Cousins’ anguish at parking fine mistake

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Two motorists who ended up being chased by debt collectors due to a car park operator’s mistake have spoken of their distress at the episode.

Veronica Cunningham and her cousin Pam Kain both received letters from collection agency Roxburghe demanding £75 for non-payment of parking fines incurred at Kettering General Hospital.

But both Mrs Cunningham, of Weldon, and Mrs Kain, of Desborough, had paid the £15 fine, and the extra charge was due to an administrative error.

A total of 120 people were affected by the error last autumn and all have been promised their money back.

Mrs Cunningham was attending a pre-operation appointment when she got the fine.

She said: “It was very distressing. The whole incident was very distressing to start with.

“I paid the fine and didn’t mention it to my husband because he was anxious about me going into hospital anyway.

“When I spoke to the debt collection agency they were too glib about it. I just smelled a rat.

“You feel so much better that you are not on your own with it.

“My mission was not to get the money back – it was to alert people to what was going on.”

Mrs Kain, 66, of Breakleys Road, was attending an appointment with her disabled husband when she got the fine.

She said: “When I got the debt letter I was just dumbfounded. I just didn’t know what to say. When I spoke to Veronica I couldn’t believe it had happened to her as well.”

Rob Shaw, manager of car park operator APCOA, said: “I would like to apologise for this unfortunate error and any distress this may have caused. We are in the process of writing to all the affected individuals and will refund any monies collected.”

Anyone affected can call APCOA on 01895 454277 or email contact-us@apcoa.com.