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Drivers left hundreds of pounds out of pocket as confusion continues over parking machine

PUBLISHED: 07:30 15 September 2020 | UPDATED: 16:46 15 September 2020

Patricia Perry was fined for failing to pay at an Ipswich NCP car park after being left confused by the machine instructions. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Patricia Perry was fined for failing to pay at an Ipswich NCP car park after being left confused by the machine instructions. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Archant

Shoppers and workers returning to the town centre have clocked up hundreds of pounds worth of fines after confusion over cashless payments.

Tacket Street car park, Ipswich. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNTacket Street car park, Ipswich. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

The payment machine in the Tacket Street NCP car park in Ipswich no longer accepts cash as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, forcing customers to pay by card.

However, drivers say the system is complex and confusing and have been issued with a series of fines despite believing they had paid for parking.

Now Felicity Downie has been fined hundreds of pounds after her first week back at work in the town.

MORE: Retired postman fined £100 after not being able to pay for parking in cash

Tacket Street car park, Ipswich. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNTacket Street car park, Ipswich. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

She assumed she had been paying for parking but the machine did not register the transaction.

“I have used this car park many times over the years and have never not paid,” she said.

“I was devastated to receive five parking notices as I feel I made every effort to pay for my parking and thought it was going through.”

Ms Downie, who is in her late 50s, saw the machines were no longer taking cash on June 15, so entered her registration number and tried to pay by card – however, the machine did not issue a ticket.

Tacket Street car park, Ipswich. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNTacket Street car park, Ipswich. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

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Trying another four times, she assumed the car park must not be handing out paper tickets anymore and left. Thinking she had successfully paid she repeated the same process every day that week.

Her fines have now been reduced to £260, down from £500 but her appeals to NCP and Parking on Private Land Appeals (POPLA) to have the fines wiped out have been refused.

Patricia Perry lives in Hadleigh and was visiting Ipswich on July 18, using the NCP car park off Tower Ramparts and ended up paying a fine of £60.

The 69-year-old said: “I zapped my card and it went pip so I thought it was a bit strange. I did that three more times and nothing happened.

“I understand I didn’t pay so I deserve the fine but I am not a misuser – I didn’t do it on purpose.”

It comes after Anthony Meikle, a retired postman from Woodbridge, was fined £60 for failing to pay for parking in Tacket Street on August 11.

A spokesman for NCP said: “We have reviewed the complaint raised and concluded that in Tacket Street on the date stated by the customer there was a mechanism available for people to make payment at all times throughout the day. Our signage in the car park is clearly displayed.

“Like many car park operators, and indeed other businesses, we are encouraging contactless payments during the pandemic, but we do offer other forms of payment.

“If anyone feels they have been given a parking ticket unfairly, we would encourage them to contest it via our very comprehensive appeals system.”


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