20p MIGHT not be a large sum of money, but now motorists have disputed a service fee that charges drivers paying electronically for parking.

MiPermit is a parking ticket scheme used in Wiltshire Council car parks which lets drivers pay to park using an app or a card. However, drivers have now complained that a 20p processing fee is being applied to every ticket, despite rules introduced in January 2018 by Central Government banning surcharges for credit or debit card transactions.

When the card charge ban was introduced, economic secretary to the treasury, John Glen said:“It’s completely unfair for someone to be hit by a hidden fee just before they are about to make a purchase, so by scrapping these rip-off charges we are helping to give power back to the consumer.

“As we build a fairer society, this added transparency ensures buyers can make informed choices about how they spend their hard-earned money.”

Cllr Gavin Grant said it was not right to pass the charge on to motorists. He said: “It is not right to penalise residents of Wiltshire for doing what the council want them to do. The council is encouraging people to use the app and pay by card because it means less people need to empty the machines, so it is wrong to penalise them for not using cash. Wiltshire Council has a duty to make sure the contractors they use is following its obligations correctly."

“I have sympathy with these problems.”

One man, who did not want to be named, works in Devizes and has to pay an extra £1 a week to park in the Wiltshire Council run site. He said: “Any hidden charges should have been abolished when these rules came in. I have family who run a small business who had to stop charging for transactions under £5 and now they take on that cost. One day I stayed in a short stay then moved to a long stay and so had to pay 40p in a day extra for parking, It isn’t much money but it all adds up.

“This drives people to pay on residential streets too, some of my colleagues do that instead of paying for parking. This must annoy the residents as much as it does the drivers.

“I also know of one person who paid for a permit but couldn’t use the car park because it was full.”

Paul Moorby, cheif executive of Chipside which operate the MiPermit system, defended the 20p service charge and said said: “The 20p is a convenience fee for using the digital services associated with MiPermit, including a popular telephone help line that is particularly valued by Wiltshire residents. Anyone parking has the opportunity to use cash instead, should they prefer to do so.”

Dell Gill visited Trowbridge and had problems with the system. She said: “Trowbridge above Next is a joke, it doesn’t take notes, I didn’t have phone battery, I had to leave my car and go ask for change in shops no shops can give change. I’m not from the area so I assumed you could just pay with a note or card. Dated and old fashioned.”