Parking firm backs down over Corby pensioner’s ticket typo

Charges at the car park.
Charges at the car park.

A Corby pensioner who made a registration plate typo has had her parking fine cancelled after a two-month dispute.

Eleanor Wilson, 72, was handed a £60 ticket after putting a ‘U’ instead of a ‘Y’ when she paid to park at the old Co-op car park in Alexandra Road on August 17.

The old Co-op car park.

The old Co-op car park.

Debt recoverers on behalf of operators Smart Parking sent Mrs Wilson letters threatening court action if she did not pay, despite her protest that it was an innocent mistake.

But after the Northants Telegraph put her claims to Smart Parking, the firm said the charge had been cancelled.

Family friend Anthony Rogers, who had been dealing with the issue on Mrs Wilson’s behalf, said: “I think it’s a victory for the small person.

“Why they couldn’t have just done that in the first place, I don’t know.”

A Smart Parking spokesman said: “We have looked into this case and the parking charge has already been cancelled.

“We have written to Mrs Wilson to confirm.”

Mrs Wilson, who has a blue disability badge, had her fine increased to £140 after refusing to pay.

She was sent two letters in seven days – on October 17 and 24 – saying that the charge was legitimate and court action could be taken.

One of the letters, seen by the Northants Telegraph, informed Mrs Wilson that a Supreme Court hearing in 2015 ruled that a parking charge was lawful when a motorist refused to pay.

Mr Rogers, 52, said that the letters from Smart Parking amounted to ‘intimidation’ and left her friend unable to sleep or eat properly.

Speaking before the charge was cancelled, he said: “She paid for her ticket and it was a genuine mistake.

“Their [Smart Parking’s] approach has been disgusting and aggressive.

“It’s intimidating and downright unprofessional.”

The car park has been at the centre of a long-running controversy between drivers and Smart Parking.

When the store shut in January 2016, many were parking there for free.

But by the end of March Smart Parking took over the running of it and started enforcing charges.

Many motorists told the Northants Telegraph there was no indication of charges and that they were shocked to receive a ticket.

Hundreds hoped that a legal loophole would write off their tickets.

An independent appeals officer ruled the firm did not give drivers enough notice of the charges before enforcing them.

But when we asked Smart Parking to write off any tickets from the first two weeks, the firm refused.