Monday, 23 June 2014

Valet driver suspended after clocking up 98MPH in Mercedes that was dropped off at airport in undercover Which? probe . . .

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Valet driver suspended after clocking up 98MPH in Mercedes that was dropped off at airport in undercover Which? probe

  • Undercover probe found of the three top end cars entrusted to private meet-and-greet services, two sped off while third was left in industrial estate
  • Investigation came after nearly one in five consumers industry watchdog Which? spoke to said they had encountered problems with airport services
  • Meteor Meet and Greet at Stansted Airport suspended one of its employees after Essex police were informed of the watchdog's findings

Cited at:
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2664744/Valet-driver-suspended-clocking-98MPH-Mercedes-dropped-airport-undercover-Which-probe.html?ITO%3D1490%26ns_mchannel%3Drss%26ns_campaign%3D1490

A valet driver was clocked going 98mph in a Mercedes SLK minutes after it was dropped off at an airport, and another car hit 88mph in a 50mph zone, according to a damning Which? report into parking services.

The watchdog fitted GPS and speed monitors to luxury cars before leaving them at airports.

Meteor Meet and Greet at Stansted, Essex, has suspended one of its drivers as a result of the SLK probe. And iPark Airport Parking at Heathrow, where a Porsche Boxster was driven at 88mph on an A-road, said: 'Any negligence in following the company rules will lead to serious consequences.'

With a professional chauffeur collecting your car direct from the terminal, meet-and-greet services seem to offer the perfect solution to the nightmare of airport parking.

But if car owners knew their pride and joy was then going to be driven at speeds of up to 100mph or dumped in the corner of an industrial estate rather than a secure compound, would they be quite so willing to hand over their keys?

The investigation by consumer watchdog Which? has found that not all meet-and-greet services live up to the promise of 24-hour security and professional drivers when entrusted with a £40,000 car.

Of the three top-end cars Which? handed to private meet-and-greet services, one sped off from the terminal at nearly twice the 50mph speed limit, a second clocked 88mph and the third was left on an industrial estate.

Nearly one in five of the consumers Which? interviewed who had used meet-and-greet said they had encountered problems, mostly involving cars returned late.

In response to the concerns, Which? fitted GPS trackers and speed monitors to three luxury cars before leaving them in the care of separate private companies at UK airports for six days.


The investigation came about after nearly one in five consumers industry watchdog Which? spoke to said they had encountered problems with meet-and-greet services


Meteor Meet and Greet at Stansted Airport, pictured, suspended one of its drivers after the investigation

Meteor Meet and Greet at Stansted Airport, Essex, claims to have ‘built our reputation on giving travellers peace of mind, confident that they’ve handed over their keys beside the terminal to our trained uniformed drivers’.

But within minutes of being handed the keys to a swish Mercedes SLK, the Meteor chauffeur made the most of his brief drive in the car by accelerating up to 98mph on Terminal Road South - where the speed limit is 50mph.

After Essex police were informed of the findings, Meteor suspended one of its drivers as a result of the investigation.

It said: ‘The security of our customers’ vehicles is our main priority, and our drivers must abide by strict codes of conduct. We take any allegations of misconduct very seriously.’


A driver from iPark Airport Parking at Heathrow was clocked doing 88mph in the A30 - the company said it had requested further details from Which? magazine about the claim and were awaiting the response


iPark Airport Parking at Heathrow was entrusted with a pricey Porsche Boxster, which the trackers show stayed on site for the full six days and was returned undamaged. But the chauffer who returned the car to Terminal 5 was clocked driving at 88mph on the A30, where the speed limit was also 50mph.

iPark said: ‘We recruit the drivers having the clean UK driving license without any convictions. Also, during the training we also mention that they need to drive the customer’s vehicle responsibly and within the legal limits. 


‘Any negligence in following the company rules will lead to serious consequences.

‘We are still corresponding with Which? magazine for further details of the claim and awaiting the response.’

At Gatwick, RS09 promises a ‘safe and secure storage area’, where ‘you can be sure that your pride and joy is in safe hands’.

But Which? noted that the scruffy area where its £37,000 Mercedes E250 was parked had been left unlocked and the security barrier raised. The vehicle was left on an industrial estate with what appeared to be a pile of car parts, a caravan and some tyres.

RS09 offered to remove the promotional car park image from its website – as Which? felt it was misleading – but insisted barriers were only open during business hours and the yard was equipped with floodlights and CCTV.

It added: ‘We believe the service was as advertised and your car was parked safely and securely.’ 

Matt Stevens, senior researcher at Which? Travel said: ‘Meet-and-greet companies need to be honest about where our cars are parked and they need to drive them responsibly. Drivers should not think they can break the law by speeding, and descriptions of car parks need to match the reality.’


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