A motorist forced to pay an outrageous parking charge has gained some satisfaction by helping his friends. The motorist previously overstayed at a free car park while shopping. At the time they were injured and could not move quickly. Eventually, not knowing the appeals system, they were forced to cough up a charge completely disproportionate to the losses involved.
Now informed on how the system worked, he helped his friends who visited a leisure centre. They first visited a restaurant which was packed and took a long time to first get a seat, and then get served. After that, they went to the cinema, where Dawn of the Planet of the Apes was enjoyed. This is a long file (2.5 hours including adverts) which ended up taking them 16 minutes over the 6 hour maximum stay.
A ticket turned up in the post, and the friend appealed on the grounds of being a genuine customer of the site. The operator turned down the appeal; this does seem strange - after all, the motorist was spending money on site using the facilities and it is not unreasonable to need that length of time to eat and view a film.
The original motorist therefore helped his friend at a POPLA appeal, where the appeal was upheld on the grounds of the charge not being a genuine pre-estimate of loss, although he did comment it could possibly all been solved much earlier by contacting the cinema/restaurant.
The landowner has the right to impose car parking restrictions, but this does not give a car parking operator carte blanche to charge a fee disproportionate to the costs involved.
If the landowner wants to attract visitors to attractions which take a lengthy period, then the car park cannot be used as an entrapment zone to charge huge amounts for minor overstays which do not cause loss to the landowner and which are caused by enjoying the site facilities.
The system in this car park does not seem fit for purpose, and the landowner would be better off restructuring the conditions to match the requirements of their customers. Obviously, if you are planning to use the site facilities for a meal and film, then delays do occasionally happen and this cannot be used as a cash cow for the parking operator.
The Parking Prankster