Why did I get parking fines for entering a digit wrongly?

We had a leak at home and our insurer booked us into the Bromsgrove Hotel. There is a fee to park and we were asked to input our car registration number. We mistook the zero for the letter O and have received four fines of £60.

KM, Bromsgrove

This seems to be a recurring problem among guests at the hotel, according to review forums. It is part of the Britannia Hotels group, and explains it recruited SmartParking to patrol its car park to deter misuse, and that guests have to liaise direct with the firm, although it says it did refer your complaint.

SmartParking failed to comment but your tickets were cancelled after I contacted its press office.

However, there is the odd sentient human lurking, as GH of Swansea writes:

I paid £2 to park in a Swansea car park. To my astonishment, on my return, I had received a fine of £85 reducing to £50 if paid within the fortnight. It was because one of my front wheels was about two inches over the white demarcation line.

I sent a £50 cheque and a letter of complaint to the management company, Local Parking Security Ltd. Amazingly, my cheque was returned with a mild suggestion that I should park better next time. Sometimes it pays to complain!

If you need help email Anna Tims at or write to Your Problems, The Observer, Kings Place, 90 York Way, London N1 9GU. Include an address and phone number. Submission subject to our terms and conditions


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