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500,000 More Private Parking Tickets to be Issued Next Year

A new Law from 1st October 2012 changes liability for parking on private land from the driver of the vehicle to the vehicle’s registered keeper, unless the keeper clearly identifies who was driving the car at the time.

From figures compiled by the British Parking Association, over the last year, 1,800,000 Private Parking Charge tickets were issued. Of these, 31% went unpaid, leaving 1,242,000 paid.

Typically, these ‘breaches of parking contract’ include: dropping a disabled person off at the door of a shop, bringing a vehicle close to the door of a shop to load a heavy item, falling asleep in a car at a motorway service area where parking is restricted to 2 hours, returning to the same 2 hours free car park later the same day, displaying a misprinted parking ticket, parking ticket blowing off the car’s dashboard, car one wheel over a bay marking white line, failure to buy a ticket (when the machine is broken), parking outside the parking bay, parking in a disabled bay without displaying the blue card the right way up, leaving the carpark to go to the bank to get money to shop in the shops served by the carpark, breaching any of the conditions of the carpark that may be many and varied and listed on a small notice board you failed to see,…it’s a long list.

Next year, members of the British Parking Association plan to issue 500,000 more Private Parking Charge tickets, bringing the total to 2,300,000. But, because keepers can be legally pursued for these charges, it is likely that the number of tickets actually paid will increase by about 1,000,000, to close to the number of tickets actually issued.

At an average of £50 a ticket, that will increase revenues for BPA members by around £50,000,000, and, correspondingly, leave the British Motoring public poorer by an extra £50,000,000.

How was this allowed to happen?

Partly because consumer journalists in general slept through it and did not alert the public to this attack on their pockets.

And partly because MPs were either too stupid to realise the implications, or had vested interests in this new law being passed, or were misled.

As part of the due diligence before the law was passed, an Impact Assessment was carried out, in particular on the burden on the county court system in trying cases where keepers and drivers were pursued for private parking charges they had not paid.

The figures submitted by the BPA were that between 2% and 5% of  tickets issued resulted in court action. This equates to between 36,000 and 90,000 of the 1,800,000 tickets issued.

But a Freedom of Information request to the Ministry of Justice shows that, in fact, members of the BPA registered only 845 small claims court actions, of which only 49 cases actually went to a contested hearing in the small claims court.

So the change in the law making vehicle keepers directly liable for private parking charges will result in the burden on the courts being reduced by a maximum of only 49 cases, not between 36,000 and 90,000 cases.

There will no longer be any ‘get out’. Vehicle keepers sent private parking charge notices will be legally liable either to identify the driver responsible or to make the payment.

However, they (or the identified driver) will be allowed to appeal. Firstly to the parking company itself that issued the parking charge. Then secondly to an Independent Appeals Service administered by London Councils (who already operate the adjudication service for decriminalised street parking offences). Taking an appeal to this second stage removes any discount for early payment of the penalty. If keepers or identified drivers are not satisfied with the the decision of the IAS, they can still contest the matter in the County Court.

Making a person (the keeper) liable for a civil breach of contract by another person (the driver) is fundamentally flawed as it is contrary to long established legal principles under Contract Law. So a case will need to be taken to Appeal and then on to the Supreme Court for a ruling. Hopefully an organisation claiming to represent the interests of motorists will finance this.

Meanwhile, vehicle owners and drivers of all ages and classes will be compelled to dig deeper to the tune of up to £115,000,000 a year for such minor transgressions as dropping a disabled person off at the door of a shop or parking with one wheel over the line marking a parking bay.

One vehicle owner or driver in every 15 will be pursued for between £45 and £130.

Two comments from Nev Metson who knows more about this issue than anyone else:

I'd like to make two observations if I may.

1) The Achilles heel in this legislation for the private parking company is that once the registered keeper has named the driver then the registered keeper can no longer be held liable, irrespective of whether or not the private parking company gets it's money or not from the driver. This is really important because I anticipate that some 'rogue' operators might try to simply pressure the registered keeper. If this happens I'm sure that Patrick Troy and the BPA boys will come down on them like a ton of bricks so please continue to complain to the BPA everytime this happens.

2) We are still awaiting a formal public statement of response from Patrick Troy and/or the BPA about the huge disparity in the figures that were included in the Impact Assessment. 49 contested court cases simply cannot be 'spun' into meaning 'between 36,000 and 90,000 cases'. In the interests of openness and transparency I look forward to the frank and honest explanation from the BPA (as befits a Government sponsored ATA) as to exactly what went wrong. Clearly such a statement must include, as an absolute prerequisite. the disclosure of the data upon which the figures were based so that we can see for ourselves that the BPA are operating with 'clean hands'

 

 

 

Comments

Nev Metson    on 4 August 2012

Thanks for posting this John, 

I'd like to make two observations if I may.

1) The Achilles heel in this legislation for the private parking company is that once the registered keeper has named the driver then the registered keeper can no longer be held liable, irrespective of whether or not the private parking company gets it's money or not from the driver. This is really important because I anticipate that some 'rogue' operators might try to simply pressure the registered keeper. If this happens I'm sure that Patrick Troy and the BPA boys will come down on them like a ton of bricks so please continue to complain to the BPA everytime this happens.

2) We are still awaiting a formal public statement of response from Patrick Troy and/or the BPA about the huge disparity in the figures that were included in the Impact Assessment. 49 contested court cases simply cannot be 'spun' into meaning 'between 36,000 and 90,000 cases'. In the interests of openness and transparency I look forward to the frank and honest explanation from the BPA (as befits a Government sponsored ATA) as to exactly what went wrong. Clearly such a statement must include, as an absolute prerequisite. the disclosure of the data upon which the figures were based so that we can see for ourselves that the BPA are operating with 'clean hands'

Pityakker    on 4 August 2012

Don't park without paying is the simple solution or have I missed something?

