Saturday, 5 April 2014

ParkingEye lose in court - ANPR system fatally flawed. Failed to detect two visits

ParkingEye v Griffiths 3JD10885 (04/04/2014, Edmonton County Court). The judge dismissed the claim because the defendant visited twice and ParkingEye's ANPR system failed to pick that up.

Ms Griffiths, if you read this, please contact The Prankster who would like to fund the purchase of the transcript. This is an important judgement which will help many other cases The Prankster is currently helping with.

This case was reported by an observer. All we have to go on was that this person was bald, and his mere presence and eagle-eye caused the ParkingEye lawyer, Ms Prentiss to run away into a conference room for several minutes with her phone. Presumably she was phoning Nick Lester to warn him to keep well away. For the sake of argument, we will call this mysterious person, 'Bald Eagle'.

Bald Eagle was available to give help if necessary, but Ms Griffiths seemed extremely well prepared, quite at ease in the court environment and perfectly able to handle the case herself.

The judge listed the points of the case he wanted to discuss, which were:

1. ParkingEye's rights to charge, i.e did they have the conferred rights of the land owner to recover parking charges

2. Signage, on the basis that it was mounted too high and the small print on it was too small

3. Whether there was a Genuine Pre-estimate of Loss

4. ParkingEye to prove that this was a single event whereby she had overstayed by 14 minutes when she had in fact visited the same car park on two separate occasions that day

5. ParkingEye had given no indication that they would issue proceedings. (Prankster Note. This probably meant that this was one of the large number of their 'Letters Before Action' which seem to go astray)

6. ParkingEye's violations under the Equalities Act.

Ms Prentiss replied along these lines:

1. The agent had signed a witness statement that proved ParkingEye's right to take court proceedings on behalf of the landowner.

2. Photos submitted in evidence by ParkingEye together with a map of positions of signs were sufficient to prove that the Defendant had every opportunity to refuse to enter the contract but failed to do so. Ms Prentiss argued that it is for the driver to study the small print once parked

3. It is not a penalty and ParkingEye are not profiteering. No siree, profiteering is not the thing ParkingEye are doing. Even though they operate at a substantial profit. To conclude, ParkingEye are not profiteering. The DJ indicated that ParkingEye had supplied some figures in its evidence pack and that he would consider them at the appropriate time. (Prankster's note. ParkingEye's accounts show they made 30% profit in 2011/12, although profits for 12/13 are down)

4. Ms Prentiss maintained that the photos proved that this was one parking event. The Defendant had said in her defence that she had made two visits to the same car park that day (Brent Cross South) and that in between visits she and her passenger had gone across the North Circular to another car park.

The DJ immediately seized on this and said that he wanted to hear evidence on it before considering any other points raised in the defence. He quite correctly pointed out that if ParkingEye could not satisfy him that this was one parking event and not two, he would be satisfied that the claim was not proven and would dismiss the claim.

The Defendant, with the help of the DJ, established a credible time line of events that on the balance of probabilities (those who know the law will know this is the test applied in civil proceedings) the Defendant had not parked for one single period of 3 hours 14 minutes, but had received two photographs from ParkingEye, the first of which was taken on entering the car park on the first visit and the second of which was taken on her departure on the second visit.

Game over. Claim dismissed.

The DJ did make a comment along the lines "I have dismissed the claim on these grounds and therefore have no need to consider any of the further grounds put forward by Ms Griffiths, although I do consider them most interesting.

Bald Eagle then wandered back to his vehicle to find a parking charge of his own on the windscreen, so may find himself back in the same court in a year or so's time.

Prankster Note

ParkingEye's ANPR systems are fatally flawed because they do not record every entrance and exit. They do not have x-ray capabilities so if a numberplate is obscured by a pedestrian or other vehicle, then errors occur. The fact that ParkingEye are prepared to go all the way to court when they are perfectly aware of their system's shortcomings is a damning indictment of their attitude towards parking management.

Happy Parking

The Parking Prankster


  1. Not that I would encourage anybody to do this, but surely anybody entering a car park who overstayed their time could simply obscure their number plate on their exit from the car park. As long as they are displaying the number plate when they get onto the road they are committing no offence. Parking Eye must have plenty of instances where they detect a vehicle entering a car park but do not detect the exit, and vice versa. If they were an honest company they would admit this.

  2. Good result HOWEVER......
    the judiciary seem to miss the whole point of the provisions in PoFA as regards
    the right to take action.
    It doesn't matter a jot if PE can produce a contract allowing them to take action. They don't have the right to offer a parking contract to the driver as an independent entity. Simple?
    But why don't the courts pick up on this fact?

  3. This kind of flaws that go totally undetected are unacceptable, i think it was on good grounds that they lost in court. A system is supposed to do that its made for, PROPERLY. gatwick meet and greet