Saturday, 30 August 2014

Gordon and Noble impersonate Sheriff's Officers

Gordon and Noble are a firm of debt collectors based in Scotland. They are also Sherrif's Officers, which is the equivalent of bailiff in England.

What they are not allowed to do, however, is mix the two up, and say they are acting as Sherrif's Officers or bailiffs while they are merely debt collecting.

This series of transcripts shows they are flagrantly misinforming people while acting as debt collectors.

Message 1

This is a message for XXX. My name is XXX from Gordon & Noble Sheriff’s officers based in Glasgow. It is quite important you give me a call back as soon as you can please on XXXXX. There is a reference number XXXX

Message 2 
 I don’t know if there’s something wrong with your phone somehow I keep getting cut off. This is a message for XXX. My name is XXX I phoning from Gordon & Noble Sheriff’s Officers based in Glasgow. It’s quite simple we’ve got a parking problem that you’ve got and I need it resolved as soon as possible or we will take legal action. If we take legal action it will just add additional cost to a bill that is obviously difficult as it is. The reference XXXX. It is important you call me back as soon as you can on XXXX. Either cutting me off or hanging up the phone on me is not going to make this go away. A proper conversation in a courteous manner will reconcile the problem. Failing that, we will sue.

Message 3
This is an urgent message for XXXX. My name is XXXX I’m from a company called Gordon & Noble it’s a Sheriffs officer business. The reference number for the case is XXX. It is important you contact us cause this is not going to go away. The next process is to process a writ for court. The phone number is XXXX. If you speak to me we can prevent that from happening. My name is XXX

Message 4
This is an urgent message for XXX. My name is XXX, I’m calling you from a company called Gordon & Noble they’re Sheriff’s Officers based in Glasgow. It’s important somebody contacts me immediately on XXXX. I called a couple of times yesterday and it appeared the phone was getting hung up. I don’t understand this discourtesy at all. So you call me as a matter of urgency on XXXX to try to resolve a serious problem

Message 5
I don’t know if you’re hanging up or whether there’s something wrong with your phone but this is pretty serious. You should even have the courtesy to find out what it’s about. This is a message for XXX. I’m calling from a Sheriff’s officers business based in Glasgow. You know what a Sheriff’s officer is? There is a legal case paper reference XXX. My name is XXX, my phone number is XXX. I’m trying to resolve a problem that you have without taking legal action but it’s no going to go away. Putting the phone down, how discourteous, it’s silly quite frankly, Now I’m here till after 12 o’clock and I strongly suggest you call me and try and sort this out in a reasonable manner cause its certainly not going to go away

Message 6
This is a serious message for XXX. I’ve phoned you half a dozen times and all you ever keep doing is hanging the phone up. I find that ludicrous based upon the fact that (pause) you know (pause) being serious, what do you think happens next? We’ve been asked to contact you in regards to a serious matter that’s not going to go away and we’d really prefer to speak to you and reconcile over the telephone but failing that quite simply we’ll have other recourse to other processes that will only gonna add outstanding money to an already outstanding position. So you know with the greatest of respect putting the phone down, no speaking, no replying, no replying to messages I find that really quite silly on your part. We are trying to help you to reconcile the problem. Failing that..….really ….. I’m quite sure you’re aware what happens next. So if you want to try and call before close of business today. Failing that don’t bother calling….we’ll be in touch. It’s (Phone number) Glasgow. My name is XXX

Message 7
I’m phoning to see when the time will suit you for Sheriff’s officers to come out and see you. My number is XXX. You call me when you have a suitable time and place, thanks

Message 8
 This is a message for XXXX. This is XXX from Gordon & Noble Sheriff’s officers. Why don’t you give us a call please to let us know when you can accept service of a summons erm regarding this eh problem we have? (phone number) as soon as you can please cause I don’t want to send someone out when you’re not in.

Quite simply, the person is pretending to be acting with the authority of a Sherrif's officer while actually acting as a debt collector. As a debt collector, they have no powers to take legal action for an alleged civil debt. That power would lie with the car parking company, UKPC, or the landowner, depending on the contract UKPC has with the landowner.

Sheriff's Officers would also have no interest in 'coming out to see' anyone unless the debt was already proven through the court system, and the threat that a summons has already been issued which now needs to be served is also baffling.

The Prankster therefore advises the following.

As the keeper lives in Scotland, they should robustly remind Gordon & Noble that there is no keeper liability in Scotland.

First Floor
133 Finnieston Street
G3 8HB

Dear Gordon & Noble,

I am writing to you as registered keeper of the vehicle. The debt is denied; please refer back to the principal, reminding them that the keeper cannot be held liable for private parking charges in Scotland.

They should also contact the Gordon & Noble board. The Prankster suggests writing to the company secretary, Mrs Lorraine Gordon.

Dear Mrs Gordon,

I enclose the following transcripts which show that one of your employees is impersonating a sherrif's officer while actually acting as a debt collector. I assume you will treat this matter as seriously as I have, and will arrange for corrective action. If I am not satisfied with your reply I will report you to the CSA for breaches of the code of practice (y, aa) .

To report to the Credit Services Association, use the forms at

The keeper should also report UKPC to the British Parking Association at

Dear BPA,

Please investigate UKPC for breaches of the Code of Practice. They are using a debt collection agency which is contacting me impersonating a sherrif's officer. I enclose transcripts of various calls made.

It would also be worth registering the information with the police to see if any offences have been caused.

Finally, the Sherrif's Court may well also be interested, and if this is regular occurrence will no doubt be re-evaluating Gordon and Noble's suitability to remain Sherrif's Officers.

Sheriff Clerk's Office,
PO Box 23,
1 Carlton Place,
G5 9DA

To the Sheriff Clerk.

I enclose transcripts showing that Gordon and Noble employees are impersonating Sheriff's Officers while engaged in debt collecting. Please investigate as appropriate.

Happy Parking

The Parking Prankster

Thursday, 28 August 2014

Parking Quiz - unclear signage

Martin Cutts, a research director at the Plain Language Commission, has devised a parking quiz to test understanding of the signage at Queen's Hospital Burton.

At this hospital ParkingEye run the car parks and only make money if transgressions occur. It is therefore in their interest to devise complicated and unintelligible signage to maximise the amount of confusion caused to motorists, and therefore maximise their income. It seems they have succeeded, as can be measured by the large number of complaints fielded by the hospital. Motorist have to guess how long they stayed and are penalised if they get this or their registration wrong. ParkingEye already know both these facts, and can easily fix this; however, then they would get no income.

ParkingEye get the money from overstays, while the hospital get the regular pay and display income. Ironically the hospital parking income has also increased. It is not clear whether this is due to drivers overpaying because they are scared of getting penalised, or whether this is due to increased compliance, or both.

At the end of the article the quiz asks you to work out various car park charges. The Prankster would like to point out that any reasoned answer you give is correct. The Unfair Terms in Consumer Contract Regulations 1999 points out that if a contract is forced on a consumer and contains ambiguous wording, then the contract must be interpreted to the benefit of the consumer. Simply put - if you thought it meant something, then it did! This is despite what ParkingEye or the hospital thought the signage meant.

