It's high time that I had a rant. I haven't had one for, ooh, ages, and if I don't get one soon, I'll . . .
Anyway. Parking charges in Brighton. After our meeting yesterday (I still have my watch and all my fingers - and, boy, is he a smooth talker!) a colleague and I headed off into the centre of Brighton to meet our solicitor. No empty meters around, so into the nearby multi-storey. This is not something to be undertaken lightly, wantonly or without first ensuring that another mortgage will be available.
£4.20 for one hour! And just to rub salt into the wounded wallet, when I came to pay, the ticket machine was not accepting notes. Coins or credit cards only. Having insufficient small change, I opted to pay by credit card - and was immediately charged a further 11p "processing fee". That's two rip offs (rips off?) in one go, killing two birds with one stone. Honestly, I have parked in the centre of Mont Carlo and Cannes at lower prices than were being charged in Brighton.
And to have the cheek to add 2.5% as a processing fee just because I paid by credit card. The cost of processing credit cards is something that should be built into the price of things, just as the cost of handling cash is.
Then we have the problem of actually paying at parking meters in Brighton. The latest news is that all parking meters will be removed within the next two years - but don't get over-excited just yet. There is a but, a BIG but. This doesn't mean that parking will be free, oh dear me no. Motorists will need to pay by phone.
Now, I know very well that many people have contracts with their mobile phone service providers allowing them so many minutes of calls each month. But what about people (like me) who simply pay for calls made - or those who top-up by buying £5 or £10 of time. Not only will we have to pay to park, but we will have to pay to pay! And if there is a credit card processing fee added on top of the parking charge we will have to pay to pay to pay to park.
I wonder, too, if any thought has been given to visitors from overseas who will have to use their (foreign) credit cards - and pay an exchange fee on top of all that!
A recent news story demonstrates just how careful one needs to be when paying by phone to park.
The motorist inadvertently paid £5,325 too much for a parking space which should have cost them just £15.30. Brighton and Hove City Council
refunded the motorist after the driver mistakenly entered the location
code of their parking bay as the number of hours of their stay. Lucky that there was sufficient spending power on the credit card. And I wonder how long it took to get the refund?
Welcome to Brighton - the rip-off capital of England!