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Lidl Parking Charge Notice, PCN received for overstaying legitimate shopping visit
jaydee17
post Thu, 13 Sep 2018 - 15:42
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I received a Parking Charge Notice stating I'd overstayed the allowed duration of 90 minutes by 18 minutes while legitimately shopping at Lidl in Slough. I didn't see any parking notice which I believe isn't a valid defence. I no longer have my til receipt to show the time of my Lidl shop but I do have the debit card bank transaction for the date of the offence showing I had shopped there. Again I believe proof of shopping there isn't a defence against an overstay penalty. The carpark wasn't full at the time of my entry or departure so I wasn't causing a potential shopper to go elsewhere and deprive Lidl of their spend. But I have no photographic evidence to prove this either.

My gripe is that as a legitimate customer of Lidl the signage isn't as overt as my local Sainsbury's where your registration number clearly flashes up in front of you upon entry and clearly states 3 hours parking is allowed (rather than 90 minutes). Again not a legitimate excuse I appreciate.

The carpark operator is Athena ANPR Ltd.

I did speak to a Lidl customer service rep who was extremely helpful and suggested I write to Athena to appeal within the 14 days stating I was only 18 minutes over, had proof of purchase and have no previous parking penalty offences with Lidl. They couldn't give a cast iron guarantee for legal reasons the appeal would be accepted.

So what's the best course of action to take? Accept & pay within the 14 days; appeal as suggested by Lidl and also say I didn't see the signage and risk having to pay £90 after this or ignore in the hope they won't pursue?

Thanks for all advice.



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post Thu, 13 Sep 2018 - 15:42
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Jlc
post Thu, 13 Sep 2018 - 16:04
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QUOTE (jaydee17 @ Thu, 13 Sep 2018 - 16:42) *
I did speak to a Lidl customer service rep who was extremely helpful...

Actually not helpful at all, however 'nice' they appeared to be - and completely passing the buck. Writing to the parking company WILL result in a rejection.

Lidl do have the powers to call off their agent - you may wish to be assertive with them again suggesting that you will shop elsewhere in the future. Others may have more specific info on this process.

Athena have not raised a court claim to date so don't feel too threatened. (Suing genuine customers isn't good business practice)

This post has been edited by Jlc: Thu, 13 Sep 2018 - 16:05


--------------------
RK=Registered Keeper, OP=Original Poster (You!), CoFP=Conditional Offer of Fixed Penalty, NtK=Notice to Keeper, NtD=Notice to Driver
PoFA=Protection of Freedoms Act, SAC=Safety Awareness Course, NIP=Notice of Intended Prosecution, ADR=Alternative Dispute Resolution
PPC=Private Parking Company, LBCCC=Letter Before County Court Claim, PII=Personally Identifiable Information

Private Parking - remember, they just want your money and will say almost anything to get it.
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cabbyman
post Thu, 13 Sep 2018 - 16:10
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I think the E mail address for Lidl CEO is on here somewhere. Have a search for it. It normally produces the desired result.


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jaydee17
post Thu, 13 Sep 2018 - 16:25
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Thanks for feedback so far. I meant to add the Lidl rep gave her full name and a reference number to quote with Athena and said that normally does the trick.
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ostell
post Thu, 13 Sep 2018 - 16:29
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Did she say that the PCN would be canclled, because that is what is needed
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Jlc
post Thu, 13 Sep 2018 - 16:40
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They may cancel but don’t bet on it.

Customer services are often very good at giving the impression they are helping. (Simply fobbing you off nicely)


--------------------
RK=Registered Keeper, OP=Original Poster (You!), CoFP=Conditional Offer of Fixed Penalty, NtK=Notice to Keeper, NtD=Notice to Driver
PoFA=Protection of Freedoms Act, SAC=Safety Awareness Course, NIP=Notice of Intended Prosecution, ADR=Alternative Dispute Resolution
PPC=Private Parking Company, LBCCC=Letter Before County Court Claim, PII=Personally Identifiable Information

Private Parking - remember, they just want your money and will say almost anything to get it.
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kommando
post Thu, 13 Sep 2018 - 17:46
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Lidl get most of the income from this, they leave Athena with a handling fee, so not all roses and a cancellation reduces Lidls income more than Athena.
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Churchmouse
post Thu, 13 Sep 2018 - 22:24
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QUOTE (Jlc @ Thu, 13 Sep 2018 - 17:40) *
They may cancel but don’t bet on it.

