Compensation Clinic-case this week is from a reader that ended up getting a parking fine from the Holiday Inn London – Watford Junction hotel after his stay.
Remember that you can always email me, send me a Facebook message or Tweet me about the issues you have with hotels, airlines and other travel providers. We’ll feature one new Compensation Clinic case each week.
You can access the Holiday Inn London – Watford Junction website here.
Here’s the email from the reader:
Just thought I would drop you a note regarding a recent issue I had with a stay at a Holiday Inn. I thought it could be a possible compensation clinic article.
Back in June I stayed at the Holiday Inn Watford (North London). I had been travelling round the South East England and needed somewhere I could park up with ease, attend a meeting in Central London and then head North back home. The Holiday Inn Watford ticked all those boxes. The stay was perfectly fine, I thought the lobby and bar/restaurant which looked to have been recently refurbished were pretty impressive for a Holiday Inn.
Approximately 1 month after staying at the hotel I received a parking charge notice in the mail. This was from a company called Parking Eye which said that I had not paid for parking at the hotel and that I should pay £100 charge (reduced to £60 if paid within 14 days). The letter came with photographs of my car entering and leaving carpark. I believe this is a digital system that logs all vehicles entering and exiting the car park and if the car is not logged as having paid for parking, it issues the charging notices. In the UK private land owners can issue ‘parking charge notices’, these are technically not fines (the authorities issue penalty charge notices on public streets which are fines). Rather than try and deal with Parking Eye I know that the hotel will have the option to cancel such tickets so I contacted them direct.
Below is the email trail between myself and the hotel. It should be noted that they responded to my first email within 4 hours.
Here’s the reader’s email to the property:
I recently stayed at your hotel, see details below. When I checked in I was asked if I had a car and told the front desk that I did and I put my registration on the check in form. I asked if I needed to pay seperately for parking and the check staff told me that I didn’t need to do that. The next morning when I checked out I asked if I could leave my car in the car park for while I was at my meeting nearby and I was told that wouldn’t be problem.
You can imagine my surprise when today I received a Penalty Charge Notice in the post from your hotel car park – see attached image. Given that I believed that I had done everything I needed to do in relation to parking this has come as somewhat of a shock.
I would like you contact Parking Eye and cancel this Charge Notice with immediate effect. I would also like you to confirm that this has been action has been completed in writing to me. As a loyal IHG customer I would further like you to credit my account with 10k IHG Rewards Club Points as compensation for your failing to process my parking correctly and for the inconvenience I am now incurring having to deal with your mistake.
Here’s the email reply from the hotel:
We do apologise that you received this parking fine.
I have sent an email to Parking Eye to get this fine cancelled out.
Please do ignore anymore letters that you receive about this fine as I can confirm that when I have sent the email, they will cancel out the fine for you.
Regarding IHG Rewards Club Points as compensation, we will get back to you as soon as possible as opposed to what we can offer, as I need to check with my manager.
Once again we do apologise for all inconveniences caused, please feel free to contact us back if you wish too.
Here’s the reader’s reply:
Thanks you for the extremely prompt and professional reply, this is very much appreciated and has put my mind at rest. Thank you also for resolving the parking fine issue. If you can let me know the outcome of the conversation with you manager regarding points compensation I would appreciate that.
And the positive email from the hotel:
I am writing further to your e-mail correspondence with A***. Please accept my sincere apologies and I have awarded you 10,000 bonus points for the inconvenience. I would also like to assure you that we will revisit procedures to ensure our guests do not face any inconvenience. I also kindly request you to notify me if you receive any further communication from Parking Eye.
Thanks for choosing to stay with us and I look forward to welcoming you again in the near future.
And the reader’s comment:
They responded very promptly and have been very accommodating with my request for compensation. Overall, this was a satisfactory outcome and I would be pleased to stay here again if my work takes me back to that area.
I have not come across these digitized parking systems, but then I rarely park a car at hotels. The front desk clerk must have forgotten to properly record the license plate number to whatever system they use that is connected to this “Parking Eye” and the reader ended up getting the fine notice.
The property appears to be very responsive to communication from the guest and solved the issues promptly. This is how it should work if there are issues.
I do feel that asking for compensation is appropriate because the guest had to go through the hassle of contacting the property.