Shoppers have expressed their fury and say they are being driven out of the town centre by the company that operates a busy supermarket car park.
The Gazette has been contacted by residents who have reacted angrily after being unfairly given parking tickets.
The fines all relate to the Co-operative supermarket car park on Langborne Road, which is operated by an independent company named Civil Enforcement Ltd. Mike Medd, of Egton, said: “I have documentation that proves they were trying to con me out of parking money.” He had paid to leave his vehicle, but still received a fine. Many others have experienced the same unpleasant experience.
Staff within the supermarket have been praised for their concern when shoppers have informed them of the unfair tickets. In some instances the supermarket has even offered to pay the fine on behalf of the individual. However, some have said that with free parking at Sainsbury’s, they will now take their business to that store. Mr Medd, said: “It’s playing right into Sainsbury’s hands. I want to go to Co-op but when you are in town you are scared you are going to get fined.”
The current Co-op system allows 45 minutes free parking, then £2 for two hours and £4 for four hours. Julie Simpson, of Runswick Avenue, was four minutes over the 45 minutes after queuing in the supermarket. She received a ticket, but she wasn’t even the unluckiest. Christine O’Brien got caught in traffic leaving the car park just 38 seconds after her time expired, yet was still fined. A spokesperson for The Co-operative Food said: “We are aware that some customers have experienced issues with the new car parking system. Customer satisfaction is important to us and we are currently looking at ways in which to resolve these issues.”
Evidence shown to the Gazette proves that even if a parking ticket is purchased, and the driver only remains for the allotted period, tickets are still being issued. Given the driver has actually broken no law, concerns have been raised as to why the DVLA has been agreeing to release drivers’ details to a company which is not entitled to them. Bill Morris was stung and said: “It’s a legal matter, but we should complain to the DVLA for issuing my details. Nobody should give my details out and they weren’t entitled to go to the DVLA because we had done nothing wrong.”
A DVLA Spokesperson said: “We take our responsibility to protect information seriously. That is why information is only provided under strict controls to parking firms who meet the standards set by an appropriate Accredited Trade Association.
“If it is brought to our attention that a company does not meet the necessary standards, we will investigate.
“Where appropriate, we will stop the release of keeper information to them.”
A representative of Civil Enforcement Ltd was unavailable for comment.