A WOMAN is warning others after a £65 parking charge ended up costing her £780.
Deborah Mead parked her car at the Gosport Borough Council-operated off-street car park in North Cross Street in June last year.
The 43-year-old returned from the post office to find she had been given a Parking Charge Notice 14 minutes after her ticket expired.
It said she must pay the charge of £65 with a reduction to £45 if it was paid within seven days.
Ms Mead offered to pay £25 before lodging an appeal claiming the charge was unfair and against EU law.
She lost and was taken to court when she did not pay.
A legal battle followed, during which Ms Mead, who has a law degree from Oxford Brookes University, defended herself and argued that her ticket was invalid and the charges were excessive.
At the third court date last month she was told to pay a £20 fine, £45 compensation, a £15 victim surcharge and £700 costs at the trial at Portsmouth Magistrates’ Court.
She had based her defence on laws relating to on-street car parking, not off-street, and having no defence in law, changed her plea to guilty.
Ms Mead, of Sydney Road in Gosport, said she wants the charge to be lowered to £45 or £25 if paid within seven days like other councils.
She said: ‘As I dug further and tried to get information from the council I had the realisation “oh my God I could be wrong”.
‘I believe we’re becoming a dictatorship and that the councillors need to wise up.
‘I didn’t have the money to pay it, I had my bank statement to show it.
‘Tell the people of Gosport not to challenge it through the court and get into the same situation that I did.’
Councillors voted on a parking order setting charges in 2010 based on the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984.
Challenges can only be made at high court within six weeks of the policy being set.
The council said it had corresponded with Ms Mead before the trial and that the award did not cover its costs.