04:24PM, Saturday 15 January 2022
Stafferton Way’s retail car park operator in Maidenhead has been forced to apologise after a couple received a fine for parking in a correct manner.
Shirley and Simon Chalmers received a parking charge notice stating their vehicle was ‘not permitted and grace period [had been] exceeded’ in December.
The ticket, issued through Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) cameras belonging to SIP Parking Limited, suggested they had been in the car park from 8.01pm on December 9 until 10.21am on December 12.
Pictures of their vehicle were also attached in the letter, which threatened Mr and Mrs Chalmers with a £100 fine (reduced to £60 if paid within 14 days).
Fortunately, CCTV at Mr Chalmers’ employer showed his vehicle at work on December 10, the second day of the alleged period of parking, and the couple were able to get their fine rescinded.
SIP Parking Ltd apologised for the error, which was blamed on a ‘faulty camera’.
However, Mrs Chalmers has called for further action to ensure other customers at the car park are not also threatened with fines.
“I’ve written back to them [SIP Parking Ltd] and asked whether they’ve checked all the other tickets,” said Shirley.
“It was just before Christmas, and we’re zooming around, trying to get letters from my husband’s boss, with this horrible, £100 claim.
“I wonder how many other people have been hit with these false claims for parking, and maybe haven’t got a photo of their car somewhere else on the date.
“I just think it’s disgraceful; they did say the cameras were faulty, but there’s been no offer to check them.”
Mrs Chalmers added that she was concerned other people may pay the sum ‘out of fear’ if they were fined in a similar manner.
It is not the first time this car park has been under the spotlight.
In 2016, the Advertiser reported a number of individuals who had incorrectly been issued fines by a previous operator, G24.
A spokesperson for SIP Parking Ltd said: “If there appears to be a fault, an error or any other genuine reason or mitigation for a contravention then the parking charge notice will be cancelled, and no further action taken.
“On retail sites, especially during busy shopping periods, we do find that the proximity of vehicles when queuing can affect camera reads.
“Cameras can be remotely monitored and amended remotely and will be done so when required. [The] cameras on site are operating within limits.”
They also encouraged anyone who felt they had been incorrectly received a PCN in the car park to appeal. More information can be found at www.sipcarparks.com/appeals