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Warning: Dartmouth Arms parking
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Posts: 9
Joined: Oct 2012
Post: #1
07-07-2013 02:18 PM

Just a warning, as I'd like to avoid others going through the same experience as me.

I needed a venue for a lunch where my parents would meet my fiance's parents. My future mother-in-law is disabled and can't walk very far, so it was vital to find somewhere with parking.

I chose the Dartmouth Arms; whose website prominently states that they have free parking. My in-laws duly parked in the car park. We read the sign, which states that the parking is free for "registered" customers of the pub. The sign doesn't say how one becomes "registered". I had made a booking - I assumed this would serve to "register" us. Nowhere in the pub or outside is there any sign that explains how someone "registers" for the parking.

I spent nearly £200 on a meal for 6 people. As an aside - the food wasn't nearly as good as we've had previously - has the chef changed?

A couple of weeks later, my in-laws received a parking ticket for £150. My fiance and I called and visited the Dartmouth Arms a number of times over the next few weeks in an attempt to get it sorted out. In their defence, the ticket has now been cancelled (though I'm not sure if this is a result of the pub's actions or my in-laws appealing). However, when I pointed out that the pub should have a sign explaining that the car registration must be given to the bar staff in advance in order to "register", the manager refused point blank to consider this. I do wonder (though I stress I have no concrete evidence for this) if the pub take a cut of the fines, and therefore have an incentive to not be explicit about this.

Anyway, I just thought I would set out my experience, with the intention that others are not caught out!

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Posts: 91
Joined: Jun 2013
Post: #2
07-07-2013 10:55 PM

Interesting but having visited the Dartmouth Arms recently I am not sure I agree. The sign in the car park is a bit vague but it does say it is for registered users only, so it does make you ask the question 'how do I register'. The obvious thing to do to find out how to register is to ask when you check in to the restaurant or at least to ask your waiter. There is also a sign in the restaurant at the area where you check in (and where they do the registration process). So I don't think they are trying to dupe anyone. Maybe the waiter could ask if you have parked in the car park when they first sit you down.

I agree incidentally that the food has slightly gone down hill but still one our better restaurants.

Last time I was there I was very annoyed by a large group of people who seemed oblivious to everyone else eating and stood up, stood between tables, wandered about hugging and kissing and almost sitting in other diners meals. I eventually complained and they more or less sat down.

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Posts: 5
Joined: May 2008
Post: #3
09-07-2013 01:31 PM

There have been signs in The Dartmouth Arms for a while relating to the car park policy, on the door of the gents and somewhere else within the bar. Maybe it was on the back of JulietP's experience?

It sounds like their system has changed, the last time I parked there was a couple of years ago, the bar staff provided a free ticket to display at the time.

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Posts: 11
Joined: Nov 2011
Post: #4
09-07-2013 07:20 PM

I have parked there every time I have visited. First I figured out how to register then I registered. And... Wait for it... Get this... I have used both the old and the new system successfully without prompting and on my own initiative.

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Posts: 145
Joined: Oct 2006
Post: #5
10-07-2013 03:59 PM

@ ciaranm.
She was just giving a warning so those with less initiative skills than you (and you clearly have very many) wouldn't get caught out. Why the antagonsim? Would you reply like that to her face?

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Posts: 11
Joined: Nov 2011
Post: #6
10-07-2013 04:24 PM

In this instance yes.

The Dartmouth Arms went out of their way to resolve a problem that wasn't of their making in order to try and pacify a customer who had done something wrong. Something that most people using the facility don't do because they take the time to read a number of very clear signs.

In my book that shows remarkable customer service on the part of The Dartmouth Arms. They took the time and energy to negotiate with a third party on behalf of their customer in order to get the fine reversed - something neither they nor the parking company were under any obligation to do.

Rather than reward that JulietP decided to post a 'warning' on a public forum, criticised the food and implied that The Dartmouth Arms were complicit in some sort of scam whereby it was in their interest to dupe customers as they took a cut of the fines.

JulietP's party was in the wrong at every stage here and The Dartmouth Arms bent over backwards to help. For their efforts they got brickbats rather than plaudits. I would suggest a gracious thank you and an acknowledgement of their hard work would be more appropriate than a 'warning' most people would never need as they can both read and understand parking notices in a car park.

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Posts: 145
Joined: Oct 2006
Post: #7
10-07-2013 04:45 PM

Well the post actually states they did the reverse of going out of their way to help.

I interpreted it as a reasonable warning rather than the (rather more duplicitous) 'warning' suggested by your inverted commas and she's entitled to criticise the food and suggest reasons they didn't want to clearly advertise the parking process given they would not provide any to her.

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Posts: 11
Joined: Nov 2011
Post: #8
10-07-2013 05:04 PM

My point is that the parking process is clearly advertised by signs both in the pub and in the car park. Short of stickers and diagrams I'm not sure what else you want.

[Personal insults removed. They're not necessary to make a point. -admin]

The car park doesn't belong to The Dartmouth Arms anyway, it's shared with the flats behind, so they have little say over how it is managed in the first place and do their best to help their customers work within the system.

This warning thread may just as well be titled Warning: Don't forget to read parking regulations when parking in a car park.

Thanks for that.

