Thursday, 7 August 2014

Lidl charge customers for Lidl's own tardiness

Lidl have found an interesting way to boost profits. It is a recognised fact of life that shoppers may have to queue longer at budget supermarkets; that is one of the accepted trade offs. What is not acceptable however is the fact that Lidl is then raking it in from charges due to overstays.

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.

Happy Parking

The Parking Prankster


  1. A clear case for filling up a trolley with a lot of small packets of frozen food at the bottom and a large amount of heavily mixed non-food items on the top and then just before reaching the till say - "I need to move my car",

    1. I would strongly advise against such a course of action as it may leave you liable to be charged with various criminal offences including theft and criminal damage.

    2. What offence? No theft certainly. That is only committed when you leave the store without paying.


      The issue that arises is the decision to assume the rights of the owner over the property (e.g. by allowing frozen food to defrost and render it incapable of being sold). At that point there will be an appropriation of that property (R v Morris).

      Whether that was dishonest would be judged to the standards set out in Ghosh.

      An intention to permanently deprive is relatively straightforward. The goods (perishable ones) can no longer be sold and are thus reduced in value. R v Lavender and R v Marshall are good examples where assumption of a right indicated an intention to permanently deprive.

      So, arguably (do I need to stress that again?) an offence of theft would occur. In my view the only real element of doubt would turn on whether the shopper was dishonest or not.

    4. I take what you are saying John. Better not risk the frozen food!!

      But IMHO if none of the good were perishable and consisted of what could be an obvious weekly shop - tinned goods , some of Lidl's special offers; wine and spirits etc then there would be no offence committed. There is no intention to permanently deprive - part of the definition of theft. That is the reason a store detective waits until you are out of the shop.

      I would argue that I had to move my car to avoid their charges - and that by not allowing me to return in two hours they were stopping me off the opportunity to come back in a reasonable time to sort it out.

      I would have intended to come back but the goods would have been back on the shelves by then.

  2. I always use car parks from the Tesco value range. Every Lidl helps.

  3. I fail to see how anyone could spend an hour in Lidl. The place is soul destroying. I go in, fill trolley, pay and get out as quickly as possible. It has never taken me anywhere close to an hour.

    1. Obviously you've never been disabled or infirm, encountered queues when shopping, or problems finding a parking spot, or problems leaving a car park because of traffic jams!

      Can I just say you are a lucky one!

  4. I don't understand the 'no return within 2 hours' clause. If you shop there and get home and find you've forgotten something, Lidl charge you £90 for going back to their shop to get it. Charming way to treat their loyal customers!

  5. At the Rheidol Retail Park in Aberystwyth it is a fairly frequent 'happening' that the Lidl card machines will crash requiring all customers to pay in cash. Lidl actually have a system in place for this whereby trollies of those affected are corralled at the front of the store and customers are directed to walk to the nearest cash point machine (Lloyds in Terrace Road) about half a mile away so that they can draw out sufficient funds to pay in cash.

  6. My local one is still "managed" by Parking Eye, or at least that's what the signs say.

    I came out a while back to find an older gentleman looking bemusedly at a penalty notice that had been slapped on his car which was in a parent and child bay. I'd seen him both enter and leave the shop within about 15 minutes, and he had his small grandson with him.

    All set to give him some pointers, I approached him and discovered that he was a retired solicitor. So I gave him my contact details to use as a witness, and wished him joy of his upcoming thrashing of them. The "game on" gleam in his eye was a sight to beyond.

    1. Ah, PE will point out he should have parked in the Grandparent and Child Bay.

    2. ParkingEye don't normally operate car parks where windscreen tickets are issued... must be someone from the store who then walks around and does this. Which could explain why the queues inside are getting longer and longer. Self fulfilling prophecy anyone?

      Back to the topic: The signage looks reasonably clear. So I for once would certainly not park there and take my money elsewhere. Simples.

  7. Surely the answer is to rock up, get a ticket and help to bnmkrupt PE by winning at POPLA???

  8. Don't forget to let Lidl's German masters know of the misdeeds of their British underlings when they misbehave on this or other matters: email addresses include and

    Will you get a better reaction than from the UK customer services' ?

    Who knows - but you might get lucky and it's someone else to vent your spleen on ...