A Wiltshire woman has been left “distressed and humiliated” by a £170 penalty charge after leaving a shopping centre car park without paying.

Jenny Mosley, 73, tried to pay the £1 fee at The Shires, in Trowbridge on her mobile smartphone by scanning a barcode and using Apple Pay but failed to complete the purchase, Wiltshire Times reports

She had parked on August 10 for more than the free first hour offered by the Parkmaven company, which manages The Shires shopping centre car park in Trowbridge.

Mrs Mosley said: “I owed £1 but I struggled to do the barcode and pay the fee on my phone. It is no excuse but I am in my mid-70s and not good at smartphones.

“Nowhere on the pillar does it say that there is a method of payment by cash within Asda – so I assumed the only way to pay was by phone.”

Mrs Mosley added: “Several people tried to help me do the barcode. I thought it had worked but the whole experience of trying to do the barcode was very difficult.”

Jenny does not dispute the fact that she had not paid the £1, but says she has been left “distressed and humiliated” about what happened next.

First, she received a parking charge notice from Parkmaven dated August 30 demanding she pay £100. She insists she has not received the company's first PCN demanding a £60 charge.

Salisbury Journal: The Shires car parkThe Shires car park (Image: Newsquest)

Mrs Mosley tried to appeal, saying she was happy to pay the £1 but complained that the system set up by Parkmaven was too difficult for some people to use.

“There were a couple of women younger than me who both said they couldn’t understand what to do,” she said.

She added: “I received nothing back from them, so I posted two letters to the address on their website.

“I went onto their website which says 'Pay or appeal', filled in the details from their alarming letters and kept getting the reply ‘sorry, we are unable to locate this ticket’.

“This company has now sent me fines that have risen to £170. I have emailed Parkmaven, sent two letters and followed the advice to converse with them on WhatsApp.

“This turned out to be a farce.”

Mrs Mosley added: “I have found this whole experience to be very distressing and humiliating. It does not seem a system that helps older people.

“This has all increased my stress and anxiety levels, which I now need to get help with."

On its website, the company says: “Parkmaven has the authority to issue and enforce Parking Charge Notices for contractual breaches on private land.

“Our BPA approved signage is clearly visible throughout the car park. This outlines the terms and conditions under which a motorist is authorised to park, and that a PCN may be issued if these conditions are not met.

“We don’t hide our signs in the hope of catching people out. With an average of one sign for every five bays within our car parks, we offer motorists ample opportunity to read signage, obliging them to comply.”

It says that customers can only appeal the same PCN once.

After that, they will have to contact POPLA, the independent appeals service for PCNs issued on private land.