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Airport Car Parking

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stoofur | 03:58 Fri 22nd Mar 2019 | Law
15 Answers
Over Christmas I parked my car at Heathrow Airport Terminal 5 Valet parking. This is where you leave the car at the short stay and a driver then takes it away to a secure car park. When you return the driver brings the car to the short stay and you drive away. I have used it before and as far as I am aware there have never been any problems.
Last Christmas I returned from holiday and picked up my car. I thought that I had more petrol in my car but didnt really think anything of it.
When I got home for some I noticed that my dashcam had been disconnected. So I decided to check the footage.
1st Day everything seemed fine. The car was parked in a car park (although the driver did stop at a garage to buy something on the way)
A couple of days later the car was moved in the middle of the night. The first the car seemed to go to a house and then later the car was parked on the side of the road on an industrial estate.
The next day the dashcam was disconnected. This actually worried me more than the initial move as now obviously somebody noticed that I had a dashcam and that then they disconnected it. What happened to my car after that I have no idea (which is what worries me).
I complained to the company and after a couple of weeks they apologised in an email. They said that a manager and a couple of employees were fired as they were taking cars when they should not have been (quite an exceptional excuse I think). They offered me a full refund and thanked me for bringing it to their attention.
Now it is March and I have not had a refund and they have stopped answering my emails.
What do I do now?
I am not too bothered about the refund if I am honest, it is more the principle of the matter really. I have the dashcam footage which also has a GPS log and I have their email when the admitted what happened.
Should I take it further and where do I take it too? A friend suggested going to a newspaper. I have never done anything like that before and am a bit worried about doing that.
Thanks everyone for your advice.
Stewart

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Did you take the mileage? Contact watchdog...they have run a few similar stories over the years. Enough complaints and they'll investigate....then you'll get your refund!
I would also contact the airport authorities, so that they are aware of what is happening.
The legal procedure is outlined in my post from yesterday evening, here:
https://www.theanswerbank.co.uk/Law/Question1650890.html

Drivers 'borrowing' cars is far from unusual. Twenty years ago I worked as a trade plater, delivering cars across the country (mainly to auction sites). The firm I contracted for employed hundreds of drivers and, to the best of my knowledge, every single driver (including me) falsified the mileage of the last vehicle they picked up on a Friday afternoon (which was meant to stay outside the driver's house at the weekend and then be delivered on Monday morning), so that they could use it themselves over the weekend. (Where possible we also deliberately over-fuelled those Friday afternoon cars using the company's card, so that we'd got 'free' fuel for our personal use).

I never 'borrowed' a Friday afternoon car for more than a couple of hundred miles but one driver got caught out when he pranged one in France. Another driver let his mate borrow one, who then wrote it off in Scotland (when it should have been in Suffolk).

Local garages frequently 'borrow' customers' cars for their own use. I took my car into a garage in Norwich just as they opened on a Saturday morning and asked if they could do a little job for me before they closed at lunchtime. They said that they couldn't guarantee it but I should leave my car with them and call back half an hour before they closed. When I did so they apologised and said that they couldn't get around to looking at my car. They changed their mind, and did the job for me, when I told them that I'd been sitting in the cafe over the road all morning and I'd watched them use my car four times that morning as a courtesy car to run other customers home ;-)

NEVER trust anyone else with your car keys!
my car..Audi Quattro was used as a hire car when left in Glasgow long stay for 6 weeks.... OH pursued the matter of extra mileage till we got the truth ..
I would NEVER do valet parking ANYWHERE ....
I doubt there is much more you can do about this sadly, except to post as you have done here, and as many other places as you can find to help spread the reminder to everyone everywhere never to go near valet parking.
Social media is a powerful tool for this kind of thing. Use as many outlets as you can. A lot of firms monitor the media and don't like bad press.
there are frequent stories of cars consigned to airport parking contractors being damaged (sometimes seriously), engines seized, cars with speeding tickets - and yet these companies appear to be fireproof and above the law - they pull the "shaggy defence" and the authorities accept it without question. why is that?
There is a legally enforced set of standards for car parks:
https://www.britishparking.co.uk/News/british-parking-association-appoints-ombudsman-services-to-provide-popla

I always take a photo of my odometer and petrol gauge. The photo has what’s called ‘exif ‘ information embedded into it which can prove the date (if you’ve set your smartphone to do so) location.
Sorry, that should be date AND......
I'd be very wary of using anything but a very well known valet parking service.

https://metro.co.uk/2018/07/28/gatwick-valet-service-dumped-cars-muddy-fields-instead-parking-securely-7771032/
100% take it further that is bang out of order.
We would definitely take it further, how do you know that it has not been used for criminal activity?
I always make an issue of verifying the mileage on any vehicle I leave with the driver / attendant, so thus far I have had no issues. I also do a quick walk around the car with my phone on video a few extra minutes is worth it I think.
Many years ago I heard of a car having its engine swapped out while being left in a valet car park. The owner came back early and they were caught red handed.

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