I am told that the private sector is so efficient.

Is it efficient for “Smart” Parking to issue parking tickets to people holding permits to park at the Brook Street car park issued by Kingston Council?

Since this company took over responsibility for that car park they seem unable to accept the validity of these permits and arrange not to issue parking charge notices to users.

Admittedly they now cancel them, but only after having posted out a PCN complete with all the usual threats.

However, I feel that I need to go online and check that the charge has actually been cancelled – as otherwise it would be my credit record that might be affected.

This wastes my time.

Smart Parking waste their time by issuing the notice; paying postage on it and only then getting round to cancelling it.

Business firms tell us how much it costs them to issue notices such as this in order to justify their high charges – so how can this be an efficient procedure?

I am assured that Smart Parking have my car number and know when the council allows me to park – so why continue to issue these letters?

I wrote to their media people 10 days ago asking for an explanation, but have not received the courtesy of a reply.

I said that in the absence of a response from them I would be contacting you.

In previous years we never had a problem – so why now?

Would it not be simpler to check before sending out the notices and thus save the postage? Any proper approach to customer service would confirmthis – but they clearly are not focused on car park users as customers – their customer is, presumably, Kingston Council.

I hope Kingston Council receives substantial funds from this firm from all the parking charges that they collect and from the takings from the PCNs that are not cancelled.

I wonder how many firms were invited to tender when the new contract was awarded?

I wonder how much Kingston Council gets out of the contract and whether the costs of inefficient administration such as outlined above reduces the amounts paid to the council rather than Smart Parking’s own profits? Is this something you might pursue?