Zipcar fines driver £305 for parking in one of its bays: money taken straight from account

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A DRIVER in London who regularly used car sharing app Zipcar was shocked to discover it had taken over £300 out of their bank account for parking in a dedicated bay that the local council had given notice of suspension on. It led to the Zipcar vehicle being impounded.

The driver explained the situation and gave details of how they struggled to get a response from the company.

“I’ve been a Zipcar member since 2013 and I use the service six to eight times a year,” a letter to the Guardian read.

“At the end of January I made a booking for an hour, with the car collected from and dropped off at the same location.

“I became aware there was a problem in February when my banking app showed Zipcar had taken £305 from my account. I searched my emails and found a message from it in my spam folder.

“The parking bay had been suspended by Waltham Forest council the following day and the car had been impounded.

“The £305 included a £65 penalty charge notice and a £200 recovery fee for the car.

“I phoned Zipcar immediately and was told to send an email. It told me that members should not park in bays with an up-and-coming suspension but on the day of the hire it sent me an email telling me to park there.

“The money was taken by direct debit.

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“Zipcar did not reply to my emails for two months, but is now saying the matter is closed.”

Zipcar said that if it had been aware of the upcoming suspension it would have arranged a safe space for the vehicle to be left in.

“Unfortunately, you did not make us aware of any issues with the bay, as a result, you are liable for the violation,” it said.

The company continued that the council had not alerted it to the suspension, which led it to provide information that was “unfortunately inaccurate”.

It added: “Our member policy asks that members notify us whenever a vehicle is left in a zone with parking restrictions so that our team can move the vehicles out of the location.

“Our investigation has concluded that while the customer’s parking notice was valid as issued by the council, we have taken the decision to pay the charge and offer a full refund.

“We urge all members to contact member services should a bay suspension sign be visible when parking a car in its designated place.” reached out to Zipcar for comment. 

It comes as car rental companies struggle to meet demand globally.

Many rental companies sold off swathes of their fleets during the Covid pandemic to raise cash.

That now means that there are fewer vehicles as the summer raises demand.

The companies are unable to take delivery of new cars due to production delays across the world.

Many manufacturers are unable to deliver new cars for a full year.

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