Complaints about ‘rogue parking operators’ around Gatwick Airport: reports to West Sussex Trading Standards soar since end of pandemic, according to new data

Complaints about rogue parking operators around Gatwick Airport have surged since the end of the Covid pandemic, new figures have revealed.
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Online booking platform ParkVia (www.parkvia.com) recently highlighted the problem using data from the past six years, which was obtained via a Freedom of Information request.

ParkVia revealed that last year 113 reports were made to West Sussex Trading Standards about ‘rogue meet-and-greet operators’ near Gatwick Airport. They said this was up 1,500 per cent from just seven complaints in 2021.

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Dr Valentina Moise from ParkVia, which works with UK airports to offer deals on official and vetted off-site car parks, said: “It can be very tempting for people who have spent thousands of pounds on a trip abroad to try to save some cash when it comes to leaving their vehicles somewhere while they are away. But these statistics from Gatwick show it’s really not worth it. Much better to book with a vetted supplier where your car will be secure and monitored, so you don’t return to any issues or costly repair bills.

Gatwick Airport. Photo: Steve Robards, SR2003241Gatwick Airport. Photo: Steve Robards, SR2003241
Gatwick Airport. Photo: Steve Robards, SR2003241

“Even if you have left it until the last minute, online brokers offer a range of deals that can shave a decent amount off the cost. That means you can jet off on your holiday with the peace of mind that your vehicle will be safe and sound until you touch back down on British tarmac.”

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ParkVia explained that unauthorised firms have ‘long been a scourge on holidaymakers’ by offering cheaper parking but often leaving vehicles on public streets or in fields without security.

ParkVia said that the previous highest number of reports about rogue meet-and-greet parking companies to Trading Standards was in 2017, when 101 were submitted. They said that went down to 79 and 76 for the next two years respectively, and then down to 38 complaints in 2020 and seven in 2021.

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In 2022, Gatwick Airport bosses recommended searching for official accreditation and satisfactory contact details on websites, reading online reviews and checking for a Companies House number.

ParkVia’s Dr Moise added: “Taking a chance on one of these companies really is a false economy, as it could leave you with a hefty repair bill on your return which will spoil the good memories you made while you were away.”

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