How do you get 20 minutes free parking when you park for 14 minutes and still get fined?
That is the dilemma facing a Skegness pensioner who has been landed with a hefty demand for £100 from Smart Parking who run the car park.
David Marvell parked in Prince George Street at the back of J E Draper Ltd on July 28.
The images on his parking notice show he parked his car at 12.11pm and returned to his car at 12.25pm.
Some car parks in Skegness offer free parking, but you still have to get a ticket, so the Standard went along to investigate.
In the car park there is a large sign across a garage door which clearly states ‘Up to 20 minutes free’ for customers, which Mr Marvel saw.
The 20 minutes free parking is also stated on the Parking Tarriffs Apply board. But the confusion begins because it also states ‘Up to 30 minutes, 50p, Up to 1 hour, £1, Up to 2 hours, £2, Overnight (18.00 to 08.00), £2.50’ - giving no indication of how to prove you were there for less than 20 minutes.
Retired joiner Mr Marvell, who is in his 80s, said he was surprised when a demand notice for £60 landed on his doormat.
“I’ve been a customer at Drapers all my life and always understood it was 20 minutes free parking - there is a big sign that says so,” he said. “I rang Drapers and I was told I’d get a letter apologising but in spite of appealing, what I got was a demand for £100. When you ring up all you get is a machine. It’s all been very stressful. That isn’t a ‘Smart’ way to keep customers.”
In a response to his appeal, Smart Parking said after considering the appeal “in detail we have decided to uphold the Parking Charge Notice as we believe it was correctly issued.”
Mr Marvell has been given until October 16 to pay before the claim is passed to debt collectors.
The Standard attempted to speak to Smart Parking regarding this claim but was told they needed permission from Mr Marvell to respond, which he then gave. We are still awaiting a response.
We also contacted Drapers, who also were unable to clarify what happened in this instance as the manager is away on holiday. Mr Marvell is not alone facing demands from Smart Parking. Facebook is inundated with similar stories regarding their car parks.
We also heard in the same week from a man called John Taylor, who is facing a demand from Smart Parking for £171.
Mr Taylor, from Grimsby, says he remembers putting coins in the meter at the car park next to Fantasy Island in Skegness on June 1.
However, he says eight weeks later he received the demand. He said: “There was no notice with images - nothing. When you try and call, it just goes to answerphone. I am constantly being bombarded with more threatening letters, demanding money and now court action.
“This is a diabolical threatening situation and I am now depressed/stressed and anxious and on anti-depressants. My wife is the same . We have no spare cash for this - we are literally sick and unwell from this entire situation.”
In this case, Smart Parking would not speak to the Standard without permission from Mr Taylor, who was unable to give it as he said he could not get through to them.”