Anger as smart cards no longer work in Chichester car parks

The old parking meter at the Northgate car park before it switched to contactless.ks16001181-6 SUS-160811-191952008
The old parking meter at the Northgate car park before it switched to contactless.ks16001181-6 SUS-160811-191952008

There is anger at the district council for not automatically refunding people’s money on pre-payment cards which are now unusable in any of its city centre car parks.

New contactless payment meters in the council-owned Chichester car parks no longer accept the smart cards.

Malcolm Turner, from Tangmere, says he is still waiting for a £53 refund more than a month after first contacting the council asking for his money back.

He says when he topped up his and his wife’s cards last year, he was incorrectly told they could still be used in all of the long-stay car parks.

Mr Turner said: “After visiting the Chichester District Council offices and speaking to a representative from the parking department, I feel totally let down as I was assured the pre-payment parking would still be available in the long-stay car parks in Chichester.

“I am disgusted that this option of pre-payment was withdrawn without the card holders being informed and no immediate offer of a refund of your money unless you approach the council yourselves.

“And to add insult to injury they will only refund you by a Bacs transfer, which I am still waiting for ten days after handing the refund form into the council in person.”

He questioned how many others had money owing on the now redundant cards.

Chichester District Council has apologised to Mr Turner for the delay and said his refund has been arranged.

A spokesman said: “When we decided to withdraw the pre-payment cards we gave a year’s notice and we publicised the changes in our customer service centre. We felt it wasn’t feasible to contact each customer individually.

“The system we have means it is not possible to give the total balance remaining on smart cards.

“We would urge anyone who still has a smart card with an outstanding balance to visit our offices where a refund will be provided.”

The spokesman added that following feedback from Mr Turner a refund will now be issued at the time a customer visits, providing they can confirm the balance and what payment was used to top it up.

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