Trading Standards warns of rogue Gatwick meet and greet parking companies

West Sussex Trading Standards is advising holidaymakers to check the small print when booking Gatwick meet and greet parking.

Complaints have been received from customers who have suffered thefts from their cars, damage to their vehicles and excessive mileage added to their cars’ odometers while in the care of some companies.

The advice given by Trading Standards 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.
  • If the cost of the booking is more than £100, consider paying with a credit card as this will give you extra protection should things go wrong.
  • Most reputable companies will complete paperwork highlighting any damage to the vehicle at the time you drop it off. Trading Standards advises customers to take pictures of all 4 sides of their vehicle when they drop it off to help avoid any disputes regarding damage to your vehicle when you return from holiday.
  • The majority of meet and greet companies will have parking facilities which are relatively close to the airport. Make a note of the mileage reading on your car when you drop it off, that way you will know whether or not it has been driven further than you expected.
  • Lastly, 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 that it is 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.”

Advice from Gatwick blog:

  1. To check Buy With Confidence status click on the link – select ‘airport parking’ as business type
    Gatwick Airport’s postcode is RH6 0NP
  2. To view Gatwick ParkMark companies click on the link
  3. To view Gatwick Approved Operators click on the link.

Comments

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  2. Kevin green says:

    dropped a new car of with this company for 2 weeks
    Had 575 miles on clock when I picked it up it had 974 miles on clock
    Seats where different positions driver yes expect it
    Air bags switched of and mud in the front and back it was a state no comment all I got the boss is not in today. Not only cost me just under £100 they must of housed it for a taxi.
    Please do not use this company I won’t again

  3. Hi used a meet and greet company called Perfect Parking when flying from Gatwick North 2 weeks ago. All seemed well when I handed the car over to them.
    On my return this company returned my car in a filthy state covered in mud. It was obvious that the car had been parked up in a muddy field somewhere.
    There was no apology from this companies staff who returned the car sighting that they had to move parking facilities during my vehicles stay with them. My Daughters car which was also booked in with them came back in the same state.
    Perfect Parking’s staff informed us that a £10 refund for each car would be credited back to the credit card used at the time of booking to enable us to pay for each car to be valeted on the outside.
    This was the first time something like this has happened when using a meet and greet company and is now obvious that we made a big mistake in using Perfect Parking as it was far from Perfect.
    I will be sticking to the meet and greet companies recommended by Gatwick airport from now on. I would also like to warn other people not to use this company in the future.

  4. Paula Garrett says:

    Hi Dev

    I’m really sorry to hear you’ve had a nightmare with your parking.

    I suggest you contact Citizens Advice Consumer Service (CACS). CACS will be able to provide you with comprehensive civil advice, on behalf of Trading Standards, and the complaint data is held on a national database which all Trading Standards Services have access to.

    The current contact telephone number for CACS is 0345 040506.

    Good luck and feel free to comment back here with any progress you make.

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