Should we appeal a car park fine?

In September my wife parked in a Minster Baywatch controlled car park in Sheffield. The parking fee was payed, by telephone via an automated system, by our future daughter-in-law. A few days later my wife received notification from Minster Baywatch that she had parked without paying and is liable to a fine. A quick check of the documentation revealed that the automated parking system had recorded the last 3 letters of her registration number as ZBN not ZVN. She immediately contacted Minster Baywatch through their online appeals procedure explaining the error and giving payment details. She has just received an email from Minster Baywatch stating that they had traced the payment, which had been wrongly attributed due to the registration error and as a gesture of goodwill would reduce the fee to £10, to cover administrative costs. This would rise to £100 in 14 days if not settled. Can they do this? My wife is concerned that if she doesn't pay she will be chased by debt collectors (as mentioned by Minster Baywatch) and that it could affect her credit rating.

Asked on 19 October 2017 by John Springer

Answered by Honest John
The telephone system must have recorded ZBN instead of ZVN, but the ANPR recorded ZVN, which is how they caught up with you. If you challenge the admin charge and let it go to court, Minster Baywatch might call your future daughter-in-law as a witness in its defence and ask her to speak "ZVN". It will then be up to the judge to decide if her speech was sufficiently clear for the system, or if the system recorded her speech incorrectly. Could be interesting. But once you start mentioning Small Claims you might find that Minster Baywatch drops the issue like a hot potato.
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