A week after my stay at the Travelodge Stirling M80 at Stirling services, I received a £100 parking charge notice for exceeding the free two hour stay in the shared car park. I couldn’t understand why I received this, as I’d entered my car registration number on the monitor at check-in.
The whole system appears to be automated by a third party car parking management company. The letter detailing my claimed over-stay at the car park, had time-stamped photos of our car entering the car park in the evening and exiting the next morning.
Now it’s not beyond the realms of possibility that I entered our car registration number incorrectly upon check-in. Or, maybe there was an issue with the car parking firm’s database.
I was also annoyed that the car park management firm had obtained my name and address from the DVLA. I don’t think that the DVLA should be releasing drivers’ details to private car parking firms to enable them to issue fines to drivers.
I emailed the car parking management firm on the day I received their letter, including a copy of the invoice for my stay at the Travelodge Stirling M80. However, after two days and no confirmation of receipt of my email, I phoned to check that they had received my email.
I was given a different email address by the member of staff on the phone. Within a few hours of sending the second email, I received a reply, pasted below.
“Thank you for your correspondence concerning your Parking Charge Notice.
In light of your claims, the representations stated in your appeal have been noted and upheld.
We apologise sincerely for any inconvenience and can confirm that this Notice has been cancelled in full and no further action will take place.”
No explanation of why I’d received the parking charge notice, but I was relieved that it was resolved.
It’s really annoying to have to spend time sorting out something that should have never happened in the first place. However, I don’t think it’s wise to ignore matters like this, as they could escalate and even end up adversely affecting your credit rating.
I suspect that this regularly happens to Travelodge guests staying in hotels located at motorway services, as part of the recorded message on the phone number given for appeals instructs Travelodge guests to email a copy of their invoice.
I think that Travelodge should set up a procedure to avoid this happening to guests. For example, Travelodge receptionists could take their own copy of the registration number of guests’s cars. Then these numbers can be cross referenced by the car parking management firm before charge notices are issued.
However, I suspect it’s a lot cheaper and easier just to leave it to guests wrongly issued with parking charge notices to sort it out for themselves with the car parking management firm.