Victoria Hopper stopped at Osborne Street Car Park in Grimsby, Lincolnshire, on two separate occasions and, on each occasion, was there no more than an hour. However, Victoria claimed the meter wasn’t working and there were no signs stating users had to pay for spaces, or offering ways to do so, so Victoria believed it was free to use the spot.
But the NHS employee has since received three letters stating she had been fined for not paying for parking there.
Highview Parking Limited, which owns Osborne Street Car Park, issued three separate fines of £170 – meaning she was given a total fine of £510.
Speaking to Grimsby Live, Victoria said: “I just couldn’t believe it. It was a total shock to open that letter and see this huge fine.
“The letter said that I had not responded to Highview Parking’s correspondence.
“I’d not received any correspondence on the matter prior to this letter. I was furious.
“I’m not prepared to pay this and I can’t afford to pay it either.
“When I arrived, there was no where to pay. The meter wasn’t working, you couldn’t go online so I thought it was derelict wasteland.”
Victoria had placed the car’s address at her mother’s property in Sunderland, Tyne and Wear, as she was unsure when she’d be making a return from Grimsby.
She had lived in Grimsby for more than 15 years but has since relocated to Durham for work at Acute Medical Unit at the University Hospital of North Durham.
Victoria added: “I was quite embarrassed that the fines had been sent to my mum’s house.
“I rung the company up straight away which was disastrous. It took one hour and 30 minutes to get someone to speak to me.
“I explained what had happened and said if I had to, I would be able to pay £20 a month because I simply couldn’t afford it.
“I told them I’m not to blame and I wanted to challenge them on this because it looked like a derelict wasteland from the time I was there.
“I often lay awake at night wishing that I didn’t have this hanging over me.
“It’s distressing too because I fear bailiffs will come to my mum and dad’s home in Sunderland.
“It’s horrible to think they could be victimised when they’ve done nothing wrong.
“If I have to take them to court, I will.”
A spokesperson for Highview Parking said there are clear signs and the company claims it has not received a complaint or an appeal from Victoria.
A spokesperson said: “We have very, very clear signage that shows that you need to pay by phone or app because there’s no machine there.
“It’s very clearly signposted.
“In relation to Victoria Hopper, the lady has never appealed, never complained and she’s just ignored everything from us.
“That’s why it’s got to where it’s got to. There’s no faults, there’s no malpractice, there’s nothing.
“She parked, she didn’t pay, she didn’t appeal. Had she appealed, she would have had a massively reduced fine.
“We’ve not had any correspondence from her in any way.”