ANGRY shoppers failed to see the funny side when a South Yorkshire council blunder introduced parking charge rises early on April Fool’s Day.
Parking machines across the borough were supposed to register the rise from yesterday.
But today Doncaster Council admitted an error meant machines were demanding the higher rate on Friday - which by coincidence was April 1.
Bosses at the authority were today promising refunds to anyone who overpaid, and said they acted to rectify the mistake as soon as they realised what had happened.
A spokesman said motorists would get a refund provided they still had their ticket. He added the authority had not yet been able to quantify how much cash was wrongly charged as a result of the mistake which affected nine town centre car parks.
Rob Scarrow, from Warmsworth, told how he found numerous angry shoppers in the markets car park on High Fisher Gate.
The old charges were £1.10 for one hour, and £1.60 for two hours. But the machines were already demanding the new rates of £1.20 and £1.80.
Mr Scarrow said: “The fact that the price is increasing by 20p for two hours is irrelevant, £1.80 represents excellent value for money.
“However the fact that the changes appear to have been brought in on the sly, three days early, is disgusting.
“If Tesco had a big sign up advertising half a dozen sausages for £1.60, then charged you £1.80 at the till, they would be rightly taken to task by trading standards. Sadly it appears our council do not apply the same standards to their own pricing.”
Gill Gillies, Doncaster Council’s assistant director of environment, said: “Unfortunately our contractors made an error and programmed the ticket machines to start charging new prices from April 1 instead of April 4.
“Once we became aware of the mistake we dispatched officers to stand in car parks and advise customers to keep paying the old prices.
“The issue was resolved by Friday lunchtime and we are making allowances for anyone who was affected by the problems.
“We apologise for any inconvenience caused, anyone with any questions should contact our Parking Enforcement Team on 01302 735041.”