Secret cancellation clauses

When signing up with a private parking company to manage their land, often contracts include the right for the landowner to cancel tickets. So for example, if a genuine shopper complained to the store manager, the store manager could arrange for the ticket to be cancelled. Some contracts have a ‘genuine shopper clause’; in this case, if you are issued a ticket and can provide evidence you were a genuine shopper (e.g. a receipt) then the parking company will cancel the ticket. ParkingEye contracts with Morrisons supermarket are known to often include such clauses.

Whilst this is obviously good news for those that find out about it, it is clearly unfair. Nobody would know that such allowance exist if they complain to either the parking company or the store – and not everyone would complain. This is not because they’re not upset or angry, but some personality types cannot bear conflict or too introverted to speak up. This particularly affects the vulnerable people within our society – often those who such a ticket would affect the most.

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Further it actually demonstrates the system put in place (typically using automatic number plate recognition, ANPR, to issue tickets for overstaying) is not fit for purpose. If the system was not designed to entrap motorists, why don’t the openly advertise the cancellation clause on the signage, and in letters sent to motorists requesting payment? It is simply a money making game.

From a legal perspective this practice may be considered unlawful. The Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 prohibits misleading omissions from consumer contracts (section 6(1)). It is arguable that by omiting or hiding material information from the signage about these clauses, it could fall foul of the law. Had the motorists known about this, they may have been able to avoid the parking charge by having it cancelled by the store.

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So, if you receive a private parking ticket you should try and find out whether such clauses exist to get your ticket cancelled. Firstly contact the landowner (e.g. store manager if it is a supermarket) and ask them to cancel the ticket. Secondly, contact the parking company and tell them you were a genuine shopper. If these approaches fail, then you will need to appeal – have a look at our appeal guide.

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11 comments on “Secret cancellation clauses
  1. simon says:

    if a sort accepts payment for goods can this be consideration for parking?

  2. hellfire says:

    You would think this ‘common-sense’ approach would apply where high profile and customer-hungry stores would not wish to antagognise their customers. OH NO !

    I recently inadevertently overstayed the 3 hour limit by a few minutes aftera protracted expedition to B & Q.
    The manager said he was unable to intervene as “the car park was not managed by ourselves”.

    One might expect a national chain with a lot of clout to have more control over the parking atr its stores.

  3. renard says:

    Tesco have a Customer Service line specifically to help people who receive PCNs in their car parks. Best if you can prove you were a ‘genuine customer’ by having your shopping receipt or credit card statement.

    The number to call is 01382 227820 (confirmed February 2016).

  4. d.g.turner says:

    We were issued a £30 ticket for using two bays. I require the use of a hoist to get me into a wheelchair therefore need a wide space. There were no Disability spaces so we straddled two normal bays.
    I left my Blue Badge and the hoist in full view.
    We returned to the Customer Assistance desk where the ticket was cancelled.
    I COMPLAINED TO ASDA ABOUT THIS BUT SAID THEY COULDN’T HELP AS SMART PARKING WAS RESPONSIBLE. MY ADVICE IS AVOID ASDA – THERE ARE PLENTY OF ALTERNATIVES.

  5. Dawn says:

    Thanks for the information on this page. My daughter had a PCN from Tesco – she phoned the number provided in this thread and they searched her Club Card and it showed that it was used on the date in question. Ticket cancelled!!!

  6. Ronnie Hughes says:

    Can anyone help me please? I don’t know where to post this, so sorry for any wrong doing.
    After my 12 hour night shift, that finished at 05.45 am, I went to Sainsburys Fosse park Leicester to fill up. I went home, took the wife to work and went to bed, got up at 12 midday, picked the wife up from work at 13.00 and went grocery shopping at the same sainsburys. We got there at 13.20, had lunch in their restaurant and did our shopping, as we have done there for years and left at 14.35, as I had yet another 12 hr shift to do. Two days later I receive a letter, from Euro Car Parks, claiming I had overstayed by 5.7 hrs and a ‘fine’ for £70.00.
    Now, the only way to in to Sainburys petrol station from my direction from work is passed the automatic reg reader, so it clocked me going in but not leaving the petrol station.
    The problem is the reader is only at one point of entry and exit to Leicester Fosse park sainsburys and yet, there are two other points of entry and exit not manned by the auto reader, the petrol station being one.(At least I don’t think there is) I have seen a fella walking round and I feel sure they clamp you for long periods of overstaying. As I wasn’t there for that 5.7 hrs, I never received a windscreen ticket or a clamp on my car, Sainsburys do have cctv everywhere though.
    How else do I prove my innocence other than the petrol, Sainsburys restaurant and grocery receipts. I fear it’ll only prove I was there, I don’t dispute that, but I went home after getting my petrol. Can anyone help, with thanks, Ronnie.

  7. sally passmore says:

    I overstayed at Tesco. They have a Customer Service line specifically to help people who receive PCNs in their car parks. I didn’t even have to prove I was a ‘genuine customer’

    The number to call is 01382 227820 (confirmed November 2016).

    I said I had car problems. The lady logged my details, she was very nice and said “if” you do get anything through the post just call us back and we will get it cancelled for you!!! Phew!!!

  8. sam says:

    We recently got a charge from Tesco. I phoned the number (01382 227820) as noted by Renard above and was suitably outraged – they cancelled it without asking for any receipts / clubcard and gave me a reference number in case this happens again as we were genuine customers.

    Ridiculous to have to go through this but 100% worth a go.

  9. Louise says:

    I need some advice. I am disabled and overstayed parking by 6 minutes which I did not realise. The company is parking eye and it was in a multi story car park in the town not a supermarket. I have recieved a parking fine for £100 I’m the post. I am disabled and my daughter did the ticket machine for me. How do I get this cancelled. I knew nothing about it until the letter this morning

    • Parking Cowboys says:

      You’ll need to explain the full details of the scenario, but one key thing is that the law requires them to make reasonable adjustments for people with disabilities. If you are disabled, it is quite likely (depending on the disability) that you may take longer to use the supermarket. A reasonable adjustment may be to extend the time allowed. Further, the BPAs code of practice allows for at least 10 minutes grace period which you may be within (depending on how the 6 minutes over was calculated. I’d suggest you post on one of the forums listed on this page to get detailed help.

  10. Gregg says:

    My wife shopped at asda spent over £300 pound on goods what took her 3 hours and 38 minutes to spend . She was over the 3 hour time limit what as got her a £70 pound parking fine should she pay this fine

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