Lee Taylor, 38, parked his Citroen in a private car park owned by Euro Car Parks and paid for what they thought was four hours parking for £3.30 to visit a soft play centre on a Saturday. Lee and his family left within the time limit but a few weeks later, a £100 fine dropped through the letterbox.
Lee and wife Laura, who have five children, realised they had paid the Monday to Friday price instead of the Saturday price of £3.50 and got in touch with Euro Car Parks to appeal and offer to pay the extra 20p.
But Lee, a leakage technician, claims they received no correspondence back from the company – which requests appeals are made in writing – until a notice arrived to say the fine had increased because he hadn’t paid it.
He now faces coughing up £273 or facing legal proceedings, reports Teesside Live.
Euro Car Parks, which operates more than 1000 car parks across the UK, Ireland and Europe, has not yet replied to a request for comment.
Lee, who took his family to a soft play in Redcar, Teesside, feels as though the company is “exploiting and scaring people”.
The father added: “I realised I had made a genuine mistake and had paid the Monday to Friday price instead of the Saturday price of £3.50 which meant I was short by 20p.
“Me and my wife have tried everything to resolve this and we have been totally ignored. I feel this is all a way of these companies exploiting and scaring people into paying these unreasonable fees.
“This has caused us much distress and I would hate it to happen to lots of other people.”
Lee advised motorists to pay at car parks by phone rather than cash.
“I received no change from the machine to indicate we had only paid for three hours,” he continued.
“There was no way of contacting this company direct and it said to appeal we must do this in writing which we did explaining the mistake and offering to pay what we owed.
“We received no correspondence from Euro Car Parks until a few weeks later when they stated the fine had increased because we hadn’t paid in a certain time. Again we appealed in writing stating we hadn’t received anything back from our appeal.
“Another few weeks passed with nothing then suddenly we received a letter from a debt company telling us the debt had been passed onto them and we must now pay £273 off or face court proceedings. We contacted the debt company and they basically said there is no way of appealing this anymore and we either paid it or face court.”