A PARKING attendant has been filmed photographing a car that has been issued with a ticket before appearing to remove the invoice from the windscreen.
Two men working for Private Parking Solutions (London) Ltd at the car park behind Ashford Antiques Centre in Ashford, Surrey can be seen standing by the Vauxhall, one of whom is taking pictures. A private parking charge notice, in a yellow protective sleeve, is visible on the windscreen. The camera turns away briefly before returning to the car, which appears to have had the ticket removed.
The videographer then confronts one of the men, who confirms he and the photographer are colleagues working for the parking company. However, he confirms to the camera that the ticket has been removed as it has been cancelled.
The practice of removing tickets, known as “ghost ticketing”, leaves owners of vehicles unaware that a ticket has been issued until a letter arrives through the post, usually four to eight weeks later. According to parking scam activist Parking Prankster, there are several benefits to private parking companies. On a blog post he wrote:
“1) The driver is unaware that a ticket has been issued, so the parking company can rack up a number of charges in the eight week window before the driver realises they are doing something wrong.
“2) The driver loses the chance to gather supporting evidence at the time. For instance, the parking company may claim there was no ticket visible even though there was one on the dashboard. The driver therefore loses the chance to take their own photos proving a ticket was displayed, and may have even disposed of the ticket by the time the NTK arrives.
“3) The keeper cannot appeal, because the appeal window has already closed by the time they receive the NTK.
“4) The discount is lost so the charge must be paid at the higher amount.”
Private Parking Solutions (London) has also been accused of over-zealous ticketing at the Ashford car park. Aggrieved motorists have set up a Facebook group to fight the unfair tickets, with members complaining of practices such as waiting in the car park for harried drivers dashing to get change for the ticket machine, and issuing invoices within five minutes of tickets expiring.
Michelle Arnold, who administrates the Facebook group, said: “This is not the first time we have seen this and now we have it on video.”
Arnold added that the person who filmed the incident began recording for own her safety, as she claimed that “the bald guy was very, very rude to her a few weeks back.”
In March 2016, GetSurrey reported that the “over zealous” issuing of charges was set to be discussed by Spelthorne Borough Council, but activity on the Facebook group suggests little if any action has been taken. At the time, the car park operators insisted they were doing a “good job”, as previously nobody was paying to park on the site.
Private Parking Solutions (London) declined to comment.