ON December 20 I went with my daughter-in-law and baby granddaughter who are visiting from China to do some shopping in the city centre.

We arrived at at 3.28pm in the car park I have since discovered is called City Walls.

Having seen signs advertising free parking in city car parks after 4pm on Wednesdays I looked for signs confirming this.

When I saw none, I asked a driver who was parking at the same time and he assured me that parking was indeed free after 4pm, as I had thought.

We both bought an hour’s parking in the belief that we were covered.

On my return at about 5.30pm I found I and the other driver had been served penalty notices. I suspect, based on my experience, that the company running this has been benefiting greatly from the confusion caused by signs along the ring road and elsewhere proclaiming free parking after 4pm to attract much-needed shoppers to the city centre.

Checking on the council website (which I shouldn’t need to do and not everyone can) I found that some private car parks, though unspecified by name, were not participating in the scheme.

I feel very strongly that such companies as Corporate Services Parking Management, whose name I got from the small print on my ticket, may be guilty of misleading customers, and the council signs helped them to do so.

I have submitted an appeal in the hope that they may be inspired by seasonal goodwill to forego the hefty fine. I had no intention to defraud, nor did I accidentally overstay. I was merely showing our city to foreign visitors and helping the local economy.

If they do not uphold my appeal this is one customer who will certainly be disinclined to patronise these car parks in the future.

Perhaps other readers have experienced similar problems?