A COUPLE were left furious after parking at Barry Hospital landed them with a £200 bill and facing a potential court appearance.

David and Sue Burrows, of Greenlawns, Barry, received fines from private firm ‘ParkingEye’ who have managed the car park since last November.
Whilst parking at the hospital is free for up to three hours, drivers must enter their vehicle registration on a machine to avoid facing a penalty.

After visiting the hospital in April, the couple were shocked when Mr Burrows, 68, received a letter from The County Court Business Centre three months later telling him that he was facing a fine of £145 - including court fees and legal costs.

The missive stated that this was the third letter issued on behalf of ParkingEye, but the couple say this was the first time they had been contacted.

And whilst Mr Burrows acknowledged that - after being directed by a member of staff - he may have parked in an incorrect area, the couple were left astounded by the lack of communication and the court fees they had been left with.

“The letter said they had sent two previously which we did not receive,” said Mrs Burrows.

“The first letter we received was from the court in July. Naturally we were very concerned, so we called ParkingEye immediately.”

When they contacted ParkingEye, the couple were informed of a second £70 penalty for failing to enter their car’s details correctly into the machine - something Mr Burrows disputes.

Able to speak only to a payment-line advisor, they were told that the only way they could challenge the fine was to attend court, and risking receiving a County Court Judgement (CCJ) against them.

“She told us that if we didn’t pay it, the matter would escalate quickly,” said Mrs Burrows. “There was nobody else you could speak to. You’ve got no way of defending yourself because you can’t contact anybody.”

A spokesman for ParkingEye said the firm had made several attempts to write to Mr and Mrs Burrows about both fines.

The spokesman said: “ParkingEye makes every effort to ensure it acts on correct motorist contact information. We encourage people who have received a parking charge to appeal if they think there are mitigating circumstances, and instructions about how to do this are detailed on all communications and our website. 

“The legal enforcement of parking charges is always a final resort that we take in agreement with our client.”

“We paid it because we didn’t want the stress,” Mrs Burrows said.

“We’ve never had a CCJ before and we didn’t want the threat of something like that hanging over our heads. There must be loads of people of a certain age who get caught out all the time."