A WIGAN mum was left furious after landing a £100 fine ... for visiting her local home and garden centre.
Sarah O’Neill was shopping at the Range with her two-year-old daughter Amelia and disabled mother earlier this month and after spending a couple of hours inside, she was horrified to learn that she had been handed a huge parking penalty.
The Shevington mum arrived at the store on July 2 shortly before noon and grabbed a bite to eat in the cafe before having a look around.
“We ended up in there for two hours with my mum and little girl,” explained Sarah.
“We had our dinner and then went for a look around the shop and it was just how long it took.
“The lift was out of order so it took ages for my mum and then obviously when you have a two-year-old, that can always add time on too.
“We only bought some picture frames that day and then went back with my nephew and his van a few days later to get some stuff for the garden and spent a lot more.”
However, on July 5, a letter dropped through Sarah’s door informing her that she had incurred a £100 fine because she had been parked for longer than two hours.
The reason behind this measure is to prevent people parking up and wandering into the town centre nearby.
But Sarah believes this is simply punishing loyal customers and when she contacted the company, she was told that if she sent her receipt in from her day’s shopping, she would have good grounds for appeal.
However, that’s where the problem lies.
“I had only bought some picture frames so I didn’t keep the receipt,” she said.
“Nobody keeps receipts when they spend so little. We went back a few days later and spent a lot of money when we brought the van.
“I’m really disappointed with this. It’s as if you’re only allowed to shop for a certain amount of time.”
A spokesman for the Range said: “Working with Parking Eye, a specialist car park management company, we introduced a parking management system into our car parks as there was a serious problem of motorists parking and leaving their vehicles there all day.
“The parking management has only been introduced into stores that have had specific problems for example stores close to hospitals, town centres, etc.
“This parking abuse was preventing genuine customers finding spaces.
“We still offer completely free parking for all, however to counter parking abuse, we have set a maximum stay time.
“There are signs at the entrance to and across the car parks that clearly highlight the terms and conditions of use.”