The ‘no change given’ rule at Chichester car park meters saw the council earn an extra £17,000 last year.
It has been revealed through a freedom of information request that in 2016, 835,615 tickets were issued from 40 machines across the district.
However, a colossal £17,358.50 was taken in ‘misappropriated funds’, due to the car park meters not being able to issue change.
Chichester District Council (CDC), which owns the parking meters, said it understands it is ‘frustrating’ the machines do not give change, however, upcoming moves such as contactless card payments will reduce overpayments in the future.
Theresa Bulic, 53, of West Street, Selsey, who submitted the request for information, said: “After being stung a couple of times now when pressing the green ticket button for an hour’s parking too early, and having only a half hour ticket dispensed and the rest of my cash swallowed up, I pondered on how much revenue the council receives by the no-change policy.
“The table they sent me showed shocking results – more than £17,000 in misappropriated funds in just one year.
“This is outrageous. If I went into a shop and they refused to give me change, I would tell them where to place their goods and flounce out.”
The data shows in 2015-16, CDC earned £4.4m from car parking fees, meaning overpayments generated an additional 0.4 per cent revenue.
A CDC spokesperson said the ‘no change’ meters have been in the car parks for ‘in excess of ten years’.
This means the council could have earned £170,000 in the past ten years from the ‘no change’ meters, assuming £17,000 being taken per year.
“Car parking in Chichester is not a free market,” continued Theresa. “We can’t find another car park operated by an independent company because they are all owned by the council, who have machines that rob you of your change.”
When asked if she thought contactless machines would help the situation, Theresa said: “A lot of older people won’t have that form of paying or won’t understand it.
“Sometimes keeping things simpler is better, we just need machines that give change.”
A spokesperson from Chichester District Council said: “We understand how frustrating it can be when car parking machines do not give change.
“This has been a problem for councils across the country because historically there have been limited machines on the market that are able to offer this function.
“This is why we have been working hard to replace the old machines with ones that offer contactless and card payments – as well as the option to pay by phone.”
The spokesperson added that Chichester District Council is ‘one of the first councils in the country’ to offer contactless payments in its car parks.
“By the end of March, all car parking machines in the city’s car parks, except Westgate and Avenue de Chartres, will take contactless and card payments,” they continued.
“Due to these changes, it is very unlikely that any overpayments will be made in the future.”