Florist furious over parking fine

A FURIOUS florist today claimed his car parking fine was a blooming cheek after he was penalised for following advice.Rob Dunger said he was directed to park on a pavement at Cardinal Park in Ipswich by an employee of Excel Parking because other cinema-goers had filled all the spaces.

A FURIOUS florist today claimed his car parking fine was a blooming cheek after he was penalised for following advice.

Rob Dunger said he was directed to park on a pavement at Cardinal Park in Ipswich by an employee of Excel Parking because other cinema-goers had filled all the spaces.

But when he returned to his sister's car it had been ticketed. Now he is in the midst of a two-and-a-half year battle to get the £90 bill overturned.

Mr Dunger, of Waterloo Road, Ipswich, said: "I wrote them a letter saying I wouldn't pay it, but I just keep getting the same thing back again and again as if I'd never been in touch.

"I can't see how anyone can get away with making these charges. If I had committed an offence I would expect to pay £20, but this is just excessive."

Last week The Evening Star revealed how Bury St Edmunds dinner lady Alison Newton was hit by a £100 fine for a five-minute stay outside KFC.

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She was so upset by the threat of bailiffs and court action that on Friday she paid the balance of her £100 fine issued for parking incorrectly.

Mrs Newton said: "I was so upset I felt I had no choice even though I resented paying such a lot of money when I did nothing wrong. If I visit Ipswich in the future I shall be using park and ride, I will certainly not go there again."

Mrs Newton's experience certainly struck a chord with Mr Dunger. He too has faced threats of bailiff and court action from the Sheffield-based parking firm.

And he has been left frustrated by the premium-rate phone number issued to contact the firm.

He said: "It's impossible to get through. It's 50p a minute, but it's not 50p a minute to speak to a person.

"The call is answered and you're just put on hold so the charging has already started. I have never waited long enough to speak to anyone."

Mr Dunger is worried most people will simply cough up the cash when faced with threats over unpaid bills.

But he is determined to keep fighting until the fine is dropped.

He said: "There's no way I'm going to pay it, although I am worried because it was my sister's car and she is getting the letters.

"Every time I think it has stopped another letter comes.

"I don't think it is entrapment. I think it was more likely to be someone changing shift, but it's still not on.

"If I ran my business that way I wouldn't have any customers left."

Glen Carter, national operations manager at Excel Parking Services, said: "We do have separate shifts and it maybe that the information from the previous shift did not get passed on to the next. We are faced with these circumstances on regular occasions.

"But we would have investigated if the owner had appealed against the ticket, and resolved the situation. The owner would have had to prove the facts of his case. If we are still requesting payment than the charge still stands. It's his word against the attendant's on site."

N What do you think? Write in to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or email eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk or visit the forum at www.eveningstar.co.uk

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