Supermarket car parks breaking disability discrimination laws

31 January 2010

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Supermarkets who set a limit on how long their customers can use their car parks are breaking disability discrimination laws, according to an investigation by the BBC.

Increasingly, supermarkets enlist the help of private firms to oversee car parking, using keen-eyed patrol twats and automatic number plate recognition to ensure that customers don’t hang around for too long, er, buying stuff (no, us neither.)

But in a survey by the BBC’s Breakfast programme (Susannah Reid eh fellas?) about two thirds of 124 large supermarkets from the big four chains confirmed that their parking regulations don’t allow any extra time for disabled people to shop, something which flies in the face of the Disability Discrimination Act.

Neil Coyle, from the charity Disability Alliance, told the Beeb: "Supermarkets need to acknowledge there is a problem, and secondly, very quickly they need to ensure their car parking procedures conform with the law.

"You or I can stamp our feet and say how outrageous it is but at the end of the day there is a law that protects disabled people from this happening," adding that the supermarkets need to end the "unfair charges" or "they can wait until someone takes a legal case and potentially face a considerable compensation case".

Our favourite unfair charge of course, was the one brazenly advertised by Sainsburys in Kettering which was a whopping £50 for a stay in excess of two and half hours. Thankfully, the charge has since been amended, as has the sign, possibly by someone with feet for hands (who ironically would qualify for a longer stay in the car park, feet for hands of course being a recognised disability).

