I'm being harassed for a car park charge I paid, says man after Blackpool holiday

David Hawtin with the notices he was sent
David Hawtin with the notices he was sent
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A holidaymaker who came to Blackpool for a short break says the trip led a nightmare after he was hit by a parking charge  – despite paying the car park fee.

David Hawtin, 73, of Wolverhampton, came to stay at the Norbreck Castle Hotel for two days in late October with his wife and granddaughter.

Mr Hawtin paid the £6 charge for the hotel car park at the same time as he paid the hotel bill over the counter.

But a week later, Mr Hawtin was shocked to be contacted by Smart Parking Ltd, demanding he pay a £60 notice for non-payment of the car park charge.

The letter warned that if he did not pay within 14 days, the charge would rise to £100 with an additional £10 administration charge, with the threat of civil action being taken if it was not paid within 28 days.

Mr Hawtin said: “I was shocked because I knew I had paid over the counter at the hotel reception, so I phoned the company but I had the phone put down on me.

"I sent them an email with proof I’d paid, but I got nowhere, and then a debt firm got involved.

"This isn't doing my health any good with all this worry and stress, as I am slowly recovering from a serious health problem.

"I feel I am being harassed by these two companies."

But a Smart Parking spokesman said: “Soon after receiving his charge, Mr Hawtin did contact us by phone, and during this conversation we asked him to outline his mitigating circumstances via our appeals process, at which point Mr Hawtin categorically refused to do so and up until now we are yet to receive any appeal from him.

“As the matter is over two months old his charge has been passed onto a debt recovery firm.

"However as an act of good will we are happy to extend Mr Hawtin’s right to appeal until January 21 and hope he will get in touch,"

Smart Parking added that it was a member of the British Parking Association and strictly followed its guidelines.

Britannia Hotels, which owns the Norbreck Castle Hotel, did not wish to comment.