Saturday, 15 March 2014

DVLA Consumer Forum, January

The DVLA consumer forum minutes for January have been released

Some interesting events happened. The Prankster will translate the civil-servant double-speak for the benfit of the uninitiated.

The Chair welcomed representatives to the third meeting of the DVLA Consumer Forum on private parking management. He explained that the BPA had declined to attend on this occasion. The BPA had provided an explanation to the effect that they were not convinced that the independent members represented any constituency and that they had agreed to attend on the condition that only one independent representative would be present. Because two independent representatives had been invited, the BPA had declined to attend and had offered instead to discuss directly with DVLA any issues arising from the forum. 
Patrick Troy from the BPA Ltd threw his toys out of the pram. Apparently the chance to meet real motorists with real issues is not an appealing prospect to the BPA Ltd.

There was a discussion about whether pre-estimate of loss was actually relevant. A view
was expressed that parking management schemes based on contract law should turn on an acceptance of conditions for overstaying rather than a breach of contract, in which case loss is not an issue. The forum was interested in developing greater clarity over the different variations of car park conditions and methods used by companies with particular emphasis on signage, terms and conditions and whether they are affected by the need to demonstrate that charges constitute a genuine pre-estimate of loss. 
The paper discussed pointed out that parking companies who issued charges for breach of contract had to ensure their charges were a genuine pre-estimate of loss; however, no charges on the grounds of pre-estimate of loss has been allowed by POPLA. Therefore, all parking companies charging using this method had no basis for issuing their charges and their access should therefore be suspended from the DVLA. Will Hurley from the IPC stated that IPC members were not allowed to charge for breach of contract, and had to use the contractual charge method. As most of the BPA Ltd members issue charges for breach of contract it was perhaps unfortunate that the BPA were not there to represent their views.

Now that the DVLA have labelled this charging method 'not relevant' it remains to be seen what action the DVLA will take against those companies still using it. Luckily, man-of-action Robert Toft has been charged with writing a paper so no doubt the DVLA will be pulling their fingers out some time this century.

The Prankster was pointed to the following 'quotes', which seem extremely apt.

Sir Humphrey Appleby
It is characteristic of all committee discussions and decisions that every member has a vivid recollection of them and that every member's recollection of them differs violently from every other member's recollection. Consequently we accept the convention that the official decisions are those and only those which have officially recorded in the minutes by the officials, from which it emerges with an elegant inevitability that any decision which has been officially reached will have been officially recorded in the minutes by the officials and any decision which is not recorded in the minutes has not been officially reached even if one or more members believe they can recollect it, so in this particular case if the decision had been officially reached it would have been officially recorded in the minutes by the officials. And it isn't so it wasn't.
Doing nothing is always preferable to doing something
Happy Parking

The Parking Prankster


  1. Internet companies went through the same with ACS Law and the copyright scam. They dragged their feet over turning them away. Meanwhile, they collected their £7 (or whatever it was) per event. Funny that.