Driver feared £300 in penalties after Banbury town centre car park 'error'

A driver has questioned operators of a Banbury town centre after an ‘error’ resulted in her being faced with up to £300 in penalties.
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Catherine Coverley parked three times in the NCP car park in Marlborough Road, Banbury. Each time she had problems getting her registration number accepted by the machine.

“I tried calling the number on the display sign repeatedly but couldn’t get through. After many attempts I eventually got a ticket which I displayed on my car. But I didn’t keep it afterwards,” said Ms Coverley, of Shutford.

She then received a £100 fine and expected two more for the other occasions on which she had had problems. Checks showed the three payments had not been taken from her bank in spite of tickets being issued. By this time two machines in the car park had been marked ‘out of order’.

Cathy Coverley, who received three £100 parking penalties after a ticket machine 'malfunctioned'Cathy Coverley, who received three £100 parking penalties after a ticket machine 'malfunctioned'
Cathy Coverley, who received three £100 parking penalties after a ticket machine 'malfunctioned'

Ms Coverley, a support worker for people with disabilities, uses the town centre car parks once a week.

An NCP spokesman said: “We can confirm the reason for the PCN (penalty notice) is because the customer only put the last two letters of her vehicle registration number into the machine for payment which meant our teams would have no way of knowing which vehicle the payment was intended for.

"Our systems are working fine; we can see just under 200 customers paid around the same time using their full and correct vehicle registration number, so we can confirm there were no issues with the machines but just a customer error.

"As a gesture of goodwill we are happy in this instance to cancel the PCN, but it’s best a customer contacts us directly when they realise their mistake and we can easily resolve it for them. We urge all customers to check they input the correct (registration number) into the machine to avoid any mistaken non-payments for the vehicle on site.”

Ms Coverley has heard nothing about the two other occasions she parked at the Marlborough Road car park, for which payment had not been taken.

NCP said they two ‘out of order’ machines had run out of tickets. All three are fully operational now. NCP’s other car park in Banbury, in George Street, has recently gone ‘app-only’.