Woman charged £160 after stay at NCP multi-storey car park in Portsmouth city centre vows to take her fight to court
A WOMAN who claims she was unfairly ticketed in a Portsmouth car park says she will take her fight to court – and she is calling on others affected to form an action group.
Joanne Etherington, of Hayling Island, received a parking charge from car park operator NCP after she parked in its multi-storey car park in Crasswell Street on August 16.
The 52-year-old carer had stayed for just under two hours, however when she went to pay, she said the machine would not accept her card.
She said: ‘I went to go and pay but the machine would not take my £2 coin as it was not accepting change due to Covid.
‘I went to put my card in instead and it just wouldn’t work.
‘Originally it would not accept it, and when I tried a second time, the transaction seemed to go through but two weeks later I received a charge notice saying I owed £160.
‘I have appealed but they say as several other payments had been made by other people on the same day then my appeal was not successful.
‘Now they are threatening to take me to court. I am more than happy to go in front of a district judge and say my case.
‘There is obviously a problem with the machine. I would like to get a group together to show that it’s not just me, that there are many more people having this problem.’
Joanne, a mum of three, got in touch with The News after reading about a similar case, where Allan and Sheila Birt, from Southsea, experienced problems paying by card in December, so left the car park after 11 minutes and still received a charge.
They said the machine was faulty, and that others had also been experiencing problems, however parking firm NCP said this was not the case. They have now settled their case after NCP agreed to drop the charge to £20.
Joanne said this was just one of many other cases that she has heard about.
She said: ‘It is just an easy way for them to make money, especially when fewer people are using their car parks due to the pandemic.
‘My case happened in August, Mr and Mrs Birt’s happened in December, so it just shows that NCP was aware there was a problem but that it has not been fixed.
‘How much money have they made in that time? It is a lot of hassle to appeal and the letters can come across as very threatening and official so other people may pay up.
‘I hope I can help others.’
A spokeswoman from NCP said they had investigated Joanne’s case but had not found any problem.
They said: ‘The customer didn’t pay when they parked at the car park for one hour and 39 minutes.
‘When a customer appeal regards concerns of a faulty machine we can immediately investigate to see how many transactions occurred before and after that period, to see if there were any problems with the payment methods we provide.
‘Our findings showed the high volume of people paying correctly with no problems. We declined the appeal and the customer then went to an independent appeals committee who also declined the appeal. We can confirm that the parking charge notice was issued correctly.’
To get in touch with Joanne, e-mail [email protected]