MOTORISTS have blasted greedy parking firms for calls to raise the maximum fine to £120 – the equivalent of two days' wages for key workers.
The Government is currently poised to reduce the current cap of £100 to £50.
But chiefs at the British Parking Association (BPA) have demanded that it's raised instead, with the cap set at a whopping £120.
And they say some drivers will consider a £50 fine – which is discounted to £25 if paid within 14 days – to be a "bargain".
Meanwhile, the boss of one parking firm says fines must go up – insisting it will "protect the NHS".
Philip Boynes, chief of Parkingeye, told MPs last year that the "deterrent" of a hefty penalty ensures motorists don’t overstay and block spaces for hospital patients.
But furious campaigners say that if their proposals get the green light, it'll cost a key worker working 35 hours a week on an £8.91-an-hour minimum wage contract two full days to pay off.
Edmund King, president of the AA, said: "How can it ever be justified for someone who parks with a wheel over the line or overstays by ten minutes to be fined a day’s wage or even more?
"It is crazy to suggest that current enforcement charges outside London are not high enough to be a deterrent.
"Nobody wants to end up paying a fine, whatever the cost."
However, BPA chief Andrew Pester said ministers must "reconsider".
"We are calling on the Government to reconsider its proposal to reduce the level of parking charge and to further engage with landowners and parking operators to ensure a sufficient deterrent, which is effective and improves compliance with parking rules," he said.
It was revealed just this week that parking firms issued an astonishing 22,000 tickets a day – 15 every minute – in the first six months of the financial year alone.
That means they raked in £400million in just 26 weeks.
The RAC’s roads policy chief, Nicholas Lyes, said: "No driver ever tries to get a parking charge notice, so the idea a lower penalty cap will mean more fines being dished out is baseless.
'HOW CAN YOU JUSTIFY IT?'
"The majority simply want to park, abide by the rules, do their business and leave the car park without incident."
Ministers have pledged a crackdown on "cowboy firms".
They aim to introduce a code of practice for the private parking industry, which will include a single appeals service and a system of charges and penalties in line with council fines.
It could have a huge impact on some of the ruthless firms responsible for thousands of car parks at hospitals, shopping centres and train stations.
A Sun investigation last year found motorists could save thousands by simply appealing unfair parking fines – as around half of all claims are successful.
Eight councils were asked how many appeals were launched, and how many fines were cancelled after drivers complained.
In total, they cleared more than half a million pounds worth of fines over the two year period, according to Freedom of Information requests.
However, it's a different process for private firms.
A driver handed a fine should check the company is accredited by the British Parking Association or the International Parking Community by checking the member lists on their websites.
If they're not, they won't be able to get your name and address from the DVLA.
Another tip is to write to whoever owns the site where you were fined – for example, a shopping centre or hospital – to state you're a genuine customer.
Many ParkingEye contracts include a "genuine customer exemption", which means the ticket could be cancelled.
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Then you should write to the parking company to appeal, including any evidence you have that it was wrongly issued.
According to Citizens Advice, the notice to the vehicle's owner must be delivered within 14 days after the last day of parking. If it isn’t delivered to you in time, tell the parking company you don’t have to pay the charge.
Anyone unhappy with the response can appeal to independent arbitrators.
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