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05 August 2016

Mystery As Drivers Locked Out of Vehicles in County Car Park

Aldi shoppers have been unable to unlock
their vehicles when parking outside the
store in Leominster.
Hacking?  System malfunction?   With the growing number of automated systems in cars, these may become more vulnerable to malfunction or hacking.  This article says,"it has since been suggested that the problem is being caused by aerials on a nearby building but this has not been confirmed."

Mystery as drivers locked out of vehicles in county car park
by Jess Phillips, Senior Reporter, herefordtimes.com, 
4 August 2016

SHOPPERS are facing heavy fines after being locked out of their vehicles in a county car park when their key fobs mysteriously jam.

An unexplained disturbance is interfering with fobs and leaving motorists unable to get into their vehicles in the Aldi car park on Leominster’s Dishley Street – with some now feeling forced to shop or park elsewhere.

Patricia Beard was one of those who was unable to unlock her car outside the supermarket.

“I tried everything including the key and it wouldn’t work. I contacted my husband and said he had better bring my other set as I thought the battery had gone," she said.

“Luckily just as I switched the call off the car suddenly unlocked.

“I drove home and locked it there as easy as anything.”

Over the next six months the problem was intermittent – sometimes it was fine, other times not, added Mrs Beard. But it only ever happened at Aldi.

Mrs Beard, who lives near Eardisland, said mechanics checked the battery in her key fob but found nothing wrong.

But when it kept happening, she took the car in again and they said there must have been a fault somewhere so she paid for two new keys.

“Initially, if we tried to park in different places in the car park it was fine,” she said. “But now I can’t go anywhere – it’s absolutely ridiculous. I just avoid it completely.”

Mrs Beard, who said 4x4 vehicles appear to be primarily affected, wrote to the Hereford Times to describe her strange experience and after her letter was published, she was contacted by two other shoppers who had experienced similar problems.

One of them, she said, was forced to have his car towed away.

It has since been suggested that the problem is being caused by aerials on a nearby building but this has not been confirmed.

Pauline Mayglothling, from Kington, was one customer left facing a £70 fine after she was unable to gain access to her vehicle with a key fob.

“When I tried the key itself, all the alarms went off as it didn’t like that either,” she said.

Believing the battery was responsible she walked with her shopping bags to a garage.

But the new battery did not fix the problem and, having parked up just after 2pm, the doors finally unlocked just before 6pm while waiting for the RAC.

She successfully appealed the fine after explaining what had happened.

Mrs Beard, who now shops at Hereford’s Aldi, added: “I have mentioned it to the Aldi staff and they just weren’t really interested, I think they thought I was mad.

"Both other people have mentioned it to staff but there’s never been any action.”

Aldi said it had not been made aware of the incidents.

“The store has confirmed that they have not any incidents of this reported to them," it said in a statement.

“However, they have advised that if customers incur a charge due to a car issue they can explain the situation, provide proof from a breakdown company of a callout – or a locksmith – to appeal it.”


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