Driver angry at ‘outrageous’ behaviour of car park ‘cowboys’

The car park behind the Sun Inn in Chesterfield.
The car park behind the Sun Inn in Chesterfield.

Four months after a parking firm apologised for fining customers when their machine wasn’t working - customers are still being pursued for payment.

At the end of last year, the meter at the privately-run car park behind the Sun Inn on West Bars was broken for several months.

However, despite this, customers who parked there were still getting £60 and £100 tickets from the site’s operators, Parking Eye.

When Chesterfield woman, Gayle Michelon, got a fine in January, she thought that she would have it cancelled - as other customers had.

But, after pleading her case with the firm which runs the car park, they insist she has to pay.

She said: “If the machine clearly says it is not in use what are you supposed to do?

“I don’t know how can these private firms get away with it - the signs should be much clearer.

“When I got the fine I couldn’t ring anyone up - it’s pay it or appeal.

“So I appealed and then got a letter back saying it had failed.”

“I don’t understand how can they charge for something that is clearly their fault.

“How many of us are being ripped off by their money-making scam.

“I just wish they would sort the machine out.”

Gayle, who lives on Wisbech Close in Walton, says she feel uncomfortable about not paying but doesn’t understand what alternative she had.

She even went so far as to leave a not on her vehicle to explain why she hadn’t ‘paid and displayed’.

“All I want to do is pay my way,” says Gayle.

Her next course of action will be to appeal to one of the independent bodies mentioned by Parking Eye in their letter.

“Friends say, ‘just don’t pay it’ - but what kind of system is that?” she says.

“Either they’re in the wrong or not. It’s all very worrying for people.”

The 62-year-old says she uses only uses the car park when she has to nip into town - preferring the multi-storey for longer stays.

She also thinks the level of the charge is more akin to a speeding fine and ‘completely disproportionate’.

“I wouldn’t mind but the car park is horrendously maintained anyway,” she says.

“The machine is never working and there are broken bottles all over it.

“When it was owned by the Sun Inn there was never any of this trouble.”

The landlady of the Sun Inn, Sarah Trowman, says people often complain to them after receiving tickets but that it is not their responsibility.

She said that they can sometimes fix the machine by refilling it with tickets but in the event of it not working, customers can always call the number provided and pay over the phone.

A ParkingEye spokesperson said: “People using The Sun Inn car park can pay for parking via the ‘PayByPhone’ service or the payment machine provided, as detailed on signs in the car park.

“We encourage people who have received a parking charge to appeal if they think there are mitigating circumstances, and instructions about how to do this are detailed on all communications and on our website.

“If a driver disagrees with our decision, they have the option to appeal to the independent appeals service (POPLA).”