Thanks to Graham for bringing to our attention an issue with parking at Perpignan airport which could happen to anyone….and thanks to John for pointing out that, although it is a trap that people fall into regularly, it is clearly stated in the airport information.

From Graham

We have been using Perpignan airport for many years and over the last 10 years have had 6 monthly and annual airport parking subscriptions. We did not renew this year due to commitments in England.

We parked there this year on 04.04.17 and picked up the car on 22.04.17. I expected to pay 80€ as per the airport leaflet.

My wife used her card to pay at the exit and we thought no more of it until she happened to read the receipt for the parking a couple of days later which was a staggering 180€! we emailed and also spoke to airport staff and they explained that to obtain the 80€ charge you need to pay at the point of leaving the vehicle. This does not appear on any signage in the car park or airport. Had we been aware we could easily have done this when leaving the car.

We also received an email response advising that we should have looked at the airport website first and that nothing could be done.

I am convinced that in previous years the ticket machine has charged the lowest tariff applicable for a visit. This is no longer the case, if you don’t watch out you will be charged a fortune!

Would you please advise your readers not to fall into the same trap as we did?  Saddened by the airport’s response to what seems to be our mistake we will now take public transport and use Beziers airport instead of what we thought had been our friendly local airport for many years.

I hope this information might be helpful to somebody.

John’s reply

Hi Graham,
I’m afraid that they (Perpignan Airport) have you banged to rights re parking deals, as on both the website and the ‘Guide Horaires’ blue leaflet they distribute it clearly states (in French) that any special deals have to be paid for on the ‘jour d’entrée au parking’ .

In the old carpark it clearly stated that too, but I cannot honestly say if that applies to the new one. I’m also afraid that you are mistaken saying that the old car parking machines did the decent thing in charging you the lowest deal. I know that, as I was a victim of exactly the same mistake on a weekly 40€ deal some years ago!

But, forewarned is forearmed, and I’ll endeavour to make a reference to this in my next offering to PO Life.

Can I respectfully recommend Carcassonne airport to you as opposed to Beziers? They have regular flights to Manchester (I assume from your address that this would be your airport of choice), and a fortnight parking in the new Long Stay park costs a more palatable 65€.

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  1. I think John’s reply is not correct. But Graham’s story begs for a question: What is the basis of your price expectation?
    The fact that a website and a leaflet showed the need to pre-pay does not help here. Although they could use clearer terminology in French anyway. But even in UK English the confusion is present. Graham stated: “need to pay at the point of leaving the vehicle”. It took me awhile to understand that he wanted to say “…at the time of leaving…”. And all this in short means PRE-PAY.
    Regardless, the prices should be prominently displayed before one enters the parking. Where they?
    Knowing the area and the French – they were not.
    This is why I myself, in France in particular, pay with the credit card (not debit card) for many things, with a credit card from an honest bank (or country) that has a clear and efficient way of disputing “drive-by” charges like Graham experienced. Guess why American Express is not popular between French merchants. Hint: it is not because De Gaulle kicked NATO out.
    Worrisome is the fact that Graham had prior subscriptions, that I assume suggests that the parking authority had their address (email or home) and could have advised them about any changes to pricing scheme — but of course – welcome to France – how French put up with such customer dis-service is another story. I am sorry for your experience and thank you for heads-up.

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