Case study: From £5.50 to £170
When Timothy Sheppard arrived at Lingfield Station car park in Surrey on 28 December last year, he found that the parking ticket machines were out of order.
In a rush to catch the train to London, the retired advertising executive said he asked a staff member inside the train station what to do.
"He told me 'it's not ours, we don't operate it' but said 'if you want to catch your train, you can sort it out when you get back'," says Mr Sheppard.
He planned to find a way to pay the £5.50 car parking ticket on his return.
Instead, however, he found a penalty notice for £60 from a company called Indigo Park Solutions which operates the Lingfield Station car park on behalf of Southern Railway.
Mr Sheppard, 76, said he wrote to Indigo Park Solutions to explain that he had been unable to buy a ticket because all the machines were not working and enclosed a payment of £5.50.
Despite having proof of purchase from Royal Mail, Indigo Park Solutions said it has not received the letter.
In the meantime, it had turned the matter over to a debt collecting agency.
Mr Sheppard attempted to dispute the parking penalty with the British Parking Association.
However, to use that service, the driver must first show that he appealed to the operator - in this case Indigo Park Solutions - within 28 days of the date of the original charge.
Because Indigo Park Solutions claimed it had not received Mr Sheppard's letter, the dispute could not proceed.
Mr Sheppard now says that a debt collector acting on behalf of Indigo Park Solutions is seeking £170 - £100 of which is the penalty charge and £70 for "administration".
Mr Sheppard says he is at a loss to know what action to take to resolve a matter that arose because a car park had ticket machines that did not work.
But he is sure of one thing: "I have no intention of paying this."
Indigo Park Solutions was unavailable for comment.