A DISABLED pensioner claims older drivers are being discriminated against after she was fined £100 when her free parking allowance was cut by an hour.
Pam Green, 66, from Ashton, Greater Manchester, was fined after visiting her local Robin Retail Park shopping centre.
She has multiple sclerosis and said she had previously been given four hours of free parking but was ‘stunned’ to see she had received the fine after returning to her car within that time after a recent shopping trip.
Indeed, she did not know that her free parking allowance had been reduced to three hours.
She told SWNS Leeds: “Being a frequent user I haven’t even checked, which is partly my fault, but it’s still advertised online at four o’clock which is misleading.
“It’s not enough time. I strongly believe it discriminates against older people who aren’t as quick as younger shoppers.”
Pam said she returned within four hours to her car after visiting Bensons for Beds, Boots and Burger King.
But because she was unaware she only had three free hours left, she was hit with a £100 penalty.
Pam said she was “quite upset” by the fine and thinks older shoppers will be discouraged from going to their local stores if malls start removing free parking incentives.
“I’m a law-abiding retiree who feels punished for just shopping,” she said.
How to dispute a parking fine
If, like Pam, you have received a parking fine that you are unhappy with, you can appeal to try and have it reversed.
First, you need to find out if the parking ticket is from the town hall or from a private parking company – like a supermarket or shopping mall.
If it comes from the town hall, it is a fixed fine notice (FPN) or a fixed fine notice (PCN).
If a penalty notice has been issued by the local council, unless you have reason to appeal, you must pay.
Here you broke the law. The penalty is just that – an actual penalty or fine – not just an “accusation”.
If you have a compelling or very compelling reason to appeal, the council may use its discretion to decide whether or not to rescind the notice.
The first step is to complain to council in writing, with any witness statements or photographs included.
If the board accepts your grounds for appeal, your fine will be waived and you will not have to pay anything.
If the council rejects your reasons, you will receive a notice. You will then have 28 days to make a formal appeal or the fees may increase.
Private company fines
If the fine was issued by a private parking company, you must contact the company that issued it, which must be indicated on your ticket.
You will need to tell them that you dispute the fine and why, showing evidence if you have it. According to Popla, this could be:
- A crime reference number if the vehicle was stolen
- Photographs, for example if you think the signage was insufficient
- Pay and display the voucher, for example, if you say it has been displayed and has not expired
- A witness statement
Evidence can be photos, videos or scanned documents – remember to keep the originals and send a copy.
You can complain to Popla if the company is part of a trade body called the British Parking Association (BPA).
If the company is part of the International Parking Community (IPC), you can appeal to the Independent Appeal Service.
If you succeed, you won’t have to pay the fine. If you’re not successful, you’ll have to pay, which could also include late fees.
We pay for your stories!
Do you have a story for The Sun Online Money team?