Goodwill gestures urged from car park operators as charges mount on overstaying vehicles
As stranded passengers return to the UK following the reopening of air space above most of Europe many are faced with potentially hefty charges from the extended car park stay of their vehicle.
Unfortunately the law is not on their side; consumers who stay in a car park beyond the period of time they were booked for are liable for extra costs for having breached the agreed terms of contract. EU regulations will not cover these associated costs, which are also unlikely to be covered by travel insurance policies or the protection offered by paying by credit card.
The Trading Standards Institute (TSI) and the UK European Consumer Centre (UK ECC) are appealing for car park operators to show goodwill towards the already aggrieved consumers who are likely to finally be on the last leg of their much delayed journey.
TSI’s chief executive Ron Gainsford said: ‘These are highly exceptional circumstances and the last thing passengers will need after these stressful delays is more extra costs they hadn’t anticipated or budgeted for.
‘While the black and white letter of the law is not on the consumers’ side we urge all car park operators to be sympathetic to the extraordinary nature of the situation and show goodwill towards customers who have incurred fees due to an extended stay caused by the flight ban.’
The two organisations welcomed the airport operator BAA’s quick decision not to charge extra for those who overstayed at its official car parks.
BAA’s commercial director John Holland-Kaye said: ‘Across BAA, we took early steps to waive any additional costs incurred by passengers returning to our official airport car parks after the period of disruption.
‘We did so to remove one of a long list of worries facing our passengers during these difficult and unprecedented times and to reflect our appreciation of their patience and understanding.’
He advised passengers to present travel documents which show their original intended return date and parking ticket to the customer service desk at the exit to the car park.
The British Car Parking Association spokesperson said: ‘We would encourage car park operators to take into consideration the situation that many travellers will be facing following this unprecedented event.’
For further advice consumers should contact Consumer Direct by visiting www.consumerdirect.gov.uk or phoning 0845 4040506, or the UK European Consumer Centre by visiting www.ukecc.net or phoning 08456 04 05 03.
Trading Standards Institute (TSI)
TSI is a training and membership organisation that has represented the interests of the Trading Standards profession since 1881 nationally and internationally. We aim to raise the profile of the profession while working towards fairer, better informed and safer consumer and business communities.
TSI’s members are engaged in delivering frontline trading standards services in local authorities and in businesses. We are also supporting the delivery of initiatives such as the advice services Consumer Direct, UK ECC and UK ECCS.
UK European Consumer Centre (UKECC)
The UK European Consumer Centre is part of the European Consumer Centre Network (ECC-Net). There are 29 centres covering Europe, plus Iceland and Norway. The aim of the network is to provide advice and support to consumers who have a dispute with a trader based in a European country outside the UK. The Network will assist consumers in the attempt to resolve the complaint.
UK ECC can provide advice in the following main areas: buying goods and services, online shopping, internet auctions, holidays, timeshare and holiday clubs, air travel.
UK ECC is co-funded by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), and the European Commission.
The Trading Standards Institute hosts the UK ECC service at its head office in Basildon, Essex.
Consumer Direct is the national helpline and online service providing clear and practical consumer advice. The service is managed by the OFT and delivered in partnership with local authority Trading Standards Services. Should you need help and advice please contact Consumer Direct by calling 08454 04 05 06 or through the website www.consumerdirect.gov.uk