Published On: Fri, Mar 15th, 2024

‘I was stuck in a gridlock…but still forced to pay £100’ | UK | News

The secondary school teacher, 39, was targeted just before Christmas when she went to buy a new child car seat.

Natalie drove to Crossley Retail Park which offers three hours of free parking, at 11.12am on December 22.

She and daughters Edith, four, and Verity, eight, visited the shops and returned to the car at 11.50am.

However, Natalie could not leave the car park in Kidderminster, Worcestershire, because a stationary queue of “nose-to-tail” traffic had brought the area to a standstill.

Natalie decided to walk home to make the girls some lunch and returned to her car at 1.30pm, with 40 minutes to spare until her parking expired.

But the “obscene level” of congestion meant she was stuck for another hour, overstaying her time by 12 minutes, which was picked up by cameras.

Natalie received her first letter, notifying her of a fixed penalty charge, on January 4, from parking firm G24.

She appealed on its website, explaining the circumstances, but G24 rejected it days later.

The company said if Natalie wanted to re-challenge the decision, she must use an independent appeals service.

Her second plea was rejected and she has now received a final notice-for-payment letter.

Natalie, who works at a school in Wolverhampton, said: “It is outrageous that these big companies can act in this way. Someone needs to take a stand.

“The fine is only for £100, and believe me, if I had genuinely overstayed because of my own actions, I would not hesitate to pay it.”

She added: “This is not about the money. It never has been. This is about fairness.

“I think that my case is just indicative of a wider issue.

“There is very little independent oversight of the parking industry.

“These big companies can act with impunity, coercing people into paying unjust fines with official-looking letters and scare tactics.”

G24 was contacted for comment.

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