Dozens of disgruntled visitors to Willen Lake are vowing to join forces and hire a lawyer to challenge “unfair” parking fines they received there.
The fightback move started when a single Facebook post generated more than 80 replies from people who were also hopping mad at having to pay a penalty.
In the original post, on Newport Pagnell General Chit-Chat page, the driver described how she lodged an appeal to Napier Parking, who run the car park on behalf of the Parks Trust.
She told them she had paid the price requested but the machine at Willen Lake North Car Park did not give her a receipt.
“This morning I have had the result of the appeal, saying they do not accept my reasons for waiving the fixed penalty and threatening me with court and bailiffs,” she wrote.
She added: “I have decided to fight it, in the courts if necessary. How many of you would support my action just by saying it happened to you?”
The resulting deluge of replies included claims that the machine at the ANPR-controlled, pay on exit car park had requested the wrong amount.
One man wrote: “My wife parked at the car park and paid on leaving but all the machine asked for was 50p. She had chosen the correct number plate and paid by card. There is no way you can choose to pay any other amount.
“But we received a parking fine of £60 but because we disputed it and made an appeal they said that it is now £100. And they have just said that our appeal has failed. We are not alone as I have over 40 people on Facebook saying the same.”
The Citizen contacted the Parks Trust, who receive the money from the parking tariffs. They did not comment and passed the matter to contractors Napier.
A spokesman for Napier Parking said: “In this car park there are eight pay stations and the ability to pay by phone. In the three months to the end of August 2019 there were 128,200 vehicle movements through the car park. It’s an exceptionally busy facility.”.
He added; “The Willen Lake North Car Park is a pay on exit car park (unlike the other Willen Lake Car Parks which are pay and display). The concept is that as people drive into the car park, their vehicle registrations (Vim's) are recorded using ANPR Cameras. Users can then go about their business without having to ‘clock watch’. On return to the car park, they visit the pay stations and enter part of their VRM, the machine then finds and displays their licence plate, the driver pays the tariff due and drives out, again being recorded driving out of the car park.
“In a small number of cases users are not reading the signs and are paying on entry or are not entering their Vim's correctly when paying and the system is therefore unable to find their entry time, sometimes insufficient payments are made. In a case where the VRM cannot be found the pay station will ask for them to enter their full registration and select their approximate arrival time.”
The spokesman added: “Napier will always seek to avoid having to issue a Fixed Charge for breaching the terms and conditions, however users must enter their correct and accurate VRM. They must also pay the appropriate tariff for their visit. When payment has been completed at a pay station a receipt will be offered. Clear instructions are in place.”
He said “manual checks” were undertaken before any fixed charge notice to ensure that they are to be correctly issued.
“In the event that a motorists feels a charge has been incorrectly issued, there is an appeals process that can be entered into, first to Napier Parking as the Car Park Operator and then if unsuccessful to the Independent Appeals Service (IAS) which is a certified Alternative Dispute Resolution entity, details of how to make such an appeal will be provided in our appeal rejection letter.
“Ultimately anyone who wishes to complain about our services can do so to the International Parking Community (IPC) of which we are members.”