Customer services are often very good at giving the impression they are helping. (Simply fobbing you off nicely)

I might just bet on it. They have always managed to get the PCNs incurred by the absent-minded (and unidentified) driver of my car cancelled by Athena. (This is a Lidl/Athena-specific bet, I would stress.)

Even without a receipt Lidl should be able to confirm to the credit/debit card holder that he or she was indeed their customer on a particular date and time. I'm sure they would confirm this to a card provider that had been told that the Lidl transaction had not been recognised...

But, of course, Lidl is not the "creditor"; their car park contracts have been carefully designed to leave Athena ANPR taking all the flak.

--Churchmouse
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Jlc
post Fri, 14 Sep 2018 - 07:50
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Ok, I do hope so too biggrin.gif


--------------------
RK=Registered Keeper, OP=Original Poster (You!), CoFP=Conditional Offer of Fixed Penalty, NtK=Notice to Keeper, NtD=Notice to Driver
PoFA=Protection of Freedoms Act, SAC=Safety Awareness Course, NIP=Notice of Intended Prosecution, ADR=Alternative Dispute Resolution
PPC=Private Parking Company, LBCCC=Letter Before County Court Claim, PII=Personally Identifiable Information

Private Parking - remember, they just want your money and will say almost anything to get it.
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jaydee17
post Tue, 18 Sep 2018 - 08:53
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Thanks for all comments thus far. As an update I emailed Athena the following (extract included):

I am very aggrieved to have received this penalty charge notice relating to Lidl Slough.

I have a bank PDF showing the transaction for the weekly Lidl shop on this day – the only purpose of being in the carpark. If it were not for the horrendous queues, caused by the understaffed tills, the shopping and exit from the carpark would have been completed within the 90-minute time frame.

As a regular shopper of Lidl I contacted their customer service team directly to explain the situation. Their very helpful representative having listened to my case, and given it was only an 18 minute overstay without any previous incident, instructed me as a valued customer to appeal against the PCN as Lidl’s position is occurrences such as these be quashed. My Lidl customer service rep is XXX contacted 13/09/18. The Lidl reference number is #XXX. The customer service number to validate this is 0800 977 7766.

With Lidl being your end-customer I fully expect Athena to respect their wishes and accept this appeal.

Failing that I will escalate raising the above details with Lidl UK CEO Christian Hartnagel.


I received the following reply from the Athena customer service team:

Thank you for your email in regards to the above Parking Charge
In order for us to process your appeal we require your full name, full address and confirmation that you were the driver on the day in question.
Upon receipt of this we will of course review this case further.


Is my best course of action to sit tight, do nothing and hope they don't pursue given I raised with Lidl and have a reference number. Or would I/do I have to provide them the driver details requested?







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Jlc
post Tue, 18 Sep 2018 - 09:09
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QUOTE (jaydee17 @ Tue, 18 Sep 2018 - 09:53) *
In order for us to process your appeal we require your full name, full address and confirmation that you were the driver on the day in question.
Upon receipt of this we will of course review this case further.

IMHO - It's a trap! It's generally not recommended to name the driver.

Do they quote Protection of Freedoms Act (keeper liability) on their letter?

This post has been edited by Jlc: Tue, 18 Sep 2018 - 09:10


--------------------
RK=Registered Keeper, OP=Original Poster (You!), CoFP=Conditional Offer of Fixed Penalty, NtK=Notice to Keeper, NtD=Notice to Driver
PoFA=Protection of Freedoms Act, SAC=Safety Awareness Course, NIP=Notice of Intended Prosecution, ADR=Alternative Dispute Resolution
PPC=Private Parking Company, LBCCC=Letter Before County Court Claim, PII=Personally Identifiable Information

Private Parking - remember, they just want your money and will say almost anything to get it.
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cabbyman
post Tue, 18 Sep 2018 - 09:19
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Nope. Under no circumstances do you identify the driver, except with an order of the court.

