A housing complex with parking problems found this to their cost recently. They needed parking control because their parking spaces were being abused by commuters and shoppers, but quickly found out what a toxic relationship they were in when complaints flooded in from residents. Apparently, the income from commuters and shoppers was not enough, so instead they resorted to ticketing late at night and also to ticketing spaces not covered by the contract.
The amateurishness of the operation is apparent from the fact they refused to cancel tickets on appeal for spaces not covered by the contract, but continued to issue even more tickets. When sending out appeal refusals they only sent information on appealing to POPLA online. Motorists without easy access to computers are therefore disadvantaged.
The evidence pack was quite frankly, one of worst The Prankster has ever seen, consisting more of a series of unstructured ramblings than any serious attempt to put together structured evidence. It did not even contain a copy of the charge notice, (although it is possible this was one of the zero byte files sent).
The appellant built their case mainly on the fact that the ticket was issued in an area where Park Direct was not contracted to operate, and also threw in that the charge was not a genuine pre-estimate of loss.
In reply the operator, rather bizarrely, asked for the appeal to be thrown out as they considered these reasons not to be valid reasons for appeal.
They also provided a copy of their contract, but this was more of a joke than a real contract. It did not comply in the slightest with the requirements detailed in the BPA Ltd code of practice.
POPLA refused the appeal on the grounds that...(wait for it)...the charge was not a genuine pre-estimate of loss. This neatly sidesteps any problems they may have had with finding the operator was not authorised to issue tickets. This means they do not have to report the operator to the BPA Ltd, and the BPA Ltd do not have to issue 10 sanction points.
The whole operation seems a shambles from start to finish, and unsurprisingly their contract has already been terminated.
Sadly although this resident got the unauthorised charge cancelled, and has two more in the POPLA pipeline, other residents paid up and still have not been refunded. The Prankster has heard that one young disabled lady, who is deaf and also pregnant received an invalid charge but paid up because she was worried and had nobody to turn to for advice.
The Prankster has now heard Park Direct consider the matter closed and have refused to refund her.
Potential customers of Park direct should take note of their behaviour when considering whether to award future contracts or continue with existing ones.
The parking Prankster