Mike also confirmed that Smart Parking have only used this wording in a limited amount of cases, such as when the Prankster argued that it was possible that the ANPR did not detect his vehicle leaving due to "a pack of squirrels dismantling the vehicle". The Prankster sternly refutes the statement by Smart Parking that he claimed his car sprouted wings and escaped by "flying over the ANPR cameras." That would be ridiculous.
Anyway, the email from the DVLA is good news. It proves that the DVLA will stand up for the motorist in cases where the parking operator tries to change the rules unilaterally and pull the wool over the eyes of the motorist. Due to the small amount of cases involved, the DVLA decided not to impose sanctions in this case. This is to be expected. After all, Smart Parking paid the DVLA £212530 over the last twelve months, so if they were only naughty a few times, it doesn't really matter. The Prankster accepts this is the way of the world. However, if more cases of sharp practice are found and it turns out Smart Parking are bad boys after all, the Prankster will be sure to bring them to the attention of the DVLA.
In the not-so-good-news department, Smart Parking only confirmed they will 'no longer use the wording' in question. The Prankster hopes they will not try and say the same thing with different words in the future!
Update - a message from POPLA
The Parking Prankster also asked POPLA what their views were, and here is their response:
It is not currently a requirement that the motorist puts forward exactly the same grounds to POPLA as they have in their original representations to the Operator. For example, the motorist may wish to amplify their reasons with additional evidence. However, putting forward grounds in an appeal which bear no relation to anything originally submitted, and there being no good reason why they were not made to the operator, is simply a waste of the motorist’s time and energy as the matter could possibly have been resolved for them at an earlier stage.The Prankster respectfully disagrees that it is a waste of the motorist's time and energy, so this will just have to be one of those times where people have different opinions; that's fine - it's a free world. In his experience, Parking Companies routinely turn down practically all appeals, and it is only by using an independent body like POPLA that the motorist can find justice. Currently, almost 100% of correctly worded appeals to POPLA succeed. As an example, just look at the Prankster's previous post where Highview Parking refused to accept that a first-in last-out error occurred, even when faced with overwhelming evidence to the contrary.
The Parking Prankster