WIGAN health club users are furious after racking up hundreds of pounds worth of fines – at their own car park.
Those stung by the whopping penalties claim that Xercise4less suddenly brought in new regulations to deter non-members from parking outside - but at first neglected to tell members that they had to give their vehicle registration details to reception to avoid being penalised too.
The Chapel Lane gym has now dropped the parking firm but the debts remain outstanding.
Rosie Baron said: “I joined the gym on June 26 and a letter came through the post on August 15 with three tickets for £60 each. A couple of days afterwards I received another two for £60 each.
“The gym hadn’t told me at all that I needed to give my registration number into the reception. I’ve written my first appeal and I’m going through POPLA (the independent parking appeals organisation). I’ve shown the parking company I’m a gym member and they came back and said that as a ‘goodwill gesture’ they would charge me £10 per ticket so I just said ‘no.’
“The parking firm has taken my notice as a rejection and that I need to pay £300 by July 15 and that was sent in August. The gym say they won’t do anything about it despite knowing I’m a member.”
Signs outside the gym barring non-members from parking initially didn’t tell members about the signing-in process until AFTER a number of fines had been issued. Thereafter a sticker referring to members’ registrations was hastily added.
Another member stung by potentially £500 worth of fines is Clive Cox.
He said: “No-one ever told me to give my registration in. I’ve got five tickets and when I went in to complain the gym manager.
“The parking company offered me the chance to pay £10 per ticket which I rejected and they said they would pursue me for the full cost. In total it’s £300 at the moment but that will go up to £500.”
As a result of the issues, Xercise4Less has scrapped the operation with the external company and removed the sticker again.
Matthew Carr, Xercise4Less’s Wigan manager, said: “We originally added in the car parking management system due to non-members’ using the car park, and having complaints from members that they couldn’t find a car parking space. We engaged with an expert in the field in a contract that gave them the authority to manage the car park on our behalf.
“However, shortly after implementing this system we became aware of issues. As a result we have tried to work closely with the car parking management company to reach a suitable solution for all parties.
“Unfortunately we have not been able to resolve the issues at present, so we have decided to terminate the contract, with immediate effect.”