An angry motorist who was slapped with a £70 fine after parking in Sainsbury’s has warned others about the ‘threatening’ fines.
Andrew Revell, 63, an English and Maths tutor of Cuckfield High Street, received the fine after parking in the supermarket in Haywards Heath on December 9.
The charge by Horizon Parking, who controls the car park in Bannister Way, claimed the tutor had parked for more than five hours. However Mr Revell said he had visited the store twice that day and had parked for no more than 40 minutes.
He said: “I was disappointed by the error but very angry at the tone and format of the parking notice and I found the document to be threatening and demanding.
“It suggested I pay a reduced fine of £40 immediately or £70 if the payment was not forthcoming within 14 days or I could appeal on the basis that I was not the driver and therefore not personally liable. However, nowhere in the document was there any suggestion that there might be a fault in the company’s technology or procedures.”
The 63-year-old managed to get the fee waived after speaking to an assistant in the supermarket, who confirmed it wasn’t the first time the store had been approached about fines. However, he said other shoppers, especially those elderly would be ‘extremely upset’ to receive the ‘non-customer friendly’ notice so he decided to raise his concerns to Horizon Parking.
He said: “I feel it would be in everyone’s interest for the document to be changed and the technology and procedures is checked to minimise future irritation.
“I also requested a written apology for the inconvenience caused to me both by the notice and by the effort of trying to resolve the issue but I have received no reply, which to me sums up the low priority the company places on customer feedback.
“Horizon has a monopoly on parking charges at Sainsbury’s and no doubt are making a handsome profit.”
A spokesman from Horizon Parking apologised to Mr Revell for the inconvenience and said the Parking Charge Notice (PCN) given is a legal document and the terminology used has been drafted with the assistance of the British Parking Association (BPA).
He said: “We will look at the information contained within the text of the PCN and see if it is possible to make it even clearer for those who feel they should not have received the PCN and how they can deal with or appeal it.”
A Sainsbury’s spokesperson said the store was ‘pleased to be able to help resolve the issue’ and ‘are always grateful for customer feedback and will share the concerns with the car park operator’.
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