Excessive Parking Fine - Advice Please

  [email protected] 10:45 25 Apr 2012

Hi there.

Completely off topic I know but I'd appreciate it if anyone could offer any advice on what I feel is an unjust parking fine.

What happened is I arranged to meet up with an old friend that I hadn't seen in a while so one night we agreed to meet at a McDonalds that was inside a retail park. We both parked inside the retail parks car park at approx 21:15 (i.e. when the car park is completely empty), grabbed a bite to eat but then sat in our cars afterwards for a couple of hours and just chatted. We eventually left at 00:15 (3 hours).

Today through the post I received a parking fine for this stay. It is clear that the car park has NPR cameras at the entrance and exit as photos of me arriving and leaving are attached. The letter says that you are only allowed to stay 2.5 hours, and in accordance with the terms and conditions set out on the signage, stays over this duration are charged to the driver.

The charge £90! (£60 if I pay immediately).

The truth is I don't remember seeing the signs. I'm not for a moment suggesting they're not there, I have no doubt they are, but as to how well lit up there were or how many there was I don't know. I guess when you drive into an empty car park that you know is normally free you just don't take notice of such things.

I know technically they are correct, but I think that amount is completely excessive for a 3 hour stay in a car park. If the fine had been for £15 say I would have just paid it and got on with life. Is there any plausible way of disputing this amount or am I just going to have to bite the bullet and pay it?


  Bingalau 10:52 25 Apr 2012

Sounds like you are going to have to bite the bullet. You could of course try writing a polite letter explaining the circumstances and perhaps that because of the bad lighting, you hadn't seen the signs etc. Who knows? You might just get a sympathetic person reading it at the other end. But whatever you write keep it polite.

  [email protected] 10:56 25 Apr 2012

Just to clarify as I didn't make it overly clear in my post, the car park is normally free to use, but has a maximum stay of 2.5 hours.

  morddwyd 11:07 25 Apr 2012

You could try an appeal, but I doubt that you have grounds.

Most retail parks, and supermarkets, have similar time limits on their car parks.

As long as the conditions are clearly displayed they are probably fireproof.

  birdface 11:18 25 Apr 2012

Not sure about my local Mcdonalds but I did notice the one at Skegness gives you a 2 hour time limit.

I would check to see if the signs are up for all to see.9.15 at night it would be darkish. The signs would be difficult to see.So not sure if they should have lights so that they would be more visable.

Unless you can get some good advice I think it would be best to pay.

Like yourself I would also grudge paying for it.Was Mcdonalds open or shut at the time as it may only be valid if it was open.

  birdface 11:37 25 Apr 2012
  Al94 11:40 25 Apr 2012

Don't pay it, they can't fine you and it is very likely not enforceable. Have a read here http://www.moneysavingexpert.com/reclaim/private-parking-tickets

  lotvic 12:22 25 Apr 2012

have a read, "If you get an unfair ticket in a private (different rules apply to public tickets) car park, don't pay it. These supposed 'fines' are the new Wild West. Whether the cowboys do it at supermarkets, retail parks, hospitals or housing estates, they're often unenforceable. This is a step-by-step guide on how to fight them." clickhere also a bit here private-parking-penalties

  [email protected] 12:26 25 Apr 2012

Thanks for all the advice and links. I've read through them all and it has been quite encouraging. I've also came across this:

"Under contract law, they can only claim for any loss they have suffered because of your offence. They may try to claim a penalty of, say, £100, but in law they may only be entitled to any revenue they had lost. So, if you pay £2 to park for one hour, but stay for three hours, they can only claim for two hours of lost revenue, which is £4".

Not sure how that translate to car park where the parking is free, but it certainly makes me feel that I'm right in thinking £90 is unjust.

I'm not sure what to do now. I'd rather talk to them and settle it in a civilised way (but not pay £60/£90), but most of them articles seem to suggest that the best way is to just not respond at all. I have a bank statement showing that I did eat at McDonald's but I'm concerned that they may respond and say "You still overstayed the limit and must pay the fine", and by that point I'm in an even deeper hole, so right now I don't know what I'm going to do.

  lotvic 12:38 25 Apr 2012

How about you ask them for the evidence of your car's entrance and exit times? I believe these are photo printouts. (Don't confirm/admit to being the driver though)

Has your friend also received an invoice?

  finerty 12:44 25 Apr 2012

a word of warning of you dont pay it whateveer the reason, make sure you dont park there again, they have been known to put those yeloow parking gadgets over the wheels.

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