Huddersfield man charged £638 for 50-minute pick up at Manchester Airport

James Flack - who was charged £638 for parking for 50 minutes at Manchester Airport.
-Credit: (Image: No credit)

A Huddersfield man was left stunned when he was billed £638 for a 50-minute stay at Manchester Airport.

The staggering sum was demanded after he parked his Peugeot at Terminal One's short-term car park to pick up family members. After reaching out to the MEN for assistance, he has been successful in getting his money back.

James, from Huddersfield, said: "I parked at Manchester Airport Terminal 1 for 50 minutes, from approximately 12.35pm to 13.25pm on Wednesday May 15th. It is an ANPR system, no tickets, no receipt, zero paper trail other than my bank statement.

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"The charge should have been £12 on exiting the car park. I couldn't clearly see the digital display on the exit gate pay machine, due the height, angle, and sun glare on it. But I thought, well I know it is £12 and inserted my card and PIN and left when the gate opened."

Not realising that he had been overcharged, James explained: "I thought I had paid £12 then I checked my bank statement the next day and saw the damage. I rang the bank because it said pending transaction. They said that unfortunately because I had authorised the payment with my PIN they could not stop it as it was a legal contractual agreement to pay the amount. They could do nothing about it and urged me to contact the airport.", reports the Manchester Evening News.

"I tried to call the airport several times and it is impossible to get through on the automated system. It referred me to their website with a complaint form to fill in, which I did immediately. I received an automated reply saying do not reply your reference number is this - someone will get back to you. Then I waited for two weeks."

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He went on to say: "I went to the airport on a Wednesday and the transaction was pending on Thursday and went through on Friday. It is a lot of money to be out of pocket and is quite a random amount. How many other people has this happened to? I can't be a one off case. It was a short term multi-storey car park near arrivals. I just drove in was asked if I had booked a place, explained I was only there for an hour and was directed to the second level and it is all ANPR."

After inquiries from the Manchester Evening News about the case, James indicated that he had received an email from the airport stating his money had been refunded just an hour later.

In response to the incident, a Manchester Airport spokesperson stated: "We apologise to Mr Flack for the inconvenience caused by this technical error and have refunded him in full. We can reassure customers that issues of this nature are extremely rare and whenever they are brought to our attention, we rectify them immediately."

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The Airport has issued a statement explaining the situation: "Our customer feedback team attempted to contact Mr Flack a number of times, including on the day he submitted his complaint, but due to a typo in the email address he submitted ('hotmil' rather than 'hotmail'), it is possible that these messages did not reach him. We have processed a full refund of the £638.00 he paid, and as a goodwill gesture this includes the £12.00 parking charge that was due."

James added: "I filled in the complaint form twice - in one day. I noticed I had made an error with my email the first time so did it again and double checked it was correct. I'd like to thank the MEN for pursuing this for me because before they did I was getting nowhere."

This isn't the first incident of overcharging at Manchester Airport. In January 2023, a Cheshire woman faced a staggering £580 fee for a 20-minute drop-off at Terminal One, which should have cost £6.

In her case, the airport's email indicated that the mistake may have been due to the parking system not registering the driver's exit from the car park after a previous visit on December 23rd, resulting in a ten-day parking charge. After looking into the matter, the airport apologised, refunded the woman, and promised to "review their systems to prevent a recurrence of the problem".