Don’t park at McDonalds Billingsgate for more than 60mins

I had to phone to Mark Curtis, CEO of Flirtomatic. Before I called him, I pulled over to the nearest car park I could find on the way into London.

The location I selected turned out to be McDonalds Billingsgate — right there in the shadow of Canary Wharf, just outside the City of London.

I think I bought a diet coke at the drivethru (to ‘thank them for their business’) and then parked up and got out my new Orange N82 and phoned Mark.

Turns out that I was *there* for more than the allotted 60 minutes you’re given. I got a parking ticket — in the post — stating that I’d spent 90 minutes. And that isn’t allowed. Witness, then, a 50 quid fine payable to MET Parking Services. Total cost: 51 quid and change, including the diet coke.

And, to quote Edmund Blackadder, that’s “…As funny as getting an arrow through the neck and discovering there’s a gas bill tied to it.”

Joy.

Don’t make the same mistake as I. Don’t make podcast calls from the McDonalds at Billingsgate.

9 Responses to Don’t park at McDonalds Billingsgate for more than 60mins

  1. Kip Hakes August 20, 2008 at 11:22 am #

    Yeah – this is what MacDonalds up and down the land are doing – there was a piece in the paper a few weeks ago. I'm *sure* though that you could probably contest it, i'm not entirely sure these camera controlled parking ticket things are entirely lawful AFAIK.

    K

  2. DanLane August 20, 2008 at 11:47 am #

    Whaaaaat?! I'd write back telling them that I'm not paying. I'd also contact the office of the information commissioner and complain about the DVLA, did you know that the DVLA will hand out all your details to any unregulated privately held company who claims to have legitimate reason for knowing them?

  3. smstextnews August 20, 2008 at 11:49 am #

    You are absolutely right. It's just ridiculous!

  4. Ben Smith August 20, 2008 at 12:29 pm #

    From http://url.ie/mjv

    Tickets issued by private companies

    Private companies can issue tickets to drivers parked on their property, but the rules are not the same as local authorities.

    If you receive a ticket in a private car park, such as a supermarket car park, or private multi-story car park, remember that it is not criminal law, but contract law that applies. The driver enters into a contract with the landowner when they driver into the car park.

    This means that it is only the driver that can be subject to a ticket from a private company. If they do not know who the driver was, they cannot claim a penalty. They have no legal right to demand that you identify the driver.

    If you are approached by a member of staff inside a private car park there is no obligation for you to assist them in any way

    If the company wish to pursue a claim in the small claims court, they have to prove that you were the driver of the car. Any comments that you make may assist them in this aim, so best to say nothing.

    If you refuse to pay, the private company has to pursue you through the small claims court. It is up to them to prove a breach of contract so look at the terms carefully. These are usually printed on a sign at the entrance to the car park.

    Additionally, you may be able to reduce any fine issued by a private company. Under contract law, they can only claim for any loss they have suffered because of your offence. They may try to claim a penalty of, say,

  5. MarkW August 21, 2008 at 3:19 am #

    Good stuff, Ben. I'm taking a copy of that!

  6. Burak August 21, 2008 at 4:58 am #

    Seems to be happening a lot lately. They were talking about it on Have I Got News For You and Lauen Laverne said she stopped in the McD's carpark for 90 minutes for a spot of breast feeding. Then someone pointed out that she hadn't mentioned a baby being involved and lots of hilarity ensued.

    BTW, excellent work Ben.

  7. Burak August 21, 2008 at 5:58 am #

    Seems to be happening a lot lately. They were talking about it on Have I Got News For You and Lauen Laverne said she stopped in the McD's carpark for 90 minutes for a spot of breast feeding. Then someone pointed out that she hadn't mentioned a baby being involved and lots of hilarity ensued.

    BTW, excellent work Ben.

  8. MarkW August 21, 2008 at 9:19 am #

    Good stuff, Ben. I'm taking a copy of that!

  9. Burak August 21, 2008 at 10:58 am #

    Seems to be happening a lot lately. They were talking about it on Have I Got News For You and Lauen Laverne said she stopped in the McD's carpark for 90 minutes for a spot of breast feeding. Then someone pointed out that she hadn't mentioned a baby being involved and lots of hilarity ensued.

    BTW, excellent work Ben.

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