I've just been watching an item on Watchdog regarding fines (if fine is a correct term) for parking on private property. As is typical with this programme, the item was superficially presented and poorly researched, raising more questions than it answered.
Briefly, it featured several people who'd apparently been charged extortionate amounts for parking on what was (presumably) private land. The parking company featured operated by taking a photo of the victim's car and including it with an official-looking demand for payment of hundreds (sometimes thousands) of pounds.
The accusations were that the company worded their demands in such a way that they could be assumed to be working on behalf of local councils, failed to post easily visible warning notices at the locations concerned, didn't fix notices to the vehicles (so the offenders repeatedly parked in the same place before the demands started to arrive), and had been able to obtain the drivers' details by applying to the DVLA.
Although these issues, especially the data protection ones, were genuine enough, the programme failed to address a more basic point: how could the company enforce the fines or charges? If the drivers refused to pay, could the so-called debt be pursued by legal means? And could merely entering premises (one owner never even left their vehicle) be construed as acceptance of the extortionate charges for parking there?
Mentioned in my column in The Telegraph on Saturday. 4 days before Watchdog (and filed about 6 weeks ago). What gets me is why public money has to be spent on another mammoth consultation that goes nowhere when the facts are obvious. Dr Ladyman comes over as a really nice guy. But I'd like to see him actually do something. That would make him a really popular nice guy.
Missed the programme unfortunately. Coincidently I got a parking charge notice from NCP who operate the car park at a hospital. I parked on the pavement area since there were no bays available. I did not see any parking meters. I think it was a staff area but was in a hurry. The notice tells me I must pay within 14 days for the discount price of £20. £30 after this. If I do not pay they "may contact DVLA. My question is will DVLA divulge my details and what will they do about it, take out a civil action?
This was a key point - DVLA are handing out keeper details to loads of organisations with a "need" - eg. car clampers, car park orgs...etc. All they do is sign up to a voluntary code that DVLA cannot enforce!
Even the Data Protection Registrars have an issue with this!