Release date: 9 April 2019
The director of a Gatwick ‘meet and greet’ parking company has been sentenced to 14 months in prison and disqualified from being a director for four years following an investigation by West Sussex Trading Standards.
Asad Bashir Malik (Jura Close, Crawley, West Sussex) and his company London Parking Gatwick Ltd, which was turning over £.1.4 million, were found guilty at Brighton Crown Court of misleading customers.
Proceeds of Crime Act proceedings are still pending.
The company said on its website that all cars left with them would be parked in a secure compound.
But in 2016 reports to West Sussex Trading Standards claimed that over 1,000 vehicles were being parked in a field in Bonnetts Lane, West Sussex.
Trading Standards officers visited two fields, Bonnetts Lane and Keepers Knight, in July 2016 and confirmed that London Parking Gatwick Ltd was using these to park its customer’s vehicles.
Some of the vehicles had been left unlocked with their windows open and keys on the windscreen. Some of the vehicles were damaged and others had been issued with parking tickets. The investigation also revealed fake customer reviews on the company’s website.
Officers contacted the customers and established that they had been misled by claims on the website.
Richard Sargeant, Trading Standards Team Manager, said: “Malik and his company deceived thousands of customers between 2014 and 2016, causing damage to their cars and making false claims on its website.
“This was a complex investigation for our team and I am very pleased with the outcome.
“I would urge anyone using a Gatwick meet and greet business to only use a Trading Standards-approved company.”
Anyone who thinks they have been a victim of an unfair trading practice can contact Trading Standards via Citizens Advice on 03454 04 05 06 or online via www.westsussex.gov.uk/tsreport
To find a list of all parking companies that have been vetted and checked by West Sussex Trading Standards, visit: http://edition.pagesuite-professional.co.uk/launch.aspx?eid=9ae2d29f-5202-4743-ba68-ad399ef574c5