Re: Parking apps/websites
As someone who has just suffered at the hands of a "Parking Provider" at a hospital, I can confirm that they are among the worst offenders.
I have to rush out to collect my mum from A&E. I turn up, knowing that there is a 30-minute "free" period. I find a space and head in, noting the time.
Having jumped through the hoops needed to enter the building, I collect my mum, take her to the car, return the wheelchair and head to their pharmacy to get her prescription filled.
Medication in hand, I head to the "parking machine" in the car park. It decides that I have been ON SITE (not parked) for 31 minutes, and must pay £2.50. There is an ANPR camera at the entrance. In my pocket I have a fiver and a few coins - no plastic. The machine only takes plastic.
I find another machine, which claims to take cash. The notes slot appears to be sealed with epoxy resin.
I head inside the main entrance. First machine - plastic only. Second machine has a green light next to its notes slot, but refuses to activate it. Third machine has a flashing green arrow next to its slot, but spews my pristine, never-folded fiver straight back out, no matter which way it is presented.
The staff on reception were most apologetic, but could only hand me a leaflet offering me a season ticket.
I found a phone number on one of the rain shelters. "If you are having trouble...". I rang it. "Press 1 to pay for your parking". No option 2.
I gave up and head home.
Having calmed down a little, I tried their website. There are exactly 2 options. "Pay for parking" and "Appeal a charge". Both options demand, besides our vehicle registration, a 13-digit "parking reference number", which is not displayed on the parking machine's screen, but might appear on a receipt, or on the Final Demand when they have looked up your number at the DVLA.
So I write them a letter, explaining that because they have refused my payment on several occasions, I owe them nothing, and how to inform me once the transaction has been voided.
I don't post it to the address 150 miles away where the website asks, because their Head Orifice is only 5 miles from my house. I drive there to deliver it. Nobody in sight of course. I try to follow the instructions on a note in their window - "Use buzzer by door to the right". There is, of course, no buzzer.
I just wish I had one of those portable air horns to wake some of them up. Unfortunately most of them are brain-dead.