Not lovin’ it – parking fine fury at drive-thru

Fast food giant McDonald’s has apologised after a parking enforcement contractor fined a customer £100 for allegedly leaving his car outside their Sleaford restaurant for 14 hours overnight.

The entrance to the McDonald's car park at Holdingham. EMN-211224-102747001
The entrance to the McDonald's car park at Holdingham. EMN-211224-102747001

Mark Taylor, of Greylees, was furious to receive the fine from Met Parking which said he owed £60 if paid straight away but it would swiftly rise to £100 if he went to appeal.

He said the error had occurred from the car park cameras not picking up his Jaguar’s number plate properly in the dark and fog during two visits on consecutive days.

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McDonald’s says the parking contractor has now accepted the appeal and rescinded the fine, but Mr Taylor says he will not be visiting again to avoid the hassle and warns others may get caught out in the same way and just pay up.

Mark had visited the drive through at 5pm on Sunday, December 12 to pick up a meal for his daughter after she finished work and then again at about 6am the next morning to pick up a coffee on the way to Beverly for his job.

Angry about the time he has had to waste on this, he said: “The company have not carried out any due diligence to see if I had actually left and arrived again. Why on earth would I leave my car there for 14 hours when I only live four miles down the road? I’m sure that the staff would have noted an abandoned car there.”

He added: “I didn’t use the carpark on either occasion. They have presented as evidence two pictures of my own car, one entering on the Sunday and one leaving on the Monday.

“It’s quite obvious that as there are two lanes leaving, they missed me at the side of a motorhome on the Sunday and as it was dark and misty on the Monday, my headlights would have been on making it very hard for the camera to pick up my number plate.”

He said: “I approached the very scruffy duty manager in McDonald’s and he was not bothered in slightest and it wasn’t his problem at all. If you go through the drive through and don’t park there are no readable notices about this third party company employed by the franchise owner.”

He said it was poor use of the PNC system in an effort to gain from parking fines and that an older person without internet access would have struggled to appeal the fine as there was no phone number except to pay the money.

A McDonald’s spokesperson said: “We have parking restrictions in place at a number of our restaurants, with a time limit to ensure there is adequate parking for all of our customers. We are sorry that on this occasion, the customer in question was fined incorrectly and we apologise for any inconvenience caused.”

They said the fine was cancelled. Appeals are at the discretion of the parking control company on individual cases.