An unofficial airport parking firm has been told to pay more than £3,500 following a trading standards operation to curb rogue airport meet and greet firms leaving vehicles on residential streets.
Mr Nabeel Khoury, age 45, of Greenwood Road, Manchester was personally fined £425 as sole director of PPS Manchester Limited and was ordered to pay £1,000 court costs and a victim of crime surcharge of £42 following a hearing at Manchester Magistrates Court.
The PPS Manchester Limited company was also fined £1,000 after being found guilty of engaging in a misleading action, and ordered to pay court costs of £1,000 along with a victims of crime surcharge of £100.
Mr Khoury and PPS Manchester claimed that car would be parked securely when in fact they were being parked on residential streets in Woodhouse Park, Wythenshawe – nearby to Manchester Airport – which is an offence under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations.
In 2016, Manchester City Council’s Trading Standards team fitted a tracking device to a vehicle and booked a three day airport parking service through the PPS Manchester website. The tracker showed the car had been parked on Greenwood Road in Woodhouse Park and clearly not in a secure car park as advertised.
The company’s website claimed that cars are kept on a concrete surface surrounded by fencing, patrolled 24 hours a day by security guards and under the watch of CCTV.
Returning the following day, trading standards officers found the car in the same position before picking up the vehicle from a PPS Manchester driver the next day.
Under interview, Mr Khoury claimed the cars were safe and secure as it was parked outside of his home address, and claimed the promise on the website referred to a period of time when the business was based at another location close to the airport.
He also claimed that if the booking had been for longer, the vehicle would have been moved to one of three secure car parks that he had exclusive use of.
The investigation is part of a multi-agency operation tasked with dealing with meet and greet parking operators in the Woodhouse Park area that sometime leave holiday maker’s vehicles residential streets for up to two weeks.
A dedicated enforcement team has now been set up to tackle the problem of cars being parked obstructively by rogue ‘meet-and-greet’ companies in residential areas during the school summer holidays.
Since the end of July, the enforcement team have received 42 calls from residents that have led 29 penalty charge notices being handed out, and nine vehicles removed from the streets of Wythenshawe.
Councillor Rabnawaz Akbar, Manchester City Council’s Executive Member for Neighbourhoods, said: “Cowboy meet and greet firms are making life a misery for residents in Wythenshawe and I’m pleased that the Courts have found it appropriate to impose a significant fine on this so-called company.
“I hope this sends a clear message to other illegal operators that deceiving customers will not be tolerated. We are doing everything we can to find you, investigate you and where possible, we will prosecute.
“Many residents are tricked into handing over their car keys to criminals for what seems like a good deal so we strongly advise anybody thinking of using an airport meet-and-greet scheme to research your chosen company carefully and look out for the certified “Buy with Confidence” mark.”
Residents are asked to call the Council on 0161 234 4199 if a vehicle is parked on double yellow lines, if a road crossing is blocked where there is a dropped kerb, if their driveway is completely blocked (where a dropped kerb has been provided by the Council or Wythenshawe Community Housing Group), or if a bus stop is blocked.
Where there is a confirmed case, the Council has powers to take enforcement action, which could include towing the vehicle away.
If a parked vehicle blocks a path or grass verge and makes it hard for pedestrians to pass, residents should contact Greater Manchester Police on 101.