A Nice LIDL Earner!

lidl parking scam 2

Fining Pensioners – A Nice LIDL Earner!

Like Dear Customer Relations, our good friend Steve Crowley likes to stand up for the little guy against the big faceless corporations when they get too big for their boots.  On a recent visit to his local Lidl store at Yate, near Bristol, Steve witnessed a vulnerable pensioner appealing against a £90 they had sent him for accidentally contravening the recently imposed parking regulations. Steve tried to intervene and urged the elderly gentleman not to pay – but he was too frightened and paid. Steve thought that was disgraceful (and you can agree with him by signing the petition at the bottom of this post – which will automatically send an email to the customer relations department at Lidl).
In the meantime, Steve had an idea.  He returned to Lidl, but at the checkout, he ‘forgot’ to tell them that he had used the car park.

A week later, he received his Civil Charge Notice from those nice people at Athena ANPR Ltd:

Lidl charge noticeIt wasn’t very civil at all!

“Failure to pay the parking charge within the time period described may result in Athena ANPR transferring your case to a debt collection company or to further legal proceedings where additional costs may be incurred”, it said.

Athena ANPR are one of many such predatory companies who help businesses to make extra money from their parking areas.Lidl Athena ANPR cash flow


Above is a ‘flow diagram’ which appears on the Athena website – the general message seems to be ‘cameras turn cars into cash’. Just in case you can’t work it out for yourself, underneath it says: “Find out how easy it is to install an ANPR system and how to gain an additional income stream from your assets”

So, it’s about money.  Plain and simple.  If you fall foul of it, those Lidl own brand baked beans aren’t so cheap after all.

Anyway, back to the story. Steve had no intention of paying the fine of course and so he dropped a line to the Appeals section at Athena:

From: Steve Crowley
Sent: 10 April 2016 16:29
To: Appeals
Subject: Parking Charge Notice Number XXXXXXXXX

Dear Sirs

I write in reference to the above Civil Parking Charge Notice.

Please note the following points:

1. I do not believe I am liable to pay this fine. Please advise on what basis you believe I am liable to pay the charge. i.e. What is the charge actually for? Is it a fine? Is it legally enforceable? Is it for Lidl’s pecuniary losses arising from the fact I was parked in their car park?

2. I believe I had shopped at Lidl on the date of the alleged incident, during the times that my vehicle is alleged to have stayed at the car park. I believe that I bought among other things, a High School Musical magazine, and some toilet roll. And for the record, it’s not what you think – my daughter likes High School Musical, hence the magazine, and all members of my family use toilet roll.

Except my son. He uses his sister’s toothbrush.

I look forward to you addressing the above points and receiving confirmation that the Parking Charge has been withdrawn.

Kind regards.


Some 3 weeks later, Athena ANPR Ltd replied with this:

Dear Mr Crowley,

Thank you for your correspondence in regards to the above parking charge

We are contracted by the owner of the land to manage the site at which the parking event occurred and the charge was accrued.

Lidl customers are allowed a free parking time of 90 minutes provided vehicle registration numbers are tapped into a touch screen computer at the till. If these details are not entered or provided then a parking charge notice is generated.

Having checked our records your registration number was not on the list of shoppers for the day in question.

In order for us to further review your appeal we would firstly like to request if you have any proof of shopping for the day or for other dates in the form of a receipt or bank statement.

In closing we would like to thank you for contacting our customer service department and hope we can deal with this matter as quickly and efficiently as possible.

Kind Regards

For and on behalf of the Customer Service Team
Athena ANPR Ltd

The toothbrush gag evidently hadn’t been appreciated so in his second salvo, Steve added a nice drawing instead:

From: Steve Crowley
Sent: 19 April 2016 12:13
To: Appeals
Subject: RE: Parking Charge Notice Number XXXXXXXXXX

Many thanks for your email.

I am sure I have a receipt somewhere but cannot currently lay my hands on it.

I also note that you did not specifically respond to item 1. in my previous email. Please clarify on what basis the fine is being imposed.

Furthermore, you state that customers at Lidl may park for “90 minutes provided vehicle registration numbers are tapped into a touch screen computer at the till.”

I can only assume from your statement that the Lidl member of staff erred on this occasion and did not ask for or register correctly, my vehicle details. Am I still liable for the charge in this instance?

Lastly, whilst I cannot at this time, locate a receipt as proof of purchase, please find attached a picture that clearly proves I was shopping at Lidl at the time and date of the alleged offence. I trust you will now withdraw the fine.

Kindest regards.


 lidl drawing

A few days later, Steve received another note from Athena ANPR:

Dear Mr Crowley,

Thank you for your email in regards to the above parking charge.
We can confirm that the above parking charge has been cancelled.

