Luton Airport: Couple return to smashed car after paying Maple Parking

Sam Watkins and Chiara Ferri, both 30, paid £55 for Maple Parking to look after their car (Pictures: SWNS)

A couple returned from a city break to find their car smashed up after paying £55 to a parking company at Luton Airport.

Sam Watkins and Chiara Ferri, both 30, claim they were left to drive their damaged car – with a smashed headlight and bumper – home on October 17.

Maple Parking insisted both of Sam’s headlights were working when the car was returned to him and argued the rest of the damage was cosmetic.

The company ended up agreeing to pay £1,339.20 for the vehicle to be fixed but Sam is still furious at the way he and his girlfriend were allegedly treated.

When the couple, from Farnham, Surrey, arrived back from their trip away in Edinburgh, they say there was no one at the arranged meeting point.

Sam said: ‘When we came back it was really late, and we were hoping to just pick the car up and drive home.

‘We were confused, until I received a call from Maple saying there had been an accident involving our car and another vehicle.’

Sam Watkins and Chiara Ferri.

Sam said the couple were left to drive their damaged car home (Picture: SWNS)

The damage done to Sam Watkins and Chiara Ferri's car.  See SWNS story SWSYcar.  A couple returned from holiday to find over ?1,300 worth of damage had been done to their car - after they left it with an airport parking service.  Sam Watkins and Chiara Ferri parked at Maple Manor Parking at Luton Airport during a city break.  But, when they returned, the front of the vehicle had been badly smashed-up - damage which would cost thousands to repair.  Sam claims that Maple tried desperately to get out of covering the costs, lied to him, and he was left to drive the damaged car home at night.  But the firm claims the car only sustained cosmetic damage, making it safely drivable, and it was Sam and Chiara's decision to travel home.

Maple Parking claimed the damage was only cosmetic (Picture: SWNS)

A driver then appeared with Sam’s Volkswagen Polo, which Sam claims had a damaged headlight.

He continued: ‘When the driver dropped off our car, he had his hood up so we couldn’t see his face properly.

‘He put the keys in my hand quickly, and then jumped into another vehicle and drove off.

‘I ran the office – [who] proceeded to say there was nothing more they could do.

‘That’s when it became clear that we were going to have to drive our smashed-up car back home ourselves, down the motorway, in the middle of the night.’

Maple claimed the car was safe and driveable and it was Sam’s own decision to use it to get home.

Sam contacted the company the next day but claims they failed to take responsibility initially.

He said: ‘I’m relieved now that they’ve finally owned up to their mistake and covered the cost of the damages.

But it shouldn’t have taken this long, and it’s safe to say I won’t be using their services again.

‘The way Maple tried to duck and dive rather than accept responsibility is shocking.’

Maple Parking said: ‘We can confirm that when Mr Watkins collected his vehicle it was safe and driveable, having only sustained cosmetic damage.

This is confirmed by our CCTV and Mr Watkins’ own video. In addition, both headlights were working prior to him collecting his vehicle.

‘Mr Watkins made the decision to drive the vehicle home and was subsequently provided with a complimentary courtesy vehicle (a brand new Rav 4) until his vehicle was returned fully repaired.

‘We have since spoken to Mr. Watkins who confirms that he is happy that the incident has been resolved to his full satisfaction.’

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