Disabled Tesco shopper, 58, furious after being fined for staying half an hour too long in carpark despite blue badge
A DISABLED Tesco shopper is furious after being slapped with a fine for overstaying half an hour in the carpark despite displaying her blue badge.
Claire Lewis has hit out at the "discriminatory" rules for disabled customers after visiting the supermarket in Merthyr Tydfil on October 27 with her mother.
The 58-year-old, who suffers from a rare congenial condition called X linked Hypophosphataemia, received a letter just over a week later demanding she stump up the cash for overstaying the two-hour time limit.
The Tesco carpark, run by parking management company Horizon, allows shoppers to stay for 120 minutes.
But blue badge holders are typically granted an extra hour to accommodate their needs in public car parks.
Claire says she was fined as the system only uses cameras with number plate recognition to determine how long customers have parked up.
The disabled motorist believes the rules are unfair as the cameras fail to take into account whether shoppers are displaying a blue badge.
She told Wales Online: "I have a blue badge which entitles me to park in a disabled bay for three hours. I went to Tesco and we were over two hours but not over three hours.
"A company called Horizon has taken over Tesco car park and they have cameras recording your car going into Tesco and coming out of Tesco.
"It means they know how long you've been there, but they don't know whether you're a disabled driver or not."
The 58-year-old said the letter she received advised her to park on Tesco and to take her blue badges into customer services so she could prove her disability and cancel the fine.
Yet Claire claims when she went to challenge the fee, she was forced to park her vehicle in a non-disabled bay further away from the store, causing her needless pain.
She said: "I parked away from Tesco and by the time I got into Tesco, I was in terrible pain.
"At customer services, I was told Tesco couldn't do anything for me and said I would have to write to Horizon, send in my blue badge and they would be able to void it."
She says a manager explained to her Tesco policy is for customers to show customer services their blue badge and registration details upon arrival.
Only then can they head back to their car and display the badges to receive the extra time without being hit with a penalty charge.
Claire has slammed the policy as it means disabled people will actually have to walk further than able-bodied people each time they do their food shop.
She says it effectively defeats the object of blue badges, which are meant to make it easier for disabled customers to go about their business, and may embarrass people who prefer to keep their disability discreet.
They are discriminating against disabled drivers because someone isn't employed to police the car park.
"Disabled people are being outed," Claire said. "There shouldn't be any policy that makes us feel that we are being identified as disabled. We've already got a blue badge.
"They are discriminating against disabled drivers because someone isn't employed to police the car park.
"We are being asked to walk further than able-bodied drivers so we can give our badge details in before we can start shopping.
"The whole reason we have the three hours is because we are slower. By the time we park, log the badge, go back out, 20 minutes can be gone."
And Claire insists she isn't the only one who has been hit with an unfair fine, as a "crowd" of angry customers swarmed complaining of the same issue.
"I think this is a bigger problem than Tesco knows and people don't know what to do," she continued. "Not all people are as vocal as me.
"A lot of disabled people become disabled. When you're born with it like me, that's all you know and you have to fight for everything. I've been disabled my whole life and have had a car since I was 21 and never-ever have I had this."
A spokesman for Tesco said: "Our Merthyr Tydfil Extra store has a busy car park, and so we operate a two-hour limit for customer parking which is monitored using number plate recognition cameras.
"If a customer needs longer than two hours, they can log their car registration with our customer service desk on arrival to make sure they do not receive a ticket."
The Sun Online has also contacted Horizon for comment.
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