A woman who visited a hotel to give blood ended up receiving a £100 parking fine for her trouble.
Caroline McKee, from Greater Manchester, spent an hour donating her blood at a Novotel in Salford on May 23 but received a £60 penalty notice in the post a few days later.
The blood donor had been through the process at the hotel on four previous occasions and had always been allowed to leave her vehicle at the Novotel Manchester West car park for free.
Caroline appealed the penalty with the car park’s operators Parkingeye, sending the firm her appointment letter as proof that she was there to give blood. But the appeal was turned down and her penalty was initially raised to £100.
Speaking to the Manchester Evening News, she explained that she had not realised the site had been taken over by Parkingeye since her last visit and was unaware that she needed to register her details at the hotel’s reception.
She said: “I parked up, was there for around an hour, and then got the fine. I thought it would be fine because I had proof that I had been there giving blood, so I sent off my appointment letter but the appeal was rejected.
“I cannot be the only person that has gotten caught out with this. It feels morally wrong. When you are trying to give blood, you are there doing a good deed, so it seems unfair to uphold the fine.”
Because the two week discount period had expired, Caroline’s fine initially went up to £100. However, Parkingeye has since cut the penalty to £20 as a “gesture of goodwill”.
Caroline continued: “I didn’t realise anything had changed, or saw any signs. You don’t have to pay anyway, so proving to them that I was there to give blood should be enough.
“This could really put people off giving blood. These blood groups are crying out for people to give blood at the moment, and that is why I do it.
“It’s not like I was doing anything deliberate. I was spending an hour giving pints of blood to save people’s lives. To not overturn it when there is legitimate proof is unfair and morally wrong.”
Parkingeye said hotel visitors have to enter their licence plate number at the screens provided at reception. It added that there are several “prominent and highly-visible signs” providing car park guidance, but it has now offered Caroline a reduced charge of £20.
A spokesperson for the firm said: “The car park at Novotel Manchester West is monitored by ANPR camera systems and has 18 prominent and highly-visible signs throughout providing guidance on how to use the car park responsibly. All visitors using the car park, including those donating blood, are required to register their details at reception.
“The motorist didn’t do this and therefore received a Parking Charge Notice. As a gesture of goodwill we offered the motorist a reduced charge of £20.
“Parkingeye operates a BPA (British Parking Association) audited appeals process, which motorists can use to appeal their parking charge. If anyone has mitigating circumstances then we would encourage them to appeal.”