How to spot (and avoid) rogue airport parking providers this summer
Summer is here and everyone is jetting off on holiday - hooray! But before you embark on your seven days of sun, make sure you are aware of the dangers of leaving your car with rogue airport parking operators. Here's how to spot them and avoid risking it.
Sadly, at this time of year, rogue operators offer cheap meet and greet Gatwick parking. When weighing up your options, they may appeal to you because they cost a lot less than other providers - we all love a bargain after all, right?
How do rogue traders offer cheap meet and greet parking?
Rogue traders can afford to price their Gatwick meet and greet parking so cheaply because they don't have the running costs that approved companies like Help Me Park do.
They don't pay for membership to official industry bodies. They don't have staff on their payroll whose wages and national insurance contributions they pay for. They don't own proper car parks. And without a proper car park, they don't have to pay to install the relevant security measures that are necessary to gain accreditation like the Park Mark award or Trading Standards Buy With Confidence.
A company may look genuine at first glance (anyone can create a decent looking website nowadays), but their reviews may not be real and they won't have the accreditation an approved company has. We've all seen the horror stories in the media, and no one wants to be the star of the next splash.
So once again, we have to remind anyone travelling this summer to always check for the following things when booking parking
Park Mark approval
This is crucial, as the award is given to the car park and not the company, so if a company is listed on the Park Mark website's car park finder, you know they have a real car park that has been vetted by local police. If you can't find them on the Park Mark website, there's a good chance they don't have a dedicated car park - and if they do, it hasn't been vetted and verified by the police as a safe place to store vehicles.
You can check whether an airport parking company has the Park Mark award here: http://www.parkmark.co.uk/car-park-finder
Trading Standards Buy With Confidence
This scheme was set up in response to concerns about rogue traders. It provides consumers with a list of local businesses that have committed to trading fairly and to qualify for the list, a business has to undergo a series of detailed checks before being approved as a member.
To gain Trading Standards Buy With Confidence, companies must perform CRB checks on all their drivers and fulfil numerous other safety and regulatory procedures.
You can check if a company is a member of the scheme here: https://www.buywithconfidence.gov.uk/find-a-business/
Gatwick Airport Approved Operators Scheme
In order to be a member of the Gatwick Airport Approved Operators Scheme (which was established specifically to stamp out rogue traders), a company must have Trading Standards Buy With Confidence accreditation. Then, they must submit this to Gatwick Airport to apply to become a member of the Approved Operators Scheme.
All approved members are listed on the official Gatwick Airport website here. So, if you can't find a company on there, there's a chance they are not exactly what they claim to be.
Genuine customer reviews
How do you know if a review is genuine? Platforms like Feefo gather reviews based on a genuine purchase, so you know every review on their site is real and positive reviews can't have been fabricated by the company itself (and it's not possible for competitors to fabricate fake negative reviews, which can happen elsewhere).
This is our Feefo page to give you an example: https://www.feefo.com/en-GB/reviews/help-me-park
Finding reliable Gatwick airport parking
We're not saying you have to book your meet and greet parking with Help Me Park (although of course, we'd like you to!).
We simply want to educate consumers on what goes on here at Gatwick, so they can make an informed choice and avoid these worst case scenarios.
We also want to reassure customers that if you carry out these checks, you can find a genuine company that you can trust with your car because the meet and greet industry is definitely not all bad! You just need to be equipped with the right tools to find the right company for you. Meet and greet parking is a great thing when it's carried out by reliable companies, but unfortunately, we only hear about the horror stories in the press.
Come and give us a try and we will prove to you that when done properly by the right people, meet and greet is a fantastic option for ultimate in convenience and customer service 😎