Pyramid Comment

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Thursday, March 02, 2017

Sainsbury: Parking Control Flawed

Only a partial solution

means this article stands

Sainsbury's Trading: Westgate-on-Sea
Planning Application - 26.04.2012
Sainsbury's sued (£1.8m) - disability discrimination
Customer rating: ***** (2 of 5) [scroll down]
Unsatisfied - And more. And...
Supermarket Parking Tickets

Time-limited parking in principle is justified to prevent abuse by non-Sainsbury's 'visitors', but the failure to extend a general policy to ALL blue badge holders by default means the ethos of this article must stand. Registration with a particular store demands that any other store is excluded unless registration happens here as well. The burden of proof is placed on the customer. It's the simplest (wrong) way of policing. Not the fairest and right way, though requiring some effort from Sainsbury's.

08.05.2017 - update

Registration system seems to work, but only for the individual making the registration onto the Sainsbury system. No PCN received after a 3.5hr visit (not too often, I trust - DA). Registration has been declared to be continuous, so any further extended visit should NOT attract a PCN. However, it is restricted to the particular site, although this has not been tested (don't push your luck, Louis - DA). Still no changes have been made to the Sainsbury website regarding any type of parking, so the ethos behind the failure to make the limitation very apparent appears to clarify the entire issue (decide for yourself - DA). Signage is present (in small print), but not in the line of sight.

25.04.2017 - update

There is still no information in the Help Centre about specifically disabled parking or even any restrictions/limits on parking in general. With the amount of adverse commentary to date, this is inexcusable. No effort has been made to counter the alleged charge that profit is all that matters - not customer satisfaction. Signage is posted around the car park, but boards have small writing and the message is very low-key. Looking for parking places means the signage is not (ensures? - DA) "in your face" noted. Unless restrictions are expected. it is unlikely that a customer would search out this information - after having found a parking space. This defines an arrogant assumption that customers will/should know that such restrictions apply.

Parking Charge Notification

via Horizon Parking Ltd.

Are the disabled (blue badge) subject
to the 3hr parking time limit?

YES they are

   More than 3hr (excess) use of the site for a disabled blue badge holder (entry-to-exit) attracts the PCN even if just 1 minute over. Apparently, there is patrolling of the car parks. The procedure after crossing the entry boundary is one of simply photo in/out (number plate recognition). Any change is for the Sainsbury's directors to wrestle with and not customer services.

Management and board

The Board is chaired by David Tyler and its key focus in helping to create long-term sustainable value for shareholders, is on strategic leadership, performance management, investor relations, risk management and governance succession planning.
   Day-to-day management of the Group is delegated to the Operating Board, which is chaired by Mike Coupe, the Chief Executive. He is responsible for the day-to-day management of the company, and executing the strategy, once agreed by the Board. He creates a framework of strategy, values, organisation and objectives to ensure the successful achievement of results, and allocates decision-making and responsibilities accordingly.
Not much here to suggest customers (those that still use
Sainsbury's - DAand employees*  ALL play their part

Company values
Stress free shopping
FAQ's (but the wrong ones - DA)

   A solution for ALL customers and not just the individual who can prosecute their OWN case could involve a database of 'white-listed' blue badge holders - a register. Interrogation by Horizon Parking Ltd could then cancel a PCN before it's issue. It would be easy enough to introduce and could potentially be operated nation-wide. This would also get around a potential problem of registration at a store (blue badge presentation for examination) and obviously not being able to display any documentation on the vehicle while this is being done. The updated database would have the details.
   An even easier solution is that advice (about registration) is displayed within the store. Even check-out staff could inform the obviously disabled customer. (This is not your problem, Louis DA. Yes it is - LB).

   Make note that Horizon Parking Ltd 
not only collects the penalty
(£40 or £70), but also imposes a
3.75% transaction fee even if
settled by using a debit card 
(not a credit card).

   There is no information on the Sainsbury's website regarding (any) parking, though there is signage when driving around the site. The serious flaw is that vision is horizontal (straight ahead) when looking for a place to park. And other moving vehicles coming out (forwards/reversing) from spaces. The signs are upward and not in the line of sight (not very thoughtful - DA).

To 'fail' to notice the rules is not
surprising. It is no defense to argue
that because signage is displayed,
the customer is clearly at fault.

There is no signage at the
disabled parking area

   Why is there no information about parking policy - is it because it is legally unenforceable (but it's on private land - DA)? Or simply an attempt to trap consumers? Sainsbury's possibly collects a %age of the PCNs (do you really think so, Louis?DA). This would boost profits and it is speculation whether

approached Sainsbury's to engage in a contract to control parking or the other way around.

