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Frustrated drivers complain long-standing fault with meters in NCP car park in Park Mall in Ashford pushes up cost of parking

By Vicky Castle

A car parking giant has come under fire after complaints flood in that a long-standing fault with the machines is forcing drivers to spend more than they should.

The parking rates in Park Mall in Ashford town centre all end in 10p but the pay and display machines do not accept the new 10p coins.

Frustrated motorists have to put extra money into the NCP-owned meters, but they do not give change.

Customers are now calling for a temporary reduced charge until the machines are fixed.

The NCP multi-storey car park in Ashford town centre

One driver, who asked not to be named, said: “It has taken me ages to pay for parking because I had to go back to the car and search for old 10 pence coins.

“It’s not on really, if I could not find an old coin I would have had to put a pound in because of the fault.

“These machines don’t give change so that would be pretty expensive parking and not what they advertise.

“It’s frustrating because the other payment methods take ages which is no good if you are in a rush.

“It might only be a few pence but it all adds up.”

Parking scam as Park Mall NCP carpark machines unable to accept new 10p coins

Another motorist said he has repeatedly mentioned the problem to NCP but is unhappy with the response.

Darryl Taylor said: "I've sent a few emails to NCP since May and all they have been doing is coming up with poor excuses.

"I did suggest to them that they should reduce the charges to £1 per hour until they can fix the machines.

"I don't expect to park for free, but when their machines do not give change I feel that I'm getting ripped off like everyone else."

Faulty machines in Park Mall NCP carpark cannot accept new 10p coins costing customers more

A spokesman from NCP said the fault is with all machines across the country and is due to the weight difference between the old and new coins.

She said: “We would like to sincerely apologise to any customer who has been affected by this issue with the 10 pence coins.

“We do understand how frustrating it is and are working hard to rectify the problem.

“Like all car park operators, and all businesses who operate coin machines, we are trying to ensure our machines are able to take the new coinage as soon as possible.

“This will involve a major new software roll-out across all of our car parks, which we have committed to and invested heavily in, and we have a roll-out plan in place that has already got under way.

“We also provide a variety of methods of payment including pay by phone, credit/debit card to allow customers to pay the current prices as easily and conveniently as possible.”

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