On the weekend The Prankster learned that New Generation Parking forked out two hundred and fifty pounds as compensation to a motorist they had pursued with a parking charge.
The motorist, a blue badge holder, had apparently parked in the wrong place while displaying his badge. After the initial appeal to New Generation Parking was turned down, the motorist appealed to POPLA who ruled in his favour.
“After considering the photographs of the surface of road where the appellant parked, it is evident that the lines marked on the road are approximately the same width of some of the cars parked in the site. Furthermore it is not clear whether or not the lines are coloured, nor is it specified in the sign what ‘coloured’ actually means.Obviously, everything is 'coloured' (except perhaps giant invisible erections).
This would have caused confusion in the minds of motorists; in particular it would not have been clear to motorists whether the road had marked on it a bay or a hatched area.
I find that that the operator cannot enforce a term of a contract that was not made sufficiently clear to motorists at the time the contract was formed, nor is it specified in the sign what ‘coloured’ actually means and on this ground alone I must allow the appeal”.
The motorist therefore sent a PCN (Personal Costs Notification) to New Generation Parking for his time and effort involved in fighting a charge which was totally unenforceable.
After some to-ing and fro-ing, just before the deadline at which court action was due, the parking company coughed up.
The Prankster is now in awe of Mr Donovan and congratulates him for his persistence and for the way he has stood up not only for his own rights, but also for the rights of other motorists.
This contrasts with the behaviour of the British Parking Association Ltd who have been a bit of a lame duck throughout. Despite New Generation Parking changing the signs in the car park, the signs still state parking is banned on 'hatched or coloured areas' without specifying what coloured means - exactly the problem that POPLA ruled on. The signs are also smaller than the size stipulated by the BPA Ltd code of practice but have been bolted on to the previous, larger signs. The BPA Ltd have however closed the case and consider the signage to be sufficient in both content and size.
The BPA Ltd have ATA status with the DVLA and are therefore expected to police their own operators. This does not mean always siding with the people who pay their wages - the parking companies. They also have a duty of care to the motorist. If the BPA Ltd are going to consistently ignore problems with their operators and fail to properly enforce POPLA rulings, The Prankster considers their ATA status will eventually come under threat. The DVLA have already considered threatening their ATA status once. Now that there is a viable alternative, The Independent Parking Committee, the DVLA can pull the plug on the BPA Ltd at any time without bringing the industry to a halt.
It is therefore vitally important to bring to the DVLA's attention all instances where the BPA Ltd is not correctly following up on motorist's complaints about rogue parking operators.
The Parking Prankster