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Purple Parking damaged my car

Over the past 12 months, I have used two Purple Parking car parks at Heathrow Airport – the ‘business’ parking right at the edge of the north runway and, more recently, the ‘long stay’ facility, which is situated well away from the airport in Southall.

Don’t get me wrong, the business parking was excellent. The car, keys and all, were left in Purple Parking’s care for 18 days before it was returned to us at the terminal on our return, without extra charge. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for the long stay car park, where my car was returned to me – damaged – just two and a half days after being left.

From now on, I will be much more careful when parking my car at an airport, no matter how long it is to be parked for. I will also rule out any car park where it is necessary to leave my keys. After my recent experience with Purple Parking, the thought of anybody else driving my car frightens me!

I arrived at Purple Parking at around 5.00am on Friday 31 May and the process was straightforward. Customers drive to a small window, where they are handed various bits of paper (including return instructions, a label for the dashboard etc) and then to a small car park where vehicles are parked temporarily, before being moved by car park staff a little later on. Vehicle keys are handed to the driver of the minibus in a plastic bag.

Despite knowing that my car would be moved deep into the huge car park for most of the time that I was away, I had hoped that it would be returned to the same car park in which I had left it. After all, Purple Parking knew my return flight number and flight time, and they could quite easily have tracked my flight. But this wasn’t the case.

Arriving back into Heathrow at 10.35pm on one of the last flights of the day, Purple Parking was clearly shutting down for the evening. After an unbearably long wait for the minibus, we were eventually collected and driven back to the car park, but instead of being taken to the central car park by the reception building, the driver dumped us (we were basically abandoned) in the middle of a very dark car park, only telling us “your car is here somewhere”. We soon found it parked on the end of a row.

The following morning, having only driven back from Heathrow (about 20 miles), I noticed a fair amount of damage to the passenger side of my car. No less than a dozen deep scratches were spotted on the door and also on a side panel of the car. These were not everyday scratches but instead lots of circles measuring about 0.5cm across.

I got straight on the phone to Purple Parking and reported my concerns. As somebody who takes immense care of my car, I knew for sure that it was not given to the car park in that condition. I wanted Purple Parking to put right the damage caused.

Speaking to a call centre, I was told that I should have checked it before leaving the car park as claims could not be considered later on. Of course, I was keen to find out how Purple Parking expected to spot any such damage in a car park with inadequate light, for which there was no explanation. Only an email the following day confirmed the same information – that it should have been reported much earlier. Purple Parking understood, however, that spotting ‘minor damage’ in low light was not easy.

It’s been a week now since I went back to Purple Parking and argued that the ‘low light’ was more a case of ‘no light’ and I also requested that I be provided with copies of photographs taken of my car when entering the car park. These have yet to be provided.

Out of principle, I am going to pursue Purple Parking – through court, if necessary – and ask that they be made to cover the cost of repair. I stood absolutely no chance of seeing the damage caused to my car in such a dreadfully lit car park.

This is definitely a car park to avoid.

One other thing that surprised me about Purple Parking was the premium rate 0845 number to be called on returning to the airport. Whether from a payphone or a mobile, such a call is going to be costly, and the company is no doubt profiting from calls made to it. Ditch that number and call on the much better value 0208 867 4564.

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5 Responses

  1. Hi Michael
    What progress have you made with Purple Parking? I am in a similar situation as they damaged my car and are claiming the damage was pre-existing so my only option is now the small claims court. The photo they produced shows a dark shadow which, when zoomed in, is not damage but a reflection off the bumper. Thanks

    • Hi Barbara,

      Thanks for your comment. As much as I hate to admit defeat, I gave up with this awful company. The pictures provided by Purple Parking were terrible (they didn’t prove that my car was damaged when dropped off) so I’ve still no doubt that they caused the damage. I’m paying for the repairs myself.

      It’s not a massive amount of damage but I know it’s there and it bugs me!



  2. andy parker says:

    I had similar issue last night but I checked my car over same as whenever I leave it with somewhere else. It looks like they front ended it into a parking space.

    They’ve taken some crap photos in the dark as you noted as have I, on looking in daylight it is far worse.

    Have you made any progress? We can’t call them until tomorrow but I have already said to my partner we’ll take them to court if they much around because the damage is far more than the cost of court fees.

  3. David Thomas says:

    Returned from 6 weeks abroad and collected car at 0530 in the dark. I should have checked more thoroughly then (according to the small print) but we were bitterly cold and tired, threw our cases into the boot and drove off as we were late for our crossing to France. Something immediately looked strange, as the heating had been turned to 28c and the fans were blowing on full. As we arrived in France and searched for the map all became clear. The back seat was extremely wet, and the floor in the back running in liquid (we presume water) – two maps left on the back floor were ruined and had to be thrown away. Clearly someone knew the back of the car had been soaked and was trying to cover it up with the heater though we did not realise this when we collected the car.
    We also found that the car had been used by this company while we had been away. We complained about this when we wrote and they confirmed the mileage at the point of return. This was 85 miles more than our mileage noted when we handed the car in. As we did not spot and report these problems at the instant we collected the car the company will not consider our complaint. You have been warned – this is not a company to trust with your car.

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