Attempted PCN Fraud - Fullchat

A friend has contacted me regarding a PCN received through the post alleging a 20 min unpaid stay in a Travelodge car park.

The entrance and exit images (taken in good daylight) have been zoomed in and are dire to the extent you can't relate the position of the vehicle to the car park entrance/public highway or even establish the make model of the vehicle . The registrations though have been highlighted and magnified beautifully. The images are black and white.

Normally there are two fairly clear pictures taken from a distance showing the vehicle beyond doubt entering and exiting a facility.

The vehicle was parked in the street at the time. It moved off from the kerb, swung across the road and reversed into the mouth of the car park entrance before driving off.

Once you know this you can see elements of the manouvre in the two images. The exit image is the rear of the car turning across the road prior to reversing and the entry image is the car having reversed into the mouth of the entrance. (public pavement).

The saving grace are the number plates. The plates have significantly different mounting screw positions so the front and rear of the vehicle can be determined by the plates alone. The image is so poor that otherwise with any certainty you cannot tell.

Also what they purport to be the entry image has had its time stamp changed backwards to make it appear that was the earlier time the vehicle entered the car park, as it would.

Its a national thieving parking company that has big name car parks on its client list. Someone has spent some time hunting a potential victim, manipulating the images to fit their agenda and create a fraudulent PCN. There must have been human intervention who could have seen what had happened and decide to give it a go.

Issue is you are obliged to produce your own defence. Guilty until you prove your innocence. And I don't trust them not to push it along their administrative bullying process hoping you'll throw the towel in.

This has again demonstrated how dishonest private parking enforcement can be.

Attempted PCN Fraud - focussed

It sounds like attempted fraud, try to get your friend to make a written complaint to the police, registered post signed for etc, and request a crime number.

Attempted PCN Fraud - daveyjp

This has been going on for a long time, doctoring photos etc. There has never been a criminal prosecution as its always a 'rogue' individual who has now been sacked or retrained etc etc.

The problem is the registered keeper is now on a list to be chased and potentially sued.

They need to research, research and research so they appeal correctly and win early, otherwise it could end up in Court.

They should also file a formal complaint with Travelodge about the potentially fraudulent behaviour of their contractor and demanding they get the invoice cancelled.

Attempted PCN Fraud - gordonbennet

Surely one of your old colleagues would love to go to town on this lot for fraud...i assume there's at least one left there who hasn't become so disillusioned at either the cps or judges letting bad guys off so regularly with barely a telling off they've given up completely.

I had slightly different case in my previous work, someone misread private house cctv and it caused a long winded and slightly amusing in hindsight saga.

As you may recall i drove car transporters for many years, one day my boss received a call from Leics constabulary requiring info about me, because i'd apparently demolished someone's gate reversing in and driven off, leaving part of my tail lift !!! behind as evidence, that would be a heck of private drive gate.

The officer after me would not believe my boss who explained at length that out of some 350 vehicle strong transporter fleet not one had a tail lit, and when we looked on the map where the damage occured it was on small exclusive estate i couldn't possibly have accessed with a vehicle the size of mine anyway, and i was nowhere near the area at the time, but still the officer would not have it.

Eventually after contacting Leics myself i managed to speak to someone in the relevant dept who whilst on the phone looked up the pics from the case, sure enough she could see the reg was wrong immediately as well as the small rigid in the pic hardly fitted the reality of an 11 car carrier, thankfully that put an end to it, even she found it funny.

We also received a PCN for parking in an Asda car park too long, some 75 miles away too, the pic showed a different car to ours complete with different reg to boot, i let that one run for some time though in order to waste their time and money chasing a lost cause.

So, whilst it might take some time i have no doubt once your friend speaks to someone sensible this can be sorted, i didn't let the Asda case get as far as court, magistrate might have been annoyed with me for not contacting the parking mob befor it ever wasted the court time.

Attempted PCN Fraud - focussed

It wouldn't take the talents of Sherlock Holmes to actually find the originator of this, surely the PCN's sent out can be traced to the employee who originated it and sent it out?

