Version 4 is effective from Feb 7 2014 onwards.
Here are the major differences. The Parking Prankster's comments are in italics.
18.2 A standard form of entrance sign must be placed at the entrance to the parking area. There may be reasons why this is impractical, for example:
• when there is no clearly defined car park entrance
• when the car park is very small
• at forecourts in front of shops and petrol filling stations
• at parking areas where general parking is not permitted
This is just a conformation of the requirements in Appendix B.
18.11 Where there is any change in the terms and conditions that materially affects the motorist then you should make these clear on your signage. Where such changes impose liability where none previously existed then you should consider a grace period to allow regular visitors to the site to adjust and familiarise themselves with the changes.
This is a welcome change, pinched from the IPC code of practice. As this is optional The Prankster waits with baited breath to see if any operators take notice of this. The IPC is still the industry leader in this area, with requirements for signs at the entrance notifying motorists of the change, and for a grace period of one month when tickets are issued as a warning.
Making use of Keeper Liability provisions
21.5 If you want to make use of the Keeper Liability provisions in Schedule 4 of POFA 2012 and you have
not issued and delivered a parking charge notice to the driver in the car park where the parking event took
place, your Notice to Keeper must meet the strict requirements and timetable set out in the Schedule (in particular paragraph 9).
Not making use of Keeper Liability provisions
21.6 To give drivers early notice of your claim, you should apply to the DVLA for the keeper details promptly. The target time to apply to the DVLA for keeper details is no more than 14 days after the unauthorised parking event. You must apply no more than 28 days after the unauthorised parking event.
21.7 You must post the parking charge notice to the keeper as soon as possible. Your target is to send the parking charge notice to the keeper of the vehicle no more than 14 days after receiving the keeper data from the DVLA.
21.8 Your letter to the keeper should point out the details of the unauthorised parking event and ask for payment or request details of the driver.
21.9 It is the driver’s responsibility to pay the parking charge notice. If you receive information from the keeper which identifies the driver, and the driver is someone else, you must serve the parking charge notice by post on the driver.
21.10 Parking charge notices served by post must offer the same payment discount arrangements as tickets placed on vehicles, while allowing extra time for the postal service.
This is a clarification of the situation which currently exists where sometimes operators choose to make use of keeper liability and sometimes do not. The Prankster thinks this does not go far enough and that the letters should point out that keeper liability does not apply and only the driver is liable for the charge. However, this is a start, and therefore welcomed as such.
22.1 Under the Code you must have procedures for dealing fairly, efficiently and promptly with complaints, challenges or appeals. The procedures must give drivers and keepers the chance to challenge a parking charge notice. If a motorist pays a Parking Charge Notice and then appeals, you do not have to accept the appeal unless you opt to do so.
The Prankster thinks that if an appeal cannot be accepted after payment, this is only acceptable if the correspondence to the motorist clearly spells this out.
22.7 We consider it a reasonable timescale to allow 28 days from the issue of the parking charge notice (in whatever format you send it) to allow the driver, keeper or hirer to challenge the enforcement action. A keeper cannot make an appeal concerning the same incident if the driver has already appealed.
This seems fair. Once a driver has appealed, the keeper is no longer liable. Of course the reverse is not true. If the keeper appeals and the appeal is turned down, the driver still has full rights of appeal if identified by the keeper.
22.12 If you reject a challenge you must:
• tell the motorist how to make an appeal to POPLA. This includes providing a template ‘notice of appeal’ form, or a link to the appropriate website for lodging an appeal and the 10-digit verification code. Even if the verification code is automatically printed on an enclosed appeal form, it must still be in the dated rejection notice/letter.
• give the motorist a reasonable amount of time to pay the charge before restarting the collection process.
We recommend that you allow at least 35 days from the date you received the challenge
The Prankster considers this a good change, but it does not go far enough. The POPLA code should be clearly described as such in the rejection notice. This wording still allows operators to hide the code away. The Prankster thinks that all motorists should be given both the template form and a link to the website. Not everybody wants to use the internet.
22.14 Drivers and keepers may appeal against a parking charge to POPLA but a keeper cannot make an appeal concerning the same incident if the driver has already appealed.
This is fair for the reasons outlined earlier. Of course, a driver can still appeal after the keeper has.
The Prankster wonders which operator using blue on yellow signs persuaded the BPA Ltd to remove that text.
The Prankster's overall verdict is that these are small steps in the right direction, but nevertheless welcome for all that.
The Parking Prankster