BBC Rogue Traders Gatwick investigation: The do's and don'ts of airport parking

The state of some of the cars left in the company's hands
The state of some of the cars left in the company's hands

Following an investigation carried out by BBC's Rogue Traders into a parking scam at Gatwick airport, a parking company has given the do's and don'ts of the practise.

On Thursday (September 26) the BBC's Rogue Traders team reported their investigation into Park Direct Gatwick Ltd, a meet and greet firm who customers says frequently returned cars late and with damage.

Read our story here: Parking company director avoids jail over airport ‘meet and greet’ scam
On investigation, Rogue Traders found that the company was parking cars in local fields with no security and keys stored in the boot of a car, even though they advertised 24/7 teams, CCTV, fencing and a gated entrance on airport parking booking sites.

Park Direct Gatwick is not a member of the Independent Airport Parking Association (IAPA) or part of Gatwick Approved Operator scheme, both of which give security to people booking airport parking.

Daniel Johnson of IAPA says: "Meet and greet and park and ride services offer lots of advantages to travellers, including convenience and lower costs, but it is crucial that people book with companies who have the facilities and teams in place to look after your car securely.

"Rogue traders can cut costs by taking shortcuts on the service they offer, which is bad news for customers."

The Independent Airport Parking Association is urging people to follow these simple tips when booking their airport parking:

At Gatwick, always book with a company that is part of the airport's Approved Operator Scheme, which means they have been independently assessed and approved to take part.

Most UK airports don’t have approved operator schemes, so you should always:

• Look for the Park Mark logo when making your booking. This means the parking facility has been police assessed and is secure.

• Read independent customer reviews before you make your booking. Past feedback is easy to find and a great way of judging how others rate the company.

• When using a meet and greet service, check that your car will be moved directly to a secure, Park Mark awarded facility when you’ve handed over your keys.

• Make a note of existing damage to your car before you leave home. Bumps and scrapes in airport parking are very rare, so this will help you spot new issues quickly and will save the inconvenience of reporting problems that were already there.

• Always book with a member of the Independent Airport Parking Association as they are assessed to prove they provide the highest levels of professionalism and service. Members are here, https://www.iapa.me.uk/members