Or is that not allowed because that information is secret as it's covered by the criminal's charter, the Data Protection Act?

Attempted PCN Fraud - Terry W

There may be a very good argument for an amendment to the law.

Any PCN lroved to have been issued wrongly should trigger a compensation payment from the original issuer to the individual/company charged equal to double the original fine.

It would make companies far more careful about ensuring that PCNs raised were correct!

Attempted PCN Fraud - Zippy123

There may be a very good argument for an amendment to the law.

Any PCN lroved to have been issued wrongly should trigger a compensation payment from the original issuer to the individual/company charged equal to double the original fine.

It would make companies far more careful about ensuring that PCNs raised were correct!

I reckon that if it went to court you could claim costs back. That would be brilliant, but as I think that Bromptonaut of this parish has pointed out that small claims judges "are throwing the defences out lickety split"

So even if you are not guilty, you may not get treated fairly in court.

Edited by Zippy123 on 31/08/2020 at 21:34

Attempted PCN Fraud - daveyjp

Bromptonaut needed to add the words 'poor and badly presented' before 'defences'.

Attempted PCN Fraud - Bromptonaut

Bromptonaut needed to add the words 'poor and badly presented' before 'defences'.

I think I probably added or clarified to that extent. The Beavis case clarified the legal basis for Parking Charge Notices and, as a result, ignoring the charge or running various defences that might once have worked won't fly. If the signage is clear etc then you're probably liable.

In this case it looks very much as though somebody in the parking company is 'freelancing' for commission or to retain their job. I think it's pretty well inconceivable that a large company would condone fiddling of that type.

In first instance let the parking company and the hotel company too know exactly what has happened and why you think it's fraud. Could involve Police now and certainly make clear you will do so if they persist.

Keep us posted.

Attempted PCN Fraud - concrete

Bromptonaut needed to add the words 'poor and badly presented' before 'defences'.

I agree with Bromptonaut. Judges have a large case load and will not waste time and effort on a poorly presented case from either side. I have always found that brevity is the watchword. Make solid brief bullet points and only expand where necessary. If you write up your case, read it through and edit it a few times it should be clear, concise and as brief as possible. Then the judge will definitely be able to weigh the balance correctly. Maybe a pain having to defend yourself but reasonable costs can be claimed and are often awarded.

In this particular case I would document all the evidence you have, write a summary of it, copy this to Travelodge and Parking Sharks R Us and make clear you will defend this to the end and also report it to the police as a fraud if they persist. If they do persist then you will have to mount a defence at a tribunal first then possibly court. I can't really see it going that far TBH. But you must respond and rebut their assertions. It should only take a hour or so to put this together, so crack on and good luck. Please try and let us know what transpires.

Cheers Concrete

Attempted PCN Fraud - ExA35Owner

There's good advice to be had on pepipoo - worth a read before going into action. There just may be a chance of a claim for compensation under data protection laws if the sharks don't back down - so research thoroughly.

Attempted PCN Fraud - Fullchat

Will post update.

The 'Appeal' (I hate to use that word in this case because Its not an appeal against a misdameanour as such but hey ho) has been constructed in full and the reduced to the goals and free kicks.

That kind of structured bulleted report is my bread and butter. I think that's why I was asked for some help. :S

Attempted PCN Fraud - UPDATE - Fullchat

My friend has received a letter from SMART PARKING.

We note the comments made on behalf of the driver stating the reasons which led to the contravention however we cannot rescind the PCN on that basis”

They go on to explain at length how the ANPR and ticket system operates and how it is fit for purpose by recording entry and exit of vehicles. Blah blah.

So they wont rescind with clear and unambiguous proof that they are making a fraudulent claim? Did they actually consider the evidence I have put to them? Probably not. Standard administrative letter - Muppets might pay up for a quiet life.

Very graciously they have extended the discount period until 23/10.

They state that the appeal process with them has concluded and now the only avenue is with POPLA.

They really have no scrupples. Law unto themselves. Shisters.

POPLA and more work it is then :/

Edited by Fullchat on 14/09/2020 at 00:40

Attempted PCN Fraud - UPDATE - Zippy123

Police as well, if they will have any interest?

