Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Elvis walks free. Map department fails again. Highview spurred into immediate action.

The Prankster considered his latest POPLA appeal to be a tad overdue - 60 days and counting - so he fired in a complaint to POPLA and London Councils. Mysteriously, the very next day, his POPLA verdict appeared. The 60 day wait was actually 95 days as The Prankster first appealed on 10th April, so The Prankster eagerly awaits the results of his complaint and looks forward to finding out how POPLA will be bringing delays back under control. As The Prankster has already pointed out, a 60 day delay in April translates to a 120 day delay for cases being filed right now, which is clearly not acceptable.

The Prankster appealed to Highview Parking after his vehicle was spotted double-dipping in Yate shopping centre. Here is his original appeal. As usual The Prankster clearly points out right at the beginning that he was not parked for the times alleged.

Dear Sir,
I have received the speculative invoice referred to above and as I do not recall parking at these times I wish to invoke your appeal process.
I suspect I am Elvis. If not, then I am certainly his reincarnation. My skills with the air guitar are legendary within my own household. My only problem is forgetting where I have put them down; I have lost three in the past week alone.
Obviously, as Elvis, I need no further reason for you to cancel your invoice.
Yours faithfully,

          Parking 'Elvis' Prankster

The Prankster freely admits his other appeal reasons may be due to a mental aberration at the time and on reconsideration he no longer believes he is Elvis. He is Lord Lucan.

Highview Parking replied with their usual droll witticism.

When it came to their POPLA case, they threw caution to the wind and appealed with rabid flair.

The Prankster was amazed that Highview Parking still failed to realise that 'not parking at these times' was a valid appeal reason, especially after being spanked so many times before.

He was also amazed they thought they strived to adhere to the best practice in the industry, especially as they blatantly failed to award him customer of the month, and also have difficulty putting together a coherent POPLA appeal.

The Prankster also noticed that Highview Parking claimed they had six charges pending. Suspiciously, these charges never materialised. The Prankster wonders if they were figments of Highview Parking's imagination. He also wonders if they illegally accessed the DVLA database for Parking Charges they had no intention of issuing. The Prankster emailed Highview Parking asking for details of the mysterious charges, but they never replied.

Diving deeper into the evidence pack, The Prankster noticed that the Highview Parking map department had been sleeping on the job again, so he cancelled his original appeal reasons and submitted a new appeal, based only on signage.

1.       The appellant notes that he much prefers the Operator’s spelling of ‘apocalypse’ to his own. However, he questions the relevance of the paragraph it is contained in. He notes that he has not been served with any of the six charges the vendor states are pending, or been provided with any details, despite emailing the vendor for clarification on 7th May. As the vendor is now out of time to serve these notices, he therefore concludes that the Operator has decided that the charges are not enforceable.  As the Operator brought the subject up, the appellant finds it not unreasonable for the Operator to also consider this charge also to be unenforceable, and therefore asks for this appeal to be upheld.
2.       In the event that the adjudicator finds there is a case made by the Operator, which the appellant strongly denies, and also that the remainder of the evidence pack is related to the case, which the appellant also questions, given the Operator’s previous form, the appellant wishes to state he does not believe any contract has been entered into, whether actual or implied, by signed paper contract, verbally agreed, by signage or any other means. The Operator has made no clear statement to the effect that a contract has been entered into with the appellant, or how this has come about. The appellant therefore requests that the appeal be upheld.
3.       In the event that the adjudicator assumes a contract has been made by signage, which the appellant strongly denies, the appellant wishes to draw attention to the map provided by the Operator in their evidence pack. It does not contain a key explaining any colouring or symbols used. It does not contain any latitude/longitude or any other referencing information allowing confirmation that the map really is of the site in question, nor any date information showing that the map is current; it does not clearly show the entrances and exits to the car park, nor define the boundaries to which any restrictions apply. It does not show the position of signage or ANPR cameras. It contains no legible labeling allowing any roads, buildings or any other places to be identified. It contains several numbers for which no explanation is given. There are two number ones. There is one legible legend; ‘Main Sign’. This appears to be referring to a round green blob which the appellant would have otherwise assumed to be a tree. In any case, no reference is made elsewhere to this ‘Main Sign’, so the contents remain a mystery. The appellant considers the map unfit for purpose; it does not bear any relevance to a map useful in an appeal processes. In view of the above, and that it is therefore impossible to assume a contract can be made by signage, the appellant requests that the appeal be therefore upheld.
4.       The appellant notes that there is only one label ‘Main Sign’. However, the map clearly shows two other entrances. One, directly above the sign, and below the area which may be labeled ‘Bus Station’. The other, at the top, near the numbers 20/21. There is clearly no ‘Main Sign’ shown at either of these two locations.
5.       The appellant also notes the large parking area shaded light blue. There is clearly nothing which may vaguely be interpreted to be signage in this area, even if the adjudicator is feeling lenient.
6.       The appellant therefore argues that the Operator has failed to demonstrate there is either the appropriate entrance signage or that there is coverage of the car park, and therefore asks the adjudicator to uphold the appeal.

