Friday, 23 September 2016

PCM(UK) - you've been Gladstoned

Parking Control Management (UK) Limited are the latest parking company to be Gladstoned.

The judge threw out a claim filed by the hapless solicitor firm, describing it as 'incoherent'.

This is not an isolated incident, and The Prankster is aware of large numbers of other claims filed by Gladstones which have had similar treatment.

Gladstones once explained to The Prankster that they filed claims like this because they could not afford to do a better job. Essentially, it was not cost effective to comply with Practice Directions. The Prankster consider that if they cannot file claims properly, they should not be filing claims at all.

This tweeter explained he would not hire Gladstones with stolen money.

Happy Parking

The Parking Prankster

Thursday, 22 September 2016

Smart Parking issue possible fraudulent parking invoice

Smart Parking have issued a parking charge to a motorist. However, the motorist has never used the car park in question, and the picture is not of his car.

Unfortunately the picture here is necessarily redacted and not of not very high quality. In the original, it is fairly obvious that the numberplate in the photos has been digitally altered

One possibility is that the plates have been cloned. However, more likely in The Prankster's opinion is that the ANPR software has incorrectly altered the numberplate.

The Prankster questions whether this is legal or whether an offence has been caused. ANPR is known to be inaccurate and there have been previous complaints about Smart Parking. they have a duty of care not to randomly harass car owners for parking charges which have not been incurred, so if their technology is not up to scratch, than it simply should not be used.

Three government has wisely banned councils from using ANPR technology, but so far has not extended this to private parking companies.

The Notomob keep an ever growing record of instances where ANPR technology has failed.

Happy Parking

The Parking Prankster

Sunday, 18 September 2016

Nicola Mullany resigns as chair of ISPA

The Prankster can confirm that Nicola Mullany, chair of ISPA  resigned with immediate effect on Friday 16 September 2016.

The Prankster wishes Ms Mullany all the best. We have not always seen eye to eye, but this is to be expected. The Prankster was impressed by the way ISPA was run and accepts that the environment was challenging.

The Prankster expects that a lot of this will be going on:


and suggests that everyone waits for the official announcement before concocting too many conspiracy theories, some of which already appear to have been aired on MoneySavingExpert.

Happy Parking

The Parking Prankster

Saturday, 17 September 2016

All Park With Ease ANPR tickets suspect

Park With Ease this week confirmed they are not competent to run a parking management company as they are issuing tickets even when motorists have paid the correct amount.

This is occurring at least at Brockholes Nature Reserve in Preston but may well be happening at all of theor car parks.

On the 2nd September 2016 a motorist received a charge from PWE (dated 24th August) for non payment of parking at Brockholes Nature Reserve Preston on 9th August:

The motorist appealed on the grounds she had paid her £6 charge. On the 4th September she received a reply stating that PWE had checked their records and that no record of her registration was found.

The motorist then contacted Brockholes who checked their records and found someone had paid £6 for a very similar registration at the time in question. The motorist contacted PWE again on 5th September who stated the number was not similar but as a gesture of goodwill they would cancel the charge anyway.

On the 12 September PWE contacted the motorist again and stated that having checked the payments made again they found the payment of the correct amount against the right registration. They blamed the problem on a system communication error.

Prankster Note

How many other motorists have paid the correct amount and still been charged? This problem is not limited to Park With Ease and The Prankster has received large numbers of similar complaints from motorists who say they have paid their charge at the time. A sizable number of these complaints come from car parks run by Excel/Vehicle Control Services, but companies such as ParkingEye are involved as well. 

Excel refuse to accept there is any fault with their machines and have started several court claims despite being informed the motorist paid.

The Prankster is aware of a number of faults with the Metric Parking ticket machines used by Excel and ParkingEye. 

a. If a motorist pays but the machine failed to issue the ticket due to a fault, or thought it had failed to issue a ticket (even if it had) the machine would not refund the amount paid and would remove the transaction from the local store. Thus, the motorist has paid, but the operator has no record of this .

b. Another problem occurs if there is a communication fault when the machine tries to send data back to the central office. In this case the machine sometimes overwrites all or part of the data. This means it is never sent back to the operator, who therefore record one or more motorists as not having paid.

In addition to these known flaws with Metric Parking machines there may also be unknown flaws in Metric Parking’s machines, as well as flaws in the operators back-office software.

Sadly operators stick their head in the sand and refuse to admit these errors. ParkingEye, for instance, are well aware of both of these flaws with the Metric Parking machines but still continue to use them and refuse to declare these problems in relevant POPLA appeals or court claims.

