Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Has the BPA Ltd grown teeth?

The British Parking Association Ltd (BPA) operates a sanction scheme. If the members of the Approved Operators Scheme (AOS ) transgress they get awarded sanction points. 12 points in any 12 month period means a ban from the DVLA database and therefore no parking loot coming in until the ban expires. It's a bit like getting 12 points on your driving licence, except if you lose you might go bankrupt instead of having to get intimately acquainted with all the local bus timetables.

In the past, this has been a bit of a murky affair kept behind closed doors. This led to accusations of toothlessness and that the BPA Ltd would not ban its members because otherwise they would just leave.

Since 1st October, the BPA Ltd have gained a bit of a backbone. Parking Operators are required to join an Accredited Trade Association (ATA) to get access to the DVLA database, and the BPA Ltd was the only game in town. You either joined it, or stopped collecting cash from motorists. That meant the BPA Ltd could finally impose sanctions without fear of its members leaving.

So how is it doing?

Well, here is a link to the latest list for June, plus the list for last year too.

As we can see, there are quite a lot of sanctions - 13 companies have been issued with sanctions out of the AOS list of 171 - thats just over 7%.

Nobody got suspended in June, but 3 operators are quite close with 10 points. Only another 2 to go lads! You better keep your noses clean for the next year!

The list of reasons for sanction points is quite revealing too.  It seems quite a few operators think it's fine to operate with no signage or contract, to operate with deficient signs, or to ignore the BPA Ltd.

It appears they have not quite got to grips with POPLA yet either. Members have been sanction for refusing to supply a POPLA code, failing to tell the motorist about POPLA and demanding money while the appeal is ongoing

The BPA Ltd is to be commended for growing a pair and also for adding transparency to the process by publishing the lists of sanction points awarded.

Only time will tell whether this will continue. Now there is a new kid on the block, sanction points might suddenly become few and far between again. Will a member suspended from one ATA be able to join the other? The Prankster hopes not.

Meanwhile, have you had a parking charge imposed from a Private Parking Company (PPC) where any of the following applied?

  • No signs, worn or defaced signs, or obscured signs in the car park
  • The PPC did not supply a POPLA code when it rejected your appeal
  • The PPC did not tell you about POPLA
  • The PPC offered to appeal to POPLA on your behalf
  • The PPC told you that you could only appeal to POPLA using the same points you used when appealing to them
  • The PPC took more than 35 days to reject your appeal, and you informed it you would not be entering into further correspondence
  • The PPC or debt collector sent you a letter asking for money while its own or POPLA's appeal process was underway
  • POPLA upheld your appeal because the PPC did not show a contract with the landowner as required by the BPA Ltd code of practice 7.1
  • POPLA upheld your appeal because the signage was deficient
  • POPLA upheld your appeal because the PPC did not show a breakdown of their pre-estimate of loss as required by the BPA Ltd code of practice 19.5
  • POPLA upheld your appeal for practically any other reason (probably)
  • A parking charge where the amount charged is clearly ridiculous, such as £100, and therefore cannot be a genuine pre-estimate of loss as required by the BPA Ltd code of practice 19.5
  • A parking charge where the Notice to Keeper sent to you was not compliant with the requirements of paragraph 8 or 9 the Protection of Freedom Act 2012 (this will be most of them) and the PPC then tried to pursue you as the Registered Keeper
  • A parking charge where the PPC took no notice of your appeal points, instead sent you a generic letter which did not answer your specific points, and therefore did not deal with your appeal fairly as required by the BPA Ltd code of practice 22.1
If any of these apply to you, then the address to bring this to the attention of the BPA Ltd is

British Parking Association
AOS Operator Compliance
Stuart House, 41-43 Perrymount Road
Haywards Heath
West Sussex 
RH16 3BN

You can also do this online here, but this facility is limited and cannot accept attachments.

The BPA Ltd will then investigate your concerns, as noted by the BPA Ltd code of practice 6.4, and report back to you on their findings.

Happy Parking

The Parking Prankster

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