A McDonald’s Happy Meal left mum Rachel Moorhouse decidedly down in the mouth.
For the £2.39 Crispy Chicken Wrap with fries and orange juice that she bought for son Jamie at the drive-thru at Gallagher Retail Park in Waterloo resulted in her wrongly being slapped with a £100 parking fine.
Rachel, 44, of Upper Cumberworth, had visited the retail park one lunchtime in December for a coffee at the McDonald’s restaurant and to visit several of the shops.
She left after a short while to complete various chores and later that afternoon at 4pm drove Jamie, nine, to a friend’s birthday party at Laser Zone at St John’s Road, Birkby.
After the party, she returned to the retail park with Jamie to buy him his Happy Meal and left again at about 7pm.
But the car park operator issued her with a £60 fine for overstaying – saying her car had been at the retail park for seven hours and that she had 14 days to pay.
Rachel said she did not get notice of the fine until January 18 – a month after it was issued – meaning she was also hit by a £40 surcharge, taking the total to £100.
When she queried the fine, she was told she would have to provide evidence proving that she was not parked at the retail park all that time.
She said she had paid for goods at the retail park stores by cash, so she had no card record of what time she was there. And after making the purchases a month ago, she no longer had the till receipts.
Said Rachel: “The company provided only two images of my car – but I came and went twice that day.
“I know where I was because my son had a party that day. If it hadn’t been for the party, I would have had no way of proving where I was.”
Rachel said she spent time “rushing around” contacting other parents who had been at the party – and the party venue itself – asking them to confirm by email that she had also been there.
“It has been a lot of hard work, but they have been very helpful,” she added.
Rachel said she had now heard via a third party that the fine had been quashed, but was waiting for car park management company Parking Eye to confirm it.
“I have been told that the fine has been cancelled, which is a relief,” she said.
Rachel said she was a frequent visitor to the retail park at Wakefield Road, regularly shopping at stores including Pets at Home and Home Bargains.
But she said: “I would not normally go there twice in a day and I’ll never do that again.
“It has made me wary of going back to that car park.”