The hospital parking regime is currently being run in defiance of government guidelines. This makes it clear:
 They will have to act against rogue contractors and not sign contracts ‘on any basis that incentivises fines’.
Helen Ashley is currently the Chief Executive of the hospital, so the buck stops with her. So far she has resisted multiple attempts to change the scheme to one fair the the hospital, patients and operator, and has only made cosmetic changes.

Happy Parking

The Parking

Saturday, 23 August 2014

AS Parking caught issuing charges under the wrong regime. ParkingEye under DVLA investigation

This post on pepipoo details how AS Parking have been caught issuing private parking tickets on land which has apparently been designated under statute. Wycombe District Council have been suspended by the DVLA for a similar offence, so if the DVLA are consistent it can only be a matter of time before AS Parking are suspended as well.

The poster describes how the parking attendant hid in his car while large numbers of motorists parked on the grass. Once they had left, an orgy of ticketing ensued. When returning motorists complained, the attendant phoned the boss of AS Parking, Kevin Macmanus an ex night-club bouncer. It was reported the attendant was told to continue ticketing or lose his job.

It is lucky AS Parking belong to the BPA Ltd and not the IPC as predatory practices are outlawed by the IPC Code of Practice.
14. Predatory Tactics
14.1 You must not use predatory or misleading tactics to lure drivers into incurring parking charges. Such instances will be viewed as a serious instance of non-compliance and will be dealt with under the sanctions system as defined in schedule 2 to the Code.

The BPA Ltd does not outlaw predatory practices in its Code of Practice.

The courts however, side with the IPC. They have ruled that attendants must mitigate loss, and that if they are in a position to prevent a breach of contract, they must do so. Hiding in a car and ticketing later would not be allowed by the courts. Judge McIlwaine explained it this way in VCS v Ibbotsen
JUDGE McILWAINE: Will you please correct me if I am wrong? I believe that there is a concept of mitigation of loss. Is that not the case?
MISS COATES: It is, sir.
JUDGE McILWAINE: Whose duty is it to mitigate the loss?
MISS COATES: The claimant's.
JUDGE McILWAINE: Thank you, and so if on the evidence of Mr Ibbotson, which has not been challenged, the parking attendant was there and saw Mr Ibbotson walking away, whilst it may not be his responsibility to stop him walking away, as he is a lawful authorised member of the company at the time he is there and there is a duty to mitigate the loss, can you explain to me why he did not say to Mr Ibbotson, "You can walk off, not a problem, 80 quid"?
The car park in question is on the Trewetha Road and is owned by the Endellion Parish Council. They have apparently designated this as subject to an off street parking order under the road traffic act 1984. This would then make it statutory land, and keeper liability would therefore not apply using the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012.

There are some doubts in The Prankster's mind. Firstly, the off street order refers to 'The Main Car Park', Port Isaac. The Prankster is unsure which the main car park in Port Isaac is. Apparently there is another council car park just down the road. The Prankster would appreciate anyone with local knowledge getting in touch to clear this up.

Secondly, it is not clear whether the Parish Council have the authority to make this order. One poster, matt285, on pepipoo has indicated they can, but may have messed up.

(hereinafter referred to as ‘The Act 1984’)
This quote alone shows to me that we're dealing with amateurs here. No statutory reference I have EVER seen is phrased like this. It always says "the 1984 Act" rather than "the Act 1984".
Further, there is no Act currently in existence which is called "Road Traffic Act 1984". The closest I found is the "Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984".
I am mildly surprised that a Parish Council can issue Road Traffic Orders in the first place, but looking at s.59 of that latter Act I believe they may be able to do so.
But - is an Order which claims to be based on a non-existant Act a valid Order? I believe not.
So I think this land is not under statutory control because this Order is not valid. Apart from that it also fails to omit who this mysterious Enforcement Agency is who can enforce those penalties. This is all a big piece of bollox that was put together by some amateur parish councillors trying to be clever.
So - this may be relevant land under POFA after all.
Probably the best solution would be for any motorist issued a ticket on this land to complain to the DVLA including a copy of the order.

The Prankster also notes that the order allows cars to park outside marked bays as long as they are not causing an obstruction. Cars tidily parked on the grass are therefore not contravening the conditions. If your car was not parked causing an obstruction then you should also complain to the DVLA that there were no grounds to issue the ticket as the conditions were not breached.

The Prankster also notes that although the council do not want cars parked on the grass, they have failed to put the planned barriers in place to enforce this, allowing AS Parking to rake in £5k in tickets a day according to some calculations.

The DVLA's stance on the matter is that they will not issue keeper data to companies pursuing claims under POFA 2012 when this Act does not apply. Robert Toft, Head of Data Sharing Policy Group, makes this clear in a letter dated 21 August explaining that ParkingEye are under investigation for issuing tickets at Southampton Quay.

Although ParkingEye continue to issue tickets at Southampton Quay, they are putting tickets on hold if motorists appeal. It is not clear whether the DVLA will force ParkingEye to refund paid tickets once their investigation is over.

Happy Parking

The Parking Prankster

The Prankster thanks the people who did all the research legwork for this blog post.


An Expensive Shopping Trip. Motorist ordered to pay almost £500 by judge

The Parking Prankster received a court report from an interested observer this week. The observer had gone to watch 3 ParkingEye cases at Bristol crown court.

The first case was A0JD8464, ParkingEye v Walsh. DDJ Orme was presiding. ParkingEye were represented by a solicitor from LPC Law. Mr/Mrs Walsh did not turn up.

In their absence the judge read the defence, which stated that they had visited the car park twice rather than once. The DDJ then gave judgment for claimant of £100 plus court fee of £15 plus hearing fee of £25 plus solicitor filing fee of £50.

The LPC Law lady asked for her own costs of £250, stating that the defendant had behaved unreasonably in not turning up. The judge agreed, and added £250 + VAT (£300) to the bill. Total cost to the Defendant was £490.

The DDJ remarked "that was a very expensive shopping trip"

The defendants in the other two cases failed to turn up as well, and presumably got similar judgments against them.

This illustrates an important principle; you must respect the court process. If you do not, the costs against you may escalate. Had the defendant turned up, they would most likely have won their case. ParkingEye cameras are notoriously unreliable, so all the defendant would have needed to do would be to truthfully take the judge through the events of the day, explaining that they visited twice. The judge would have been able to determine they were telling the truth, and would have dismissed the claim. This has happened in several other cases.

Judges are not omniscient. They will in general be unaware that the technology behind ANPR cameras is unreliable, and that large numbers of errors occur every day. The Prankster website contains a large amount of information on this subject which you can use as evidence in your defence, and The Prankster guides contain information on how to explain this to judges. The Prankster has seen the documents ParkingEye present to the court on ANPR. They will attempt to mislead and deceive the judge by presenting irrelevant information not related to the issue in hand, so any defendant will need to be well informed to present their case.

