Travellers warned of 'rogue meet and greet' parking firms operating at London Gatwick Airport

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Airline passengers who drive to the airport are being warned about using unauthorised parking firms. Credit: PA Images / library picture

Rogue traders are continuing to operate at Gatwick Airport offering a ‘meet and greet’ parking service for travellers, according to West Sussex Trading Standards.

The agency has joined forces with airport managers and Sussex Police to issue a warning to holidaymakers to “do their homework” before “handing over their keys and jetting off on their travels”.

The authorities said they receive regular reports of customers who are disappointed with the service offered by unauthorised valet parking companies at London Gatwick.

In previous years some customers have reported damage to vehicles, including with vehicles being returned dirty or with more mileage on the clock.

Customers have also reported some rogue companies purporting to take a vehicle to a secure car park, only for the company to leave the vehicle on a different level at the short stay car parks without payment, leaving customers facing charges upon their return.

Inspector James Biggs, from Sussex Police, said: “Travellers seeking to use ‘meet and greet’ parking services should do their homework before deciding which company to use.

“Online tools are available to help travellers with their research. If you book through an agent online, you should be aware that your vehicle may be allocated to a number of companies on their books.

“By doing your research you will be more confident to leave your vehicle with your chosen company and enjoy your travels.”

Sussex Police said travellers should do their homework before deciding which parking company to use. Credit: PA Images / library picture

Motorists are also reminded that most parking companies are not affiliated to London Gatwick, even if the business includes ‘Gatwick Airport’ in its name.

Gary Wallace, Head of Parking at London Gatwick, said: “Gatwick Airport has no relationship with these rogue ‘meet and greet’ parking companies, even though many of them have ‘Gatwick’ in their company name.

“Legally rogue firms can operate on the airport as long as they do not break our by-laws.

“If passengers are considering using an off-airport meet and greet parking provider, they should check that they have a good reputation on Trustpilot, Trip Advisor or any other reliable means. The British Parking Association also has some good advice.

“For complete peace of mind, I would however strongly recommend that passengers use official on-airport parking.”

Richard Sargeant, West Sussex Trading Standards Team Manager, said: “In recent years, we have had to deal with a number of rogue ‘meet and greet’ companies at Gatwick Airport and it can be very difficult for travellers to decide which parking operator is best to use when you go on holiday or business.”

Anyone who thinks they have been a victim of an unfair trading practice is advised to contact West Sussex Trading Standards via or Citizens Advice on 0808 223 1133.

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