A number of private parking companies issue Parking Charge Notices if the driver is observed leaving the site, and the terms and conditions of parking state the driver must not leave the site.
The issue here is that the retailers are providing a car park for their customers and don’t want people parking there car and then going and doing business somewhere else. There are a number of ways to solve this problem. One way is to issue a bar coded receipt when the shopper buys something, and then this bar code is used to raise the exit boom gates.
However, some retailers leave it up the the car park company to decide who to enforce the rule of not leaving the site. The car park companies and many circumstances has an employee permanently stationed in the car park who makes a note of the registration of any car whose driver parks and then walks out of the car park in the other direction of the shopping centre. When the driver returns they have a Parking Fine (more correctly called a Parking Charge Notice as these are not statutory fines) on their windscreen. Often the driver has left the site simply to obtain cash from the ATM machine over the road. The driver then returns to the shops, does their shopping and then returns to their car only to find the “fine” on the windscreen.
There are three ways around this problem:
1. Walking into the supermarket, before leaving out another exit inside the supermarket. The parking company goons are almost always stationed in the car park, and once they see you walk into the supermarket, they will lost interest in you.
2. If you still get fined, contact the retailer with proof of your purchase and demand the retailer contacts the parking company to have you PCN withdrawn.
3. Appeal to the parking company and/or their external appeal service and quote the court case of Vehicle Control Services v Ibbotson (Vehicle Control Services is owned by Excel Parking Services). In this famous legal case, the judge ruled in favour of the motorist because he (the judge) said the parking company should have warned the driver before he walked off site. Part of the reason for this ruling was the fact that Vehicle Control Services did not produce any proof that they were authorised to litigate on behalf of the retailer (Wicles). But the judge also noted that the attendant on site who noted that Mr Ibbotson had left the site, had made no attempt to mitigate VCS’s loss. For example, the attendant made to attempt to call out to Mr Ibbotson and tell him he would be charged for parking if he left the site.