At one time Lidl contracted one of the larger parking companies to manage their car parks. However, once they learned how much money was being made by the company for overstays, they sacked the company and brought the operation in-house.
They switched to one of the tiny companies, Athena ANPR and just paid them a management fee to operate the car park. The charges for overstays now went to Lidl. It is now possible that in some of the smaller stores, the amount Lidl is raking in for parking is a significant part of the store's profits.
Not content even with this, Lidl have hit on a new wheeze to extract the maximum amount of cash from their own customers. Car parking is now only free for 10 minutes. After that, the customers must be validated at the till for 60 minutes of free parking.
Now customers spending 50 minutes shopping are faced with an unsolvable dilemma if there are queues at the checkout. They cannot just leave, because they have exceeded their 10 minutes free parking. They cannot get out before the 60 minutes because the queues are too large.
The Prankster congratulates Lidl on finding a creative way to add £90 to their customer's shopping bill.
Customers getting a ticket in these circumstances should contact the store manager as well as Athena to get the ticket cancelled. Do not accept any excuses from the store manager. Make him/her well aware that Lidl keep the parking charges and that Athena are only an agent collecting them on their behalf. The Prankster believes that the actual amount kept by Athena is as low as £6-£7 per ticket and the rest is trousered by the supermarket.
It is ironic that Lidl try to justify their actions by pretending they are on the side of the shopper, as reported in the Daily Mail.
A spokesman at the store said ‘previous misuse of the car park’ had meant customers not always being able to park, adding: ‘The vast majority of our customers are pleased with the implementation of these systems as … they are now able to access parking spaces when carrying out their shopping.’
Really of course, they are using the charges to secretly rake it in.
The Prankster is unaware of any customer surveys Lidl has carried out to determine whether 'the vast majority of our customers' are really happy. He suspect the spokesman was talking out of his bottom.
The Parking Prankster