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McDonald’s on Newmarket Road in Cambridge is a popular destination for drivers. However, there have been reports recently from shocked customers who’ve dined and parked their cars at the restaurant only to discover later that they’d been given fixed penalty notices.
Shapour Meftah was one unlucky customer who had a particularly expensive dining experience.
When he decided to meet his brother for a McDonald’s after work, he parked his car in the restaurant car park and thought nothing of it, until he received two penalty notices through his letter box from a private parking company, UK Parking Control, several days later.
The fixed penalty notices issued by the company came to £100 for his two visits to the restaurant on the evening of January 4 and January 6, 2023, respectively.
The company claimed that he had surpassed the 90-minute allocation for McDonald’s customers at the car park.
Shapour told CambridgeshireLive: “It was parking from hell – the most expensive McDonald’s I’ve ever had.”
If he doesn’t pay the fine within a week, the amount that is owed will rise to £100 per ticket.
He added: “There’s no sign inside McDonald’s that says you have 90 minutes to sit down, eat and go. You don’t want to rush your meal and we ordered quite a bit of food”.
Shapour went to McDonald’s to appeal the penalty notice he had been given.
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However, he said: “There’s no way you can get help from them. I tried talking to them and they said it was nothing to do with them. There’s no way on earth they’ll help you”.
Explaining the regulations at their car parks and fixed penalty notices, a representative from the company said that it’s at the discretion of the parking control company in charge of the car park.
They said: “We have parking restrictions in place at a number of our restaurants, with a time limit to ensure there is adequate parking for all of our customers.”
They added: “Ample signage regarding these restrictions is clearly displayed both as you drive into the car park and on various lampposts within it.
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“If a customer believes they have been issued a ticket incorrectly, they should appeal it as per the parking control company guidelines”.
MoneySavingExpert advises that if drivers get a ticket from a private parking firm that they believe is unfair, they shouldn’t pay it automatically.
The experts said: “Private parking companies have no official right to fine you, though they may try to make you think they do.
“All they’re doing is sending you a notice of what they deem to be a breach of contract.
“It isn’t the ability of private companies to issue tickets in itself that’s a problem though.
“It’s the unstructured system which puts unnecessary power in potentially unscrupulous hands”.
Shapour has put in an appeal for UK Parking Control to revoke the penalty notice.
Express.co.uk has contacted UK Parking Control for comment.
Additional reporting by Fareid Atta
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