Friday, 21 February 2014

Proserve business model exposed as a sham

Proserve lost in court today. This puts 700 other claims at risk.

Their business model works as follows.

1) They persuade a landowner to enter a contract with them whereby the landowner pays Proserve a large amount of money if a trespass occurs. This money is not connected to the actual costs caused by any individual trespass. According to their court papers, this contract is to provide parking enforcement services.
2) They erect signs warning motorists they will be charged for stopping. The signs are so complex you can only read them if you stop.
[note; the sign might be out of date. Please email if you have a recent photo]

3) If you stop, a Proserve operative photographs your vehicle and then on behalf of the landowner makes an application to the DVLA for keeper details due to trespass.
4) Proserve are not a member of either of the two Accredited Trade Associations (the BPA Ltd or the IPC Ltd). They have therefore told the DVLA they do not provide parking enforcement services and are requesting the data for trespass.
5) Because they are not an ATA member, they have to submit paper applications, which take a while to process.
6) They therefore almost never get a Notice to Keeper to the keeper within the 14 day timescale required by the protection of freedoms act, which means only the driver can be held liable. To counter this they send a document to the keeper explaining that the government got it wrong and the 14 day limit does not apply after all.
7) Proserve explain to the keeper that as the motorist trespassed, the landowner now owes Proserve money; as the landowner has lost money due to trespass, the keeper must reimburse the landowner; Proserve are acting on behalf of the landowner to recover that money; once the keeper pays up, Proserve can give the money to the landowner so they can pay it back to Proserve.
8) At this point in time though, no money has changed hands and Proserve have not even invoiced the landowner. Proserve only invoice the landowner once the motorist pays up or if they decide to go to court.
9) If Proserve and the landowner decide to take the keeper to court, Proserve invoices the landowner and the landowner immediately pays up. Proserve can then file the invoice and payment as evidence in court.
10) In court, Proserve (acting on behalf on the landowner) asks for the money as a claim in contract even though they told the DVLA they would only use the data to pursue claims for trespass.
11) They are asking for damages to cover such items as kerb repair and Proserve costs. However, in court they produced a document showing the occupants of the landowner's estate pay a service charge to cover Proserve costs and are also responsible for estate upkeep.

Not surprisingly the judge found the whole thing fishy and dismissed the claim.

The landowner has decided to appeal. This is not surprising. If the result stands, they will be in an uncomfortable position. Large numbers of motorists will have paid them money which can now be reclaimed. This will leave them out of pocket, because it is unlikely that Proserve will reimburse the landowner. The landowner has also been adding VAT to the damages, which is not allowed. HMRC may well therefore be interested in reclaiming about £20,000.

Proserve are not laughing all the way to the bank though. As they have been deceiving the DVLA according to their own legal submissions, it is likely that their access to the DVLA database will be suspended, curtailing their operations. They are requesting data from the DVLA on the grounds of trespass, but are taking court action on the grounds of breach of contract. The court agrees the ground are breach of contract, if anything. By deceiving the DVLA in this way they sidestep the requirement of all parking operators to belong to an ATA. This means that their charges are far more than the maximum allowed by ATA's, and also means they do not have to provide access to an independent appeals service. This means they can turn down all appeals without really caring about the appeal content. it also means they are competing unfairly with all ATA members who have to pay large charges such as ATA membership fees, POPLA fees, etc.

Lastly, it seems that Proserve's Mr Duff has been impersonating a Mancurian lorry driver on pepipoo, in an attempt to try and persuade posters that Proserve's operation was legal. He was discovered when he provided information only Mr duff or the defendant would have known. Suspicions were already raised for some time when his posts morphed from worried lorry driver to armchair lawyer in the space of a few days.

See pepipoo for more details.

Happy Parking

The Parking Prankster


  1. The torpedo that is now running towards Duff and Proserve is a large one and it will send him and his extortion racket to the bottom within seconds if it hits home.

    I for one, have no sympathy for him and I trust his bailiff licence is now also in jepody too due to his errmm "economy" with the truth and his inability to understand legislation.

    All in all today has been a bit of a "Black Friday" in PPC Land what with the CEL demolition in court as well. The crushing of the "breach of contract" arguement puts paid to Perky's MO too; what a crying shame.

    As always RR.

  2. Another thing on that sign says that the landowner has given lawful authority to clamp and or tow, that's complete rubbish as the landowner has no lawful authority, and if it was tried IMO that would be a criminal offence

  3. funds to fight the appeal forthcoming, Hope they use the same barrister our other friends used!!

  4. It would useful if Prank' could do a flowchart showing how Proserve enforcement process is supposed to work. I think this would help the appeal judge and other 'trespassers'.

  5. as they have obtained the drivers details for the 700 cases illegally from DVLA , can they proceed? or maybe the DVLA should fine them £5000 every time there info is used

  6. Smacks of ACS Law scenario. Of course, when it does all collapse, ProServe will go into liquidation taking all the creditors with them.

  7. My colleagues and I at the DVLA can assure you that the DVLA views its obligations under the Data Protection Act as a potentially serious impediment and has therefore policies and procedures in place therefore to ensure data is only disclosed when it has been paid for.

    Provisions contained within the Road Vehicles (Registration and Licensing) Regulations 2002 provide for us to sell data to anyone who can demonstrate ‘reasonable cause’ for their request. Reasonable Cause is is not defined in law but a payment of £2.50 per request from private car park enforcement companies is considered, in all circumstances, to be a ‘reasonable cause’. The DPA could be a bit of a problem but fortunately, whilst our pals at the ICO are aware that personal data on the vehicle register is being sold this this way, they are quite happy to respond to any complaints with the phrase that "it is likely that the DVLA has complied with the Act"

  8. It's ok to say well at least this has been put to bed, but unless Mr Duffer is taken on and made bankrupt he has won. There is great unrest about the police/legal position of some of these companies on message boards, yet these cowboys persist. We need a landmark decision on these cases and I would be prepared to chuck a few quid into a hat to impoverish these ********ers.

  9. I am currently dealing with proserve - their latest trick if you do not pay the ticket is to ban the truck from the dock estate - infact they're in court right now, because they banned a whole firm of trucks and word is they're going to lose - I had the police out yesterday because they are behaving completely illegally - they didn't even have their SIA badges on display as is required - Stephen Duff, I believe, needs psychiatric help

    1. How have you got on with your ticket I got one this week and think I have to as the company I work for is scared of being banned from the dock

  10. Duff's back again.