Excel Parking: Fury as Sheffield firm admits sending dodgy £100 demands to innocent drivers

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Excel Parking has apologised after demanding £100 from drivers who had valid parking tickets in Sheffield.

The company revealed it had wrongly issued threatening letters due to a fault at the rooftop car park in Broomhill. The firm did not say how many or over what period.

The scandal came to light after Michael Rhodes stopped at the site for 2hrs 24mins in December and received a £100 demand for ‘non-payment’ in January. Luckily, he found a ticket which proved he paid for three hours. He appealed, but when the firm failed to respond he contacted The Star. Now Excel has apologised and offered to pay £60 to charity.

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Mr Rhodes said: “I dread to think what the response would have been if I hadn't found a parking ticket a month later in my car, or not contacted the local press. I wonder how many other people they have done this to."

To Excel he said: “As you seem to like putting £100 notices on your letters in bold red writing, I would appreciate it if you could increase your donation to £100 and send it to mental health charity Mind. I will also require proof that a donation has been made in the form of a receipt.”

The Star has sent details to parking regulator, International Parking Community, and the DVLA. Excel uses the DVLA database to obtain drivers' addresses. The DVLA can suspend rogue firms. It is the third case this year where The Star has helped readers. Earlier this month, Excel apologised and paid Claire Blank £60 after an ‘administrative error’ at Berkeley Precinct on Ecclesall Road. And in January it cancelled a £170 demand sent to Louise Povey for failing to pay quickly enough, also at Berkeley Precinct.

An Excel Parking spokesperson said a pay machine in Broomhill had failed to transmit data.

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They said: “The car park is monitored by ANPR cameras which record entry and exit details of vehicles; these details are then matched against the parking tariff purchase transactions using the vehicle registration number. A parking charge was issued to Mr Rhodes as, at the time, our records did not indicate that a valid purchase of the parking tariff had been made.

“Following the investigations we undertook when Mr Rhodes appealed, we identified that some data was not transmitted from one of the Pay Machines to our systems and once the issue was identified we cancelled the parking charge. Our investigations also identified that some other parking charges had been issued as a result of the data issue and these were also cancelled and the recipients notified accordingly. We have also further reviewed our processes and quality checks in order to mitigate future incidents of this nature.

“We are appreciative that Mr Rhodes engaged with our appeals process and we advise any motorist to appeal a parking charge if they believe it has been issued incorrectly.

“Finally, in recognition of this unfortunate incident we will be contacting Mr Rhodes to convey our apologies and to arrange a donation to a registered charity of his choice.”

The rooftop car park is above a row of shops which includes a Morrisons supermarket as well as a Boots, Beres sandwiches and a Costa.