You gave them a chance. I would suggest that you E mail the CEO and tell him that, despite providing sufficient information for them to check the instruction from Lidl, they are continuing to process the matter as though it was still a valid charge. Aldi are becoming a more attractive proposition given that you are aware that they are very supportive of their customers in similar situations.

But, that is my off the cuff reaction; see what others have to say!!


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kommando
post Tue, 18 Sep 2018 - 09:47
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QUOTE
Failing that I will escalate raising the above details with Lidl UK CEO Christian Hartnagel.


They failed so CEO it is.
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Fritzzx6
post Tue, 18 Sep 2018 - 10:52
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I'm in a very similar boat. Emailed Lidl customer service - No joy, just referred me to Athena Parking.

The CEO email address shared on here is now invalid and bouncing back.

I guess it's onto writing to Athena in order to get a POPLA code? Although.. Athena is not a member of BPA?
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cabbyman
post Tue, 18 Sep 2018 - 10:55
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Please start your own thread if you need advice. One case, one thread.


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ManxRed
post Tue, 18 Sep 2018 - 12:01
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CEO Emails have it as Dispute.Resolution@lidl.co.uk

Maybe they've wised up to the bouncebacks?


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Sometimes I use big words I don't understand in an effort to make myself sound more photosynthesis.
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Churchmouse
post Tue, 18 Sep 2018 - 13:08
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I do wish Lidl didn't keep changing their policy on dealing with customer parking complaints, but the advice was to write to Lidl Customer Services, not Athena. In the cases I mentioned I specifically told Lidl that I would not be contacting Athena under any circumstances as I expected them to deal with this--and they did, after obtaining my permission to pass on my information to Athena. It appears that Lidl has again changed their policy (it used to be possible to get the store manager to cancel PCNs, but that has also stopped).

Athena is an IPC company, so there is no point in appealing beyond Athena in any case. I would keep bothering Lidl if I were you, but Athena does not seem to take Lidl customers to court, so "ignore" may also be an option. Has the NtK been reviewed for POFA 2012 compliance? Do not reveal the identity of the driver--they do not need that information in order to cancel the PCN.

According to the blog post below, Athena used to have this amusing image on their website, illustrating how easy it was for landowners to increase their cashflow by monetising their car parks:

That just about sums up the purpose of one's customers...

There's also this "petition" (bottom of the post), which still seems operational: http://www.dearcustomerrelations.com/2016/04/lidl-2/

--Churchmouse
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jaydee17
post Wed, 19 Sep 2018 - 08:38
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Thanks all for the latest comments & advice.

Next course of action will be a follow up email to Dispute.Resolution@lidl.co.uk recapping events to date as outlined in my earlier posts. And I will cease communication with Athena including divulging driver details.

I'll update once I've had a response as it may help others in a similar predicament.
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jaydee17
post Wed, 19 Sep 2018 - 17:04
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Final update - with good news!

Following my earlier action Lidl customer service swiftly wrote back on behalf of their CEO to say in light of my comments they have contacted Athena to request this charge be cancelled. They emphasised with my situation and said it's never their intention for genuine customers to receive a charge as it's more about managing car parking abuse by non customers given their limited space. And where such occurrences do arise they always urge appeal to the car park companies, but are also happy to assist as they did in this case.

Excellent customer service from Lidl I'm pleased to say.
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kommando
post Wed, 19 Sep 2018 - 17:12
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Well done, but a lot of people pay and most of the amount goes to Lidl not Athena, is it excellent service to issue an invoice in the first place, surely the signs are the deterrence and issuing tickets after the event does nothing. Plus ANPR does not sort out the disability requirement for extra time.

Well done, but a lot of people pay and most of the amount goes to Lidl not Athena, is it excellent service to issue an invoice in the first place, surely the signs are the deterrence and issuing tickets after the event does nothing. Plus ANPR does not sort out the disability requirement for extra time.
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