Attempted PCN Fraud - UPDATE - Andrew-T

Police as well, if they will have any interest?

Probably not. Too trivial to bother with.

Attempted PCN Fraud - UPDATE - joegrundy

It may be worth asking Travelodge if they have CCTV covering the car park and asking them to retain the data for the day in question because it may be required in legal proceedings. Send a copy of this letter to Travelodge Hotels Ltd legal department.

Depending on how much time you have on your hands (I have lots!) I'd probably also write to:

1. Parkshark requesting copies of all data, images, correspondence etc. relating to this matter - and putting them on notice to retain all originals - because of apparent breaches of criminal law, regulations and codes of practice. Tell them that this matter has been referred to the appropriate authorities and ask for details of the individuals concerned in processing this matter so that any witness summons, etc., or other legal process can be prepared.

2. DVLA saying that it appears that a fraudulent (successful) attempt has been made to obtain confidential data concerning the registered keeper details and requesting copies of all requests, correspondence, etc. concerning this. Send a copy of this to ICO with a complaint of breach of Data protection regulations.

3. Whichever trade body is supposed to regulate these parking companies asking them to investigate the alleged improper conduct by this company.

(There may be more I haven't thought of.)

May also be worth getting lots of good photos of the car and the location, signage and of the location of the anpr cameras.

Attempted PCN Fraud - UPDATE - joegrundy

Police as well, if they will have any interest?

Probably not. Too trivial to bother with.

Or would be filed in the 'too hard' box.

Attempted PCN Fraud - UPDATE - joegrundy

Also send a Subject Access Request (see ICO site for more info) to Park Smart Ltd, 61 Rodney Street, Liverpool L1 9ER asking for copies of all data held.

Attempted PCN Fraud - UPDATE - daveyjp

From your research findings this rejection shouldn't come as a surprise.

Forget the fraud angle, you now need to research POPLA and prepare an appeal which includes the arguments to kill this off.

Government have also launched another consultation about private parking if you wish to respond.

Attempted PCN Fraud - UPDATE - joegrundy

"Forget the fraud angle, you now need to research POPLA and prepare an appeal which includes the arguments to kill this off."

That's true, of course, and would resolve the issue for this victim. But it's like dealing with online or phone scammers - you can cut them off or put the phone down and they just move on to the next one. Personally, I think scammers deserve all the s*** they get and I'm always happy to contribute a bucketful, even if it means they have to spend a bit of time dealing with it which is time they can't spend scamming someone else.

Attempted PCN Fraud - UPDATE - gordonbennet

Personally, I think scammers deserve all the s*** they get and I'm always happy to contribute a bucketful, even if it means they have to spend a bit of time dealing with it which is time they can't spend scamming someone else.

That sounds exactly like an old school real copper, to me and don't we all wish they were still allowed to do exactly this, ie make the life of low life's as difficult as possible.

Old officers i've known loved nothing better than nicking those who deserved it, with the backing and encouragement of up from the ranks senior officers.

Attempted PCN Fraud - UPDATE - Bromptonaut

Subject came up today on BBC You and Yours:

www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/m000mkhj Starting about 18:40.

Usual stuff from 'victims'; usual platitudes from the British Parking Association representative.

It was at least the BPA though, the other organisation is much more combative.

As the appeal referral in this case is to POPLA then at least there's some possibility of a fair hearing. The POPLA service was initially run by the same Adjudication Service as decides on street and public car park disputes for London. It's now run by The Ombudsman Service Limited so still a reputable an professional body. Although the allegation here is one of evidence tampering and not the usual defences it's probably worth trying them as at least it gets the thing sorted and stops it escalating.

If successful it's worth seeing if the adjudicator will refer it to at least the BPA and potentially the Police if it's finding is open/shut fraud.

Whilst the appeal is ongoing it's also worth following up with BPA, Park Smart's senior management and the hotel operator. As I said previously it's unlikely that management will have a policy of committing fraud; this is an employee 'freelancing'. To be fair to the front of house staff who initially examine contested tickets they're fed so much bull that it's not surprising they let POPLA sort the difficult cases. It's said the DWP and Immigration dump difficult cases on the respective appeal tribunals too.

