The 74-year-old went to shop at Matalan and parked her car.
Violet Moore Mrs Moore put £3 in the parking meter and typed in her number plate to authorise the payment before going in to buy a new dress. But her day was ruined after Smart Parking sent her a bill for £84 because her car registration details had been put in the system wrongly – so there was no record of parking payment connected to her vehicle.
And while she sent evidence showing she had simply put an O instead of a zero into the meter, the firm didn’t back down and dismissed her appeal.
Mrs Moore, a great-grandmother of three, said: ‘I paid for three hours of parking, because I had just recovered from a broken ankle and it was taking me ages to get anywhere. ‘I was shocked when I saw what had happened. ‘I’ve never received any sort of penalty in my life. At first I thought they had made a mistake, but they said this wasn’t the case. ‘I wrote to them straight away, sent them the receipt for my parking and they have charged me regardless.
‘It was a simple mistake, as my eyesight is far from brilliant, but I feel as if they don’t care – it just isn’t fair and I’m not going to pay it. In a statement, Smart Parking said her mistake did not exclude her from facing a charge. A spokesperson said: ‘The car park in Portsmouth is very busy and Smart Parking manages it to make sure that everybody gets an equal chance to park and shop. ‘There are 15 signs across the site which clearly highlight the terms and conditions of use. ‘Included in these is the condition that motorists must enter their full, correct vehicle registration when using the payment machine at the car park.
‘Smart Parking is a member of the British Parking Association and strictly follows its guidelines. ‘Any motorist who disagrees with a decision can contact the independent industry ombudsman POPLA, and we will of course abide by its decisions. ‘On this occasion, Mrs Moore contacted POPLA and her appeal was rejected.’