   There are many examples [this is March/April 2013 (4 years ago!!!) - DA] that demonstrate another side to the caring company values claimed by Sainsbury's. Parking for the able-bodied at supermarkets has its own issues (makes very interesting reading - DA). Designated blue badge parking spaces seem to be unpatrolled (even if this is not true) and certainly devoid of duration signage. These areas are located near the main store entrance: 'mobility/access' requirement.
   Disgruntled customers walk away and shop elsewhere - the competition (haven't the shareholders realised this yet? - DA).

It doesn't make

good business sense

  The real risk losing a"loyal" customer forever - for just

£40 (+ 3.75%)

   Registered (blue badge) disabled will not be issued with a PCN (Parking Charge Notification) for 'violating' the parking rules:

If aware of the
registration procedure

   They are otherwise manoeuvred to somewhere between a rock and a hard place by suggesting that an appeal should effectively suspend action until a resolution. What if the appeal fails - £40 or £70 (more than the 14 days)?

Not explicitly clarified

  • 'when all the required information is received the PCN will be placed on hold until we have replied to your appeal (what if it is not technically an appeal, just a challenge? - DA ). If you need to resubmit an appeal because you have failed to quote your 6-digit number... Get the choice of word: it's crude psychology

Why not simply 'not quoted' DA

  • ...we will aim to respond to your communication within 14 days, but certainly no more than 35 days. Please wait to hear from us during this period.
   This implies there is a possible risk of the escalation to the 'non-discounted' £70 if more than 14 days after the PCN issue (up until the 35 days from issue). It is left unclear (deliberate? -  DA).

Would you take that risk?

I wouldn't - DA

Horizon Parking Ltd takes the flack (isn't that fair? - DA) for something which is a Sainsbury's responsibility - policy (isn't this simply blame-shifting? - DA). So, the time given is 14 days from the date of issue of the PCN or risk the 'discounted' amount (£40) being raised to £70. It isn't until the photographic 'evidence' is issued that it can be appreciated exactly how parking is policed - from an office and not 'on the ground'.

Make note of the attempted

phsycological bullying

£40 - pay up quickly 

£70 - if you don't

Use a Sainsbury's site at your peril. It would seem that your shopping experience at the store could

become a disaster

Don't overlook:

   The provision of disabled facilities is possibly because of building and subsequent operating regulations only - presumably the minimum legal requirement. This all adds up to a more sinister beast lurking beneath the caring face of Sainsbury's: a hard-nosed and ruthless business.

One interpretation is of blatant


Certainly against the disabled. Anyone else?

   It takes time to visit/leave Sainsbury's at Ramsgate:

Initial parking, transfer/entry up and into the store,
negotiating aisles for shopping, top shelf requires
waiting for assistance,
paying (queue length dependent - DA),
use of the cafeteria, toilet facilities (more than once?),
exit from the upstairs store, transfer of purchases
to vehicle and then a secure departure
(properly seat-belted).

   These actions take more time than for the able-bodied - 3hrs is clearly not enough for some customers. Use of one of the disability scooters could compromise any possible rehabilitation (if self-propulsion is critical - personal effort).
   A Sainsbury's wheelchair is a non-starter: how would you get one unless it was brought down by a carer/partner/wife/husband? Their own shopping has to done, too. And the wheelchair returned (or abandoned - DA) after use. It would require collection by Sainsbury's or risk being stolen as wheelchairs are quite valuable and who would get the blame for any theft? (The last user - DA). And wouldn't the disabled and vulnerable individual be left alone if the chair is returned? Upstairs. Dangerous DA).

   Anyway, the provision of these could simply be because:

'it's what the competition does'

   Plan ahead to shorten visit-time?

Not an option Sainsbury's

must not be allowed to interfere

with any possible recovery

    Sainsbury's and Horizon Parking Ltd (the agency handling parking control) can together make a difficult existence much more difficult and Sainsbury's would be better fixed to more professionally police the abuse of parking (and so they should - DA). A car (black KA) was seen to be left in front of the post/sign that declared a disabled bay. No blue badge was on display.

   Can Tesco behave more responsibly?

Such fun

No badge

no parking

If someone does not have a blue badge
for a disabled person, the GP
should be approached
and then KCC (£10)

   All disabled car users who use such parking spaces (anywhere) and street parking on double-yellow lines (without causing an obstruction) must display such documentation to avoid prosecution. There is a 3hr maximum on the time-card (documentation). And it's:

Clearly printed

   Two women were seen to leave a car in a Mother and Toddler space and proceed directly to the Westwood X site.

An access path is even provided.
A fence would be more appropriate.

There were many free places in the parking areas. Also, a lone woman was observed to park in a Mother and Toddler space and take a child vehicle from the rear of the car. No child was placed in the hooded 'pram. This all happened within 10mins. There may be a good reason for this apparent poor behaviour, though it suggests different rules may apply to different groups, unlike normal parking (3hr limit).

Why else would they do this?