FED-up shoppers are threatening to take their business elsewhere after being stung with hefty parking charges.
Many locals have been contacting the Mid-Devon Advertiser, complaining about wrongful parking charges issued at Newton Abbot’s ASDA, leaving some saying they will take their money to a rival store for fear of receiving a charge they cannot challenge.
Typical among those involved are retired couple from Kingskerswell. Peter and Sue Disley. Despite buying a valid ticket they subsequently received a parking charge for £70 from Parking Eye, the company which manages the car park in Newton Abbot town centre.
They said who are disputing the charge with ASDA, using evidence of their transaction for their ticket. However, even with this proof they are still struggling.
Peter explained that they were loyal ASDA customers, and found it an insulting situation.
They said it was difficult to get anywhere with the dispute, with obstacles put in their way including disjointed customer service, a lack of collaboration between Parking Eye and ASDA, and staff telling them they they lacked sufficient evidence to challenge their claim.
On receiving the charge they visited the store’s customer services and failed to achieve customer satisfaction. All managers, section leaders, and supervisors were in a meeting, so they returned later in the morning and their claim was put in for a possible refund. They were told that a copy of their evidence could be taken, and the charge would ‘probably be cancelled,’ however, there would be no guarantee or official documentation of the exchange. They were told if this fails, they will have to take it to ASDA’s head office outside in Leeds.
As Peter explained: ‘We can’t leave this to chance as if there is an issue, we are going to get extra fines and fees. That’s not satisfactory. Without any official receipt saying they’ve received it, they’ve not dealt with it.’
Others were also seen waiting to dispute a charge while they were there.
The Disleys were aware that position that gave them the time and the capacity to dispute the claim – something others might not have.
People have been contacting the MDA complaining of being in a similar situation. One shopper said he believed it was a deliberate act to wait a week or more before receiving a letter from Parking Eye.
‘Luckily I still had the ticket in my car,’ he said. ‘But I bet most people would have thrown it away after a week and would no longer have any proof. I think it’s a deliberate policy.
‘Saying that I am still in dispute with them. It used to be very simple, but with this new system in place I’m know I’m not the only one who’s been incorrectly charged.’
Another shopper had a similar concerns The 86-year-old said: ‘I paid to park there and now I’m getting these letters. She added: ‘I’m really worried even though I’ve done nothing wrong. I don’t know what to do.’
Sue Disley added: ‘We usually do our shopping here, it used to be easy parking.’
‘Now it’s with Parking Eye its quite a complicated machine for elderly people to use and they usually pay in cash.
‘And they’ll be frightened (if they receive a parking charge)and they’ll pay it.’
When notified of this issue, a spokesperson at ASDA Head Office directed the issue to Parking Eye. Parking Eye have no telephone contact, and the paper contacted them by email and have yet to receive any comment.
ASDA have said: ‘There is clear signage in the car park, and there are three reasons why a motorist may receive a PCN even when paid for parking at the Newton Abbott store: Vehicle registration entered incorrectly when paying for parking; Not paid enough for the duration of stay; Overstayed the maximum three-hour stay.
‘The parking restrictions in place at our Newton Abbott store are there to ensure that there are enough spaces available for all of our customers. We are aware that a small number of customers have raised complaints with the store team and Parking Eye and we’ll work with them to ensure any outstanding issues are resolved.’