Even if the judge had ruled for ParkingEye, the amount would have been limited to £190. As the solicitor filing fee is not actually incurred by ParkingEye, and was not awarded to them in ParkingEye v Beavis and Wardley, a case ParkingEye now always quote, then the judge may have followed HHJ Moloney's lead and refused to award the £50, taking the amount to £140. The fact that HHJ Moloney did not award the £50 filing fee was not disputed by ParkingEye's solicitor, Mr Altaras, who attended the judgment hearing.

The moral of the story is; if you intend to defend the case, turn up to the hearing. If not, pay up at least two weeks before the hearing is due. If you intend paying up, it is always worth negotiating with ParkingEye as they will usually settle for £50. You should also always write to the landowner because they may also be able to force ParkingEye to either drop the claim or settle for £50. ParkingEye attend around 5-10 court hearings a day, and so will lose around £1k - £3k a day in fees to LPC Law - as long as the defendants turn up. They therefore have every incentive to settle so that they do not make a loss. This means ParkingEye are shelling out something like £250,000 to £750,000 a year to LPC Law which they will not get back if the defendant behaves reasonably. In 2013 their profit was £1,020,000 - and at that time they were not using LPC Law. Their strategy of going to court would have therefore wiped out almost all their profits  in 2013 had it been in place then.

This is a sad story. There is no reason to doubt that the motorist visited twice. If this was the case, then ParkingEye have scammed them out of almost £500, but this was their own fault for not turning up to defend the claim - an expensive lesson indeed!

Happy Parking

The Parking Prankster

Friday, 22 August 2014

Large number of Parking Companies lying to POPLA following BPA Ltd Training

In early 2014 it was apparent that Parking companies were facing a crisis. Almost all cases at POPLA were lost when the issue of parking charges was raised. The one or two that were won were found to be inconsistent judgments made by inexperienced adjudicators before their training was complete.

The British Parking Association Ltd, therefore ran a number of training camps for operators. No independent monitors were allowed to attend, despite requests, and the DVLA also decided not to send representatives to ensure the sessions were run correctly.

Sadly, following those sessions a number of operators have been spotted trying to scam POPLA by putting in similarly worded fake accounts of their costs. It is not clear whether this is the result of instructions at the BPA Ltd training sessions, or whether the operators have all latched on to one company's anomalous POPLA results and decided to copy their cost document.

As a starting point, these new descriptions of 'genuine pre-estimate of loss' cannot possibly be genuine. if they were, they would have been calculated before the parking charges were set; in most cases this would be pre 1 October 2012. That is what the 'pre' means in pre-estimate. Instead, these calculations have been made after the signage was installed, and in many cases even after the parking event. The operators have sent in large numbers of different explanations of their charges, until they finally hit on a formula that has produced a few strange decisions by the more inexperienced POPLA operators.

It is no credit to POPLA that they have swallowed these lies and continually allowed parking operators to change their tune. If their current explanations are 'true' then the previous 15 or so variations must by definition be false. No action by POPLA or the BPA Ltd has to this point been taken against operators trying to defraud motorists by producing false information to POPLA.

The particular formula currently in vogue by operators is to expand their appeal and POPLA costs until they total the amount of the parking charge.

This is flawed approach for the following reasons.

1) The initial cost is incorrect
If it costs around £5 to issue a charge and £95 to process an appeal, then the correct charging structure is an initial charge of £5, increasing to £100 if not paid before an appeal.

If the charge is £60 increasing to £100, then the motorist is correct at the time of appeal in stating that the £60 is not a genuine pre-estimate of loss

2) Parking Companies can artificially inflate time needed
If they wanted to, Parking companies could justify any charge by instructing their minions to spend an artificial time on appeals, or by using artificially highly paid employees to process the appeal. The Prankster has visited a number of parking companies and it seems a genuine time needed to process a POPLA appeal by an efficient company is around an hour. Pretty much all appeal reasons will have been seen by now by a parking company, so it is just a matter of getting the right template paragraphs, pulling in the signage and other relevant information, and sticking it together in the right order. This does not take a highly paid employees in any of the organisations the prankster visited.

3) The amounts are not in proportion
Only around 1% of cases are appealed to POPLA. Therefore to be accurate the costs must be adjusted proportionately. If a company state a POPLA appeal costs £66, then the true average cost is 66p.

4) The amounts are not accurate. 
Parking companies claim huge costs which are simply not believable. For instance, Excel v Cutts establishes that Excel issue about 4,000 tickets a year at the Peel Centre, generating £240,000 to £400,000 a year in charges. One percent of this is 40 tickets. 40 tickets appealed to POPLA a year can easily be dealt with by one part-time appeal handler. If they took an hour per appeal, they could knock them all out in a week. Even an outrageous 3 hours per appeal will leave them with 49 weeks of the year off. Total cost? Something around £400-£2,400, depending on wage levels.

Luckily the more experienced POPLA assessors are cottoning onto this scam. However, it is clear that appealing to POPLA now is not just a matter of stating 'the charge is not a genuine pre-estimate of loss' Instead, once you get the appeal pack it is now necessary to send a rebuttal in case you are unlucky enough to get one of the weaker assessors who are not up to speed on the parking company scams.

Happy Parking

The Parking Prankster

Have you received a costs document from a parking company falsely claiming that over 50% of their costs are due to appeal handling? If so, please email a copy to The Prankster at

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Barnet Hospital install parking system designed to fail

This newspaper report confirms that Barnet Hospital are to install a parking system from ParkingEye. Although The Prankster has not seen the actual contract, all other hospital contracts he has seen leave the hospital with the pay and display fees, while ParkingEye trouser the money from overstays and other charges.

As ParkingEye only get money from motorist errors, they have no incentive to design a fair system - this would only reduce their income. Instead, they install systems which are 'designed to fail', allowing them to coin in 'fines' from confused motorists. One such system was installed in Northumbria NHS. This system forced motorists to guess how long they had stayed for, and allowed invalid number plates to be keyed in. As ParkingEye's ANPR cameras detect vehicles on entry, they already know how long the vehicle has been parked for, and already know the valid number plates. There is therefore no reason to allow these errors. Mistakes by motorists allowed ParkingEye to rake in fines at the rate of £1 million a year at Northumbria NHS.

Eventually the volume of complaints caused by the system caused Northumbria NHS to give ParkingEye the boot.

At another hospital, confusing and misleading signs installed by ParkingEye are currently the subject of a DVLA investigation.

It is of course possible to install a system which is much fairer to motorists and easy to use. At Bristol Eye Hospital for instance, the ANPR system installed by Total Parking Solutions tells drivers exactly how much to pay, and does not allow wrong number plates to be entered. A freedom of information request revealed that the amount charged for overstays in a three month period was £0 - or around £250,000 less than ParkingEye were charging Northumbria NHS patients.

However, if ParkingEye were to install a fair system that told motorists how much to pay and did not allow incorrect number plate entries they would quickly go bankrupt because they would not make any revenue, if Bristol Eye Hospital is anything to go by.

Barnet Hospital will no doubt soon learn that installing a 'free' system from a parking company whose only way to make money is to penalise motorists is actually not free at all. The Prankster suggests they staff up their complaints department immediately, if experience at other hospitals is anything to go by.