Kind Regards
For and on behalf of the Customer Service Team


lidl receiptResult! So, if you want to avoid paying your Lidl parking fine, send a nice drawing to Athena ANPR.

What Steve didn’t tell them of course was that he had kept the receipt all along (left,1 just in case  the fine was legally enforceable!). So he replied with this final email (you’ll note he did actually buy a High School Musical Magazine and some toilet roll – it wasn’t made up just for comedy effect) – He just wanted to rub it in that he had been wasting their time all along…

From: Steve Crowley
To: Appeals
Subject: RE: Parking Charge Notice Number XXXXXXXXXX

Many thanks for your email. I am pleased you have cancelled the fine.

I have now located the receipt showing that I had indeed shopped at the date and time of the alleged offence. What are the chances of me finding it after all this time???

Kindest regards



Since appearing on Dear Customer Relations, Steve’s unusual method for avoiding paying the charge has gone well and truly viral, appearing on the websites of the Daily Mail, Daily Mirror, Sun, Star and YouTube. Sadly though, it is unlikely to change Lidl’s behaviour.
The old gentleman that Steve saw fined was not the only one. The net is awash with stories of similar tales (a few examples below). It’s time to stop this abuse of customers by Lidl.
lots of lidl fines

Please consider signing the petition below to automatically send an email to the Lidl Customer Relations Department (your surname will not be shown here and your details will not be shared under any circumstances). Share this post as widely as you can on Twitter and Facebook so we get something done and more vulnerable elderly people don’t fall victim.


A Nice LIDL Earner - Stop the Parking Fines!

Dear Lidl,

Please stop fining your customers for falling foul of the ridiculous parking restrictions introduced at many of your UK stores. It is a money-making scam and not worthy of a reputable retailer. It exploits your customers, including vulnerable and elderly pensioners who are in no position to pay the unjustifiable fines.


Share this with your friends:


Below, some of the latest signatories. Thank you.
Latest Emails Sent By:
566Mary W.ObanMay 22, 2017
565Caroline L.LondonMay 22, 2017
564Jean H.HullMay 21, 2017
563Sue M.Sutton ColdfieldMay 19, 2017
562George S.BournemouthMay 18, 2017
561Robina S.GlasgowMay 18, 2017
560Simon K.MarchMay 15, 2017
559Leigh P.LondonMay 15, 2017
558Ralf K.WigstonMay 12, 2017
557PAWEL R.CWMBRANMay 11, 2017
556sarah b.PETERBOROUGHMay 11, 2017
555Pauline L.DerbyMay 10, 2017
554Barbara H.BristolMay 09, 2017
553Anand E.LondonMay 08, 2017
552Lauren M.DagenhamMay 07, 2017
551judith b.bedfordMay 06, 2017
550Nicola G.BedfordMay 06, 2017
549Beverley T.BristolMay 06, 2017
548SUSAN D.LondonMay 04, 2017
547james b.essexMay 04, 2017
546Elizabeth W.Merseyside May 03, 2017
545Heather A.ThetfordApr 29, 2017
544Dennese G.Streatham Apr 26, 2017
543Monika C.Bromley Apr 25, 2017
542Lisa M.OldhamApr 25, 2017
541Ataa O.CROYDONApr 24, 2017
540Beata K.PurfleetApr 24, 2017
539Sarah W.NewarkApr 24, 2017
538Steve B.DundeeApr 24, 2017
537K K.eastleighApr 22, 2017
536karen w.SeafordApr 21, 2017
535Jacquie W.Luton BedfordshireApr 20, 2017
534Michael B.London - HainaultApr 19, 2017
533John C.Basildon Apr 16, 2017
532Susan B.Le DoratApr 16, 2017
531Trevor L.Apr 15, 2017
530Michael F.SouthamptonApr 15, 2017
529Tim C.Apr 14, 2017
528Renate T.Haverfordwest Apr 14, 2017
527Lauren W.Tunbridge WellsApr 13, 2017
526Bob B.LeatherheadApr 13, 2017
525Beryl B.BristolApr 13, 2017
524James R.TrowbridgeApr 13, 2017
523angela l.kentApr 13, 2017
522tony k.liskeardApr 13, 2017
521Richard S.Goudhurst, Kent Apr 12, 2017
520Ara B.BournemouthApr 12, 2017
519Oliver F.BournemouthApr 12, 2017
518Helen S.YateApr 12, 2017
517Keith S.BristolApr 09, 2017


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  1. That’s an awful lot of carbohydrate Steve 

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