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Anger as pensioner told to pay £100 parking fine despite paying right fee

By Richard Guttridge | West Bromwich | News | Published:

A pensioner has been left furious after she was told she must pay a £100 fine for accidentally entering the wrong registration number on a parking machine.

Jo Turner was furious when her appeal was refused

Jo Turner, aged 81, was appalled when she discovered her appeal against the fine had failed, even though it was accepted she had paid the correct amount and not overstayed.

Smart Parking, which manages the machines at the Astle Retail Park in West Bromwich, said her mistake "breached the advertised terms and conditions" and that it was the "responsibility of the motorist" to ensure details were entered correctly.

The retired nurse, from West Bromwich, paid 80p to stay 20 minutes at the retail park but didn't realise she had held down one of the keys for too long and therefore typed in her registration incorrectly.

ANPR cameras confirmed she stayed for 20 minutes, complying with the rules of the car park.

That was not good enough for Smart Parking, which decided to uphold the parking charge notice, originally issued in May, meaning Mrs Turner must stump up the £100.

However the bullish pensioner, who had parked for a quick visit to the bank, has so far refused to pay up despite receiving a notice from a debt collector.

And she said: "I put my 80p in. They can put me in prison if they want.

"I think they are being unreasonable. I produced my ticket to show I put the right amount in but they said it was the driver's responsibility to put in the correct details.

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"I would have done if I could see it. It was so small and I have got cataracts. It doesn't affect my driving but it does affect my reading.

"I understand the computer doing that but I expect a human being not to act like a machine."

A letter sent to Mrs Turner informing her the appeal was being refused said: "Please be advised that as detailed on the car park signage it is the responsibility of the motorist to enter the full and correct VRM (vehicle registration mark) when using the payment machine, and ensure payment has been made against the full and correct vehicle registration for the total duration the vehicle is on site."

It continued: "There are numerous signs located around the site that inform motorists of the advertised terms and conditions.

"The terms and conditions clearly state: 'Motorists must enter their full, correct vehicle registration when using the payment machine' and 'failure to comply with the terms and conditions will result in a parking charge of £100 discounted at £60 if paid within 14 days'."

Smart Parking has not responded to requests for comment.

Richard Guttridge

By Richard Guttridge
Investigations Editor - @RichG_star

Investigations Editor for the Express & Star.

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