Pub owner given £265 parking bill – despite already paying to use it

Pub owner, 64, is slapped with £265 parking bill despite paying MORE than he needed to – because his ticket was missing his full number plate

  • Richard Starkey, from Huddersfield, West Yorkshire, paid 60p for car park ticket
  • Car park prints full number plate so partially-used tickets cannot be passed on 
  • But when Mr Starkey used machine, it missed the last three numbers of plate
  • Forced to pay £265 when he missed an appeal as it could affect credit score

A pub landlord was slapped with a £265 parking bill despite paying more than he needed to – because his ticket was missing his full number plate.

Richard Starkey, from Fixby, in Huddersfield, West Yorkshire, was going to an appointment at a medical centre when he parked in Lawson Road Car Park.

Coughing up 60p for a 50p ticket when he lacked the right change, he entered his number plate details as required by the company who own it, HX Car Park Management Ltd.

The firm uses number plates to avoid users passing their partially used tickets on, but when Mr Starkey, 64, printed his ticket it was missing the final three digits.

Days later, he was astonished to receive a parking charge notice demanding £100 within 28 days, reduced to a cut-price £60 if he paid within 14 days.

Rick Starkey, pictured with his wife Maggie, was slapped with a £265 bill – because the ticket machine he used failed to print the final three digits of his number plate

Mr Starkey paid 60p to use the car park, but rules state the full number plate must be printed to prevent people passing along partially-used tickets

Mr Starkey, who owns The Roundhill and The Four Sons pubs in Rastrick, said: ‘I was determined to fight it as it just seemed ridiculous and completely out of proportion.’

However, his protests fell on deaf ears and the case dragged on into May when he made an appeal.

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In the appeal, he said: ‘In a nutshell they know as they have all the pictures and registrations, that nobody else entered that car park on that day with the same registration prefix as I have on the parking ticket within two minutes of the time they have shown my car entering the car park.

‘I paid the fee as requested and can prove that that fee was paid with the ticket I still have provided by their machine at the time they stated my car entered the car park.’

Despite his appeal, the company have said they only ‘allow human error for up to two incorrect digits’.

He fought the bill, but coughed up when told failure to pay could affect his credit score. Mr Starkey, 64, said: ‘I can’t believe what has happened, it just seems incredible but in the end they had got me over a barrel and I had no choice but to pay’

They added: ‘By not validating a Pay and Display ticket with the full and valid VRN, it is a breach of the terms and conditions of the car park.’

Mr Starkey was determined to fight the case for months – until he failed to read the small print of another appeal in November and did not file a defence. 

After this, the operators piled the pressure on with a firm of Cheshire-based lawyers, Gladstones Solicitors, telling him he was in danger of finding himself saddled with a County Court Judgment.

Gladstones Solicitors told him this would would remain on his file for six years and which ‘could seriously affect your chances of obtaining credit in the future’.

Reluctantly, he paid the astronomical fee for the minor infringement, saying: ‘I can’t believe what has happened, it just seems incredible but in the end they had got me over a barrel and I had no choice but to pay.’

Paying the fine angered his wife Maggie, who said she would rather go to jail. She said: ‘I wouldn’t have paid it! I would have gone to jail first. It is absolutely outrageous what this company has done.’

Gladstones Solicitors have been contacted for comment, but none was forthcoming. 

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