If you get stung by the new system, the people to complain to are the Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS). The contact details are currently or 020 8216 4924. No doubt they will be opening a new parking complaints department  in the next few days.

You should of course also appeal to ParkingEye and if they refuse your appeal, appeal to POPLA. All ParkingEye charges at the hospital are invalid because they do not obey the British Parking Association Code of Practice, which they are contractually obliged to do with the hospital. The BPA peg charges at a genuine pre-estimate of loss, which was confirmed in a recent court case to be around £15-£20 (ParkingEye v Beavis and Wardley*) and not the amounts ParkingEye charge. This is detailed in point 19.5 of the code of practice. All known appeals to POPLA on similar grounds since POPLA started have been upheld, and ParkingEye have given up bothering to defend cases.

Happy Parking

The Parking Prankster

*Although ParkingEye won this case, the fact that their costs are an average of £15-£20 per ticket issued were not disputed. The case is currently being appealed and is expected to be heard early in 2015.

Help required - Historical Excel Notice to Keeper

The Prankster is helping with a number of cases where Excel Parking are taking motorists to court. These are characterised by a complete lack of information from Excel - no letter before claim; rubbish particulars of claim; no details of the contract alleged to be broken; no dates of parking or other information required to defend the claim, and so on. In particular, no 'Notice to Keeper' documents are present.

Excel's 'Notice to Keeper' started off woefully short of meeting the Protection of Freedom Act 2012 requirements and at some point improved, but it is not known when. The Prankster would therefore like to hear from anyone who has sample 'Notice to Keeper' documents from the period 1 October 2012 to 1 January 2014.

If you have one, please get in touch at with the date of the notice so it can be added to the collection if required.

Happy Parking

The Parking Prankster

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Wycombe District Council banned from DVLA access for private car parks

Wycombe District Council has been banned by the DVLA from data access to keeper information for tickets issued in private car parks. Council issued tickets under statutory powers are not affected. The ban will remain in place until the DVLA have examined the issues around the situation.

The ban has arisen because Wycombe DC have attempted to re-designate council-owned land on which statutes apply so that it runs under a private parking regime. This means the council's statutory powers where it could issue penalty fines no longer apply.

The council have stated 'the land has been taken out of the Off Street Parking Places Order under the Road Traffic Regulation 1984 Act and the Council is using its powers at Common Law rather than under Statue to operate the car parks.'

Previously the land was under the ruling of the TMA 2004 act, which means motorists could have their cases adjudicated by TPT/PATAS, which is a well-run, independent scheme which as final resolution allows motorists access to an oral hearing with an independent adjudicator.

Although Wycombe DC are members of the British Parking Association Ltd, they are not AOS members according to the list on the BPA Ltd web site. This means that motorists will not have access to the adjudication service POPLA run by the BPA Ltd. It is possible a third party operator could do this on their behalf, but it is believed Wycombe DC are running this all in-house.

This leaves motorists without an independent body to appeal to.

Currently, Wycombe DC have stated that they will take motorists directly to court if they do not pay and the council decide to unilaterally reject their appeal.

The new regime tries to impose a charge on the motorist of £60 which will be 'issued for a breach of the terms and conditions.' As this is a breach, the charge must be a genuine pre-estimate of loss to the council. It is difficult to see how a loss of revenue of £1 for an hour's parking can cause a loss of £60.

Although this does not appear on signage the council have stated the charges will be discounted to £25 if paid within 24 hours and without appealing, or £40 if paid within 14 days of issue. This is stated on the tickets, but in a confusing way. The motorist will need to read two different parts of the ticket to find this out.

This has not changed substantially from the statutory regime where the previous charges were fines also amounting to £60 or £40 if paid early

It is not clear whether the council will pay back any charges which have been issued up to this point. However, they have been known to cancel tickets as this thread in pepipoo shows.

Any data the council may have obtained from the DVLA is likely to have been under false pretences using the council's powers to obtain data for CPE statutory tickets. As landowners, and non members of the BPA AOS, they must only use the DVLA V888/3 manual forms, for which they have to demonstrate reasonable cause. Councils are charged a nominal sum for CPE statutory tickets, believed to be about 5-10 pence.

This issue was raised with the council's solicitor, Catherine Herries-Smith, to clarify the situation. However, she decided that there was no problem in requesting data in this manner. It seems the DVLA have not agreed with her.

The Prankster does note that the ANPR system offered by this car park has some features which are a welcome step forward. The motorist can pay on exit, and the system will always charge them the correct amount. The veri-park system offered by this car park has some desirable features - customers using the pay-as-you-go option, for instance, would not find it possible to underpay and would always pay the correct amount.

The Prankster welcomes this kind of innovation and notes that ANPR controlled car parks should always be pay on exit, with the system set to only accept registration numbers from vehicles which have entered the car park.

The Prankster feels the council could go a step further - first time transgressors, for instance, could be offered the option to join the pay-as-you-go scheme, for instance, rather than having to pay a penalty. This would show the council are committed to the needs of the community and are not using the scheme as a money-making operation.

Despite the good features of the scheme, The Prankster welcomes the suspension of keeper details until an independent arbitration body is available. Mr Mustard's experience of council tickets shows that sadly councils cannot be trusted to deal fairly with tickets and that they play the system to maximise fines.

Finally, The Prankster notes the DVLA have taken action because it seems the council were cadging data for 5-10 pence, instead of shelling out the £2.50 required for private parking requests.

In other similar situations where private parking companies are clearly bending the rules, such as at ports and airports where statutory regimes also apply, the DVLA continues to provide data as long as the company coughs up the £2.50.

In other situations where companies have stated at court they are charging for parking, but are not members of an associated trade organisation (currently the BPA Ltd or the IPC Ltd), the DVLA also provides data for £2.50, even though this contravenes the DVLA's own rules. Currently the DVLA provide data to ProServe at Ransome's Business Park, Ipswich even though they charge £250 for as little as a few minutes of parking, and there is no independent arbitration body which ProServe use.

Happy Parking

The Parking Prankster

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

British Airways Pension Trust force ParkingEye to cancel ticket

A motorist who had a valid reason for overstaying in Seacourt Retail Park, Oxford could not get ParkingEye to see sense and cancel the ticket. ParkingEye took the motorist to court for an overstay and refused to reveal the name of the landowner. The motorist's wife, doing a bit of detective work, found that the land was managed by Savills and owned by British Airways Pension Trust. Both companies were contacted and they were extremely helpful and went out of their way to resolve the issue. The parking charge was cancelled within 24 hours and with a few weeks to go before the hearing ParkingEye were forced to drop the claim.

Savills explained that "ParkingEye won't be happy but they are working for us and they have to do what they are told."

The British Airways Pension Trust representative explained that although parking control is necessary since the council started charging for the nearby park and ride, he was unhappy with the way ParkingEye go about enforcement on their behalf.

Prankster Note

This case is similar to ParkingEye v Beavis and Wardley. In that case, the car park was Riverside Retail Park, Chelmsford, also managed by Savills, owned by British Airways Pension Trust and enforced by ParkingEye.

