When will the likes of Kentucky Fried Chicken realise that treating customers in this way is not the way to do business?
Fast food trip lands £163 bill
Sep 30 2008 by Sam Casey,
Huddersfield Daily Examiner
FAST food fan Natalie Jackson has been hit with a super-sized £163 bill for her KFC ‘bargain’ meal.
Miss Jackson, 24, got fined £150 for parking for too long at the Leeds Road restaurant while she and a friend enjoyed a £13.16 bargain bucket.
They stayed for 13 minutes longer than the maximum allowed time of 75 minutes.
She said: “I think it’s disgusting.
“I had receipts to prove I had been in there eating and they weren’t even interested in discussing it.
“I’m not going to pay, I’m going to fight it. I think it’s ridiculous to be charged £150 to go and sit in there for an hour and a half.
“I spend a lot of money in there – I used to go in there three times a week – and they have lost my custom. I’m never going back.”
Miss Jackson, of Moorlands Rise, Meltham, went to the restaurant on the evening of September 16.
She did not see the signs telling customers they can stay for only 75 minutes.
She later discovered there are cameras at the entrance and exit to the car park which record what times cars arrive and leave.
It was only when she received a ticket in the post a week later from parking company Civil Enforcement Ltd that she realised she had broken the rules.
She said: “I didn’t feel like I was in there all that long.
“I was having a conversation, not thinking there was a time limit. I went out to the car, didn’t think anything of it, then I got the ticket.
“I can understand them wanting to clamp down on people who aren’t eating there, but this is punishing their own customers.
“It’s not a reasonable amount of time to allow. If you are a businessperson you might take your time. If you have a child or are disabled it might take you more time than other people.”
She complained to the restaurant, but was told it was the parking company’s responsibility.
The Examiner was unable to contact Civil Enforcement Ltd, which does not have a listed telephone number.
A spokesman for the Citizens’ Advice Bureau said:
“Legally they aren’t doing anything wrong.
“The British Parking Association’s code of practice says they shouldn’t charge more than £150.
“This seems to be more of an issue of customer relations. If you have parked in a restaurant car park to go for a meal, you may not assume you could be fined for staying too long.
“You would hope that common sense would prevail, but this is a strange world we live in.”
Neil Herron, who campaigns against parking fines, said people should refer private parking companies to court.
He added: “The ultimate liability in this case lies with Colonel Sanders.
“Behaviour like this is enough to give anyone indigestion.
“To charge £150 for 13 minutes’ extra parking is highly disproportionate. At least highwayman Dick Turpin had the decency to wear a mask.”
A spokesperson for KFC said: “A parking restriction was introduced at the Leeds Road store to prevent non-KFC customers using the car park. The 75-minute time restriction is clearly signposted and is designed to accommodate our customers who generally eat for about 30 minutes.
“We regret that one of our customers feels she has cause for complaint and have put her in touch with Civil Enforcement who will be happy to review her case.”
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