A parking website has apologised after scammers exploited it by listing spaces on driveways which they do not own.
Just Park is one of several websites which allow people to make money by advertising parking spaces for hire on their own land.
But some homeowners have been surprised to discover their driveways have been listed without their permission.
Just Park says it has stringent checks in place to prevent fraud and cases are “extremely rare”.
Simon Gallagher started getting complaints from tenants at the flat he owns at Bexleyheath in Greater London.
Strangers were leaving cars in their dedicated parking bays, leaving them with nowhere to park.
“This was going on for about a month or so”, says Simon, “until one day somebody had left a note in the window of one of the cars that was parked there with a booking reference for Just Park”.
“I looked it up on the website and to my surprise, found a photograph of the flat advertised out for rent”.
Someone was charging £8 a day for the use of his tenants’ parking spaces.
To prevent them from being used by anyone else, he has now had bollards installed.
In Edinburgh, Barbara Oliver was alerted by a neighbour to a similar problem outside her property.
She was away on holiday when mystery vehicles began parking right in front of her garage door.
“It appeared that these people had used Just Park and had information to say that they could park there, which, as the property’s owner, I knew was not true”, Barbara says.
Just Park removed the unauthorised adverts after Barbara Oliver and Simon Gallagher complained.
Speaking on Radio 4’s You & Yours programme, the company’s founder and chief executive officer, Anthony Eskinazi, said “I’d like to apologise to Mrs Oliver and Mr Gallagher for their experiences.
‘We do have stringent checks in place to prevent spaces from being listed fraudulently. On rare occasions where they are added, we immediately remove them once notified and ensure that our community is not adversely affected”.
Just Park says its policies and procedures have successfully reduced instances of fraud to “less than two listings per month, which represents less than one out of every 1000 new listings”.
It says that new space owners cannot withdraw funds for at least 48 hours after the first booking.
The company was launched in 2006, matching drivers with spare parking spaces outside people’s homes through its website and app.
It says over 45,000 people have earned a combined total of more than £50m by listing spare parking spaces on its platform.