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Gone in 15 seconds, but couple landed with £160 parking charge

PUBLISHED: 11:33 22 July 2020 | UPDATED: 08:27 23 July 2020

Paula Gundry and husband Craig Knights who have ignored demands from NPE to pay £160 for a 15-second stop at Sentinel House in Norwich. Photo: Paula Gundry Interiors

Paula Gundry and husband Craig Knights who have ignored demands from NPE to pay £160 for a 15-second stop at Sentinel House in Norwich. Photo: Paula Gundry Interiors

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A couple who ignored a demand for a £160 parking charge for stopping for 15 seconds have been threatened with bankruptcy, a bad credit score and debt collectors.

Parking sign at Sentinel House in Norwich. Picture: David HannantParking sign at Sentinel House in Norwich. Picture: David Hannant

Paula Gundry, who runs an interior design business, stopped outside Sentinel House on Surrey Street, Norwich, in October last year to drop off her husband Craig Knights at work.

Cameras, from parking company National Parking Enforcement (NPE), show their car stopped for 15 seconds.

But the couple, from Sparham, then received a series of letters from NPE and its solicitors threatening them with court action after they refused to pay the initial £100 within 14 days.

Their first letter from NPE stated they had parked in a no parking area.

Sentinel House carpark on Surrey Street, Norwich. Photo: ArchantSentinel House carpark on Surrey Street, Norwich. Photo: Archant

“We were barely off the road for 15 seconds so we were not blocking the car park entrance,” Ms Gundry said. “They are using it as an opportunity to create extra revenue, rather than control parking.

“Their approach has been appalling, saying this may affect you in all sorts of horrendous ways.

“They are just producing these letters to try to terrify the public. I found it really unpleasant.”

An NPE spokesman said: “If Ms Gundry feels she has been unfairly issued the parking charge, she should send an appeal, as advised on the information she has received.”

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Letters from credit companies and solicitors, acting on behalf of NPE, state a “doorstep collection agent” may be sent to their home.

They were also threatened with legal action which, the letter claimed, could affect their ability to get credit.

See also: Motorists slam parking appeals process

In March this year, another letter told them they could be declared bankrupt, have their goods sold at auction, or have a court order taken out against their wages.

They have not heard anymore from NPE since April.

The letters state they are following the International Parking Community’s code of practice and quote a Supreme Court case called Parking Eye Vs Beavis.

That case, from 2015, said parking companies could charge people who break the terms of a parking area but the charge must not be “extravagant or unconscionable”.

After taking legal advice, the couple decided to ignore the demands.

A law to bring in stricter regulation of the private parking industry is on the way.


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