Being a mediocre son and husband I thought it would be nice to take my mother, wife and kids out for dinner last night. Had I have known NCP would lock my car away for the night, leaving them to soak in the rain, I wouldn’t have bothered.
I’m a relaxed consumer. Fairly savvy, but also open to paying a little more if it is convenient to do so. I rarely complain, but when I do, I really complain.
Yesterday afternoon at 4.20pm I parked my car at the NCP car park at The Spires shopping centre in Barnet. It took a while to work out how to pay, but after four attempts, I appeased the machine and gained a ticket allowing us to park until 6.26pm.
We noticed there were few cars parked so we looked for around closing times, but were unable to find any. We went off and had a lovely dinner before heading back to the carpark for our 6.26pm deadline only to find metal shutters. My wife waited, in the cold rain, with our 3-year-old and 10-month-old whilst I ran around the building to find someone to talk to.
Eventually I found the shopping centre cleaner who told me that it actually shut at 4.30pm, this happens a lot, and that there is nothing we can do apart from come back in the morning. He, at least, let me enter the car park to retrieve our house keys which, I know, I should not have left in the car in the first place. Whilst there I double checked for closing times and saw nothing.
I popped back to the restaurant to tell my father than his car was also locked up and he was no longer able to drive back home to the Midlands after his 26 hour journey from Sydney. He agreed to spend the night nearby and pick both cars up with my mum in the morning.
A taxi, costing £17.27, took me and my drenched family home. Once safe and dry I called the number in the photo above to explain why the car would still be there when they opened at 8am in the morning and, to be honest, to receive some form of apology or refund. There was neither. In fact, I was told that, since this was a 24 hour car park I (and my dad) would be required to pay the maximum £5.50 to extend my access until the morning, so that we did not get a ticket. I did, and went to bed to dream of revenge.
At the car park in the morning my Dad, again confirmed the absence of closing times, and located the sole attendant. He was very busy trying to explain the afore mentioned pay machines to other customers. The attendant responded “They must have taken the notices down again”.
It’s not clear who “they” are, but regardless, it’s NCP’s responsibility to maintain proper signage, especially if the absence leads to locked up cars and sodden families.
Do you have any similar stories? Let us know in the comments or on our Facebook page 🙂
UPDATE: I tried to get in touch with their press office…🙄