Red Funnel to refund ‘unjustified’ parking fines

Red Funnel are set to help expedite refunds of parking fines incorrectly issued by Premier Park at their Red Jet terminal in Fountain Yard, Cowes between January and April 2019 in circumstances where Islanders feel they have been unfairly treated.

As previously reported some people using Fountain Yard to drop off or collect Red Jet passengers have received £100 fines from Premier Park Ltd. A 15 minute time limit is in force, but Red Funnel stipulate there should be a minimum 10-minute ‘grace period’ before a fine is issued.

Following our story (June 21) about Caroline Ross, who won an appeal against a fine, the IW Observer was contacted by readers who felt they had been fined unfairly.
Lawdit Solicitors, Newport, offered to act free of charge for those unfairly fined, as their opinion was that the fines breached contract law. The IW Observer sent Lawdit’s legal summary to Red Funnel.

This week the IW Observer met Red Funnel Chief Executive Fran Collins, who defended the decision to enforce waiting time limits in the yard, saying they had received complaints about congestion and traffic must be moving, pointing out that over 98 per cent of drivers were unaffected.

However, she quickly agreed that Red Funnel would step in and help compensate those who received fines wrongly issued by Premier Park in the first 4 months of this year saying: “It’s very important to me that Red Funnel treats our customers fairly. We became aware that a small number of people received fines where Premier Park was not honouring the grace period. Although Red Funnel does not receive any income from those parking fines we want to help right any wrongs, because we care about our customers and it’s just the right thing to do.

If any IW Observer readers were affected and were fined for a stay of 25 minutes or less between January and April 2019, we want to hear from them and will take care of their refund. We also encourage customers who filed an appeal with Premier Park and feel their appeal was wrongly denied, to get in touch with us too. While the correct way to dispute parking fines is to contact Premier Park direct, we are prepared to act as a conduit where necessary, and help customers facing specific exceptional circumstances to get the recourse they may deserve.”

Ms Collins confirmed there is now a minimum of 10 minutes ‘grace time’ which is adjusted if a Red Jet runs late. She also agreed that more could have been done to make people aware that there were new enforcement arrangements, particularly as ‘people don’t necessarily notice new signs that appear as they are going about their daily routine’.

She will also look again at some other points raised by Lawdit solicitors. She said: “I’m glad these points have been brought to my attention. This is not in our direct control, but I want our customers to be treated fairly by our contractors. I will be raising these issues with them to find a fair and reasonable way forward.” She added that anybody with extenuating circumstance who feels they are in danger of being issued with a ticket should contact a member of the terminal staff and explain the problem.

The refund offer came too late for our reader, Mrs Joice Hamilton of Newport who won her appeal to independent POPLA and had her fine dismissed. She said: “I’m glad Red Funnel are refunding fines wrongly issued, but this has put many people through a lot of worry, cost and inconvenience. Red Funnel should think again about using Premier Park, as searching the internet shows what sort of company they are, and Red Funnel’s reputation is at stake. What the IW Observer and Lawdit Solicitors have achieved is fantastic.”

Anybody who received a fine for stays of 25 minutes or less in Fountain Yard between January and April or whose appeal to Premier Park has been denied (where they feel the appeal should have been approved) should send details along with all appropriate documentation to Red Funnel by e-mail to headed Fountain Yard Support.