David    on 4 August 2012

It's not about "not parking where you shouldn't. If you read the article properly you will see that many of these tickets are issued for spurious reasons. It's all explained in paragraph three.

Jeffrey Ashmore    on 5 August 2012

In Chesterfield derbyshire, where I live a new branch of Maplin the discount electrical retailer has just opened with no parking area at all, I had to park in an adjacent car park (debenhams) and asked the store assistant if I was ok he mused a little and refused to answer, How Maplin hope to trade when no car park is provided is beyond me as some electrical goods are far to heavy to carry to the bus stop as another assistant implied I should do.

cideray    on 5 August 2012

just ignore till you get real court papers

   on 30 September 2012

Correct. When and if you do get court papers ring up the court to make sure they are "genuine". These bastards send out template docs that look like the real deal in another attempt to coerce you into payment. Just don`t pay. It is simple logic. It costs them more money to recover the so called debt that`s why so few end up in court and those that do are usually used as test cases by the PPC in a future attempt to coerce more to pay.

Phil Sheldon    on 5 August 2012

Whichever way the BPA and it's scammer members spin this PPC's will still be issuing unenforceable invoices.
If Patrick Troy reads this column I want him to explain the massive discrepancy between the false figures he presented to the parliamentary committee and the actual number of successful prosecutions by his members.
It should be noted that not all scammers are members of the BPA.

Tim    on 5 August 2012

I am sure that HonestJohn will be the person leading the way, as he has suggested it

Tim    on 5 August 2012

The law will simply result in the kepper being accepted as the driver and the person who entered into the contract, it will be defeined in statue so not a great deal the court can do about it.
The normal thing about signage will still remain and the parking company will have to show the signage.
The new law also clearly states that the parking company can hold a contract with the driver as this is the talk currently after a UTT ruling, after october then the law comes in and in the law it states that a contract can be held between a parking company and driver this will render the UTT decision useless.
Its not a good thing for people who park where they want and when they want, I think your statement that 1/15 drivers get a ticket is somewhat OTT

Honestjohn    on 6 August 2012

 They state that the number of tickets will increase to 2,300,000. There are about 35,000,000 drivers in the UK. That's 1 in 15 drivers. Of course, this does not account for the likelihood that some drivers will get 10 - 15 tickets.

Huw Roberts    on 25 September 2012

I expet that a lot of "John Smith" (of no fixed abode) will be named as the "driver".

   on 30 September 2012

Or I can`t remember , I have alzeimers. Fuck off.:)

J Pinkus    on 30 September 2012

do the changes in the law relating to pcn affect tickets already issued & under dispute

Nev Metson    on 30 September 2012

No

   on 30 September 2012

Don`t know what the fuss is about if only 49 cases end up in court I `d be prepared to take my chances.My disabled wife got a parking charge couple of weeks ago cos her "blue badge " had expired.£60 quid if paid in a fortnight £100 if not. Seeing as it costs these companies in excess of £150 to go to court to recover £60 or £100 it is a no brainer . I WON`T be paying the charge.They can Fuck right off. I want to know, which is more to the point why these companies are allowed to try to "con" people using documentation similar to Council and Police documentation. I believe they even go to the lengths of sending "template" court summonses in a further attempt to coerce people to pay. Surely this is attempted fraud? The public needs to take a stand. this is nothing more than private companies cherry picking an easy way to coerce vulnerable and honest people to make them fat profits when they are just going about their normal daily lives. The public need to take a stand here and the Motoring Organisations need to back them up financially. I am currently sending a letter to DVLA telling them I withdraw my permission (which legally they have assumed as of right because I signed a VO5 in the first place) for them to pass on information on my vehicle documentation to ANY private company. I suggest EVERYONE does the same.

Nev Metson    on 30 September 2012

The DVLA release your data to PPC under Reg 27 so you need to box clever. Instead of demanding that they cease processing your data ask them to undertake the following actions, it should be sent by the RK as they are the data subject.

'I understand that the DVLA has assured the ICO that only matters that are legally enforceable will be considered to satisfy 'reasonable cause' and that the legislators who drew up Reg 27 incorporated the specific term 'may' and not 'must' thereby requiring the Secretary of State to exercise discretion before releasing RK data.What safeguards does the DVLA have in place to ensure that RK data applied for electronically via the EDI weeds out those requests that the DVLA considers are not legally enforceable?What system does the DVLA have in place to enable the Secretary of State to exercise his discretion when RK data is requested electronically via the EDI?How many RK data releases have been made to PPCs via the EDI since the BPA AOS was established?On precisely how many occasions has the Secretary of State exercised his discretion and refused a PPC request for data via the EDI?On precisely how many occasions has the DVLA refused a PPC request for data via the EDI because the matter was not considered legally enforceable?Please provide me with the specific decision making processes undertaken by the DVLA which evidence how the Secretary of State considered all of the circumstances of my particular case before he then exercised his discretion to release my data?'(Feel free to come back to me for clarification on the suggested letter above). 

DBC    on 30 September 2012

The BPA's new "code of conduct" states that the sum of money demanded must be an actual "pre estimate of loss that's been suffered (presumably by the landowner). In most cases this will range  from zero up to a couple of quid, and not the stupid figures plucked out of the air by a PPC.

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