Monday, 11 November 2013
ParkingEye feeding frenzy. Hundreds of genuine customers of The Range penalised
This report in the North West Evening mail details how ParkingEye have been targeting easy prey at a new site at The Range in barrow on Furness.
As a result, in only a few days more than 500 furious motorists joined the Facebook group 'ParkingEye charges in Barrow-in-Furness'.
Penalised motorists include those who turned up early before the shop opened, taxi drivers returning to pick up passengers and shoppers spending large amounts of money and therefore overstaying.
Industry best practice for new sites is to put up large signs at the entrance to car park warning of new terms and conditions, and to operate a grace period for a month or so, giving motorists a warning the first time they break the new conditions.
Unfortunately, grace periods do not fit well with ParkingEye's corporate ethos. When a new car park is commissioned, this is the best time to rake in the wahoola from hundreds of unsuspecting motorists. The ParkingEye poltroons know that if they warn motorists of the new regime, their take is likely to be massively decreased. Due to their delay in issuing charges, they can often sting a motorist two or three times before the motorist even realises a new system is in place.
If each of the 500 motorists in the Facebook group has one parking charge, that represents £50,000 for ParkingEye - a nice fat return for installing a couple of cameras, a few signs and a broadband connection. The likelihood is that ParkingEye already have a six figure return on their investment.
Although ParkingEye should put mandatory entrance signs in place, they know that these are likely to catch the motorist's eye and warn them that parking conditions apply. They therefore pay lip service to the requirements by installing signs which do not follow the mandatory guidelines ('mandatory' is apparently not in the ParkingEye dictionary). This is what an entrance sign should look like:
This is what the entrance signs actually look like.
As you can see, the signs are placed far too high up for a motorist to be able to read as they enter the site. This is a standard ParkingEye tactic, although sometimes they site them very low down, behind bushes too.
The new Facebook pressure group has made contact with the owners of The Range, so hopefully some compromises can be worked out. However, The Prankster is not overly hopeful. When Somerfield tried to get rid of ParkingEye they got stung with £300,000 when ParkingEye sued them for loss of revenue. The Range in St Helens has reportedly managed to boot out ParkingEye.
The Range has installed the new system to stop motorists parking all day, and to stop tearaways using the car park as a racetrack at night. There is no indication that any of the 500 motorists belong to the above two groups; the parking charges are therefore being sent to entirely the wrong people - genuine shoppers who will now be driven from The Range to other businesses.
ParkingEye's take on this is as follows. Here is a quote they often use when pursuing parking charges.
The Prankster recommends that motorists follow ParkingEye's advice, and take their custom elsewhere.
Meanwhile, the 'tearaways' and all-day-parkers will soon realise they can simply cover over their numberplates as they enter and leave the car park, and the owners of The Range will find that ParkingEye are not a solution to their problem, but rather a new problem that needs a solution.
The Parking Prankster