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.

[your signature]

Share this with your friends:


Below, some of the latest signatories. Thank you.
Latest Emails Sent By:
1,030 Daniel M. Portsmouth Nov 14, 2018
1,029 May P. London SW6 2QU Nov 13, 2018
1,028 Aidan W. Plymouth Nov 13, 2018
1,027 Rod L. Newcastle under Lyme Nov 04, 2018
1,026 vivienne m. london bellingham se64dd Nov 02, 2018
1,025 Robert T. London Oct 28, 2018
1,024 Alvin V. CARSHALTON Oct 26, 2018
1,023 michael n. london Oct 24, 2018
1,022 Caryl W. Newport Oct 24, 2018
1,021 Natalia K. London Oct 20, 2018
1,020 angus l. Doncaster Oct 18, 2018
1,019 Rajat J. London Oct 16, 2018
1,018 timothy p. newbridge Oct 15, 2018
1,017 Matthew M. Taunton Oct 13, 2018
1,016 Gerald R. Surrey Oct 08, 2018
1,015 Chris G. Birmingham, Sutton Coldfield Oct 08, 2018
1,014 Steven B. Kirkcaldy Oct 06, 2018
1,013 Natalie D. London Sep 28, 2018
1,012 Salwa I. Eastbourne Sep 27, 2018
1,011 Annabel W. Barnsley Sep 25, 2018
1,010 Alice B. London Sep 15, 2018
1,009 George C. Birmingham Sep 12, 2018
1,008 M V. Penicuik Sep 09, 2018
1,007 Geraldine H. Portsmouth Sep 07, 2018
1,006 Karen B. Southsea Sep 07, 2018
1,005 Sergejs K. King's Lynn Sep 05, 2018
1,004 ken s. Doncaster Sep 03, 2018
1,003 Laila B. London Aug 28, 2018
1,002 Wendy M. Chichester Aug 25, 2018
1,001 Barb H. Worthing Aug 17, 2018
1,000 Michael R. Houghton le Spring Aug 17, 2018
999 Maxwell M. Beckenham Aug 10, 2018
998 Dermot A. Norwich Aug 01, 2018
997 Brian H. near Witney Jul 31, 2018
996 Attila V. Southampton Jul 28, 2018
995 Pauline H. Portsmouth Jul 23, 2018
994 Alison L. Waltham Cross Jul 20, 2018
993 BARTHEL B. LONDDON Jul 12, 2018
992 Annette R. Fife Jul 10, 2018
991 Jacqueline P. Cwmbran Jul 09, 2018
990 Michael M. Shrewsbury Jul 08, 2018
989 JANET C. Near Witney Jun 30, 2018
988 Sandy H. Grantham Jun 26, 2018
987 Sean W. Polegate Jun 25, 2018
986 Roger C. Blakeney, Glos. Jun 21, 2018
985 Lauren G. Manchester Jun 20, 2018
984 Gemma K. Tunbridge Wells Jun 18, 2018
983 Susan N. Cheam Jun 14, 2018
982 Angela G. Sutton Jun 14, 2018
981 sharon w. cwmbran Jun 12, 2018


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  1. That’s an awful lot of carbohydrate Steve 

1 Comment

  • Reply March 20, 2017


    I am just about to write a complaint email. Myself and my mentally ill brother went into lidls to do our shopping which we must do atleast twice a day Evey day. Halfway around we heard a loud voice shouting . you stop put your shopping down and leave . you smell of drugs!! . I was the other side of the isle and my poor brother did not no wot to do. I said to her excuse me? She repeated again. My brother was freaking and hyperventilating by thus time I was absolutely mortified and shakingly took us both outside. We was in shock. We are both middle aged. My brother & myself suffer with terrible anxiety which is why we shop together for support. I went to the police which was closed I shall be going first thing tomorrow morning. To top it I found this person on social media and she eas boasting about going into work to kick ass and take no shit.

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