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 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.