Well...it would be amazing if it didn't happen so often. Its business as usual in POPLA fantasy land then!
Today's story begins when The Parking Prankster double dipped a car park in Yate back in March. Highview Parking duly sent him a parking charge notice, to which the Prankster replied.
Highview Parking tried to pretend that The Prankster had not appealed, but The Prankster sent them a series of stern letters and they eventually caved in, well after the 35 day limit, and issued a POPLA code.
As the POPLA website at the time clearly stated that all parking charges must be cancelled if the operator did not reply within 35 days, he therefore appealed on that reason alone.
Here is the screenshot from http://www.popla.org.uk/receivedaPCN.htm
Here is The Prankster's full appeal.
I appealed by first class post on 12/4/2013 and sent a second copy by first class post on 29/4/2013. The letter rejecting my appeal arrived on 7th June by second class post. POPLA state on their website On receipt of your representations, the operator must: [...] Within 35 days of receiving the representations, accept or reject it [...] If they have [...] failed to respond within 35 days, cancel the notice to keeper [...] Letters sent by first class post are deemed served on the second working day after posting. Accordingly, the deadline to reply ran out on 21st May, and no reply was received by that date. According to the rules posted by POPLA, the operator must therefore cancel the notice to keeper
Highview Parking did not answer the point. Although they did not carry out their usual rant against The Prankster, they also failed to state their case in any meaningful way.
The Prankster was initially flabbergasted, but that was because he had temporarily forgotten that POPLA are not really independent after all, but are in fact the BPA Ltd's lap dogs.Then it all started to make sense. A quick check on the POPLA web site showed they had conveniently rewritten history and made yet another of their silent policy reversals. Here is the new screenshot from http://www.popla.org.uk/receivedaPCN.htm#repres
The text has now changed to say the operator should reply within the timescales, not must reply. All mention that the operator must cancel the parking charge if they have not decided within 35 days has been removed. Hmm.
The Prankster considers that the assessor was wrong for the following reasons. The initial statement on the POPLA web site was not taken from the BPA Ltd code of practice, which at the time stated the following:
22.8 You must acknowledge or reply to the challenge within 14 days of receiving it. If at first you only acknowledge the challenge, you must accept or reject the challenge in
writing within 35 days of receiving it. We may require you to show that you are keeping to these targets.
It should be noted that the BPA Ltd CoP does not say and never did say that a parking charge must be cancelled if the operator does not make a decision within 35 days. The Prankster therefore considers that the statement on POPLA's web site is POPLA's own policy. POPLA must therefore follow its own guidelines; publishing something which a motorist is expected to rely on, and afterwards reneging on that commitment is not fair to motorists. The Prankster will therefore appeal to the Lead Adjudicator...again.
Meanwhile and ironically, POPLA's decision not to uphold the appeal will actually end up costing Highview Parking more money. Had the parking charge been put to bed, Highview could relax and breath a sigh of relief that it is all over. Now they will have to go to the tiresome bother of sending yet more letters out, which The Prankster will laugh at and poke fun at. Obviously, no money will be paid short of a court order.
This freedom of information request shows that Highview Parking have made no court filings since POFA 2012 went live. Will they man up and put in a claim against the Prankster, or will they show themselves to be snivelling cowards, happy to send bullying letters to motorists, but never having the balls to stand up and be counted and follow up on their empty threats? The Prankster knows which one he will bet on. Stay tuned to find out if Highview Parking have wasted £27 of their money and £100 of the BPA Ltd's by handing out a POPLA code, or whether they finally get their man. It seems this game of Parking Poker is not over yet.
They seek him here, they seek him there,
Those parkies seek him everywhere.
Has POPLA got him, is it true?
No, he double dipped, you'll have to sue.