Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Secret reasons you can use in your appeal to POPLA

Another gem from the January 2013 minutes of the AOS.

Here are the four reasons that POPLA list as valid for appealing:

The grounds under which you can appeal the parking charge notice are as follows:
  • The vehicle was not improperly parked: e.g. that the vehicle was not parked where stated on the parking charge notice; that you believe you were still within the time you paid for; that the voucher was clearly displayed or that the conditions were not properly signed. 
  • The parking charge (ticket) exceeded the appropriate amount: e.g. that you are being asked to pay the wrong amount for the parking charge or that the charge has already been paid. 
  • The vehicle was stolen: e.g. that the vehicle was improperly parked after being stolen. However, the fact that someone else was driving your vehicle, for example a family member, friend or colleague, is not in itself a valid ground of appeal. The fact that you told the driver that they could only use your vehicle on condition they did not get any parking tickets is not a valid ground of appeal.
  • I am not liable for the parking chargee.g. that you had sold the vehicle before, or bought it after, the alleged improper parking. However, the fact that you had paid to park the vehicle in the first place (even if, for example, the voucher was not clearly displayed) is not in itself a valid ground of appeal.

Apparently however, this list is not exhaustive. Here is the quote from the January minutes where the POPLA representative says the motorist can use any grounds they like.

So there you have it. You can use absolutely any reason...just as long as your mind is focussed. And you are clairvoyant. Oh, and you better have some way of magically rewriting web forms as well, because you can only use those four reasons when you appeal online.

The Prankster urges POPLA to clarify this on their web site. It simply cannot be fair that POPLA say one thing in a mostly-secret meeting, yet do not say the same to motorists on their web site, and in fact make it impossible to appeal under any other grounds. If you feel the same, then you can make your point to London Councils, who run POPLA, here.

Let's take a look at the current results:

So, the meeting was Jan 25th, which means POPLA had been up and running for around 8 weeks, or 6 if you count the Christmas break. Not taking IT and other teething problems into account, this gives them a throughput of 650 appeals in six weeks (assuming he meant to say 'processed 650 appeals' rather than 'received 650 appeals' which does not make sense).

This is about 110 appeals a week, or 22 a day; lets call it 20. That means their backlog is currently 42 days, or well over a month. The Prankster looks forward to the April report for an update on this situation..

Meanwhile, 60% of appeals were upheld, making a total of 390. Now that POPLA are building such a good mine of reasons why appeals are upheld wouldn't it make sense to update their web page to help the motorist? Something on the lines of:

  • I am not liable for the parking charge: the most common successful reasons are: the operator did not have a contract to issue tickets and follow up in court; the operator could not justify the charge as a genuine pre-estimate of loss; the Notice to Keeper was not compliant; perhaps even, this was a first-in last-out ANPR error!
Perhaps that's taking hope a bit too far. But hey, if you think the web site should say that, you know where the complaints page for London Councils is!

Lastly, let's have a look at the BPA Ltd code of practice:

22.1 Under the Code you must have procedures for dealing
fairly, efficiently and promptly with complaints, challenges or appeals...
If 60% of appeals that the operator rejects are being upheld by POPLA this doesn't seem too much like the operator's complaints procedures are run 'fairly'. I doubt whether the BPA Ltd will worry too much about that though!

Happy Parking

The Parking Prankster

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