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Rip Off Britain: Lawyer Gary Rycroft gives tips on parking tickets

William Reynolds, 72, from Bo’ness, near Falkirk, Scotland, visited his local McDonald’s branch to meet with his son and enjoy some breakfast. However, as he was tucking into his McMuffin his car was getting ticketed.

Mr Reynolds told the Scottish Express that the latest £50 fine has been a “bit of a blow” to his finances.

Between him and his son, they have racked up £200 in “ridiculous” parking fines all from the same McDonald’s.

The former maintenance engineer explained that the restaurant had been nearly empty when he got the latest fine and that the 90-minute time limit signage was not clear.

He wasn’t even aware of a ticket until he got a letter in the post with a photograph of his car.

Mr Reynolds said: “I am gutted actually, I mean £50. I know from a previous dispute that if I am correct I don’t even think it’s entirely legal unless it’s issued by the local council or Government.

“These private companies try and squeeze money off you when it’s really not enforceable, and very often don’t even have adequate signage up to indicate.

“McDonald’s did have a sign, but you don’t even think to look and it wasn’t immediately noticeable I only know from looking on Google maps afterwards.

“If there’s a parking meter which says pay to park I am happy to pay the couple of quid but there was not even a parking ticket on the car when I went back.

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“I only found out after getting a letter in the post with a photograph of my car on it telling me I owed £50.”

Mr Reynolds continued: “You don’t expect to go into a restaurant and see a sign up on your way in saying you only have 90 minutes or we will fine you.

“Normally places would say you can have the table but need to leave in an hour and a half and I am ok with that but there was no one in looking for tables, it was a quiet morning.”

The fast food chain responded to Mr Reynolds when he first contacted them to explain the situation and warn that they would no longer get his custom unless it was sorted.

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He added that he received advice from a solicitor previously on a similar matter who told him these private companies won’t go to court as “it would make every car park in the UK free forever”.

McDonald’s said in an email shared with the Scottish Express: “As a company, putting in place enforcements within our car parks is only done after careful consideration and very much as a last resort.

“Primarily, we use parking measures to ensure there are spaces available for our customers’ vehicles, as well as to deter unwarranted or unreasonably prolonged usage of the facility.

“I can confirm this parking area is managed by an independent company who are responsible for monitoring the car park and taking details of registration numbers.

“The regulations and signs at the restaurant clearly state the policy and the relevant charges,” they added.

A McDonald’s spokesperson said: “We have parking restrictions in place at a number of our restaurants, with a time limit to ensure there is adequate parking for all of our customers.

“At this restaurant, the time limit is 90 minutes and we make this clear to our customers with signage in the car park.

“If a customer believes they have been issued a ticket incorrectly they should appeal as per the parking control company guidelines.”

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