1st May 2024

‘Meet-and-greet’ parking alert

Holidaymakers are being urged to do their research before using airport parking services.

By JTS Staff
Journal of Trading Standards' in-house team
By doing your research you will be more confident to leave your vehicle with your chosen company and enjoy your travels

As holidaymakers gear up for the summer, West Sussex Trading Standards and Sussex Police are warning motorists about rogue ‘meet-and-greet’ parking services operating at London Gatwick Airport following a spate of customer complaints.

While most of the companies offering parking services are reputable and reliable, drivers who have fallen foul of rogue operators have reported damage to vehicles, and cars being returned covered in dirt and with inexplicably higher mileages.

There have also been reports of some rogue companies purporting to take a vehicle to a secure car park, only for it to be left in a short-stay car park without payment, leaving customers facing charges or a large bill upon their return.

Some customers have also reported very long delays in their cars being returned to them after their trip.

Richard Sargeant, West Sussex Trading Standards Team Manager, said: “In recent years, we have had to deal with a number of rogue ‘meet and greet’ companies at the airport and it can be very difficult for travellers to decide which parking operator is best to use when you go on holiday or business.

“We would recommend travellers either park with Gatwick Airport direct or use a Trading Standards Approved business, who are reputable businesses. They afford you far greater security while you are away and so we always suggest visiting www.buywithconfidence.gov.uk to find out which meet and greet operators have been Trading Standards Approved.”

Gatwick Police Neighbourhood Policing Team Inspector James Biggs said: “Travellers seeking to use ‘meet-and-greet’ parking services should do their homework before deciding which company to use. Online tools are available to help travellers with their research. If you book through an agent online, you should be aware that your vehicle may be allocated to a number of companies on their books.

“By doing your research you will be more confident to leave your vehicle with your chosen company and enjoy your travels.”

Motorists should also remember that not all companies listed are affiliated to London Gatwick, even if the business includes ‘Gatwick Airport’ in its name or if their website looks like it is linked to the airport.

Oli Bedford, Head of Parking at London Gatwick, said: “We have no relationship with these rogue ‘meet and greet’ parking companies, even though many of them have ‘Gatwick’ in their company name.

“If passengers are considering using an off-airport meet and greet parking provider, they should check that they have a good reputation on Trustpilot, Trip Advisor or any other reliable means. The British Parking Association also has some good advice.

“For complete piece of mind, I would however strongly recommend that passengers use official on-airport parking.”

One response to “‘Meet-and-greet’ parking alert”

  1. Nigel Strick says:

    Shame that Oli Bedford didn’t also suggest Buy With Confidence so as to maintain a consistent message.

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