The Prankster calls on companies like Metric Parking to make publically available any known faults with their machines so that motorists are fully informed, and for operators to declare these faults in appeals and court claims.

The Prankster has contacted Metric Parking and awaits their response.

Happy Parking

The Parking Prankster

Thursday, 15 September 2016

British Parking Association Settles Part of Debt to London Councils

The British Parking Association has a long-standing debt to London Councils for running the POPLA service.

The Prankster has now learnt that the BPA has settled around £511k of the debt, leaving around £200k still outstanding.

It is not immediately apparent where this money was found from. The 2014/15 accounts showed there were reserves of around £936k at 31 March 2015, so it is likely the monies came from the reserves.

The Prankster first predicted that the POPLA costs would cause the BPA serious financial problems in October 2013. However, it does not seem that this will be terminal for the BPA; only very painful.

The BPA have avoided this problem with their new contract with the Consumer Ombudsman by going for a fixed price contract. However, this has caused a different kind of problem. The new POPLA has issued a large number of shoddy decisions cause by poorly trained assessors who have not properly considered the issues raised. The new assessors churn out template responses without apparently giving much thought to the particular circumstances of each appeal.

The Prankster therefore considers the time has come for the Government to step in and run a fair and independent appeals service staffed by competent assessors who have enough time to properly asses and rule on each case.

Happy Parking

The Parking Prankster

Monday, 12 September 2016

UKCPS scam

This blog post details a scam run by UKCPS whereby they send out parking charge notices even though the motorist has paid the correct amount.

If the victim is suckered by the scam, UKCPS end up £60-£100 richer. If the victim fights back, UKCPS cancel the charge.

Prankster Note

Anyone taken in by this scam can write to UKCPS asking for their money back. If UKCPS refuse, then the victim can send a letter before claim, and then file a claim in the small claim courts. This can be done up to 6 years after the payment.

As this appears to be a scam, then UKCPS had no right to demand keeper data from the DVLA in the first place. UKCPS can ask for keeper data from the DVLA but only when a charge has legitimately been incurred. If they are making up charges, or if they are issuing charges because their systems are being run incompetently then they have no rights to ask for your data. In those cases, then UKCPS will likely have misused your personal data to issue the parking charge.

The recent court case of Vidal-Hall v Google Inc  [2014] EWHC 13 (QB) established that misuse of personal data is a tort and damages might not be limited to costs incurred.

A claim of say, £250 for misuse of personal data would cost £25 to file, and would have to be filed within 6 years of the date the data was last misused.

Happy Parking

The Parking Prankster

Sunday, 11 September 2016

Couple lose home from ParkingEye CCJ for car that was not theirs

This Daily Mail link tells the story/.

ParkingEye issued a parking charge against a car which a couple had sold 5 years ago. Because the DVLA had failed to update the address properly, despite the owner claiming he had informed them, the charge notices all went to the old owner.

ParkingEye then issued a court claim, failing to do basis checks that the address they were writing to was the correct one, and that the purported owner was still there. They obtained a default judgment and a CCJ for non-payment.

This only came to lighr when the couple attempted to move, after they had completed the sale on their house but before the new purchase was completed. The new purchase was blocked, essentially leaving the couple homeless.

ParkingEye have refused to remove the CCJ  despite requests.

Prankster Note

This is not an isolated incident and so any responsible parking company would know there is a reasonable chance that the address given to them by the DVLA was never correct. Before taking court action they shouldhave therefore taken reasonable steps to confirm their data was correct, such as using a tracing agent. At the time of filing the court claim their entire investment would have been paying £2.50 to the DVLA.

Hundreds of people have been caught out by this by ParkingEye along these lines. One company, Casehub is preparing a class action against then

Any motorist who has found they have a CCJ from ParkingEye which they previously knew nothing about should contact casehub to join the action.

The Prankster has suggested to the British Parking Association that the code of practice should be updated to require parking companies to verify a motorist's address before taking legal action if they previously had no contact from the motorist and therefore no confirmation the address they were using is correct.

The BPA debated this change but decided against it.

ParkingEye's Mark Anfield is a director on the BPA Board of Representatives.

In the Daily Mail article a ParkingEye spokesman said: ‘Where individuals provide evidence they have received a CCJ by default due to ParkingEye receiving incorrect address details, we will consent to the judgment being set aside, often at our expense.’

The Prankster has previously found this not to be the case, with ParkingEye defending set-asides tooth-and-nail. ParkingEye have also previously refused to drop court claims even when they have been informed the vehicle was sold at the time. However, if this is a new direction from ParkingEye, The Prankster would welcome them publicising this on their website and providing motorists of details on how to begin the process.

Happy Parking

The Parking Prankster