Couple's fury over South Shields hospital parking fine

A couple have called on hospital parking bosses in South Tyneside to make their complaints process clearer after they struggled to appeal against a fine.

Ann and Doug Graves, from Quarry Lane, South Shields, visited South Tyneside District Hospital to see their daughter Jacqueline, 29, who had just given birth, and Doug’s brother Dave, 59, who had suffered breathing difficulties.

The couple faced a fine after firm Parking Eye said they had keyed in the wrong registration number.

But the couple say they took extra care to key in their car’s registration number to the machine near the maternity unit, after Ann fell foul of the system and put in the wrong plate details twice when she went to Sunderland Royal Hospital, which has the same system.

ParkingEye says they keyed in the wrong number but has agreed to drop the fine of £55 if paid within a week, and £70 if paid beyond that.

Ann, 59, a domestic at Perth Green House, and Doug, 61, a minibus driver, say their issue is with how difficult it is to reach the company to raise a complaint. They say the email addresses on their ticket did not work and the telephone number given does not give the option to speak to a person and only gives automated responses.

Ann said: “We were totally shocked and fuming because I knew for a fact we’d put in the right reg. It’s only because we sent them a letter that we got a reply.”

A ParkingEye spokesman said: “Mr and Mrs Graves received a parking charge as they incorrectly entered their vehicle registration into the machine on site.

“As soon as they appealed and made us aware of the mistake, we cancelled the charge.”