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Parliament Debate On Parking Fine Scandal

By raccars Published

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A new scandal involving parking giant, NCP, has reached Parliament, with Tory MP, Robert Halfon, calling for a House of Commons investigation into the practices of the biggest car parking chain in the UK.

The issue centres around parking fines being issued to drivers on the basis that their perfectly valid pay and display tickets are being placed on the wrong part of the dashboard. Harlow MP, Mr Hafton, has called the practice disgraceful after commuters using his local railway station car park called the behaviour of the parking wardens there into question. They claim that a number of fines of £50 or more have been issued, on the basis that pay and display tickets have been put in the 'wrong place' on their dashboard.

Mr Hafton has called on the Leader of the House, William Hague, to work with the transport and business ministers, to investigate NCP parking fine practices. Commuters had also contacted Mr Hafton after being fined for parking in areas of the car park which were apparently restricted, although there was no clear signposting to denote the restrictions. Mr Hafton claims that NCP is 'fleecing' its customers and has called on the company to refund the fines issued to those who parked in the inadequately signed restricted zone.

Mr Hafton originally contacted NCP about the problems in December, at which point the company issued a written response, acknowledging that restricted zone marking had faded and promising to refresh them. However, the complaints have continued and Mr Hafton has written again to NCP.

This is not the first time that National Car Parks has come under fire for unfair practices. High prices in hospital car parks and price hikes for major events, including the 2012 London Olympics, have also seen the firm criticised in the past.

Mr Hague appears reluctant to intervene at this stage, claiming that station parking charges are a commercial issue which needs to be dealt with by the Office of Rail Regulation. Nonetheless, he agreed to consider the matter with his colleagues. NCP claims that fines are not issued on the basis of ticket placement, as long as tickets can be clearly seen. NCP also claims that any parking restrictions at the station in question are clearly marked. The firm points out that customers are welcome to appeal any penalties which they consider to be unfair or inappropriate.

However, there have been well documented cases in the past, where NCP has issued fines for parking tickets being displayed upside down, for example.

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