A Hastings woman who was issued a parking ticket after her 18-month-old son cut his head has had her £170 fine dropped.
Rebecca Marshall, 43, took her son Konstantinos Maragkos to Station Plaza in February after he fell and cut his head.
After being told her son could have an appointment in an hour, Rebecca went to move her car to the car park half an hour after she parked.
The waiting time at the car park outside the walk-in centre is 15 minutes maximum, meaning Rebecca had overstayed her alloted time. However, she said she was never issued a ticket and thought nothing of it.
That was until the end of July when she was first contacted by debt collectors saying she owed a £170 parking fine.
She said: “I call the number on the agency’s letter to be told that my only options are to pay up or go to court.
“I told them I never received a parking ticket and explained the extenuating circumstances – they repeated their threat as being the only course of action available because (it had been) 28 days since ‘the offence’ had passed. I explained again I had never received a ticket and they repeated that’s not their problem, they only collect the money or you can go to court.”
Rebecca decided to contact ParkingEye – the company that runs the car park – to appeal the fine.
On Sunday (August 4), she received a letter from the company saying the charge has been cancelled as a ‘gesture of goodwill’.
A ParkingEye spokesman confirmed the cancellation on Monday and said: “Over the weekend the case was evaluated through our appeals service and it was consequently cancelled. The motorist will receive confirmation of this via a letter in the coming days.”
Rebecca said she was pleased with ParkingEye’s decision but felt something needed to be done about the attitude of the debt collectors.
She said: “They are a heavy handed company, mis-matched to handle parking spaces outside hospitals and walk-in centres using only cameras. They are employed to fine people often in emergency situations.
“Many hundreds of people with genuine mitigating circumstances are fined £100 – for example people taking children with broken arms, adults who have chosen to drive themselves to the hospital rather than use an ambulance.
“My encounter with the debt collection agents has been extremely stressful.”
Despite her fine being cancelled, Rebecca said she has continued to be contacted by the debt collectors.
However, confirming the case has been cancelled, a spokesman for ParkingEye added: “We shall inform the relevant bodies that this is the case and no further correspondence is required.”