A DRIVER came back from a holiday to find her car was wrecked by a "cowboy" airport parking firm.
Joanne Hussey's break in Italy for a friend's wedding was interrupted when her insurers called, to say her Jaguar XE had been in a motorway smash back home.
She is now demanding action – and an apology – from Gatwick airport-based My Parking Limited who were meant to be looking after the vehicle.
Joanne now faces a £14,000 repair bill to fix the damage.
Her case is the latest in a series of complaints made about the “meet and greet” airport parking firm based in Hayes in west London.
The Sun told last month how a chauffeur from Essex was left out of pocket after leaving his Mercedes V-class with the company, only to come back and find it filthy and damaged.
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A traveller from Lincolnshire returned from a trip to North Africa to find her car now had an additional 200 miles on the clock – as well as being far dirtier than when entrusting it to the same firm.
And a third described how his Audi looked like it had been crashed into a wall, when he too got back to Gatwick to retrieve his vehicle from My Parking Limited.
Have you had an airport parking nightmare? Email [email protected]
Joanne, a 27-year-old production supervisor, has now been told her Jaguar – which she bought second-hand for £16,000 a year ago – could need repairs costing almost £14,500.
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She came back from her ten-day trip to Italy to find the right-hand front side of the car "smashed up" and three of the four tyres missing.
Her insurers, phoning her three days into her holiday visiting Rome and Florence, broke the news of a collision with another vehicle on the M23 motorway near Crawley in West Sussex – not far from Gatwick airport.
Since then, she and the parking company’s insurers have been wrangling over who should cover costs – as well as with those representing the other driver involved.
The car is currently sitting outside her parents' home after being retrieved by her brother while she was away.
Joanne, from Cheltenham in Gloucestershire, says she also discovered she had been landed with two £60 parking fines while she was abroad – having paid £105 for the company's service in the first place.
She told The Sun: "When I first got the call about the crash I was confused, because of course I hadn't been driving it.
"If I didn't then get in touch with the parking firm, I wonder whether they'd have rang me themselves.
"It's so frustrating – if I'd left it in a car park and someone had rammed into it, I might be insured.
"But instead, because I've given the keys to someone else I thought would look after it, I could have this huge bill.
"It's terrible that companies can go on operating like this – and that they're allowed to run at Gatwick.
"The airport might say they can't control it, but it's their premises – they should be held accountable."
Joanne said she was told by her insurers they won't pay out because she wasn't driving and she should look to the parking firm's insurers instead – but has been unable to get their details.
My Parking Limited has been contacted by The Sun Online for comment.
In an email to Joanne, their customer support said: "We sincerely apologise for any inconvenience caused.
"After careful consideration and consultation with our management team, we have reached a resolution.
"We kindly request that you provide us with the images you took when dropping off your car and upon its return.
"These images are essential in conducting a thorough investigation, as outlined in our terms and conditions.
"In the meantime, we encourage you to review our terms and conditions.
"Familiarising yourself with these terms will help ensure a clear understanding of our policies and procedures.
"Once we receive the requested images, our team will diligently examine them and provide you with a prompt response.
"We appreciate your understanding, co-operation, and compliance with our investigation process."
She says she has sent the company before-and-after photos of her car, but not yet received a further response.
My Parking Limited has an average rating of just 1.2 out of five on the TrustPilot website, with many scathing reviews about service.
The firm did not respond to repeated requests for comment.
Gatwick was also asked for a response.
An airport spokesman said last month following another complaint about My Parking Limited: "Gatwick Airport has no relationship with any alleged rogue ‘meet and greet’ parking companies, even though many of them have ‘Gatwick’ in their company name.
"Legally these firms can operate on the airport as long as they do not break our bye-laws.
"If passengers are considering using an off-airport meet and greet parking provider, they should check that they have a good reputation on Trustpilot, TripAdvisor or any other reliable means.
"For complete piece of mind, I would however strongly recommend that passengers use official on-airport parking."
Other drivers returning to airports to find their cars mistreated include a trucker who discovered his BMW was driven around a Bristol airport car park at speeds of up to 50mph.
If booking with a third-party operator, you should check for:
- Positive reviews on Trustpilot, or other reputable review sites
- Full, clear contact details – not just a mobile phone number – on the company’s website
- Companies House Number, VAT Number and registered company address on their website
- British Parking Association’s Park Mark accreditation for all the operator’s
A couple from Royston in Essex left their Ford Mondeo with a parking service at Gatwick but had still not been given it back a week after arriving home.
Another holiday-maker, from Bath in Somerset, got back to Gatwick from Puglia in Italy to find his black E-class Mercedes “caked in mud”, with an extra 97 miles on the clock – prompting him to suspect it was used as an airport taxi.
And a couple from the Cornish city Truro fear a rogue parking firm driver – took their Tesla on a 109mph joyride on country roads, listening to Beyonce, while they were in Italian capital Rome.
A London Gatwick spokesperson said: “London Gatwick has no relationship with any alleged rogue ‘meet-and-greet’ parking companies, even though many of them have ‘Gatwick’ in their name. Legally these firms can operate on the airport as long as they do not break our bye-laws.
“If passengers are considering using a third-party meet-and-greet parking provider, they should check for positive reviews on Trustpilot, or other reputable review sites. The British Parking Association also has some
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good advice. For complete piece of mind, we would however strongly recommend that passengers use official on-airport parking.”
The Sun has contacted My Parking Limited for comment.
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