Trading Standards issues Gatwick meet and greet warning

West Sussex Trading Standards Service is advising customers of meet and greet airport parking companies to check the small print this Christmas.

Trading Standards has received complaints from customers who have experienced thefts from their cars, damage to their vehicles and excess mileage put on the odometer while their car has been in the care of some unscrupulous companies.

The advice being given is:

  • Check the company websites and make sure you know who you are dealing with. Legally, companies need to provide their name and address details on websites. If contact address details are missing, be extra cautious and consider booking with a different provider
  • Consider using a credit card to make your booking if the cost is more than £100 – this will give you extra protection should something go wrong
  • Most reputable companies will complete paperwork highlighting any damage to the vehicle at the time you drop it off. Take photos of all 4 sides of your vehicle when dropping it off to help avoid any disputes regarding damage to your vehicle when you return from holiday
  • Make a note of the mileage reading on your car when you drop it off
  • Do not leave any valuables or money in your vehicle whilst you are on your travels.

Lionel Barnard, West Sussex County Council’s Cabinet Member for Residents’ Services with responsibility for trading standards said: “It’s important to say that the majority of people suffer a stress free experience when dealing with official and regulated meet and greet firms.

“There are so many things to arrange when you are going on holiday at Christmas time, any time for that matter, that it’s easy to look at car parking online and concentrate on price or availability rather than reading the small print.

“If you look closely some companies offering ‘meet and greet’ services do not have full contact details on their websites so you have no way of making contact if you have a complaint.

“In some cases claims of secure parking can actually mean a field or a street near to the airport.

“Our advice is to use the official airport car parking facilities or use a ‘meet and greet’ service provided by our ‘Buy With Confidence’ trading standards approved business.”

West Sussex Trading Standards operates the Buy With Confidence scheme (BWC), a trade approval scheme, where all members are vetted and approved by the service. In relation to meet and greet companies, BWC means that their parking compounds have been checked and are all secure.

Visit the BWC website to find out which meet and greet operators are part of BWC – Gatwick postcode is RH6 0NP (South Terminal)

The Gatwick Airport website has a list of Gatwick Approved operators. The meet and greet companies listed on the Gatwick Airport website will all be members of BWC and their parking compounds will also all have the Park Mark award.

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