‘I felt sick’: Charity worker slapped with fine for parking ‘too early’ at supermarket

Lee Juggurnauth fumes after getting parking ticket on his car

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Mrs Elliot of Bexleyheath visited the branch of Asda on November 28, thinking that the store would open at 10am. She parked at 9.56am before realising that opening time was in fact 10.30am, at which point she stayed in her car until the shop began trading. However a week later she received a fine from a company called Parkingeye saying she owed £70, reduced to £40 within 14 days.

Mrs Elliot, 51, said: “I felt sick to my stomach when I saw the ticket.

“I first thought it was a scam letter when I received it in the post.

“They have a massive sign that says free parking, so I automatically thought ‘it is free to park my car here’.”

“Asda told me that I parked too early and that parking is only accessible after the store opens at 10.30am every Sunday.”

Asda were unflinching in their response however, with a spokesperson saying that the signs in the car park are ‘clear’ and that customers “can park for free up to three hours while the store is open.”

But Mrs Elliot doesn’t agree.

“I’m absolutely appalled by this,” she said. “I have appealed for the ticket, but it makes me feel sick that I could potentially face a £70 fine at this time of year.”

Express.co.uk has reached out to Parkingeye for comment. 

Meanwhile, the charity worker feels that fining people for parking outside of opening hours is unfair, explaining:

“It makes me cross (that) people use this way to make money from it.

“It really is a scam, we’re just innocent people going shopping.”

But Asda argues that the rules don’t leave room for interpretation.

“Customers can park at our Bexleyheath store free of charge for up to three hours whilst the store is open, including on Sundays,” said a spokesperson.

“There is clear signage across the car park, and we would like to thank the majority of our customers who use the car park responsibly.”

It’s worth noting however that parking fines issued by private companies aren’t the same as those levied by councils.

And one former private parking warden has even set up a facebook group to help appeal the notices.

Tony Taylor set up the ‘Fight your private parking invoice’ group back in 2019 and members now number 94,000.

“These are not official fines – only councils or the police can issue those. Parking Charge Notices are just an invoice which are an invitation to pay,” he said.

But while he encourages appealing the fines, he doesn’t advocate ignoring them.

“I’ve seen a lot of people on social media giving the wrong advice when people are issued with parking notices. These private parking firms will take you to court, I see thousands of these cases every year.”

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