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Planet Blog > October 2010 > Airport Meet and Greet service – be warned!

Recently there was a report on the BBC’s Watchdog programme about airport meet and greet services and how some operators are not quite meeting their promises of offering a ‘safe and secure’ service for your car whilst you are on holiday.

Many people will choose to leave their car at the airport when they go on holiday and for some the option of a meet and greet service is more appealing than parking the car yourself. Most major airports will have companies that provide a meet and greet valet service and for most of them it would appear they like to emphasise the point of how ‘secure’ your vehicle will be while in their possession.

Watchdog’s investigation has discovered that all is not what it seems with some of these valet parking companies and there have been numerous complaints from disgruntled customers.

One such complaint was from Dean Dolling, who flew from Luton airport for a weeks holiday to Cyprus.  He left his car with Airparks, which is one of the larger airport valet operators.  They promise to keep your car in a secure and gated compound with 24 hour security.  However when Dean returned to his car a week later, it appeared his car had been on a journey of its own also!

"There was paperwork scattered all across the back seat... CDs were moved... satnav was moved and basically the car wasn't how I left it."

In an interview on Radio 2, Dean also described how he always made a note of the mileage on his car before leaving it with the valet parking.  Upon picking up the car, he noticed it had done more miles than would be expected for it to just simply be parked in a nearby secure compound.

He did complain to Airparks, who advised him his car had been in the secure compound all along.  However in a bizarre turn of events, Dean later received a telephone call from a man called Greg from Australia who said he had used Dean’s car as a hire care while he had been in the UK on holiday!  Greg said he could see the car was not a hire care but somebody’s personal vehicle as there were personal documents all over the back seat.

Airparks later issued a statement to say this was an error due to “highly unusual system failures” and after offering Dean compensation which he rejected, finally offered him a replacement car for his own as means of compensation.

Also reported, was the case of the couple who left their car with Gatwick Meet and Greet only to receive a phone call shortly afterwards from a police officer to say their car had been crashed and abandoned on the motorway!  It transpires that the valet driver of the car was only 18 and as such should not have even been employed by the company, as insurance conditions state the valet driver should be at least 25 years old.

Then there was the case of the customer who left their vehicle for valet parking, only to return and find there were parking charge notices on it from Tesco!

So in summary, if opting for an airport valet meet and greet service, it might be wise to check out the credentials of the company you are booking with first. 

Here is a list of things to check and be aware of, before handing over the keys of your vehicle to the valet parking company:

•    Make a note of the current mileage.  Some people choose to write this down on a sticky note and put it on the dashboard. This could act as a visual deterrent for any unscrupulous parking valets!

•    Try not to leave any personal documents in the car, especially anything that would reveal your home address

•    If you have satnav in the car, do not leave the home address stored in it’s memory, as your actually home address.  Perhaps change the home address to the local police station!

Posted: 10/27/2010 2:20:27 PM by Global Administrator | with 0 comments


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