How safe is your car when you leave it in the hands of an airport meet-and-greet parking company? You’d hope that your pride and joy is driven safely while you’re away. But that’s not always what we found…
One in ten Which? members have used an airport meet-and-greet service in the last two years and most haven’t had a problem. But nearly one in five who used this kind of parking service has had a problem.
So we tested the services provided by three companies who had received mixed reviews online. We used GPS trackers to see where our cars were parked and how fast they were driven. And we visited the car parks to see for ourselves to see how securely they were stored.
Meet-and-greet undercover investigation
At Stansted airport, shortly after leaving our car in the hands of a Meteor Meet and Greet driver, our car was driven at 98mph on its way to their car park. At Heathrow, the iPark Airport Parking driver hit 88 mph while returning our car to our researcher at the terminal. We left our car with RS09 at Gatwick – it was parked next to what appeared to be a pile of old car parts in a car park very different to the promotional image on its website.
Meteor Meet and Greet has suspended one of its drivers as a result of our investigation and told us: ‘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.’
RS09 told us: ‘We believe the service was as advertised and your car was parked safely and securely.’ We contacted iPark and asked it to comment on our findings. It hadn’t responded by the time we went to press.
Claims vs reality of meet-and-greet companies
Our investigation shows that for the three companies we looked at, the claims made on their websites didn’t match the reality. Cars were either driven at speed or parked in areas that didn’t match the car park shown online.
Meet-and-greet companies need to be honest about where our cars are parked and they need to drive them responsibly. Drivers shouldn’t think they can break the law by speeding, and descriptions of car parks need to match the reality.
Have you been taken for a ride by a meet-and-greet parking company?