A DISGRUNTLED driver visiting Worcester was given a parking fine when the automated service she used to pay for her ticket got her registration number wrong.

Having entered her car’s details, car park location, and duration of her stay through the telephone service at the Copenhagen Street car park, Jane Allwright, of Radnorshire, Powys, Wales, left her car and was shocked to find to a ticket on her windscreen when she returned.

Mrs Allwright said: “As we did not have the change we braved the telephone registering of the parking. We followed the information on the parking ‘pay machine’ and, having done this, we did not need to display anything in the car.

“We went off and for some reason I felt a little uneasy. Returning within the correct time we found a ticket – we were not happy. At home I checked my bank account online and the payment had gone out.” She said the weather was quite windy and an over-the-phone payment was not the easiest option especially as the initial call to register with the service took several minutes, but it was the only one available to them at the time.

After the parking payment of £2.60 was taken out of her account she reported the mistake and found her registration plate had been recorded as BX02 VGT instead of VX02 VGT. Andy Chinn, parking manager at Worcester City Council, said: “There are about 7,000 people each month using the service and we probably get one or two errors. “As it is connected with voice recognition, when you call up letters can get confused and sometimes people do not speak clearly, and they can make a mistake when registering their number.”

He said that the fine was cancelled when it was discovered to be a mistake.

Harry Clarke, the company director of RingGo, which operates the phone payment system in Worcester car parks, said: “The key is that we need to get the registration and when using a mobile phone there is no good way to type in the details. “There may be problems on a windy day or someone with a regional accent or someone who does not enunciate. We get about 99 in every 100 right so it is not bad.”

The service repeats the information it heard before the user is asked to confirm the payment.