A pensioner is challenging a £100 parking fine that was issued after he struggled to use an app to pay for a ticket – even though he tried to buy one a second time.
Former tax inspector Anthony Birch, 80, believed he had paid a £1 charge for parking at the Five Valleys multi-storey car park in Stroud, Gloucestershire, via a phone app.
After leaving the car park, Mr Birch was unsure the payment had gone through correctly and returned to pay £1 to display a printed ticket in his car.
However, he was shocked to receive a £100 fine from the centre’s parking operator, Civil Enforcement Ltd – despite his bank statement showing that he had been charged by the parking company twice.
In spite of the evidence, the parking company rejected his appeal and his phone calls were all met with an automated answering machine.
Mr Birch now intends to challenge the fine, to set an example for other elderly people struggling with technology.
He said: “I’m 80 years old. We don’t get on with tech. I genuinely thought I had done what I should, but I didn’t feel comfortable about it, so we went back and bought another ticket to make sure.
“I’ve tried ringing the company, but it’s all automated and you can’t speak to anyone…
“I would never do the wrong thing by intention, and feel like companies like this need to have some compassion for people particularly in these difficult days.”
Tony Davey, chairperson of Stroud Chamber of trade, said he has been working with the shopping centre management team for some time to reduce these situations.
He added: “This has resulted in some changes of policy and a couple of updates to the way the machines work.
“We encourage anyone who has a fine they believe to be inaccurate to take it up with the car park operator.”
A spokesperson from the Five Valleys Shopping Centre said: “We work with an automatic number plate recognition company specialising in car park management up and down the country.
"This ensures an easy to use payment system is in place where people can use cash, card or a mobile phone app to make payment by entering their full correct registration details within twenty minutes of entering the car park.”
The spokesperson urged customers to contact the centre with their PCN number if they feel they have been fined unfairly.
Mr Birch has lodged an appeal with parking ombudsman, POPLA, to fight his fine.