ParkingEye strike again at Sunderland Royal Hospital

From: David
Subject: ParkingEye

Hello. Just getting in touch wondering if you have come across any similar issues regarding ParkingEye.  I got a penalty charge on 3rd Jan relating to parking at Sunderland Royal Hospital on 22nd December. The parking fee had been paid in full and luckily I had held on the the receipt despite it being 14 days previous. I appealed immediately and supplied a copy of the receipt so can’t see how they could enforce the £70 fine, but I wonder how many people won’t have kept the ticket, doubt themselves and end up paying. This seems like a fraudulent activity to me.  I await their response but I feel very upset as this isn’t even an issue of going slightly over time or not paying the right amount. How many vulnerable people have they abused in places like hospitals, when people have enough to deal with.

Hi David,

I’ve heard of many tickets issued by ParkingEye like this. ParkingEye use cameras to check cars in and out of the car park, and then reconcile that with the car registration data captured on the payment machine. This allows them to issue tickets if:

  • A ticket isn’t recorded against that registration
  • A car is in the car park for longer than the amount of time paid for

There are a number of flaws with this system. The cameras are not foolproof; they are reportedly of  the order of 97% reliable. So for every 100 cars, 3 will not be captured correctly. We hear of cases where cars visit the same car park twice in one day (known as “double dipping”) where the ticket is issued based on the first entry and second exit since the first exit or second entry is not captured correctly. The volume of cars going through these car parks means that tickets being issued in this way is inevitable.

The other key flaw is the registration entry system. People aren’t perfect and it’s quite likely that they may accidentally enter the wrong registration (e.g. mistype, enter their other car’s reg). Again, these people will likely have a ticket issued since the data won’t reconcile.

Finally, it is absolutely ridiculous that a hospital should use a system such as this. Barrier exit car parks work perfectly well, and ensure exactly the right payment is taken upon exit. They don’t have the obvious flaws that ParkingEye’s system introduces. The flaws are bad enough anyway, but in a hospital environment, it is more likely that people will make mistakes. Over the past year I’ve spent a great deal of time at a hospital using barriers (30+ visits) and I’ve never had one issue.

The sad thing is that many people will just pay. Private parking companies send official looking letters using legal terminology that inevitably intimidate people into paying, particularly the vulnerable people in society; often those least able to pay. The law around private parking tickets is hotly debated as you will read about elsewhere on my site. The most important point  being that right now you can get the ticket cancelled using the genuine pre-estimate of loss argument at POPLA. Read up on that here.

My advice would be:

  1. Complain to the hospital and make a fuss. The only way we will rid this hospital and others like it is to complain. If they ignore you, complain to your MP. There are numerous threads on the forums about this hospital, so find out how others got on.
  2. If ParkingEye don’t cancel it, then appeal using the our POPLA appeal guide.

Best of luck,



3 Comments on “ParkingEye strike again at Sunderland Royal Hospital

  1. Many thanks for publishing this and for your support and advice. I have yet to hear from them regarding what should be a straightforward (in theory) appeal but I’m determined that people should know about this fraudulent practice. So many people must fold to such pressure and especially at difficult times, ie in a hospital setting. It’s shameful really. I will complain to the hospital trust and to the MP as you suggest.

  2. I have complained to the hospital about their very poor customer service, which I’m told will be followed up with them. What is frustrating is the fact that it is virtually impossible to get in touch with anyone at ParkingEye. I received a letter on 10th Jan saying the charge had been cancelled. No apology, no explanation of what went wrong, despite asking for this via the appeal form. I had no doubt the fine wouldn’t stand as clearly it was their error. I can’t leave it at that however, as I find it really sad that in an environment designed to help and support people, NHS Trusts contract with organisations like these who clearly take no account of basic morality and think only of themselves. I have asked the Hospital to provide contact details of ParkingEye management so I can take up my complaint with them, ask again what went wrong, how they can ensure it doesn’t happen again and for details of how many times this has happened previously. I would imagine most people wouldn’t have held on to their ticket 14 days later and would simply pay the fine, regardless of blame, as they wouldn’t necessarily know for sure if they had stayed for too long or not. The only telephone number they publish is an automated fine payment line and the webform on their website is to lodge an appeal. There must be a lot of people paying these charges who shouldn’t be. If this wasn’t the case, surely ParkingEye would have offered an explanation. Their lack of interest appears to say it all.

  3. I got a similar ticket from ParkingEye the other day for an alleged offence at the beginning of December. As a member of BPA they have a limitation period of 14 days from the alleged offence by which they have to have issued and served you with the ticket (if done through ANPR). Therefore the ticket the sent me was invalid.

    I don’t think many people are aware of this period and ParkingEye are sending out tickets which they know they are not legally allowed to do and are simply bullying people into paying their fines rather than fighting them.