A single mum fell ‘worriedly ill’ after being ordered to pay a £170 parking fine.
Catherine Bowden, 40, had visited a McDonald’s in Walsgrave, Coventry, with her two children in November.
They ate some food and their two-year-old Zayn had a great time on the soft play.
It had been a special day for the family after being given the all clear after catching Covid.
But Catherine accidentally stayed just 14 minutes in the McDonald’s car park after saying she missed signs with the exact time limits.
The 40-year-old, who works as a kitchen hand in a nursing home, tried to find answers about the fine.
However, when she tried unsuccessfully to reach McDonald’s, the parking charges went from £50 to £170.
The single mother is now afraid how she will afford to pay for it.
Catherine told Metro.co.uk: “I’m worried sick, I’ve never been in debt in my life and I don’t know what to do. I’m trying to ask McDonald’s for help.
“I am upset with the fine as I was a paying customer using McDonald’s facilities.
“I’ve never been hounded for debt and I always pay my bills, it feels unfair.”
Catherine had slept in the parking lot on November 2nd.
She added: “Had I known there were cameras or a 90 minute limit, I wouldn’t have gone to McDonald’s.
“I’m a single parent and don’t have a lot of money to be honest, so I took my kids to McDonald’s knowing they had a playground.”
A McDonald’s spokesman stressed that there were “enough” signs in the restaurant.
It comes after suggestions that a “grace period” could be introduced at the car park for customers who stay too long for a short time and may have left late due to young children.
A spokesman told Metro.co.uk: “We have parking restrictions in place at some of our restaurants with a time limit to ensure there is ample parking for all our customers.
“Large signage regarding these restrictions is clearly visible both at the entrance to the car park and on various lamp posts within it and in the restaurant. We work with industry approved contractors to ensure clients stay within the 90 minute limit.’
UK Parking Control has been contacted for comment.
A similar situation to Catherine’s had been experienced by 35-year-old Marcus Ward in the same parking lot.
The 35-year-old and his wife had taken their two young children to lunch and an afternoon at McDonald’s Soft Play.
A few days later, a parking fine appeared through her front door.
Marcus said the charge, also from UK Parking Control, said his wife and children exceeded the 90-minute limit for customer parking by around 10 minutes.
The furious dad told CoventryLive: “You’ve got a soft game there
McDonald’s, so you will be there much longer than a normal McDonald’s.
“If you break down how long it takes for a parent to get children out of the car, change them, feed them and play gently, it’s definitely over an hour and a half.
“Everything is pretty much designed for you to fail and get caught by this trap. It’s incredible.’
Marcus has been fighting the parking penalty since August of last year.
Like Catherine, he has now been told he must challenge the parking fee in court as the fine has reached £170.
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https://metro.co.uk/2023/03/04/single-mum-worried-sick-after-being-fined-for-parking-outside-mcdonalds-18380507/ Single mum 'sick with worry' after being fined for parking in front of McDonald's