Driver, 69, is given £100 parking fine for queuing for a car wash

Driver, 69, is given £100 parking fine after she got stuck in car wash queue for more than 30 minutes

  • Colleen Russell took her car to be washed at a petrol station in Sutton, Surrey
  • Ms Russel, 69, had to wait 30 minutes as there were four cars ahead of her
  •  A few days after washing her car Ms Russel received a demand for £100
  • She said she is appealing the fine to Euro  Car Parks who manage the parking 

A pensioner was given an £100 parking fine – after she got stuck in a car wash queue.

Colleen Russell, 69, received the parking penalty from Euro Car Parks despite never actually leaving her vehicle during her visit.

The pensioner drove to Sutton Court Service Station in Surrey to use its car wash but on her arrival, was met with a 30 minute queue on June 25.

She said Euro Car Parks, the owners of the car park, have cameras monitoring the forecourt – fining anyone who stays for more than 30 minutes without a ticket.

Colleen Russell, pictured, was waiting in line to wash her car when she inadvertently overstayed the deadline in the service station in Sutton, Surrey, and was issued a £100 fine

Ms Russell had four cars ahead of her waiting to use the car wash at the Sutton Court filling station in Sutton, Surrey

But the technology doesn’t take into account cars using the car wash on busy days.

A week after her visit, Colleen, received a £100 parking fine from Euro Car Parks through the post.

Ms Russell, a retired carer from Sutton, Surrey, said: ‘I’ve been going there for over 10 years, and this has never happened before.

‘I didn’t go in for petrol, and I didn’t go in to park – I was just in the queue for the car wash.’

‘There were four cars in the line so I had to wait my turn to use the facility.

‘I’d like to know whether those cars were fined as well as they were also queuing just like me.

‘I just think it’s so unfair, especially because I’m a pensioner.’

Ms Russell has appealed the decision.

Euro Car Parks has been approached for comment.

Ms Russell said she had been washing her car at the service station for the past ten years without incident

How to appeal a parking fine issued by a private enforcement company

1 – Check if the company who fined you is accredited by the British Parking Association or the International Parking Community by checking the member lists on their websites. If they are not they won’t be able to get your name and address from the DVLA.

If you get the letter from a company that does not belong to either of the above organisations, then they have got your address so you should reply. However, you can write to the DVLA to make sure they have not got your details illegally.

Also make sure you write to the institution that owns the site you were fined on – such as a school or hospital – to state you were a genuine customer. Many ParkingEye contracts include a ‘genuine customer exemption’, which means that if you were a genuine customer or service user the ticket could be cancelled. 

2 – Write to the parking company to appeal the ticket, including any evidence you have that it was wrongly issued. This could include a valid pay and display ticket, photos of signs that are hard to see or misleading, permission from the landowner or a letter from a witness who can confirm what happened.

According to Citizens Advice, the notice to the vehicle’s owner must be delivered within 14 days after the last day of parking. If it isn’t delivered to you in time, tell the parking company you don’t have to pay the charge.

3 – If you are unhappy with their response then you can appeal to the independent arbitrators. For members of the BPA go to Parking on Private Land Appeals (POPA); for the IPC use the Independent Appeals Service.

4 – If your appeal is rejected then you should pay or the parking company will take you to court. When you can pay you should write that you are ‘paying under protest’ and keep a copy. If you still think you were wrongly fined you can take the firm to small claims court to try and reclaim the money. 

Appealing a parking ticket issued by a council is a slightly different process. Visit Citizens Advice for more details and support. 

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