I cannot see any point in making a nuisance of yourself to DVLA, at least not at this stage. It's not their job to examine evidence of parking infringements; if they're told that's the reason for requesting keepership details then that's 'good reason'. They can though strike off Parking Companies who regularly abuse the process.

Attempted PCN Fraud - UPDATE - concrete

It looks like you have some more work on your hands. Be diligent and collect and refine the evidence so it is clear, consistent and informative, no emotion. I used POPLA against my local authority for a disputed parking offence and won. The evidence was so clear it shouldn't have gotten that far but these days the default position of any large company, organisation etc is; we are right and you are wrong, so pay up. Well it didn't work against me but lesser souls would have just paid up to be free of the hassle. As Bromptonaut said, when you win ask POPLA to refer the case to BPA, the DVLA and possibly the police for further action.

Good luck and please let us know the outcome.

Cheers Concrete

Attempted PCN Fraud - UPDATE - Bromptonaut

It looks like you have some more work on your hands. Be diligent and collect and refine the evidence so it is clear, consistent and informative, no emotion. I used POPLA against my local authority for a disputed parking offence and won.

Can I assume that was 5+ years ago in the era when POPLA was run by the London Tribunals whose first/foremost purpose was appeals for the 32 London Councils?

I too used them after being caught by some egregiously poor road markings/signage in Lincoln's Inn Fields. As you say needed good research, photographs and, in my case the bonus that one of the 'significant cases' on the Tribunal's website involved same location and near identical facts.

I've seen a good few cases before other tribunals for subjects as diverse as benefits, property boundaries and the old Rateable Value for the Domestic Rate where emotion and conspiracy theory mean a case that had the possibility of 'legs' was run into the ground.

Attempted PCN Fraud - UPDATE - Fullchat

POPLA have responded:

"Smart Parking - EW have told us they do not wish to contest the appeal. This means that your appeal is successful and you do not need to pt the parking charge"

So I suppose you can class that as a result.

So why did Smart Parking dismiss the appeal to them and pass us on to POPLA with the threat of the discounted time limit expiring? Just chancing their arm in the hope that we couldn't be bothered with the fight?

If that's the case then POPLA need to get to grips with them. Not that they need any help but this behaviour just supports the public loathing for the industry. Is there any wonder that they are portrayed as a bunch of thieves, they don't help themselves.

If it was me I'd be creating all sorts of problems for them particularly a civil claim for compensation for the amount of time spent putting the defence together. But its not me and my friend is just happy with the result.

A big thank you to everyone for your contributions.

Edited by Fullchat on 21/09/2020 at 21:23

Attempted PCN Fraud - UPDATE - Bromptonaut

As you say, a result. Like a lot of stuff in Administrative Justice it takes an appeal or at least the intent to pursue one to get a case to the attention of somebody not driven by targets and routine. Same with benefits.

POPLA act as a judicial tribunal and not a regulator. It's not their job, beyond allowing appeals, to get to grips directly with a company that's got a rogue employee or even one with a record of multiple rogue employees suggestive of management sanctioned or encouraged malpractice.

The regulator here is the BPA.

Attempted PCN Fraud - UPDATE - Ethan Edwards

The regulator here is the BPA

Which in practice means there is no regulator. There is no control. The cowboys are totally free to carry on lying, cheating and stealing with complete and utter impunity. Though there may be some guidelines that "appear to have been partially overlooked."

There fixed it for you.

Attempted PCN Fraud - UPDATE - Fullchat

Thanks Bromp. See you on the other side :)

Nathan - yes just ever so slightly .

Attempted PCN Fraud - UPDATE - Zippy123

That's really good news Fullchat!

As you say, it's a shame you are not in a position to take it further.

Well done!

Attempted PCN Fraud - UPDATE - concrete

Excellent result. Thank you for coming back and giving us the update. So glad your crusade went well. I know it can be a pain but doing some research and some work pays off if you are in the right and stick to your guns.

Cheers Concrete

 

Ask Honest John

Value my car