Friday, June 12, 2009

Car parking fiasco...want your money back?

Anybody who has been fined and wants more information contact

The Comet

A PARKING attendant firm has continued to charge fees and issue fines at a town centre car park despite their contractors going bust six months ago.

The car park at the back of Woolworths in Hitchin has continued to be run by Euro Car Parks (ECP) despite the former retailer going into administration in January and closing the store. Deloitte, Woolworths' administrators, said ECP no longer has a contract to operate on the site. Deloitte spokesman, Harry Cazi, said: "I spoke to Euro Car Parks today (Tuesday). We have certainly not instructed them to do this. I told them that we don't require their services." Angry Hitchin worker, Wayne Scott, contacted The Comet after his fiancée was asked by an attendant whether she had a ticket.

He said he saw two other people being fined and asked the attendant whether the company still had a contract to work there.

He said: "They are basically scamming people. They shouldn't be working there at all. They are lining their pockets at a time when people can't afford it."

Jim Hunter, director at Gatwards jewellery shop in Market Place, said his colleague Lisa Gatward was fined £50 by ECP in April after not buying a ticket.

He said: "We thought because Woolworths had gone there would be nobody taking money. If they are taking money illegally they should give it back. It is morally wrong, if nothing else." Les Knight, business director at ECP, said he was not aware that parking attendants were still enforcing the regulations, despite acknowledging they still had a working ticket machine and enforcement signs across the car park.

He said: "The agreement with Woolworths was never terminated. We never got an official order to close. We only received an email from the administrators this morning (Wednesday).

"I remember I had a conversation with a colleague, as the new owners are not agreeing anything. I'm a bit surprised actually - it's not what you'd call a big earner anyway.

"We certainly don't have a constant site presence. But we are in business to make money - as all businesses are - I'm not ashamed to say that."

When asked if there was a way drivers could get their money back, Mr Knight said: "No, not really. There are terms and conditions displayed."

The Comet was asked for a breakdown of how much money ECP had taken from the site since Woolworths closed, but we had not received this before going to press.

The company said it had ceased operations on the site as of yesterday (Wednesday) and will remove the ticket machine and signs as a matter of priority.

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