Savills instructed ParkingEye to drop the case against Mr Wardley but ParkingEye refused. HHJ Moloney upheld the claim (paragraphs 8.4, 8.5 of judgment) on the basis that ParkingEye were the principal and that Savills could not fetter ParkingEye's pursuit of charges.

However, it is now clear that judgment may have been a result of ParkingEye incorrectly redacting the contract supplied to HHJ Moloney, and, as HHJ Moloney pointed out, failing to provide the 'User Manual' for the site which does list exemptions.

In any case it is also clear that the HHJ Moloney judgment was a 'one-off' which clearly does not apply to every site. It is not likely that ParkingEye would have cancelled a claim a few weeks before a hearing unless they really had to.

Happy Parking

The Parking Prankster

Sunday, 10 August 2014

Is ANPR always fit for purpose? ParkingEye bill one household around £10,000 of incorrect charges

This post on pepipoo details an apparent attempt by ParkingEye to scam a household of around £10,000 in incorrectly issued tickets. The situation arises because according to the motorist she has rights to a car park which is accessed by driving through Aldi's car park. ParkingEye's technology regularly fouls up and issues tickets for cars parked in these spaces. It is not clear whether ParkingEye have only put ANPR cameras on the main entrance and forgot to montitor this entrance or whether the cameras are simply unreliable.

To compound matters, ParkingEye are refusing to cancel tickets outright and are making the motorist waste time by appealing to POPLA. They are also refusing to accept appeals from her on behalf of friends and visitors, making life very difficult. This is in direct contradiction to the BPA's decision which is that third parties can appeal  on behalf of motorists, and which was noted in their 10th April 2014 AOS Board Meeting minutes. Meanwhile, ParkingEye regularly accept appeals from other third parties such as Parking Ticket Appeals

Aldi have washed their hands of the affair and refuse to deal with the motorist, even though they have a dedicated complains division just to handle ParkingEye problems.

ParkingEye have issued over 100 incorrect tickets to this motorist and her visitors.

Prankster Notes

ANPR is a cheap way used by ParkingEye to generate revenue but it is not always the right solution for ever car park. In this case it is clear the whole installation was ill thought out, but ParkingEye are refusing to take responsibility for the mess. Their current attitude which is to refuse to cancel tickets and force the motorist to use POPLA is typical of their bullying, grab the money at all costs attitude.

Issuing tickets on land where there is no contract is a breach of the BPA code of practice carrying 10 sanction points. The motorist has already complained to the BPA but should bring this to their attention and give them her paperwork to let them get on with it.

The motorist has already complained to the DVLA because they are giving out keeper details when there is no reasonable cause. The DVLA should stop giving out motorist details for this car park until the situation is rectified.

ANPR technology is not a silver bullet and is not right for all situations. Aldi should therefore require ParkingEye to either come up with a solution to stop this deluge, or require ParkingEye to remove the faulty equipment. They should also accept responsibility for the whole charade.

The motorist could also consider complaining to her MP and ask them to bring this to the attention of the Transport Select Committee, who are currently considering the problem of rogue parking companies - ParkingEye seem to be one of the main culprits.

The motorist could also consider contacting the Daily Mail, at The Mail are currently highlighting the scams parking companies use.

The motorist could also put ParkingEye on notice that further tickets will be dealt with on a costs basis and she will be charging for time spent on any future incorrectly issued tickets.

Happy Parking

The Parking Prankster

Thursday, 7 August 2014

Lidl charge customers for Lidl's own tardiness

Lidl have found an interesting way to boost profits. It is a recognised fact of life that shoppers may have to queue longer at budget supermarkets; that is one of the accepted trade offs. What is not acceptable however is the fact that Lidl is then raking it in from charges due to overstays.

At one time Lidl contracted one of the larger parking companies to manage their car parks. However, once they learned how much money was being made by the company for overstays, they sacked the company and brought the operation in-house.

They switched to one of the tiny companies, Athena ANPR and just paid them a management fee to operate the car park. The charges for overstays now went to Lidl. It is now possible that in some of the smaller stores, the amount Lidl is raking in for parking is a significant part of the store's profits.

Not content even with this, Lidl have hit on a new wheeze to extract the maximum amount of cash from their own customers. Car parking is now only free for 10 minutes. After that, the customers must be validated at the till for 60 minutes of free parking.

Now customers spending 50 minutes shopping are faced with an unsolvable dilemma if there are queues at the checkout. They cannot just leave, because they have exceeded their 10 minutes free parking. They cannot get out before the 60 minutes because the queues are too large.

The Prankster congratulates Lidl on finding a creative way to add £90 to their customer's shopping bill.

Customers getting a ticket in these circumstances should contact the store manager as well as Athena to get the ticket cancelled. Do not accept any excuses from the store manager. Make him/her well aware that Lidl keep the parking charges and that Athena are only an agent collecting them on their behalf. The Prankster believes that the actual amount kept by Athena is as low as £6-£7 per ticket and the rest is trousered by the supermarket.

It is ironic that Lidl try to justify their actions by pretending they are on the side of the shopper, as reported in the Daily Mail.
A spokesman at the store said ‘previous misuse of the car park’ had meant customers not always being able to park, adding: ‘The vast majority of our customers are pleased with the implementation of these systems as … they are now able to access parking spaces when carrying out their shopping.’ 
Really of course, they are using the charges to secretly rake it in. 

The Prankster is unaware of any customer surveys Lidl has carried out to determine whether 'the vast majority of our customers' are really happy. He suspect the spokesman was talking out of his bottom.

Happy Parking

The Parking Prankster

ParkingEye targets motorbike riders

The Prankster has been given a copy of a Parking Charge from ParkingEye showing how they are targeting motorbike riders.

The motorist visited the car park twice, but received a ticket from ParkingEye for one long stay. This is a regular occurrence for long suffering motorists. ParkingEye are well aware that their system is deficient and can issue tickets for one visit when two visits occur. This does not stop them trying it on in court and claiming against motorists when this happens.

The pictures show the vehicle is a motorbike. Now the thing about motorbikes are that a large number of them do not have front number plates, including the bike in question. Therefore, both pictures must be of the bike departing. ParkingEye will never detect these types of bike arriving because their arrival cameras will never detect a numberplate.

Some questions therefore arise as to the professionalism and integrity of ParkingEye.

Firstly, The Prankster questions the use of the arrival photograph, which only shows the number plate and is otherwise black. This was taken at 7:23 on a Summer morning, a day the motorist confirms was bright and sunny. 

ANPR cameras have two components; a normal camera and an infra-red camera. This photograph therefore appears to be from the infra-red camera. The use of this picture is extremely dubious. The normal camera would have shown the motorbike departing and would have made it obvious the ticket should not have been issued as the pictures showed two departs, not an arrival and a depart. There appears to be no reason, such as poor light or bad weather, why the normal camera photograph could not be used.

If this picture was deliberately selected by ParkingEye then this throws their integrity into question. If this was not deliberately selected, then this throws their professionalism into question. If one photograph shows a motorbike rear plate then no ticket should be issued unless the other photograph shows a front plate. As motorbikes often only have one plate it is an unsafe and abusive practice to issue tickets with only one clear photograph which shows a rear plate.

