McDonalds Parking Charges And How To Deal With Them

Have you received an unwelcome letter from Met Parking Services demanding a £50 payment because you had exceeded a time limit and triggered a McDonalds parking charge at one of their restaurants?

I returned from a trip abroad to find a very official looking letter complete with photos of our car which Met claimed had infringed the 75 minute parking limit at our local McDonalds.

Read this to find out how I dealt with this unfair McDonalds parking fine.

A tasty looking beef burger

“What are McDonalds doing fining their customers?”, plus a load of expletives was my first reaction. The next was to find out if the fine was legitimate and to get it cancelled.

I went straight to the manager at the McDonalds and demanded to know what was going on.

He had obviously dealt with quite a few complaints from furious customers and said that he would help get the charge cancelled.

Once he was convinced that I was a bona fide customer, he phoned Met parking customer services with my parking charge notice number and said that I would be phoning them also to challenge the charge.

Met parking cancelled the parking charge notice straight away once the McDonalds manager had spoken to them. When I rang a few minutes later, Met confirmed that the charge had been wiped off their system.

So if you get a Met parking charge when at McDonalds this is what to do – assuming that you are actually a bona fide customer and are not abusing their parking (which is what caused McDonalds to get Met Parking involved).

  1. Go and speak to the McDonalds Manager and explain that you are a regular customer and hadn’t seen the signs in the car park, or the kids were playing in the play area. It is important that you are honest, polite and reasonable and to show that you were not abusing their car park.
  2. If he agrees to help, the Manager can phone or email Met Parking to request that the charge is cancelled. It seems that Met Parking will take the Manager’s word and cancel it straight, as happened to me.
  3. If you know that you are going to stay at a McDonalds longer than the stated time limit then give your registration and make of car to the supervisor or Manager. They can go onto a Met Parking web site to register your registration number so that Met Parking do not charge you.

It seems that McDonalds have been forced to adopt these Draconian parking policies and do not like upsetting their bona fide customers, which is why the managers will help you out as long as you can show that you are a customer of theirs and are not tieing up one of their parking spaces whilst doing non McDonalds business.

The Manager at my local McDonalds must be applauded for the way in which he dealt with my complaint, however there is a lot information on the Internet about the scare tactics that Met Parking Services use.

Hopefully this information will help you if you find yourself in the same situation.

Added 27 August 2010

I heard this morning about two women who have received the threatening letters from MET Parking Services after visiting McDonalds. Apparently both had popped into the restaurant, on different occasions, and then returned an hour later to buy something else. That contravenes the McDonalds terms and conditions, apparently, (I guess that they don’t want repeat business from their customers!) and that triggered action by Met.

Sadly both ladies paid up the £50. It really makes me wonder how many other people are being intimidated by these “parking fines” and just paying up. Met must be making a fortune and I’m surprised that McDonalds is retaining its customers with the way in which it is treating them.

Update 14th September 2016

I can’t believe that this post was written six years ago, but these parking problems with McDonalds still persist.

Other companies have jumped onto this bandwagon. Have you ever over stayed your time in an airport car park, or driven into one by mistake, but triggered a non-payment fine just for turning around? It’s not pretty!

It’s problems like these and a myriad of other issues that has convinced me to publish a very detailed step-by-step guide called “Complain to Win”.

Its a long post published on this website that shows you the tactics that I use when complaining to large companies. I have received over £10,000 in refunds and compensation over the years, and I am delighted to pass on my knowledge to you to help you when you run into difficulties with large companies.

Update 3 April 2017

This parking fiasco with McDonalds is still continuing, and it doesn’t look like they are going to change their policy. I have just noticed that they have published a page on their website to explain why McDonalds have parking restrictions at some restaurants.

I suggest that you read that page and notice this statement :

We appreciate that some visits such as birthday parties or large group visits might take longer and the parking restrictions are not intended to inhibit this. If customers anticipate their stay will exceed the stated maximum parking time, we would encourage them to speak to the restaurant manager in advance.

If you receive a parking fine and feel that it is unjustified speak to the restaurant manager. Be very polite, but firm and explain clearly what happened. Let us all know how you get on in the comments!

Update 28th April 2017

We were recently contacted by a reader who asked us to help with a parking charge notice she had received from Care Parking, who manage the parking at a McDonalds restaurant in St Helen’s.

Her circumstances convinced us that we should try and help her.

Whilst looking into her problem, I came across a situation that may be causing some of these parking charge issues. As I found out, it may not always be down to restrictions imposed by the McDonalds restaurants.

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