A holidaymaker has taken a parking company to an independent adjudicator after receiving an ‘unethical’ £60 fine.
Mike Walker, 74, from Dorchester, was on a family holiday to Camber Sands in early April when he parked in Western Car Park, in New Lydd Road – run by SmartParking on behalf of Rother District Council.
He said he paid for three hours by using one of the machines in the car park and returned to his vehicle 17 minutes before the three hours were up.
However, within weeks of returning from his holiday, Mr Walker received a letter from Smart Parking saying he had not paid and had been issued with a penalty charge notice of £60 which would increase to £100 if nothing was paid after three weeks.
He said: “Once I received the charge, I wrote to SmartParking and told them I could produce six witnesses who would attest that the appropriate fee was put into the machine.
“I have received two further letters from SmartParking rejecting my appeal in which they do not address my statement that I could produce six witness statements. What they are doing is unethical.”
Mr Walker paid the £60 fine after consulting with friends but said he decided to take up a Parking on Private Land Appeal (POPLA) after hearing from seven other drivers who received ‘unjustified’ fines.
Responding to Mr Walker’s comments, a Rother District Council spokesman said since the parking company was brought in to reduce traffic congestion in Camber a ‘small number’ of problems with payment machines have arisen.
The spokesman added: “We have worked quickly and closely with Smart Parking to resolve these issues as they have arisen, and at all times payment mechanisms have been available for our customers.
“With regards to raising and progressing an appeal, should a customer not be satisfied with the appeals process provided by SmartParking, the case can be referred to the independent adjudicator POPLA.
“We are advised that appeals made direct with SmartParking and with the adjudicator may be successful when the evidence provided by both parties demonstrates that the enforcement should not have occurred.”
SmartParking has been approached for comment.