ParkingEye regularly try and bluff courts into thinking their ANPR data is accurate by saying that 19 different checks are made. However, they clam up when asked exactly what these checks are, and how they are relevant. This incident shows their checks are clearly not up to the mark and cannot be relied on in court proceedings.

Happy Parking

The Parking Prankster

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

ParkingEye issue £1 million worth of tickets when statute does not apply. DVLA turn a blind eye.

ParkingEye have issued over £1 million worth of ticket at Town Quay, Southampton, falsely stating keeper liability applies under the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012. The DVLA have been made aware but have decided to turn a blind eye and continue to provide ParkingEye with keeper details.

In  the past, parking companies have been banned from DVLA access if they have falsely stated keeper liability applies. However Hugh Evans of the DVLA has apparently taken the decision that ParkingEye are too big a company for the rules to apply to, and has refused to apply sanctions against them. Although the DVLA forced MET Parking to cancel tickets when a similar transgression occurred and to stop the practice, ParkingEye seem to have a magic immunity where the DVLA is concerned.

Since 2012 ParkingEye have issued 18,627 tickets at Town Quay at rates between £100 and £110. This would have netted the DVLA over £46,000. If paid in full this would generate over £1,800,000 for ParkingEye.

The Protection of Freedoms Act 2012 states that the act does not apply on land which is subject to statutory controls. The landowner has admitted that the statutory controls exist and that they refer to parking. However, they state that they have decided not to enforce the byelaws and therefore they can use POFA 2012 instead. This is of course, twaddle. POFA 2012 does not allow the landowner discretion as to whether or not they wish to enforce byelaws. If the byelaw exists, then POFA 2012 does not apply.

Nick Ridehalge from Associated British Ports has written to John Denham MP to try and wriggle out of their failure to stop issuing tickets claiming keeper liability, and ParkingEye have acting court cases in which they have claimed keeper liability.

This post in pepipoo considers the legal arguments.

The Prankster considered there is something seriously wrong if 18,000 tickets have been issued. Associated British Ports should spend some of the £1,800,000 generated to investigate ways of improving the situation to reduce the problem. The Prankster has heard from many people who have not seen the signage in the dark, and so more signs and better illumination would seem to be a must. Better use of technology could also be investigated to see if there are ways of warning departing motorists of overstays,

Happy Parking

The Parking Prankster

ParkingEye spanked in court - judge sees through ParkingEye lies

[updated 7/8/2014]

ParkingEye lost in court in a case reported on Consumer Action Group.

A0JD0514 Stafford Crown Court, August 2014

In this case, the motorist parked in a hotel which went into administration on the day she parked.

ParkingEye tried to keep this information from the court. When ParkingEye's advocate heard the defendant was going to tell the judge, she phoned ParkingEye for instruction. Rather than 'fessing up, ParkingEye, who knew about the situation, told the advocate to use legal reasons to prevent the judge from knowing about the situation. She tried to argue that the information should have been filed 14 days ago and stated the defendant was being 'unfair' for bringing this matter up.

However, the judge was wise to this trick and ruled that the information was pertinent to the case. (Prankster note; after all, this is not new information being sprung on ParkingEye. This is something ParkingEye already knew and were trying to keep from the court. The defendant had also written to ParkingEye back in April). The rather stuffed ParkingEye who had submitted a witness statement from the new owners and tried to sneak this past the judge. This was given the heave-ho as not being relevant, and as ParkingEye had decided not to produce any contract, this left them without any evidence that there was an agreement with the landowner and the case was thrown out.

Before the hearing started, the ParkingEye advocate tried to intimidate the defendant by showing off her massive wedge of transcripts where ParkingEye had won cases. The defendant's McKenzie friend whipped out his corresponding transcripts of cases lost by ParkingEye. The advocate was thrown off stride by this and snapped 'Where did you get these from? These are not available to someone like you.' The McKenzie friend laughed and said he could not remember. (For quick reference, they can all be found from The Prankster's web site here.)

This is typical ParkingEye behaviour; they are more than happy to quote endlessly from cases they have won, but refuse many times to provide details of cases they have lost.

Prankster Note

ParkingEye have in a number of cases provided landowner witness statements from companies who did not have the right to offer parking at the sites in question. Often, the companies did not even exist. They have also regularly used witness statements where the information could not have been known by the witness. As ParkingEye write the witness statements and send them to the witness for signing (or in some cases just photocopy pre-signed statements) they will be completely aware the statements were not in the knowledge of the witness. Their use of such witness statements has now been completely discredited but sadly they continue to use them.

Happy Parking

The Parking Prankster

Complaints to the Solicitors Regulation Authority about ParkingEye

This freedom of information request has been made to the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) to discover how many complaints have been made about ParkingEye and about Rachel Ledson.

The report details that two complaints have so far been investigated, and ParkingEye have been cleared. It also discloses that a number of complaints are still under investigation, but does not disclose how many. The Parking Prankster has been made aware of several complaints made to the SRA against ParkingEye and they certainly number more than two, so it seems as though there are a number of ongoing investigations.

The report also refuses to state whether it is Rachel Ledson who is being investigated, or some other solicitor working for ParkingEye.

For a list of other known solicitors working at ParkingEye, please refer to this previous Prankster article.

If you wish to complain about Rachel Ledson or any other solicitor working for ParkingEye, you can download the report form from this page.

Reasons you may report include the following
"You must:
  1. uphold the rule of law and the proper administration of justice,
  2. act with integrity,
  3. not allow your independence to be compromised,
  4. act in the best interests of each client,
  5. provide a proper standard of service to your clients,
  6. behave in a way that maintains the trust the public places in you and in the provision of legal services,
  7. comply with your legal and regulatory obligations and deal with your regulators and ombudsmen in an open, timely and co-operative manner,
  8. run your business or carry out your role in the business effectively and in accordance with proper governance and sound financial and risk management principles,
  9. run your business or carry out your role in the business in a way that encourages equality of opportunity and respect for diversity, and
  10. protect client money and assets.

The Prankster considers the following behaviour worth considering reporting to the SRA by either a solicitor or the legal department under his or her control.
  • Charging a £50 filing fee which is not actually incurred
  • Starting a claim without sending a letter before claim
  • Starting a claim without sending a letter before claim compliant with practice directions
  • Starting a claim while the pre-action protocol is still taking place
  • Providing false information to the court
  • Providing witness statements containing statements not in the knowledge of the witness
  • Providing incorrectly redacted contracts to the court
  • Providing misleading information to the court
  • Dealing with a case in ways which are not proportional to the amount involved
  • Refusing to drop a case when there is no cause of action
  • Lying to customers
If any of these have happened to you, then there is no time limit on complaints, so you can file at your leisure. Remember, if you do nothing, bad behaviour by solicitors will continue. It is only by taking the trouble to make the behavior known to the authorities that any bad behaviour will be stamped out

Happy Parking

The Parking Prankster

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

ParkingEye dodgy practices exposed

Following the articles in the Daily Mail, The Parking Prankster can expose the dodgy practices used by one of the UK's largest parking firms, ParkingEye. Company size is not guarantee of good practice, honesty or integrity, and ParkingEye are one of the worst offenders, with an unparalleled reputation for dishonesty, bullying tactics and operating sites in such a way to milk motorists for all they can.

