Express & Star

Driver fined after 'faulty' machines stop him from paying at Wolverhampton car park

Confused and angry drivers are being hit with parking fines at a city centre car park, arguing that broken machines stopped them from paying when they try to leave.

Chris Boden says he couldn't pay for parking due to a faulty machine, before being hit with a £60 fine

Chris Boden, from Willenhall, received a parking charge notice after using the Wulfrun Centre car park in Garrick Street, Wolverhampton, on November 15 last year. It's the same car park in which frustrated motorists spent hours queueing in while trying to leave just before Christmas.

The 81-year-old said he was unable to pay due to the pay points not working, and recalled '15 to 20' other motorists 'hanging around' the machine, none of whom were able to get through to Euro Car Parks (ECP), which runs the site. There were also no staff on site to help, he claimed.

Mr Boden told how he went home and immediately emailed NCP, the previous owners of the multi-storey that are still listed as such online – asking if he could pay the £2 he owed for parking there. Wulfrun Car Park is still labelled as an NCP site when searched online, despite the fact that Euro Car Parks took over more than a year ago.

The Wulfrun car park, Wolverhampton, has been causing anguish for motorists in the city
A Google search of 'Wulfrun car park' shows the Garrick Street site labelled as an NCP. Picture: Google

Mr Boden said: "The NCP staff were helpful and pleasant, but I had contacted the wrong people because of incorrect information online. By the time they got back to me and said they no longer own it, ECP had already sent me a letter issuing me a fine of £60."

In the letter, ECP said the reason for the fine was that 'no valid payment permit was purchased'. Mr Boden appealed the fine, saying the machine was not allowing payment - it would show the correct car registration and charge, but 'bleeped' when he and the other drivers went to pay by card and would not accept it.

Euro Car Park signs are now up at Wulfrun Centre car park, but a Google search shows the car park as run by NCP
A map on the NCP website still includes the Garrick Street site (3), but leads to a blank page when clicked. Picture: Google Map Data 2023/NCP

He said: "They would have thought I'd just driven off without paying, which is why I tried to pay as soon as I got home. I couldn't see any alternative. They told me they had a pay by phone option - no one could pay by phone, because they couldn't get through to them.

"After they sent me the fine, I wrote to them to explain the situation. Everyone there was trying to contact them because the machines were down, and couldn't get through.

"They rejected my appeal, and threatened to raise the fine to £100 and get a third party involved if I didn't pay £60 within 14 days. I paid them £60, because I felt like I had to.

"I feel annoyed. At my age, I'm pretty reasonable with these kinds of things. But if they want their money, they find a way to get it."

Mr Boden hopes his story will reach others who were in the same situation on November 15, 2022.

He said: "I am hoping to find a way, or find others who were there, and say we are all in the same boat. I hope we can get together to tell the company how many people this affected.

"We were left in limbo."

Euro Car Parks has been contacted for comment.