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Don’t ignore your parking charge says Citizens Advice

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CITIZENS Advice has  urged anyone who receives a charge for parking in the car park behind Bank Street not to  ignore it.

Several drivers have been hit with what they say is an ‘extortionate’ £100  charge for mistakenly parking in the car park behind Bank Street in Melksham.

Some drivers paid the charge immediately, but others ignored it completely and as a result have seen the charge increase and some have faced court proceedings. Citizens Advice say that parking charges should not be ignored.

Chief executive officer at Wiltshire Citizens Advice said, “Because the company is a member of the International Parking Community (IPC) they do have quite a lot of power, so ignoring a ticket is not a good idea. If you have genuine reasons why you shouldn’t pay, then you can find out the company’s details and write to them and make an informal appeal. If the informal appeal is rejected then you can appeal to an independent appeals service.

“If your formal appeal is rejected you should pay your parking ticket. If you don’t, you’re at risk of the costs increasing and you may have to go to court.

“If you are worried about the amount the fine is, there is sometimes room for negotiation on how you can pay the fine.

“If you receive a parking charge and you’re not sure what to do, there is advice on our website www.citizensadvice.org.uk or call us on 03444 111444 and we can help.”

Mark Baldwin who received a charge for parking in the car park will be going to court in December  to defend his decision not to pay the fine. He said, “The paperwork from the court is encouraging both parties to come to some agreement before the court date.  I have already agreed to mediation, but Parking and Property Management Company Ltd have turned that down.

“I am intending to make an offer to them as a gesture of goodwill in trying to come to a pre-court agreement.  I think that £20 would be more than reasonable given that it is 500 times more than what you would pay for 5 minutes in any other Melksham car park!  If they refuse my offer, it will be interesting to see what the judge makes of their rejection of my attempts at coming to a mutually agreed outcome.

“I’m determined to go to court with this.  I think it is a total misuse of property ownership to lure people into spurious debts and then threaten them with court action.”