A BUILDERS’ merchants has vowed to boycott a hotel after staff were each fined £100 for parking there.

Four out of 12 staff members who attended Travis Perkins’ meal at the Marks Tey Hotel were sent letters telling them they owed money.

Colchester branch hire manager Warren Bibbey said: “We arrived at 7.06pm and left at 10.15pm. We had a receipt for the meal and went our separate ways.

“We walked in here in the first week of January and we had letters - but some of us didn’t have any, strangely enough.”

The firm is the latest in a line of hotel customers to complain the fines are unfair because signs in the car park are unclear and hotel staff had not notified them they needed to pay either.

Customers are supposed to register their vehicle number plate with reception to qualify for free parking.

The hotel’s management has blamed an outside parking company it uses for the heavy-handed approach.

Mr Bibbey said staff who received letters were told they needed to fork out £100 each for the parking contravention.

He added: “When we tried to call the parking company, they didn’t answer and finally we got a call back two weeks later, after we’d already appealed.

“None of us have paid up. We spoke with the hotel who said it was out of their control and they just employed the parking company and they couldn’t reverse the charge. We appealed to the company and were told we had been unsuccessful.”

Mr Bibbey, whose branch is based in Hawkins Road, Colchester, added: “We used the Marks Tey Hotel quite a lot last year. We will not be using the hotel until this is resolved.

“Our branch employs over 20 members of staff and we have branches in Nayland, Halstead, Clacton, Witham, Braintree and Sudbury, so consequences business-wise for the hotel could prove to be a substantial loss.”

The letters said had recipients paid up within 14 days, the fines would have been cut to £60 - but Mr Bibbey said by the time letters arrived, they only had a day’s notice to do so.

The hotel has been hit with numerous complaints about customers getting £100 fines.

The Gazette reported on Tuesday how they included Carol Wiltshire, of Copford, who was ticketed after parking at the hotel for four hours for a Christmas celebration hosted by her work.

Veronica Potter, of St John’s, Colchester, has also come forward to say she was fined £100 in December for after attending a lunch. She appealed to the parking company and was told it failed but was then sent a final reminder to pay up, threatening legal action otherwise.

Mrs Potter added: “I have put in an appeal with the parking ombudsmen.”

Comments left on the Trip Advisor website showed others had fallen foul of the parking restrictions and customers complained the parking policy was not made clear by the hotel either.

The Gazette tried to contact the management company to ask about its policy and why some appeals had been refused. The hotel declined to comment further, previously stating it was aware of the issues.

“Creative (Contracts) Car Park Ltd requires patrons to liaise directly with them on fines and appeals, however we have been offering support and assistance where possible.

“We would like to assure our guests that we are working to resolve the issues with the parties involved.”