A youth worker has been left outraged after being charged £60 to park at McDonald’s.
The woman, who wished to remain anonymous, had taken a child for a meal at the branch in Walsall on June 23.
The youth worker used the drive-thru, as the foster child she was caring for “suffered with anxiety”, and did not want to go in the restaurant.
They only spent 45 minutes in the Wisemore-based store, but she discovered a £60 fine in the post five days later.
McDonald’s, which does not control parking on the site, said there is a 70-minute parking limit for dine-in customers, with notices saying that motorists should enter their registration details on a tablet.
However the youth worker said there were no clear signs, and she could not leave the child in the car on their own.
The woman, who works in foster care, said: “I was shocked to receive the fine, I didn’t see any parking notices anywhere. There was a constant flow of people coming in and out of the restaurant.
“They were not using any machines to pay, and I did not see any pay and display tickets in cars, so I assumed I did not have to pay. This has left me angry.
“I was taking a child out to enjoy McDonald’s as part of my job. Now I have had to pay £60, which is not ideal, especially during this cost of living crisis. That was a very expensive McDonald’s.”
This is not the first time that drive-thru customers have been penalized for using the McDonald’s restaurant, whose parking is operated by Ocean Parking.
Other unsuspecting motorists have also been hit with £100 fines, prompting the launch of a petition which calls for a ‘time limit increase’ at the site.
The time limit for drive-thru customers used to be 10 minutes, it is believed, but it is thought that may have increased to 20 minutes or half an hour.
Coun Lee Jeavons, who launched the petition, said: “Drive-thru customers at McDonald’s in Wisemore, Walsall, have started to receive up to £100 fines for parking in excess of 10 minutes. The petitioners contend that this is a cynical move on behalf of the landowner, not McDonald’s.
“But the petitioners call upon McDonalds to use its commercial power to force the landowners to extend the time limit to a more reasonable level and rescind and repay all fines incurred under the 10 minute limit.”
Among other motorists that have been penalized includes Tracey Yates, who said: “My husband had a fine after waiting in the queue at McDonald’s 20 minutes.” Saema Saleem said: “Need longer to be able to order and collect food – should be one hour free. I have been fined £100 for 35 minutes parking.”
James Jhalli said: “I have been fined for parking in McDonald’s car park for 30 minutes, it’s actually a big con. “Phil Badiz added:
“This is just plain nasty and McDonald’s should be fighting for the customers.”
In the letter sent to the youth worker, Ocean Parking said the fine was actually £100, however it would be reduced to £60 if paid within 14 days.
Ocean Parking said “We have issued a parking charge notice to your vehicle because it was parked in a manner whereby the driver became liable for a parking charge at Wisemore Central.”
In response to the story, a McDonald’s spokesperson said: “The car park in question is a shared parking area, and is therefore neither owned or operated by McDonald’s.
“At the restaurant, the time limit for customers who choose to dine-in is 70 minutes and notices displayed serve as a reminder that customers need to enter their car registration details into a designated tablet.
“If a customer feels that they have been fined incorrectly we encourage them to get in touch with the parking operator to seek further assistance.”