A BASINGSTOKE resident has been left feeling angry and upset after having to pay a £140 parking fine.

Karen Waters, 53, took her 80-year-old mother to Kempshott Sainsbury's and B&M for some retail therapy and to do some Christmas shopping. Karen and her mother shopped in both stores before Karen's mother began to feel unwell.

They sat and had a cup of tea, before heading back to the car and home. A week later, Karen received a parking fine from Euro Car Parks, stating she had spent too long in the car park, which they own.

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Karen said: "I honestly didn’t see the signs stating a three-hour time limit, there were so many other adverts and signs all over the place as it was coming up to Christmas and it never crossed my mind at the time. I wasn't aware there was a time limit for parking there."

Euro Car Parks wanted £70, or £40 if Karen paid straight away. Karen appealed, saying she felt the fine was unjust when taking into account the extenuating circumstances.

Karen said: "There were loads of empty parking spaces, we were only 11 minutes over the maximum time allowed and were only late back to the car because my elderly mother was feeling unwell."

It took over eight weeks for Karen to receive a reply, only to be told the appeal had been rejected. When she proceeded to send £40, she was emailed to say that she would need to pay £70 now, as the £40 offer was only if Karen paid straight away.

Karen wrote back to them, asking if Euro Car Parks would negotiate. Karen never received a reply to this letter, before receiving a letter from a debt collection agency demanding £140 or legal action.

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Karen was left with no choice but to pay £140.

She continued: "The process has been so upsetting and stressful, and the only reason we were over the time limit was because my mother wasn't feeling very well. They haven't given any consideration to the appeal, and the only reason it has dragged on as long as it has is because I couldn't get a reply.

"They have no empathy or feeling, and clearly all they care about is the money. I think it's so unfair and I expect I'm not the only one who has had to go through this horrible experience."

The Gazette has contacted Euro Car Parks but has yet to receive a reply.