ParkingEye have previously threatened to sue The Prankster for defamation for damage to their reputation. However, they crept away with their tail between their legs when The Prankster pointed out that all his facts were true, and that in any case they had no reputation worth speaking of. Since then they have refused to reply to The Prankster's communications.

The Prankster has identified the following bad practices and dodgy tactics used by ParkingEye.

  • Providing false information to judges, including the Beavis case
  • Charging motorists for POPLA, which the government has stated must be free to motorists
  • Using the Protection of Freedom Act to pursue keepers to court when they knew the land was not covered by the Act.
  • Charging motorists over £1 million in solicitor fees which were not actually incurred, making their court filings one of the most profitable part of the business
  • Providing landowner witness statements to court without the knowledge or permission of the witness by using photocopied witness statements
  • Providing landowner witness statements to court and POPLA containing information ParkingEye knew was not within the knowledge of the witness
  • Providing contracts to judges, including HHJ Moloney, which had pertinent information redacted 
  • Sending motorists false information to make them think they have no chance in appealing the ticket to POPLA 
  • Providing outdated and misleading information on their web site
  • Not even bothering to defend large numbers of POPLA cases, causing motorists time and expense for cases ParkingEye knew they would not win anyway
  • Providing false information to POPLA in order to win cases
  • Pursuing through the court system even though they knew the motorist was neither the keeper or driver and was therefore not liable
  • Pursuing cases when motorists break down, are injured or suffer medical emergencies
  • Pursuing cases against mothers who overstayed due to breastfeeding
  • Pursuing cases against disabled motorists who need more time to shop
  • Pursuing cases against elderly motorists who need more time to shop
  • Installing sites without cameras on all entrances and exits, and then pursuing motorists for overstays if they left via an unmonitored route
  • Installing sites where the cameras do not record all entrances and exits of vehicles, and then pursuing motorists for overstays when two visits were made
  • Pursuing motorists for very short overstays, well within an acceptable grace period
  • Shortening parking periods to the detriment of retailers to increase their income
  • Aggressively pursuing tickets against the wishes of retailers served by the car park
  • Using inappropriate and hard to use technology coupled with confusing signage to target hospitals to generate vast income to the detriment of patient
  • Failing to take reasonable steps to mitigate transgressions by motorists
  • Pursuing their own customers for huge penalty clauses when they try to get rid of them
  • Filing thousands of court cases without sending a letter before claim compliant with practice directions, or in some cases, without sending any letter before claim at all
  • Filing huge, complicated documents in court, in violation of the prime objectives of the courts in terms of proportionality to the sums involved. A typical filing will be over 50 pages with 30 or more case references.
  • Filing large numbers of documents after the filing deadline and without paying a fee
  • Complaining when motorists file after the filing deadline and asking the court to charge the motorists a fee
  • Refusing to reply to reasonable requests for information from motorists to allow them to defend their case
  • Filing false information in witness statements written by their employees including documents referred to by the witness statements
  • Filing deliberately misleading information in court documents, which while factually correct are not relevant, or are couched in terms to deliberately mislead
  • Ploughing on regardless with court cases, despite having lost all known similarly defended cases, causing defendants distress and expense.
  • Providing false information to and deliberately deceiving their own customers
  • Failing to properly quality check parking charge notices sent out
  • Pursuing cases where the landowner stated by ParkingEye in documents provided to court, was not the actual landowner and did not have the right to allow parking
  • Using signage to create entrapment zones in car parks, so that although coverage is sufficient in some areas, it is not in all
Obviously anyone considering using ParkingEye will need to think twice after reading that list. The Prankster is more than willing to meet with and provide his evidence to landowners thinking of using ParkingEye, where he will explain that a 'free' solution may actually end up costing millions of pounds in lost business (such as at B&Q).

The Prankster is strongly behind the need for controlled parking, and for landowners to operate parking as they wish. He can talk landowners through available solutions which work and are beneficial to landowners, motorists and parking operators.

The Prankster can also advise landowners wishing to get rid of ParkingEye of the most sensible strategies and viable alternatives.

The Prankster echoes the words of His Honour Judge Hegarty QC. ParkingEye like to quote HHJ Hegarty, but for some reason do not include this particular quote.

The case on deceit, therefore, in my judgment, turns on the wording of the third letter; and I have concluded that all the elements of the tort appear to be made out in relation to that letter

As Sir Robin Jacob put it, in the appeal  
The Judge found ParkingEye was guilty of the tort of deceit on those occasions when the third letter was sent on its behalf. ParkingEye does not challenge this decision.

The Judge also made no finding of dishonesty against ParkingEye at [489] though that must be understood in a limited sense since he did find that its executive knew the third letter contained falsehoods, which is to say the least not exactly honest

ParkingEye may claim to have changed since that court case. The Prankster is minded to agree - they have changed for the worse.

Happy Parking

The Parking Prankster

Saturday, 2 August 2014

ANPR Ltd chase wrong person for parking charge

The Prankster has received information from a motorist who is being chased for a parking charge by ANPR Ltd. The motorist at one point owned a black Golf, which they traded to a garage for an orange Groove Up in February 2014. The car had a cherished number plate, which they retained. The DVLA has written to confirm the information regarding sale and plate retention was all received by them and updated on their records by 24/02/2014. They then requested permission to transfer the plates to their new car. The permission to transfer plates took a further few weeks. The letter from the DVLA was dated 10/04/2014 and the new plates were then made and fitted on 24/04/2014.

On 19/03/2014 the black Golf was detected by ANPR Ltd parking where it should not. The garage had not changed the plates and so it still had the cherished numberplate. When the ANPR operative looked up the plate the DVLA confirmed it belonged to an Orange Groove Up and not a black Golf. The black Golf was apparently untaxed. ANPR therefore phoned the police to report the mismatch, who were not interested.

ANPR took photographs of the black Golf and issued a windscreen ticket.

Here is what an orange Groove Up actually looks like.

Later on, ANPR applied for keeper details. On the form sent to the DVLA they incorrectly stated the plate was on an Orange Groove Up rather than on a black Golf. They therefore received the wrong keeper details; the original keeper rather than the garage.

They then started hounding the original keeper for the parking charge. .

The keeper phoned, then appealed, stating the Orange Groove Up was never parked there, and asked for photographs, which had been refused over the phone. It was pointed out that on the date in question the Orange Groove Up had a different number plate, because the DVLA did not approve the transfer until 10/04/2014. ANPR denied receiving the appeal, even though they signed for it as registered post, and referred to it in other letters. They therefore did not issue a POPLA code

The motorist had several phone calls with Patrick Crossley of ANPR, who was described to The Prankster as extremely rude and aggressive. The Prankster does not know whether this was true. However, ANPR record all phone calls so will easily be able to shed light on this.

The motorist contacted Merseyside Police, who asked Mr Crossley to stop harassing the motorist. ANPR report they have tried but failed to speak to the police officer involved.

