A mother of three has been fined £100 after taking her children to have lunch in Chelmsford during Easter.
She drove her children to McDonald's at Chelmsford Westway, before receiving a penalty charge notice the following Monday (May 14).
The 41-year-old from Brentwood, who only identified herself as Melissa, said she didn't see the signs warning that there was a maximum stay of 90 minutes.
She told Essex Live : "I arrived at 12:45pm in the car park and by the time you have the children out of the car and order on the new computer systems, then wait to collect the food and go and sit down, it is not hard to do 90 minutes."
McDonald's in the news
Melissa also spoke about how after bathroom breaks and buying ice creams, as well as allowing the children to play on the tablets in McDonald's, the time mounted up.
She left the car park at 2:34pm, spending a total of one hour and 51 minutes at the restaurant.
Melissa added that the car park has cameras for when you are entering and leaving, meaning the time starts before even finding a space.
The mum said she spent the entire time in the restaurant with the three children and bought food.
The car park is controlled by third-party contractors, Met Parking Limit, who McDonald's say, have the 'responsibility for managing parking'.
Melissa, from Kelvedon Hatch, said she visits the Chelmsford branch as Brentwood no longer has a store.
She said: "They want you to spent more time there so you end up spending £100 on their parking.
"I didn't leave my car there and go somewhere else. I drove there and stayed, I actually when in there with children to get them something to eat and spend money.
"Everybody needs to be aware there are cameras going in and out and that includes parking, getting the children out of the car and walking to the restaurant and back out again."
A spokesperson for McDonald's said: "We have parking restrictions in place at a number of our restaurants, with a time limit to ensure there is adequate parking for all of our customers. We make these clear to our customers with signage in the car park.
“We are aware that this customer has been in touch with our restaurant team who encouraged her to contact the third party contractor who issued the ticket by way of appeal.”
They also explained they work with industry-approved contractors to ensure they are clearly signposted and communicated, and who have responsibility for managing parking and this is the case across the McDonald's estate.