I was furious when separate visits in the same car on the same day to an Aldi store on Nantwich Road near Crewe, in Cheshire, led to a parking charge notice from ParkingEye for £70. The maximum stay there is one-and-a-half hours.
My wife arrived first at 10.39am and left at around 11.30am (after spending £19.14 on groceries). I drove the same vehicle into the car park at around 4pm and left 10 minutes later. No purchase was made at that point, as I only called in to inquire about a fridge. I returned at approximately 4.30pm in a campervan (a more suitable vehicle) and bought the fridge assisted by a member of staff. There is obviously an assumption that the vehicle leaving at 4.10pm had been there since 10.39am.
The charge has cost two hours of my time rummaging through a recycling bin to retrieve the relevant receipts to prove the times of the visits.
Aldi’s car parks throughout the UK are managed by ParkingEye, and although the retailer encourages its shoppers who have been slapped with what they consider to be an unfair charge to complain directly (email@example.com), talkboards have been full of complaints about the mailbox being full up.
The time limit for free parking has also gradually been reduced and an hour-and-a-half is not long, particularly for older and infirm shoppers.
In your case, Aldi and ParkingEye have acknowledged that there was clearly a mix-up. An Aldi spokesperson said: “Our car parking system is set up to ensure that we can offer customers maximum car parking space. This includes preventing non-customers from misusing spaces. Aldi does not make any revenue from parking notices.
“We acknowledge that BD was incorrectly charged and ParkingEye has consequently cancelled his charge. We apologise for any inconvenience this may have caused him.”
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You are not required by law to pay this fine – there was no need to do anything at all other than ignore it. Parking fines in private car parks cannot legally be enforced.