UKPC parking fines debacle continues

April 1, 2013

by Christine Keighery

The confusion and frustration surrounding parking in UKPC controlled car parks in Newry’s Old Creamery area seems to be continuing, with further reports of ludicrous fines being slapped on unsuspecting shoppers for dubious offences.

One irate shopper who was issued with a parking ticket outside the town’s TK Maxx store last month contacted The Examiner to vent her anger over the £100 fine she received during a twenty minute shopping trip.

The concerned customer showed us receipts of her purchases in the TK Maxx store which corroborate the duration of her shopping trip. Even more puzzling, the ticket on her windscreen shows that the attendant issued the fine at exactly the same time as he had first seen the vehicle.

When she approached a parking attendant about the matter, he denied having issued it and claimed he had no way of finding out which employee was responsible. He went on to advise the disbelieving woman that the fines were not intended for people like her but for those who park and then leave the area to shop elsewhere.

These stipulations have been previously called into question too, as there is no warning of such regulations on signage in the car parks, with the only requirement on display being the two hour maximum stay.

Extremely dissatisfied with the UKPC attendant’s suspect explanation, the furious Crossmaglen woman has taken the matter further and is appealing the unsubstantiated fine.  She has also written a letter of complaint to UKPC and is awaiting a response.  The woman revealed that a TK Maxx staff member admitted that staff there had also encountered problems with fines issued while they worked.

Sinn Fein Councillor, Valerie Harte raised this controversial issue back in February and was highly critical of the practice of fining shoppers for apparently ridiculous reasons.

UKPC, the company which controls the car parks in question, are notorious for issuing such fines and online information and money advice forums are awash with complaints regarding spurious fines issued by the company to unwitting shoppers.  Online financial and legal experts advise that such fines are not legally enforceable so therefore cannot be pursued by UKPC as they are not a government body.

Despite repeated attempts by The Examiner to obtain clarification on the issue from UKPC, the company refused to offer any comment.