Last night the Rogue Traders team on BBC Watchdog Live reported on Park Direct Gatwick, a meet & greet company who customers complained frequently returned cars late and with damage.
On investigation, Rogue Traders found that the firm is parking cars in local fields, with no security and keys stored in the boot of a car, even though they advertised 24/7 teams, CCTV, fencing and a gated entrance on airport parking booking sites.
Park Direct Gatwick is not a member of the Independent Airport Parking Association (IAPA) or part of Gatwick Approved Operator scheme, both of which give security to people booking airport parking.
Offsite park & ride and meet & greet parking offers many advantages for travelers, including convenience and lower costs, but rogue traders don’t have the facilities, services and teams in place to look after your car securely.
Here’s how to avoid rogue companies and get peace of mind when booking your airport parking:
• At Gatwick, always book with a company that is part of the Approved Operator Scheme, which was created by the airport to combat rogue traders. Approved companies include IAPA members Ace Parking; APH; I Love Meet & Greet; Maple Parking; Sure Parking and Tudor Rose.
Most UK airports don’t have approved operator schemes, so you should always:
• Look for the Park Mark logo when making your booking. This means the parking facility has been police assessed and is secure.
• Read independent customer reviews before you make your booking. Past feedback is easy to find and a great way of judging how others rate the company.
• When using a Meet & Greet service, check that your car will be moved directly to a secure, Park Mark awarded facility when you’ve handed over your keys.
• Make a note of existing damage to your car before you leave home. Bumps and scrapes in airport parking are very rare, so this will help you spot new issues quickly and will save the inconvenience of reporting problems that were already there.
• Always book with a member of the Independent Airport Parking Association as they are assessed to prove they provide the highest levels of professionalism and service.
Read more about IAPA and our members here.