Kate Livingstone: Will it be ‘fine’ if you don’t pay up?

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I’m awful glad that I’m not the woman who has been told that she has to pay the £24,500 in parking fines.

And I’m sure my bank manager is even more delighted – but then that makes me wonder if with all the branches closing and surge in online banking whether I actually have someone looking out my finances?

However, I digress from my point about parking tickets, or should I say fines imposed by private car park operators.

Apparently this young woman chose to ignore the letters asking her to stump up for parking in a space that she wasn’t entitled to be.

From what I’ve read the story did leave me with more questions than answers. Photographs I saw of where she parked appeared to be outside a lock up garage and the space was supposedly at her parents’ home where she claimed to be staying for a while.

I’m not sure how these things work, but could she not have told the people running the car parking area that she was now living at that address?

However, I must admit that I have fallen foul of this type of parking restriction myself.

It appears that so many ‘free’ car parks have cameras clocking your number plate as you go in and out. Heaven forbid that you go over the allotted time you are allowed to stay as a few weeks later a white envelope will pop through your letterbox with a nasty letter wanting you to pay their fine and threatening if you don’t stump up within so many days then they will double the fine.

Yip, you’re right. It is the voice of experience and I have fallen foul of such parking regulations myself.

When I came into the office clutching said letter, the majority of people told me “just ignore it”, stressing they had and nothing happened.

“I don’t have that sort of luck,” I replied.

And I didn’t like being told that I would be a mug to part with £40 of my hard-earned cash.

So I didn’t do anything.

Then came the letter telling me that the fine had doubled.

That panicked me so I quickly phoned up – out of earshot of everyone else in the office – and paid the original sum.

Bet that’s something that woman with the £24,500 bill wished she had done too.

But until I’d heard about her case I was convinced that I was foolish to have handed over the money. Now I’m rather relieved that I did.

And all those at work who said I was daft? Well I caught a couple of them digging deep in their desk drawers this week ... and it looked awfully like parking fine letters they were retrieving.