Mother’s Day tea turns sour as parking mixup leaves carer with £255 fine

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A chain of misunderstandings has turned a Mothers’ Day treat into a year-long nightmare.

Elaine Webster's daughter Nadine bought her a "tea for two" voucher at a posh hotel for Mother’s Day last year.

The fact that it was tipping with rain on the afternoon that Elaine and her sister Terri pulled into the car park of Hull’s four-star Humber View Hotel didn’t dampen their enthusiasm for the special day.

The sisters vaguely noticed a "patrons only" sign in the hotel’s car park but, being patrons, didn’t stop to read it closely.

Two weeks later, Elaine received a letter from ParkingEye, the company operating the hotel’s car park, telling her that she was being fined £100.

"To start with I saw the fine and just thought I could ring the hotel and they'd liaise with ParkingEye and that would be the end of it," she told Hull Live.

"But they said I'd have to get hold of them myself, but the only number I could see was an automated payment number."

So instead she left the fine, believing that the company would find out she was a customer at the hotel and the fine would be rescinded.

Instead, she was notified that she was being taken to court by ParkingEye in an attempt to recover the fine, so she had to prepare her defence statement.

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Elaine, who works as a carer, said: "I work hard, I want my days off to be days off, but I spent a whole Sunday writing out my defence statement.

"I'm just fed up of it all."

The judgment was supposed to take place in March but was pushed back to August because of delays due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The hearing was carried out on August 17 this year in the absence of both Elaine and ParkingEye representatives, again because of coronavirus restrictions.

Both parties then received a judgment form, dated August 19, saying it had been adjudged that the defendant, Elaine, would recover from the claimant, ParkingEye, a total of £255 for "debt and interest" as well as "costs".

Elaine said she then spoke to a representative at the court who said to get in touch again if she had not received payment by the deadline of September 17.

Having not received any money, she rang the court again.

Elaine then received an amended version of the order in which the words "claimant" and "defendant" had been swapped with red pen–- meaning it was Elaine that would have to pay ParkingEye £255 and not the other way round.

But all the other details on the form – including the September 17 deadline – remained the same on the amended form.

"They hadn't changed anything, so I have to pay 12 days before I got the letter – and the payment address is still my address," she said.

"It's just a joke, an absolute joke. I just feel like I'm banging my head against a brick wall. I had thought they were paying me £255 and now I'm thinking the bailiffs are going to come knocking on my door any minute.

"And my daughter is feeling really bad for buying it for me in the first place, which is a real shame because it was actually a really nice day."

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Elaine's son Dale said the issue had indeed been affecting the whole family since the fine was first issued last June.

"I'm livid, furious," he said.

"It's really hard to keep calm about it, I've had migraines while trying to help sort it all out."

It all means that the legal battle is still ongoing, with both parties waiting for an official amended version of the court's judgement.

Elaine said: "If I have this right and I could park there as a hotel customer, I got this fine for just not writing my registration number down

"I've got my car in for an MOT and I need a new washing machine but it just means I'll have to go without because I have to pay £255 for parking in their car park.

"I just can't believe it's carried on all this time. I'll be happy to just have it all over with."

A ParkingEye spokesman said: “As the matter is subject to legal action, we unable to provide a comment at this time.”

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