A MUM-of-two was slapped with a £70 fine for staying in a supermarket car park for over nine hours – but claims that she actually just briefly visited the car park twice in the same day.
Elizabeth Summerill, 66, said that she was left feeling “shocked and angry” after receiving the unwarranted penalty bill.
The full-time carer, from Kingswood, Bristol, said she drops her two adult daughters off every morning at a Tesco car park next to their job at an opticians.
As neither daughter drives, Elizabeth's son-in-law picks them up at night – except for every Thursday when he is unavailable.
But after running her routine drop-off and pick up on Thursday, October 6, she was stunned to be later fined £70 for allegedly staying in the car park from just after 8AM to almost 5.30PM.
Due to the ongoing cost-of-living crisis, Elizabeth and her husband Ronald, also 66, said they quickly paid the fine at the reduced rate of £30 as they feared losing out on even more hard-earned cash.
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Horizon Parking, which runs the Tesco car park in Keynsham, near Bristol, says on its website it is “unable to deal with complaints over the telephone”.
But the couple said the company's automated online system is overly complicated, making it harder for people in their position to pursue an appeal.
Ronald slammed the faulty camera system as a "cash cow", and said he paid the fine quickly as he worried they could miss the discount period of 14 days.
Ronald, who is disabled and bed-bound due to an adverse reaction to a hepatitis B vaccine 15 years ago, added that he needs to avoid additional stress “at all costs” due to his health problems.
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He said the financial burden led him to quickly pay the fine “for peace of mind rather than the hassle".
The 66-year-old added: “Cost of living is concerning for all… Sometimes it’s best to pay the £30 and move on."
Elizabeth said that she was “shocked and angry” when she receivedthe unwarranted fine, especially after using the same car park every week for nearly two years.
“I tried to ring [Horizon Parking], and you just get this automated reply," she said.
"It’s just so complicated".
Ronald echoed these criticisms of the online appeal system, slamming the company as having "no way you can talk to anybody" to explain the situation.
He added: “I’m sure this is a scam – why aren’t they questioning the cameras?
“Where is the camera showing the car going out and going in on the same day? So the camera was either faulty or switched off – but they just don’t care.
"I believe they hope the hassle isn’t worth it and, like us, you pay the lower amount."
Horizon Parking have apologised to Ronald and Elizabeth, and said they will refund the fine.
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The company also urged those who feel they have been wrongly fined to appeal on their online system.
It comes as 66-year-old Rob Clark was also left "really upset" when he too fell victim to the same double-trip penalty mistake last month.
Have you fallen victim to these faulty parking fine systems? Get in touch: firstname.lastname@example.org
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