Patrick Crossley then wrote to the motorist using his alter ego as a director of Expedion, stating that a court claim would be filed if the motorist did not pay. The court documents all referred to an Orange Grove Up, while the pictures supplied were of a black Golf. At this point the motorist contacted The Prankster, who also contacted ANPR to find their side of the story.

This is the current state of play.

The Prankster therefore calls on ANPR to stop pursuing the motorist, who was neither the owner, keeper or driver of the car at the time of the incident. Instead The Prankster suggests they contact the garage, who may well have offended against Section 43C of the Vehicle Excise and registration Act 1994, and may therefore be happy to pay up to avoid any embarrassment.

The Prankster considers ANPR have breached the BPA code of practice for not supplying photographs when asked and not supplying a POPLA code when the appeal was denied.

The Prankster considers ANPR Ltd have breached the DVLA KADOE contract by providing wrong details on the V888/3 form.

The Prankster considers the garage may have offended against Section 43C of the Vehicle Excise and registration Act 1994.

The Prankster considers the motorist has done nothing wrong, and has been more than patient in trying to sort this out.

Happy Parking

The Parking Prankster

David Taylor suffers memory failure

David Taylor, ex-boss of ParkingEye, suffered extreme memory lapses as he fondly recalled his time in the parking business to the Daily Mail.

In his recall the company was run in an ethical and sensitive way and would never target hospital patients or ticket pensioners for short overstays.

Sadly it seems Mr Taylor's memory is not all it once was. The Prankster hopes Mr Taylor can enjoy his millions before his condition worsens and he slips into dotage.

The Prankster can revel that on Mr Taylor's watch:

Sir Robin Jacob found ParkingEye were guilty of the tort of deceit - ParkingEye did not challenge this decision. He also found that ParkingEye sent out letters which it knew contained falsehoods.

ParkingEye took court action for motorists whose vehicles had broken down

ParkingEye took court action for motorsts who suffered mediacal emergencies

ParkingEye took court action against elderly motorists for short overstays

ParkingEye took court action against motorists who were not even in the car park at the times alledged

ParkingEye installed deficient camera coverage in car parks which did not cover all entrances and exits.

ParkingEye issued charges on a site where the land renter did not apparently have authorisation from the landowner (the council) to do this.

ParkingEye took court action while ignoring all letters reportedly sent to them in some cases.

ParkingEye took court action against some motorists who reported receiving no prior communication.

ParkingEye targeted hospital visitors using systems designed to generate parking charges; some of these contracts have been terminated due to complaints generated

ParkingEye cost B&Q millions in lost revenue by aggressively targetting their customers, driving them away in droves. ParkingEye have now had this contract terminated.

ParkingEye installed signage which created entrapment zones in car parks due to the incomplete coverage.

ParkingEye put false information on their web site designed to bully motorists into paying charges

ParkingEye sent false information to motorists in response to their appeals, designed to bully motorists into paying.

ParkingEye deceived the courts by providing false information regarding their charges.

ParkingEye deceived the courts by redacting their contracts to hide information detrimental to their case. (There is no accusation that Mr Taylor deceived HHJ Moloney as this case happened after MR Taylor had left)

ParkingEye deceived the court by photocopying witness statements and adding in dates, and then filed the witness statments as evidence even though they contained statements which were not within the knowlege of the witnesses.

ParkingEye filed thousands of court claims without providing a compliant letter before claim, and in some cases without a letter before claim at all.

ParkingEye claimed solicitor fees which were not actually incurred at a rate of millions of pounds a year.

ParkingEye filed court documents regularly totalling over 50 pages and containing references to over 50 cases in violation of the primary practice directions which state that the case should be conducted in a manner proportiponal to the amount claimed. Defending a claim successfully would therefore take up to 100 hours of research.

ParkingEye regularly filed court claims for some car parks even though they have never  provided a contract to prove they can. They regularly claimed this was in case defendants posted the contract on the internet even though this had never happened to their contracts.

The Prankster wishes Mr Taylor well and hopes his memory soon recovers and there is no permanent damage.

Happy Parking

The Parking Prankster

Excel Parking pay for failure to provide information

Excel Parking have recently filed a number of similar court claims for multiple tickets. The claims all followed the same pattern, providing no information on the dates or amounts of the parking events, and missing crucial information needed to file a defence, such as copies of the parking charge notice, signage, and details of their standing to bring the claim.

The claims also came out of the blue, with no letter before claim. This is a violation of practice directions, which are written so as to minimise the need for court involvement and encourage participants to settle out of court wherever possible.

One motorist took exception to this and took a stand, shelling out £80 of her own money to ask for a preliminary hearing to force Excel to provide this information so she could file a defence, listing the information she thought she would need. She also asked the court to refer the case to POPLA as the most cost efficient solution.

The hearing took place in Stockport county court. Excel sent two representatives, and the motorist was represented by The Prankster.

District Judge Lettall explained he would not force Excel to use POPLA, but he also warned Excel that there may be cost implications if they did not voluntarily agree.

Excel argued that they had provided enough information by sending the parking charge notices over a year ago, and again shortly before the hearing. The judge explained that court procedures required the claimant to sent the defendant this information at the time of making the claim; not some arbitrary time before or after. This was to enable the defendant to properly defend the claim. He described the particulars of claim as wholly deficient. He did not accept that the British Parking Association Ltd code of practice allowed Excel to file a claim without sending a letter before claim.

The judge asked Excel if they could now send the information and Excel agreed to this. The Prankster pointed out that the contract Excel had provided was over-redacted, and that in previous cases he had helped with the contract revealed that Excel were paid £30,000 a year by Peel Holdings to run the Peel Centre car park, which included parking services and the ANPR systems. He felt that this was relevant information since this was also included in Excel's pre-estimate of loss and was  therefore double charging. He asked for a full unredacted contract to be supplied. The judge stated that it was up to Excel what they supplied, but that failure to provide an unredacted contract may prejudice their claim.

DJ Lettall asked the claimant to provide the information within 14 days and the defendant to then file her defence within 14 days with a view to listing the case in September.

The Judge asked The Prankster if he would be happy for costs to be held over to the next hearing. The Prankster replied that the motorist was forced to apply for this hearing because Excel did not
send a letter before claim or enough information to defend the claim.

Excel replied the information had been sent at the time of sending the parking charge.

The judge decided the hearing had been necessary and therefore awarded costs against Excel. The defendant will therefore get her £80 refunded by Excel.

Prankster Note

Not all judges will take the same view, so asking for a preliminary hearing is a risk. Costs have also increased from £80. However, defendants should consider asking for the following reasonable information.

Dates and charges of the parking events, together with copies of the parking charge notices
Full details of any contract it is alleged was entered into
An explanation of how the contract was offered and accepted
An explanation of the consideration from motorist to operator
An explanation of the consideration from operator to motorist
A breakdown of the charges
Whether the operator is bringing the claim as principal or agent
A copy of the contract with the landowner to support this and to show they are authorised to bring charges

This is the minimal information needed to defend any claim.

Happy Parking

The Parking Prankster