Introducing our new consumer champion column: Katie Morley Investigates. If a company has let you down she is here to fight your corner. If you've lost money or been badly treated contact Katie here or at email@example.com.
In September 2014, I stayed in a hotel in Syracuse, Italy, and because my wife is a British Blue Badge holder, the hotel concierge advised us that we could park the car in the nearby disabled bay.
We displayed the badge clearly, as well as the hotel guest notice. On our departure, I noticed a parking ticket was attached to our car.
I asked the hotel concierge about the ticket and he took it from me and said he would deal with it. After a month or two, I received a letter demanding either to pay the fine or appeal it.
I wrote back and explained the situation. I never received any acknowledgement of my letter.
Five years passed and I thought the matter was closed until I received a letter the other day from a firm called CLI International Debt Collectors, demanding a £333 payment.
This fine should never have been issued, as blue disabled parking badges are valid for use across the whole of the EU. The parking attendant ought to have known this.
It is also troubling that staff at the hotel told you they would deal with the rogue ticket but didn’t stay true to their word.
Because of this, your fine ended up being passed to an international debt collection agency. The original fine was for £182, but over four years it also racked up £67 in interest, £60 in “legal costs”, and a further £24 in “collection costs”.
The good news is I tracked down the director of CLI International Debt Collectors and he quickly confirmed your debt was being dropped.
I tried to pursue the hotel for an apology and a goodwill gesture, but it has since changed hands and the new owners didn’t offer anything.
The full Katie Morley Investigates column will appear in print every Saturday and Sunday. You can get an early taste every Friday at 1200.
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