How safe is paying on your mobile for parking?

Not safe say motorists who’ve been handed unjustifiable fines

Using mobile phones to pay for parking is becoming increasingly common across the UK but motorists using this method of payment are being handed unjustifiable fines and those who appeal are being turned down.
More and more councils across the country are introducing mobile payments systems, as on the whole most of us tend not to carry cash around these days, plus parking fees are rising all over the UK.
However, many drivers have reported being fined after the system failed to record their vehicle details correctly. If the vehicle registration number entered into the system doesn’t match the one the parking warden is looking at, then they will automatically assume that the driver hasn’t paid.

How safe is paying on your mobile for parking?

How safe is paying on your mobile for parking? © Copyright Albert Bridge and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

On numerous occasions, the driver has simply made a mistake when using the system, such as putting in the incorrect registration number, whilst on other occasions, the payment has ended up covering another vehicle, in some cases a car they don’t own anymore or one that their partner drives.
When the driver has spoken to the council, or private parking company to explain to them about the mistake, their appeal is declined, despite having proof that they have indeed paid.
Founder of and, Barrie Segal, says that these kinds of issues are becoming more of a problem and doesn’t understand why the councils aren’t listening to those who’ve genuinely made a mistake whilst trying to pay.
Mr Segal believes that the councils are too eager in raising revenue and should be looking to at least pay the motorists their money back that they paid to park, otherwise it means that councils profit twice.
On the whole, paying for parking with your mobile phone does have its good points, you never have to worry about having enough cash and you can pay for extra time without the need to go back to your vehicle.
These type of mobile payment systems can now be found all over the country, in towns and cities and each one works differently to the next but generally you simply call the telephone number shown on the parking meter and read out the appropriate serial number to confirm which street you are on.
You then provide your vehicle registration number and choose how long of a stay you wish to pay for and give your card information. A text message is normally sent to the driver confirming payment.
Many of these systems allow you to download an app so you don’t even need to call the number on the machine and some even let you pay via text but an extra fee might be added to the payment.
Some of the systems store your details for future use, so there’s no need to repeat the process next time you park.
The parking wardens can check via their portable computer to see who’s paid.
The problem with some of these systems is that they aren’t monitored enough to ensure they are working correctly and in one case, a system allowed a driver to pay for only one minute of parking without checking if this was correct.
The best advice to all drivers using these systems is to check and check again that the details you enter are correct – this way you will avoid being fined for simply making a mistake.
“Common sense should be applied and councils should always consider waiving the penalty the first time someone makes a mistake.” says Caroline Sheppard, chief adjudicator at the Traffic Penalty Tribunal.
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