ASDA, Friend or Foe?

A friend of mine recieved a letter a couple of weeks ago from ASDA claiming that five months previously around Christmas 2012 she had overstayed her, apparant,(she wasnt aware there was one), parking limit of two hours while buying groceries in one of their stores. I was not the driver of the car and the letter wasnt addressed to me but I was asked whether I thought it fair, or even good business, to write such a nasty letter to a customer who regularly spends over £300 pw shopping at ASDA and who was shopping in the store at the time they claim the “offence” occured. Frankly my answer is no! In my opinion not only is it a nasty policy generally,I find it almost beyond belief that a supermarket giant so intent on putting itself up as the place to save money then tries to attack a very good customer with what in my opinion are backhand parking policies and extortionate fines.
I fully understand if people leave their cars there all day while going somewhere else but not when they are genuinly shopping in the store. This particular branch has a cafe where shoppers are encouraged to eat, presumably with the intention of keeping them in the store longer so that they may decide to do some more shopping.
What surprised me more than anything is the level of fine they find it acceptable to claim. £120! yes £120. Waitrose have a parking policy but the fine is only £20 NOT £120. Now, I imagine that with all the advertising ASDA does they must attract quite a number of single Mums, Nurses, unemployed and ex military personal and other people for whom £120 is the cost of two weeks shopping. How would a person in that position pay the fine ASDA see fit to claim, or for that matter defend themselves against a huge company who insist on employing an aggressive collection agency who when rang to question the letter were frankly rude and dismissive, claiming that my friend had overstayed by NEARLY FIVE MINUTES. Wow, thanks ASDA thats a really nice firm you employ to do your dirty work.
Anyway, the upshot of all of this is that following lunch with a very close friend of mine who is an eminant Barrister I have obtained the details of the Barristers Pro Bono Unit who I intend to ask if they will contact their members to see if one of them is willing to fight this claim as a matter of principal. I wrote a registered letter to the CEO of ASDA asking him to look into what in my opinion is a vindictive parking policy but havent heard anything from him which is disappointing. I also offered to pay the £120 to the military charity Heropreneurs if he will look into the matter so it’s disappointing, but perhaps not surprising I suppose given the arrogance with which they have acted so far. I will post more news as this progresses but in the meantime will be asking a friend of mine who has over a million twitter followers to direct his followers to this blog. I am new to twitter myself so don’t have the level of followers yet to make a difference but would encourage anyone with a following who is reading this to warn their followers about this draconian parking policy driven by ASDA and don’t shop for long in their stores or perhaps avoid them altogether and try shopping elswhere. Perhaps Aldi instead if shopping on a tight budget. I understand that Morrisons are quite good as well!


  • Mark

    2nd May 2013 at 10:38 am

    Just don’t pay, don’t respond, ignore the claim. They simply can’t enforce a fine upon you – only the council or the police can do that.


  • Mart Collings

    28th April 2013 at 6:09 pm

    I’ve reported numerous instances of non disabled folk parking in disabled bays at my local ASDA. There response? Absolutely nothing. Want to know who the guilty offending parkers are? ASDA staff! Incredulous. So much do I no longer visit the damn place.


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