On a cold December day last year, Marc D. drove his father's car into the Lidl parking lot on Sieker Landstrasse in the Wandsbek district of Hamburg. After putting away his purchases, the 54-year-old man tried to start the car, but it no longer made any sound. Then Marc called the assistants in case of ADAC breakdown.

A breakdown in the Lidl car park becomes a cost trap

“They said it might take a while. We should wait up to two hours,” Marc tells Mopo. While he waited, the store closed at 9 pm. Helpful employees left the parking lot barrier open.

“After about an hour the ADAC came and solved the problem in a short time and I was able to leave the shipyard,” says Marc. The car's battery was dead.

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At the beginning of January, his father suddenly received a letter: he had to pay 35 euros for exceeding the maximum parking time of 90 minutes in a Lidl car park. The letter came from “Parkedpot”, a parking space manager.

Marc contacted Lidl and explained the situation. “If a vehicle cannot be moved due to a breakdown, it is unlikely to be parked,” he says. Meanwhile, his father refused to pay and referred his son's communication with Lidl to “Parkdepot”.

Lidl customer defends himself against commissions

To “clarify the issue more quickly,” the supermarket group requested a copy of the ticket from the parking space manager and proof of purchase. “I don't have a ticket because everything is controlled by video and I no longer have the receipt after so long,” says Marc, who wrote to Lidl again.

Meanwhile, his father received mail from “Parkdepot” again. Meanwhile, he had to pay 40 euros, plus five euros in reminder costs.

Mopo asked Lidl and Parkdepot why the family should pay additional parking fees due to the breakdown. Parkdepot refers to Lidl. As a “services partner,” the company is “not permitted” to comment on the matter.

ADAC invoice sent a long time ago

Lidl says: In case of a longer stay or “purchases, the contractual penalty can be verified by presenting the Lidl receipt and, if necessary, additional evidence such as confirmation of the use of ADAC, either to the parking space manager or to Lidl. Customer Service.”

However, he had already submitted the invoice for the ADAC service. It is also available for Mopo. This shows that the roadside assistance service was on site after 9:00 p.m.

According to the parking lot, Marc parked at 7:08 p.m. and left the parking lot at 9:35 p.m. So the times coincide with his story.

Lidl claims that neither Parkdepot nor Lidl customer service have all the information and evidence necessary to “review the case and cancel the contractual penalty.” Marc says he would now take legal action against the decision if necessary. But now he prefers to make his purchases at the competition.

By Ann-Christin Busch