Woman in legal row with Excel parking after using wrong reg number at Wakefield car park

  • Video report by Helen Steel

A woman who faced legal action after accidentally providing the wrong registration number to pay for a parking ticket has branded the firm responsible "shameful".

Clare Marsden was initially fined £75 when she used the details for her own vehicle rather than the courtesy car she was driving when she parked in a privately-run Wakefield city centre car park.

Despite explaining her mistake and providing proof she had paid for a ticket, Excel Parking Services stood by the demand.

But after refusing to attend a court hearing in Northampton and pay the full amount, Mrs Marsden now faces a £277 bill and the threat of bailiffs.

She said: "It's horrendous if someone comes and knocks on your door and says 'what have you got in the house that we can take?'

"It's also shameful to think that I'm being pursued by a bailiff for car parking that I actually paid for in the first place."

Mrs Marsden said she tried to explain to Excel that she was struggling to make ends meet and was selling her home after her mortgage quadrupled. She offered to pay half the initial amount.

"I realised the mistake I'd made," she said.

"So I got back in touch with them and said 'really sorry, it's my mistake, I will pay half the fine'. They said no."

Mrs Marsden was fined after parking in Smyth Street car park in Wakefield Credit: ITV News

Mrs Marsden's case follows that of other motorists who have fought fines issued by the same company.

Deepa Shetty, from Sheffield, took Excel to court in 2021, and won.

Mrs Shetty's partner was fined £100 in 2019 for an overstay at the Berkeley centre in the city, when the free parking limit had recently been reduced.

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Mrs Shetty took Excel to court in 2019 and won. Credit: ITV News

"That car park had been free for two hours for 20 years," she said.

"My partner thought it was two hours free. He stayed one and half hours, and so he got the fine."

The judge concluded Excel should not be using a sister company, Vehicle Control Services, to collect debts.

"Many people just pay rather than attempt to go to court because they think that court is something that they wouldn't be able to deal with," Mrs Shetty said.

"It made me very angry which is one of the reasons it became a bit of a crusade for me."

Mrs Shetty contested a fine her partner had received at the Berkeley Centre in Sheffield Credit: ITV News

Latest research by the consumer group Which? claims that 110 private companies in the UK issued up to 2.7 million fines in two months last year.

East Yorkshire Conservative MP Greg Knight has proposed a new law capping fines and introducing an appeals service.

He said: "There were too many cases of motorists being ripped off. I am hoping we will have a new law in place fairly soon now that will make parking on private property a lot fairer for motorists."

In response to Mrs Marsden's fine, Excel's sister company Vehicle Control Services said the offer of settlement was declined due to being "significantly lower than the amount owed" and that it is "satisfied that the PCN was issued correctly."

It added: "Mrs Marsden input a completely different vehicle registration number to the vehicle she was driving and as such she did not comply with the terms of conditions that were clearly set out on the signage at the car park. Consequently, a Parking Charge Notice (PCN) was issued.

"Mrs Marsden had the option to appeal within 21 days in accordance with the process set out in the PCN but no appeal was received nor evidenced; she only engaged with us when matters progressed to debt recovery. Had she done so at the outset, matters may not have progressed as they did."

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