7.       The appellant admires the pretty pictures of signs in the evidence pack. The appellant asserts that this is all they are; pretty pictures. There are no captions, references or explanations tying the signage to the case in question.  They are not dated, and there is no indication as to when the Operator last checked that the signs were still current as per the photographs.  The writing is too small to read and they are not referenced to other readable signage in the evidence pack. The appellant requests that the adjudicator admires the artistic quality of the pictures, but otherwise dismisses them as irrelevant to the case.

The POPLA Administrator mostly agreed with The Prankster, which is not surprising since she made the same comments about the map last time.

Reasons for the Assessor’s Determination
On 12 March 2013, the Operator issued a parking charge notice because on 28 February 2013 the vehicle with registration mark CST U£27 was recorded via automatic number plate recognition as having stayed in the Main Car Park for 7 hours 49 minutes, which was longer than the maximum stay of 4 hours.
The Operator’s case is that the terms and conditions are displayed at the site. Copies of the conditions have been produced and state that there is a 4 hour maximum stay. They also state that a failure to comply with the conditions means that a parking charge notice will be issued.
The Appellant made various representations, stating that he does not believe he has entered into a contract with the Operator, whether actual or implied, written or verbally, or by notice in the form of signs. The Appellant submits that the map produced by the Operator does not include a key or labels, and does not show the position of any signs apart from one titled “Main Sign”. The Appellant submits that there are 2 other entrances, but that according to the map there are no other signs situated at these locations. The Appellant adds that there is a large parking area shaded blue, but that there are no markings to indicate that there are any signs in this area. The Appellant further submits that the photographs of signs produced do not include any information as to where they are situated, and therefore do not add anything to the case.
The Operator rejected the representations, as stated in the notice of rejection they sent, because the parking charge notice was issued legally and correctly according to the British Parking Association Approved Operators Scheme. The Operator produced images that appear to show the vehicle entering the site at 07.49 on 28 February 2013 and exiting at 14.32 the same day. The Operator produced photographs of some of the signs in the area, which state that the maximum stay is 4 hours. A map of the site has also been enclosed. However, as the Appellant has stated, there is no key, although it appears that the green circles indicate trees and the orange circles indicate the location of signs. The blue shaded area mentioned by the Appellant is an area marked “parking spaces”, however there are no orange circles or other indication that any signs are displayed in this area.
Having carefully considered the evidence before me, I must find as a fact that, on this particular occasion, the Operator has not shown that the terms and conditions were clearly displayed throughout the site. As the Appellant submits that there was no contract between the parties, the burden of proof shifts to the Operator to prove otherwise. The Operator has not discharged this burden.
          Accordingly, this appeal must be allowed.
Shona Watson

The Prankster notes that Highview Parking are as usual, 'monitoring the outcome of the appeal very closely'. As they have lost again, no doubt they will 'spurred into immediate action' The Prankster imagines this will probably be to fire their map department and get some new cartographers.


  1. I Just Can't Help believin' that Highview have Suspicious Minds. They keep trying to convince POPLA that (You're the)Devil In Disguise and you ain't nothing but a Hound Dog. Either they've got a Wooden Heart or they just don't get The Wonder Of You.

  2. Highview are after the Money Honey, but they are All Shook Up after the latest result. A Little Less Conversation is needed in their evidence packs and a little more care. Any more demands for money for this case can just get the Return to Sender treatment and will get Highview into T-R-O-U-B-L-E.

  3. Just goes to prove that they are as incompetent as they come.
    Perhaps The BPA should take a look at this and remove their ability to fleece.

    1. Oh no you don't, less parking companies mean less data requests means less money for the DVLA coffers means that we might have to forego our annual £6,000,000 staff bonus.

      Anyway, I would expect our colleagues in the BPA Ltd to do our dirty work and give Highview an immediate clean bill of health which we can then endorse. Suggestions like yours are not helpful at all.