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Council clock-up: Dundee drivers could get refunds after car parks set at wrong time

The time on barriers at the likes of the Olympia were inaccurate.
The time on barriers at the likes of the Olympia were inaccurate.

Drivers could be issued refunds after the clocks at Dundee’s council multi-storey car parks were set at the wrong time.

Motorists using Olympia, West Bell Street, Gellatly Street and Greenmarket spotted that the timers on the entry barriers and pay machines were between five and six minutes early throughout this week.

It means that some unlucky motorists have been charged more than they should.

The local authority, which runs the car parks, has admitted there was an error and has vowed to reimburse anyone affected.

What was the issue?

Parking at all four multi-storeys is free between 8pm and 8am, seven days a week.

Monday to Friday, drivers are charged £2.30 for a stay of up to two hours, and higher fees for longer stays.

On a weekend they are charged a flat rate of £3 all day.

When The Courier tested out the parking systems (see video below) we found that the barriers and pay machines were both set at the same – wrong – time.

The time on the barriers was about five minutes slow.

Anyone arriving at one of the multi-storeys between 8pm and 8.05pm would have expected to be able to park free, as long as they collected their car before charges kicked in at 8am the following day.

However, the clocks being slow meant that anyone arriving in that five-minute window would have automatically incurred a charge – because the car parks’ clocks said it was before 8pm.

Conversely, anyone who parked their car after 8pm, and then collected it between 8am and 8.05am, would have managed to avoid being charged – because the time was showing as being in the free parking period.

One driver told The Courier he had been overcharged by £3, after parking at the Olympia multi-storey on Sunday night.

He said: “I entered the car park at 8.02pm/8.03pm and was amazed the entry time on the automated ticket was recorded as 7.57pm, so I would be charged for Sunday parking, which turned out to be £3.

“On Monday when we went to pay at the pay machine the £2.30 charge for two-hour parking turned into £5.30 for three minutes on Sunday night, plus the two hours on Monday.”

Gellatly Street car park.

Dundee City Council is offering to pay back anyone who has been overcharged by the fault, after putting the clocks right on Thursday – when it was highlighted by The Courier.

It is unclear how long the problem lasted or whether it was linked to the clocks going forward at the weekend.

A spokesperson said: “The car parks’ clocks have been reset and are now showing the correct time.

“Any car park user who arrived after 8pm and was charged for parking is invited to e-mail parkingenquiries@dundeecity.gov.uk to request reimbursement.”

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