TOPICS:   Motoring

25 comments

  • Kevin
    I'm wondering if it is actually illegal, just that I would have thought that if it was there would have been a court case already. Also there is the potential problem that instead of disabled people being given more time they decide to give everyone else less!
  • william
    Arent these charges legally unenforceable anyway? As they cant be sure who was actually parking the car.
  • Norma
    Just before Xmas 2009,I was fined 70 Pounds for overstaying my parking time by about 20 minutes on Dec,1st. I was horrified as I had spent over 200 Pounds shopping for Xmas that day, I telephoned and emailed my complaint explaining that I was over 80 years old, and did not run around whilst shopping,I had a very full trolley, and had to wait a long time at the checkout,with no help. I defied them verbally and said"Sue me". Well although they admonished me on the phone,they said they would look into it. I eventually got an apology from both Tesco, and the Highfield Car Parks. And having threatened them with withdrawing my support I have kept my end up,and will NEVER EVER SHOP WITH THEM AGAIN!
  • oliverreed
    @Norma - heard of internet shopping?
  • lisa3
    I see both sides of the arguement. I live on the doorstep of Gatwick airport and the Tesco store here apparently would find the airport parking companies leaving their customer's cars in Tesco car park for weeks on end. I also know of another store next door to a main line train station where the not very large car park would often be partly filled with commuter's cars. I do agree, however, that 2 hours is not really adequate and this should be 3 or 4 hours.
  • The B.
    Seriously 3-4 hours hsopping in a supermarket? Bloody hell, what are you doing in there, individually selecting grapes by juiciness?
  • The B.
    hsopping = shopping and seriously should have a comma following it, pillock!
  • jeff
    @william: Yes, but not for that reason. These are mickey mouse parking tickets that don't have to be paid. They will send you all sorts in the mail - do not respond. If you do they're like a dog with a bone.
  • andy y.
    This is bollocks.if a supermarket allows up to 3 hours to shop that's easily giving an additional hour more then an able bodied person would need. There is no discrimination going on here.Evidence of discrimination would be where disabled shoppers were not welcome. Every pressure group in the land bleats discrimination at every opportunity.
  • Masood S.
    When I go to Tescos with the wife and kids we are often there something like 4 hours. We start off in the Cafe with something to eat and then go through the HUGE store. As trolleys are full, my son goes and geta a new one and I pay for the full one and take it to the car. We often have bought 3 or 4 full trolleys and handed over £500 at a time to Tescos. If I got a sodding £50 "charge" for the honour of parking there too, it would be just too much.
  • zeddy
    @Masood: I wouldn't like to empty your cage!
  • Andre W.
    I fail to see any discrimination in many circumstances. How much longer does someone with disabilities need to shop? I know my friend who is in a wheelchair usually finishes before I do. He might take an extra 10mins getting in and out of the car, but round the shop he is quicker...he has wheels, ive got feet! I understand in certain circumstances though this is not the case. So why not just allow everyone say 8hours of something. For example the tesco in Coventry can easily take 2hours to do a full shop round, then if its busy you can wait 20-30mins from queuing to finish packing. Plus then if you stop for something in the cafe, and go to Borders, Boots, Game, etc there as well you can easily take up the better part of 4hours!
  • Bob
    These 'charges' are unenforceable contractual penalties. It's a mail scam. Tesco lets Parking Company X use their land to issue unenforceable invoices dressed up as fake 'fines'. Company X pays £2.50 to the DVLA and bombards the keeper with threatening letters before giving up if they're ignored. The charges are unenforceable crap and no discrimination is taking place against disabled people. You can't be discriminated against if your circumstances lead you to be more likely to be given an unenforceable invoice than another person.
  • Bryan B.
    Yes they are unenforceable, which is why more places should do like Sainsbury’s, except more like 4 hours.
  • Klingelton
    “You or I can stamp our feet and say how outrageous it is" but someone who's dead from the waist down might stuggle to stamp their feet...
  • Amanda H.
    Tesco have a policy on Disabled Parking, If all the disabled bays are full, and a car with the correct disabled badge parks in a Child Space. Any child can piss on said car, and let all the tyres down.
  • oliverreed
    @Amanda Hugginnkiss - this varys region by region, where I live you are allowed to wipe shit on all the boot and door handles making entry a bit stinky.
  • Klingelton
    i used to live near tescos in kensington. The disabled spaces in there were reserved for people with BMW or Mercedes badges stuck to the front of their car. There was a special space right outside the doors marked as "pick up point" which was for people with the x5 badge on the back of their car...
  • DVLA P.
    Good post. Interesting read. I read something similar yesterday but for the life of me I can't remember what the site was though. It'll come to me - it must be old age :)
  • Virgil L.
    One of the greatest weblogs I've come across for advice within this specific market. I'll often be checking back frequently for new articles or blog posts.
  • jacqui
    my daughter was shoppingg with her baby at a retail park, there was no mother and baby spaces left, so knowing she was only going to be a short while, she parked in one of the many disabled spaces. and there were plenty of available disabled spaces, she got a ticket for 50 pound and it siad if not paid in seven working days it goes up to 90 pounds, will she have to pay this because a lot of people said they can't enforce it. is this true? p;ease help as i;m not sure how the law stands regarding supermarket/retail parking laws thanks.
  • christine
    I have just got a parking ticket from ALDI supermarket for 40 pounds i am Disabled and put my badge in the window and parked in a disabled bay the ticket said i had been there since 10.37 and had not returned at 12.12 i was in the shop at the time that this ticket was being printed out i argued with parking attendent and he just more or less said tough write to the office the manager instore didnt want to now either .I am disgusted to think they can get away with this with anybody not just the disabled (I have written to the parking firm in Chorley Lancashire ) we will have to see what happens but i have been told by a few people not to pay so dont know what to do .Anybody got any ideas .
  • kinder g.
    The other day, while I was at work, my sister stole my iPad and tested to see if it can survive a 25 foot drop, just so she can be a youtube sensation. My iPad is now destroyed and she has 83 views. I know this is completely off topic but I had to share it with someone!
  • Im y.
    i clamped a clampers van .wow did he get mad .hope this cheers someone up and i didnt remove it hope it spoiled his day.
  • Julia K.
    Actually, those Mickey Mouse companies Civil Enforcement Limited are taking me to court and making a claim against me. My mother is disabled and is painfully slow. We stayed an hour and 40 minutes instead of the hour and 30 mins as it took this long to do our shopping and there was clear signage. Just be warned.

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