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Posts: 9
Joined: Oct 2012
Post: #9
12-07-2013 09:01 AM

I didn't say I had any problem with the way the staff acted: I am assuming, ciaranm, from your detailed knowledge of the specific circumstances that you are a member of Dartmouth Arms staff or posting on their behalf.

As I said originally, the signs outside are not clear: they merely say that parking is free for registered customers, they do not say what one has to do to become registered. All I asked for was a reasonably prominent sign in the pub saying something along the lines of: "Have you parked in the car park? Speak to bar staff to register your car so the parking is free." Had such a sign existed, we would not have been caught out. And it was only your point blank refusal to put one up that led me to explain it on here so others knew what they had to do

I didn't have the pleasure of seeing the "personal insults" before they were removed by admin, but thanks, that's put the final nail in the coffin of any chance of us darkening your door again.

And finally, I am entitled to have an opinion on the food. My partner and I used to go to the Dartmouth Arms as a special treat: the food was incredible, brilliant ingredients, innovative flavour combinations and cooked to perfection. It no longer seems quite as brilliant as it used to be. It's perfectly fine, but not amazing. Which is, like this whole unfortunate incident, a shame.

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Dartmouth Arms

Posts: 1
Joined: Jul 2013
Post: #10
19-07-2013 11:31 AM

I would like to make it clear that forum user ‘ciaranm’ is not connected to The Dartmouth Arms in any way, is not known to us and does not speak on our behalf nor does he or she claim to. We own but do not manage our car park and in no way profit from any tickets issued; parking is free for our customers, but we require them to register at the bar so we may identify them.

Being so close and convenient for the station in an area rather short of parking we are suffering an increasing amount of inconsiderate car park abuse seriously inconveniencing us, our customers and other paying users. We have no choice but to manage the space quite strictly and employ a professional management company to do the job for us. They have installed clear signage at the entrance and around the car park and we have signs in the pub and have done for some time. In fact we have had various forms of management in place for the last nine years and our customers are used to this. Registration is a simple operation, but for those that don’t see the signage and incur a charge there is an appeal system and I have and will continue to support our genuine customers through it.

We are very proud of our business and our offer reflects what our customers have told us they want. Please remember that anyone who has a problem with us or what we do should write to the pub or directly to me and the matter will be dealt with immediately. We constantly strive to improve ourselves and all feedback is vital to this process.

Michael Richards
The Dartmouth Arms

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Posts: 212
Joined: Jul 2012
Post: #11
19-07-2013 12:25 PM

Seems like a good explanation to me. A lot of people want to park near the station, no doubt about that.

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Posts: 24
Joined: Feb 2010
Post: #12
19-07-2013 01:54 PM

I wanted to say that I used the car park a number of months ago (I normally walk or get the train) and there were signs all over the place, including near the toilets. I asked a member of staff what I needed to do and I just needed to provide my registration number - very easy.

It was fairly obvious that the car park was monitored so it is always safer to ask a member of staff if there is a procedure, particularly if it is a new venue to you.

It is nice to see a personal reply from the Dartmouth Arms. We need to support our local businesses, if there is something that they can improve tell them directly do not tell the internet. It is rare that people post about good experiences and therefore one person's bad experience can really affect a business.

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Posts: 89
Joined: Oct 2007
Post: #13
19-07-2013 08:28 PM

There are 2 free car parks in FH that I know of. At the other one, you have to type in your reg. no (not that I have ever succeeded), display the ticket and you get 2 hours free parking. The Dartmouth Arms sounds like it is offering more of a butler service compared to self-service at Sainsburys.

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Posts: 11
Joined: Nov 2011
Post: #14
19-07-2013 08:39 PM

Yup, just to clarify, not associated with the Dartmouth Arms in anyway. I'm a local person who values the service they offer and would rather they weren't accused of an underhand car parking scam on a public forum.

As has been said by others, the car park is not confusing to use, there are A3 signs everywhere and provided you read them you'll be fine.

If, on the other hand you chose not too, the world is not against you, you've just learned a valuable lesson.

I'll take the free pint though...

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Posts: 16
Joined: Jun 2011
Post: #15
31-07-2013 12:45 PM

Nicely put Vibes, I agree! Cool

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Darcey rose

Posts: 1
Joined: Feb 2013
Post: #16
11-08-2013 10:20 PM

I think the thing with the Dartmouth Arms as opposed to sainsburys is that julietP's relatives are disabled and may not be able to get from sainsburys to the Dartmouth Arms, which is why I have also used DA's car park when taking my parents there. Have to say I did find the signage perfectly clear but then I am very nervous of scary signs about potential clamping/fines etc after forgetting to get my ticket in sainsburys and getting a ticket for 10 mins worth of parking (totally my own silly fault!!)

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Posts: 12
Joined: Nov 2010
Post: #17
01-09-2013 06:54 PM

We visited the Dartmouth this weekend. It was the first time in several years that we used the Car Park as we normally walk and so paid attention to the signage. In the event it was wholly unnecessary as the first thing the staff did when we walked through the door was check if we needed to register for parking and then show us how to do it (you type your reg into a screen - one that actually works unlike the two free car parks where it is best efforts). Obviously very different to JulietP's experience in which case great to see how feedback is taken and acted on. BTW, very enjoyable meal and I am not connected to the Dartmouth - just a long term happy consumer of their offerings!

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