Saturday, 3 August 2013

Do not pay your parking charge if you wish to appeal to POPLA

The Parking Prankster has to apologise yet again for jumping the gun and making incorrect assumptions. In this post The Prankster noted the large number of appeals 'withdrawn by POPLA' in June and assumed that this was because they were withdrawn by the operator. However, this update to the FoI request makes it clear that this was not the case.
POPLA is only able to consider an appeal if the PCN has not been paid. The‘Withdrawn (by POPLA)’ heading includes any appeal that has been sent tous but cannot be considered for this reason.
Not wishing to make a further boo-boo, The Prankster notes this answer states the heading only 'includes' appeals where the PCN has not been paid and so there may as yet be other reasons why appeals appear under this heading. The Prankster is making his own enquiries.

Meanwhile, The Prankster is left pondering about the reason for the sudden jump in the June withdrawals. Was this because motorists became worried about the massive delays in the adjudication process and decided to pay up and get it over with? Were POPLA leaned on by parking companies to withdraw more appeals? Were the motorists leaned on to pay by the parking companies? The Prankster loves to speculate, but has no real answers at this time.

The Lead Adjudicator refers to this in his covert May newsletter to the parking companies.

POPLA website The POPLA website is about to be updated to reflect changes in the new appeal form and notes, and also to give greater emphasis to explaining to the motorist that they should not pay the parking charge if they wish to appeal to POPLA.

Now we are in August, The Prankster thought he would check out the 'greater emphasis' on the website...

...The Prankster found this sentence, which he considers is hardly sufficient warning to motorists that they should not pay.

(In fairness to POPLA, this sentence does appear twice.) The Prankster considers that the number of POPLA withdrawals would not have been this large if the motorists were properly informed.

The Prankster checked the wayback machine to see if the website had actually changed. The text has not been updated since the Lead Adjudicator's May newsletter. Perhaps the Lead Adjudicator was too busy getting ready to go on holiday to bother to inform motorists about POPLA's unilateral decision to reject appeals if the motorist has paid. This arbitrary 'rule', not explicitly stated in full at any point on the POPLA website, has not been the subject of consultation by any motoring groups. No doubt it was put in place due to pressure by pressure from parking operators. The Prankster notes that this 'condition' is not mentioned on any of the parking charge notices he has amassed.

The Prankster therefore considers this is another indication of POPLA's blatant disregard for fairness towards the motorist and that this further compromises their supposed 'independence'.

The Prankster disagrees with POPLA's decision to not allow appeals if the motorist has already paid. He considers that this should first be the subject of independent consultation with all interested parties. Following that, any 'appeal rules' should be explicitly and prominently stated both on POPLA's website, the parking company charge notices and the parking company payment web sites.

If you were one of the motorists whose appeal was rejected, you can complain to the lead adjudicator at this web address. If the outcome is not satisfactory, you can complain to London Councils here.

Happy Parking

The Parking Prankster

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