From Robert Joyce, Newport:

I’d like to make readers aware of what I think is “sharp practice” by Smart Parking Ltd at Gunwharf Road car park, Portsmouth, after I paid to park until 12.16pm, left the car park at 12.10pm and received a penalty fine of £100.

I drove into the car park at 8.53am on September 10. There were three ticket machines but none working.

An engineer was repairing one of the machines and I, with others, waited some 20 minutes.

He didn’t seem to be hurrying and most people just drifted away and so (against my better judgment) I paid by phone. £3 for three hours (plus I was charged an extra 40p for the privilege. Nowhere was this advertised).

I received a text at 9.19am confirming my payment and saying I had until 12.16pm to leave.

We visited The Mary Rose and were just about to drive out of the car park when I received another text at 12.07pm stating my parking session was due to expire in less than ten mins. I drove off at 12.10pm.

When we arrived home after our three-and-a-half week holiday we found late penalty-charge demands and the threat of bailiffs.

It appears the duration of my stay was recorded when I entered the car park, not from when I purchased the ticket (which was delayed due to the engineer mending the machines).

I would have been happy to go to court to defend my case had I been younger — I am 84 — but have paid up.

I don’t feel that I have been fairly treated and I would like to warn others.