A retired couple who were enjoying a day by the sea have spoken how they were made to feel like ‘victims of an attempted mugging’ when a broken parking machine left them with a £100 parking ticket.
Former vicar David Attwood, 66, and his wife Gillian, 64, visited Folkestone from Hastings to see the Folkestone Triennial in September this year but fear now they may face a battle in court after losing an appeal.
The couple said they are now ‘losing sleep’ following the ‘scam’ charge when they left their vehicle in the Cheriton Place car park.
They not fear they will be taken to court by the debt collectors and have spoken to the local councillor to warn them they will not be returning to the area.
Former vicar David Attwood, 66, and his wife Gillian, 64, visited Folkestone from Hastings to see the Folkestone Triennial in September this year but fear now they may face a battle in court after losing an appeal
When they arrived at the car park, like other drivers, they discovered that the machine was out of order. The pair claim followed the instructions on a board which told them to call a mobile number which told them to text their car registration number too.
But when they returned to their car two hours later, they found an attendant attaching a Parking Charge Notice on their car, who said he was unable to withdraw it.
Mr Attwood, 66, said: ‘It feels like a scam. We have written to a local councillor, and have said we won’t come back to Folkestone.
‘We feel like we have been the victims of an attempted mugging.
‘A lot of people will just pay this charge as they want it off their mind.
‘But if you go to a shop and you buy something that isn’t up to standard, you should uphold your rights.’
He added: ‘He told us to phone in the morning and it would be sorted out.
‘We did that, appealed, and went to the Independent Appeals Service (IAS).
‘At no point have we had any proper response to our account of what happened. All that has been repeated is we parked without displaying a ticket, which we accept.
‘We have been repeatedly harassed and threatened into paying the parking charge, which has now been increased from £60 to £100 purely because we exercised our right to appeal.
‘It appears that IAS is set up by a number of private car park operators and basically operates entirely in their favour.’
There is a currently a sign in place at Cheriton Place car park which tells motorists to use a ‘ticket machine at Cheriton Place’ – a bizarre statement which refers to the same car park.
The UK Citizen’s Advice Bureau urges people to appeal if the machine or metre was broken and there was no way to pay.
UK Car Park Management did not respond to when approached for comment.