My van went missing after I left it with a ‘cowboy’ firm at the airport – I was stunned to find it two weeks later
A MAN was left devastated after returning from holiday to find his £2,850 van gone before turning up 5 miles away a week later.
Freddie Hall, 60, paid £105 to a parking firm at Heathrow Airport while he went on holiday to San Francisco.
A Bar Hill man flew into San Francisco on Dec. 17, 2022 — entrusting a parking firm to look after his 2003 Honda Stepwagon.
But he was frustrated when he returned to the UK – struggling to contact the company to get his car back despite several calls and messages.
Finally Freddie gave up and took a train to Cambridge and then a taxi to Bar Hill, which cost him £45.86.
Speaking to the Sun Online, he said: “I called and got a recording saying the person you’re trying to contact is unavailable. Please leave a message or send a text.”
“After being frustrated and tired from a long international flight, I took a train from Heathrow to Cambridge and then a taxi from Cambridge station to my home in Bar Hill.”
After two days of trying to contact the parking firm, they finally got back to him, saying: “We are a dedicated parking booking agent and do not select cars ourselves.
“The customer is responsible for filing any complaint directly with the operator.
“On our part, the matter has been referred to the management of the car park for further investigation as to where your car was parked.
“A manager will contact you shortly
they have updated information on the matter to address for your satisfaction.”
Shockingly, a stranger contacted Freddie on January 6 to say his van was parked in Hayes, London.
“I believe it was someone from Universal Terminal Parking.
Freddie said, “He didn’t tell me his name. He just gave me the location.”
After a quick phone call, Freddie rushed to London for his van.
Freddie said: “It was definitely not secure parking. No one was around and luckily I had a spare key.
“There was nobody around and luckily I had a spare key. When I called the number again, I only got a recording.”
Hundreds of travelers became victims of these parking firms throughout the UK.
They usually promise drivers that their car will be parked in a protected area, but it ends up in a public parking lot.
But they also wreak havoc on vacationers who return from trips to find their cars driven thousands of miles, damaged or even targeted for theft.
Clint Denny’s car is missing after leaving him with a company meeting at Heathrow Airport.
Fortunately, the police found her car two weeks later.
A crackdown on cowboy parking was launched at Manchester Airport last summer.
Inspector Andrew Baker of Cheshire Police said The Manchester Evening News: “When booking airport parking, people often go for the cheapest option, but sometimes that’s not the best choice.
“These companies claim to be secure car parks associated with the airport. In reality, vehicles are often stored in dangerous muddy fields.
“As a result, we have received reports of damage to vehicles or even theft of parts.
“In other cases, we’ve been contacted by people who have returned home to find their cars had been driven thousands of miles while they were on holiday.”