Victory for common sense as BP backs down over £100 fine

A South Norwood businessman has been celebrating a victory for common sense, after BP dropped the threat of a £100 fine for using the forecourt of its Mitcham Road petrol station to park his car while… he was shopping in the petrol station and using its car wash.

Inside Croydon last week reported on the heavy-handed threats from BP’s contactor, an organisation called MET Parking Services, which had used CCTV records and sent official-looking letters to Guy Clapperton in a saga stretching back almost four months.

They seemed to suggest that Clapperton had parked up in the north of Croydon while picking up some chums from their flight into Gatwick Airport, some 20 miles away.

The threat was clear: cough up 60 quid now, or we’ll up the fine to £100. And when Clapperton wrote to BP, there was seemingly no right of appeal.

Clapperton, however, was not so easily bullied into parting with his cash when all he had been doing was paying for some shopping, fuel and getting his car cleaned at the BP-badged facility.

The warning signs on BP garages. They reckon customers have been using their forecourt while picking up from Gatwick

And then, earlier this week, someone called Marta at BP’s customer care department emailed the erstwhile customer to show that someone at BP does actually care.

“Dear Guy,” she wrote. “Sorry for the delay in replying. Your parking ticket fee has been cancelled by the Store Manager. Have a great day!”

Clapperton told Inside Croydon that he thinks the publicity that his case attracted probably helped nudge BP to do something more than rely on its cut-and-paste, one-size-fits-all response system.

“My thanks to Marta at BP who decided the automated response wasn’t good enough and pushed for this on my behalf,” he said.

“Also to Inside Croydon – Marta was already working on it but I’m sure the attention couldn’t have hurt.”

Clapperton’s case has highlighted a potential threat to all customers of BP and Marks and Spencer (who operate the forecourt store at the Mitcham Road garage). Beware of hidden parking charges if your business with the store and the garage takes more than 30 minutes.

Signs around the forecourt suggest that BP’s contractors are lying in wait to try to snare unwitting customers with a £100 surcharge on their shopping.

So either make your getaway from your next visit to BP inside 29 minutes or, like Clapperton, be prepared to stand up to the bullying of big business and fight your corner.

The third option is not to use BP petrol stations at all while they exercise such a heavy-handed approach to customers.

  • Inside Croydon is a member of the Independent Community News Network
  • Inside Croydon is the borough’s only independent news source, and still based in the heart of Croydon
  • “Monitored” by the council CEO since 2010
  • ROTTEN BOROUGH AWARDS 2017: Inside Croydon was source for two award-winning nominations in Private Eye magazine’s annual celebration of civic cock-ups
  • If you have a news story about life in or around Croydon, a residents’ or business association or a local event to publicise, please email us with full details at

About insidecroydon

News, views and analysis about the people of Croydon, their lives and political times in the diverse and most-populated borough in London. Based in Croydon and edited by Steven Downes. To contact us, please email
This entry was posted in Broad Green, Business, South Norwood and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Victory for common sense as BP backs down over £100 fine

  1. Thanks for reporting this happy ending, Steve. The other thing that could happen as a result is that BP and others could start using humans rather than automated replies as their first line of processing complaints – Marta’s attitude and the swift agreement of the garage’s manager are a credit to the company and I’m grateful to them both. It’s just a shame the parking company and the standard automated response kicked in first. Maybe a lesson in putting people first? Particularly when the people themselves are professional, courteous and helpful.

    • I was wondering what happened with this, Guy. I’m relieved that common sense came through, so very happy for you. (I haven’t read today’s article yet, though!).

  2. Pingback: The media trainer in the press - Media training and mentoring from Guy Clapperton, senior journalist and speaker

Leave a Reply