Willesden pensioner hit with £70 fine for £3 shop at Aldi in Kingsbury

Suman Ekanayake with his fine outside the Aldi store (pic: Adam Tiernan Thomas)

Suman Ekanayake with his fine outside the Aldi store (pic: Adam Tiernan Thomas) - Credit: Archant

When a Willesden pensioner decided to take a debut trip to discount supermarket Aldi he didn’t expected his £3 shop would end up costing him an additional £70.

But Sumanasiri Ekanayake, of Dudden Hill Lane, ended up with a parking fine after he failed to register his car details in store – an error he claims was caused through confusion.

The 68-year-old also said Aldi failed to make it clear to drivers that they would be penalised for using their car park unless they tapped their details into a special machine inside its branch.

In addition he said there was no signage showing where the machine was located.

He told the Times: “It was shocking. It was totally unfair what happened to me and my wife.

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“We thought we would try the shop because we heard it was cheap. I bought food for £3.06 but 10 days letter I got a parking ticket for £70 from Aldi.

“If you are planning to do your Christmas shopping, Aldi may not be cheaper with their hidden parking charges.”

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The former teacher and physics technician added: “If you use the car park you have to register your car in the shop. This was not familiar to me.”

Mr Ekanayake, who has since paid the fine, said he went back to the store managers to explain but was told they couldn’t help.

He then appealed to Parking On Private Land Appeals (POPLA), the company contracted by Aldi to manage its car park, who sided with the supermarket.

“I showed that I really went shopping and produced a genuine receipt but they rejected it,” he said.

“There are directions to the toilets but none to the machine.

“They say Aldi shop is cheaper. It’s not. I spent £3 and had to pay £70. That’s not cheap at all.”

After being contacted by the Times, an Aldi spokeswoman agreed to refund the parking charge to Mr Ekanayake.

She added: “The customer parking policy is highlighted on several signs in the car park and store itself.

“On this occasion as a gesture of goodwill to the customer, our car parking operator, Parking Eye, will refund the charge.”

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