Earlier this year I parked my car at a local shopping center that has free parking.
But I was fined by the operator, Premier Park, for £100. The reason given was that I had occupied more than one marked bay.
That’s true, but I had no other option. I had parked my car between two others who were already parked, and to allow everyone to get in and out of their cars, I parked an equal distance between them, crossing the marked line.
Parking palaver: Our reader has tried to appeal his £100 PCN from Premier Park as he finds it unfair but has so far been unsuccessful (stock image)
If I hadn’t, I would have not only locked in the other drivers, but also risked damage to my own car and theirs.
I was just being sensible and don’t know why I should be punished for parking others badly.
I appealed to the independent professional service Popla, but they rejected my appeal because I had broken the rules of the parking garage. Is there anything else I can do? IW, Nottinghamshire
Helen Crane of This is Money replies: These private parking companies regularly drive motorists up the wall and at This is Money we hear many horror stories.
From payment terminals that don’t work to obscure ‘rules’ about where, when and how long you can park, it’s easy for drivers to get caught and end up in a dreaded PCN country – despite thinking they’ve got the right one. thing.
Change seemed to be on the horizon this year as the government issued new official guidelines on the private parking code of practice.
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These were intended to halve private parking fees from £100 to £50 and to give drivers more powers to challenge unfair tickets.
However, the guidelines were temporarily withdrawn by ministers in June and are now awaiting review after parking companies launched legal proceedings to challenge the proposal.
The deputy editor of This is Money, Lee Boyce, recently wrote about his encounter with a private parking company, who fined him £100 despite paying for a ticket.
He managed to get the charge dropped, but not for some frustrating administrative back and forth.
His tips are to always appeal a fine if you were not wrong, never tell the company who was driving, and resolve your case as best you can.
Lee also urged drivers to keep going, as the tactic of parking companies seems to be to turn down a first appeal, no matter how reasonable or proper you are.
You approached me after Popla rejected your appeal, not knowing which way to go.
I agreed that the charge seemed unfair in this case – after all, you were just trying to park safely and without interfering with other drivers, although it also violates the terms and conditions stated on signs.
I have contacted Premier Park to raise your point. After a few weeks you told me it made a u-turn and offered a £80 discount on the cost, meaning £20.
Private parking companies are notoriously inflexible, as I’m sure many motorists will attest, so I consider that a win. Premier Park has not responded to my request for comment.
You still have the option to sue the company and challenge the outstanding amount.
But the hassle of driving the claim – which has already taken a lot of your time – would probably outweigh the £20 profit and I suspect they know this.
This compromise means, I think, the end of the road. You broke the rules, unintentionally, and it serves as a parking reminder for other drivers – don’t do the same because others have.
Bathroom blunder: Kate’s soft-close toilet seat stopped working, but Royal Bathrooms replaced it quickly and at no cost
Hit and miss: this week’s naughty and fun list
Every week I look at the companies that have fallen short when it comes to customer service, and the companies that have done their best.
Touch: Reader Kate told me she felt flushed after scoring a free replacement toilet seat from Royal bathrooms.
She bought a dressing table from them earlier this year, including a soft close toilet seat that recently stopped working as intended, leading to a number of accidents in the bathroom.
When she contacted Royal Bathrooms, she expected to just be told to buy a new one.
But they asked her to send a video of the toilet seat in action, and a new seat arrived for free by courier within two days.
It’s nice to hear that a company is acting with a little bit of compassion and I’m glad you find its service above and beyond standard.
Camer-gloomy: Our reader saw her trip to Yaounde canceled when the flight was cancelled
To miss: More stories of travel chaos this week, as Manchester reader H. wrote to tell me she was still waiting for a refund for a flight that should have happened in February.
That was well before the hell of this summer vacation kicked in, which doesn’t bode well for those trying to get their money back on more recent trips.
She said: ‘I planned a holiday to Cameroon for February 2022 and booked a return flight from Manchester to Yaounde with British Airways via Lastminute.com and paid £822.67.
The first leg of the journey was a flight from Manchester to London. When I got to the airport it was delayed for hours before it was finally cancelled.
“I am disabled and was stranded at the airport with no support, forced to go around the airport to find my luggage so I could go home.
“Then I had to ask a friend to pick me up in a rented van and pay for parking. The cancellation also made the transport I initially booked to take me to and from the airport a total waste of money. On top of the flight cost this was about £400.
“After all that hassle and expense, I just wanted my money back so I could plan another trip. I’ve been calling Lastminute for four months and keep getting told I’ll get the money “within a few days” but it never arrives.
“I think the refund should be for the full tour as the first part of the trip has been cancelled.”
Lastminute.com initially said it wouldn’t issue a refund until it was through BA. was refunded
I contacted Lastminute.com to ask why the refund was taking so long.
It apologized for the delay and told me, “When a single airline ticket is purchased, we act as an agent and the consumer’s contract for an airline ticket is directly between the customer and the airline.
“Unfortunately, this means that we are obliged to follow the rules and times of the airline.
“It’s also important to note that as the changes and subsequent cancellations were last minute, we had no prior information about this to proactively contact the customer.
“Our teams have been investigating this matter and we can confirm that we have not yet received the money from the airline.”
However, as a goodwill gesture, it agreed to ‘anticipate’ the refund and immediately refunded you the full return fare. That wasn’t that hard, was it?
With delays and cancellations wreaking havoc on travel plans this summer, vacationers should keep in mind that if they book with a travel agent, their refund will likely take longer to process.
This is because they usually insist on getting back the money they paid to the airline before passing it on to the customer.
Travel scourge: Vacationers will be plagued by flight cancellations this summer
I hear this excuse regularly from cops, and while I understand they can’t pay everyone out of their own pocket, something clearly needs to change here.
Either airlines and agents find a way to get customers their money back on time, or agents need to make it clear to customers at the time of booking that any refunds will take longer.
Judging by the emails I’ve received, airlines aren’t particularly adept at refunding customers who book directly with them either.
Often, booking a package holiday rather than standalone flights offers better protection if something goes wrong, as they are usually ATOL protected.
But for those who book standalone flights and hotels, cutting out the middleman and going straight to the airline for the flights can make the refund process a little less painful if something goes wrong.
I also asked Lastminute about the extra costs you incurred due to the cancellation. It said you had to go directly to BA for this, which you do.
I sincerely hope it agrees with your claim, as your airport experience sounded awful – and if it doesn’t, I’ll be on the phone right away.
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