Natalie Carby, 41, had only bought her new car an hour earlier when she visited an Esso Garage in Rickmansworth to get it washed.
Several cars were in front of her at the Uxbridge Road site before she eventually left 25 minutes later. But on Monday (February 27), a Euro Car Parks fine landed on her doormat.
“I’m just absolutely appalled,” she told the Watford Observer. “I think it’s absolutely outrageous that they can do this. Fair enough there may be signs around for a car park, but the car wash queue is not a car park.”
What was a £9 car wash could now set Natalie back over £100, which the single mother-of-two said would compound mounting energy bills, having just shelled out for a second-hand car.
“It has taken a lot of time and effort and help from family members to get this car and then within an hour I’m whacked with a £100 fine,” she continued.
“I had my previous car for over 10 years and I never got a parking fine. An hour of this car and I’m getting a fine for having a car wash – I’m just appalled.”
Natalie, who works as an admin manager, added she will dig her heels in and refuse to pay because she simply can’t afford it.
She said she appealed on Euro Car Park’s website and an automated confirmation email said a response can take 30 days – but she has been given 14 days to pay a discounted £60 fine.
Euro Car Parks did not respond to a request for comment.
The fine, seen by the Watford Observer, states “your vehicle was parked longer than the maximum period allowed”, adding: “By remaining at the car park without authorisation, in accordance with the terms and conditions set out in the signage, the parking charge is now payable to Euro Car Parks (as the creditor).”
A garage sign states the maximum stay is 15 minutes.
“Failure to pay the full amount of this notice within 28 days may result in the proceeding of debt recovery action and/or issuing court proceedings against you,” the fine adds.