car parking charges at Lidl, Sturry Road

by Christopher James Stone

Lidl won’t be getting a penny more off me after ticket fiasco

I had a wonderful Christmas present from Lidl last year. They charged me £90 for the use of their car park.

This came as a bit of a surprise to me. I’ve been using their car park, on Sturry Road, Canterbury, on and off, for about six years now.

I used it for work as the delivery office is just around the corner, on Military Road.

It’s a bit cheeky, I know, but I always used to make a point of shopping there on my way home. Last financial year, 2016-2017, I spent a total of £732.81 in Lidl, so they were reasonably well compensated for their loss.

I’d stopped using it recently as I’d found another place to park, but on this particular day, in the run up to Christmas, with all the extra staff and the extra vans in the staff car park, the usual places were full, and I ended up back in Lidl car park again.

What I hadn’t realised is that in the interim period its status had changed, and there was now a strict time limit on how long you could stay.

Fair enough. Lidl don’t really want stray postal workers using their car park and filling up their spaces; although, I have to say, even at peak periods, it was never completely full.

So you can imagine, when I got the parking charge notice I was mortified. That’s well over a day’s pay for me. So I decided to contest the charge on the basis that I hadn’t seen the signs.

This is entirely true. I arrived in the dark and I left in the dark and, no matter how many signs there were, or how well lit, I wasn’t looking so I hadn’t seen them.

I made my appeal, and they rejected my appeal. There are enough signs, they said, and I should have seen them. Then I made an appeal to the Independent Appeals Service (IAS).

My argument was this: the prima facie evidence that I hadn’t seen the signs is that I was parked there in the first place. QED. Had I seen the signs I would naturally have opted to park somewhere else.

The IAS also rejected my appeal, which seemed questionable to me.

All they did was to repeat what the parking company had said, while failing to give any weight to my argument; which makes me wonder how independent the Independent Appeals Service really is.

What strikes me is that this is sheer, unadulterated profiteering.

Lidl pay Athena ANPR Ltd. to administer their car park, so they are already fully compensated for the work they do.

Having been caught out once, I obviously have no intention of parking there again.

So why not give me the benefit of the doubt and let me off with a warning? Would that really have hurt? Instead of which they have pocketed the fine to add to their already considerable profits.

So thank you Lidl.

Your choice of Athena ANPR to police your car park has cost me £90; but it has cost you much, much more as I never intend to use your shop again. Ever.



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From The Whitstable Gazette 01/03/18

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