who use a system that they dictate which relies on a network connection that doesn’t work.
Fully right. ANPR is NOT for private or commercial use.