Sunderland driver gets hospital parking fine refund after Echo help
A man who faced a fine for keying in the wrong details to a hospital car park machine has claimed a victory after winning an appeal - with help from the Echo.
But Tony Taylor was left frustrated and angry after his battle against ParkingEye still left him out of pocket for weeks.
The 46-year-old, from Chapel Garth, was visiting a terminally ill friend at Sunderland Royal Hospital earlier this year and was told to pay a penalty of £42 within 14 days, otherwise it would rise to £70.
The electricity company manager had been sure he had bought a ticket for the visit he had made but without the stub, paid the fine.
He then appealed against it when he discovered the slip of paper while cleaning his car, finding he had mis-typed his registration number into the console in the bad light but proved he had paid to cover his visit.
His checks found the lamp above the machine was out of order and Tony put together a file of information, with Parking on Private Land Appeals (POPLA) - the independent appeals service for Parking Charge Notices (PCN) issued on private land - agreeing that the operator had failed to show clear and sufficient evidence of terms and conditions.
That led it to state the PCN had been issued “incorrectly” and Tony then received a note from ParkingEye that the fine had been cancelled.
But he was then left hanging for a fortnight as he waited for the company to return his funds, with requests for an update sent via email unanswered.
The firm sent him a message stating a refund cheque had been issued within an hour of the Echo making contact with its officials.
Tony said: “It’s just frustrating and I want this to be known so that other people who get this know about it.
“When I got my penalty, I made sure I paid my fine and if I didn’t pay it within 14 days, it would have gone up to £70.
“But trying to get money back from them has been virtually impossible.
“The parking charges are astronomical at the hospital, but you can’t avoid them and they were getting £3 or £4 from me almost every day for six weeks, so they would have had around £200 in total in terms of parking charges.
“Then there was this £42 and I knew I had paid to park every time.
“I think ParkingEye is disgraceful.
“I spoke to the hospital about it and they were very polite, but they say they couldn’t do anything.”
A ParkingEye spokesperson said: “We have always been a member of the British Parking Association (BPA) and follow its strict code of practice in all the car parks we manage on behalf of our clients.
“Our clients’ parking, in areas such as hospitals and retail operations, does need to be monitored to ensure that service users and customers can effectively access services.
“We encourage people who have received a parking charge to appeal and provide evidence if they think there are mitigating circumstances.”