Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Are the DVLA gearing up for legal action against ParkingEye?

ParkingEye have been operating at Southampton Town Quay since April 2012, and by July 2014 had issued 18,627 tickets. At £100-£110 a pop, this will have netted ParkingEye a cool £1.8 million if all were paid.

However, since October 2012 they have also been alleging that keeper liability applied at that site. This is of course untrue. The Protection of Freedoms Act 2012, schedule 4 describes that keeper liability only applies on relevant land, and that land where byelaws cover parking is not covered by the Act.

The Government guidelines (page 10) make this clear;

The provisions in Schedule 4 are intended to apply only on private land in England and Wales. Public highways are excluded as well as any parking places on public land which are either provided or controlled by a local authority (or other government body). Any land which already has statutory controls in relation to the parking of vehicles (such as byelaws applying to airports, ports and some railway station car parks) is also excluded
Southampton Town Quay is a port and has byelaws which cover parking, and therefore keeper liability does not apply - only the driver is liable to parking charges.

Despite this, and despite being warned several times by members of the public, ParkingEye continued to issues tickets stating keeper liability applies.

Amazingly the DVLA only became aware of this on the 5th August 2014 as this FoI request shows.

This was one day before The Prankster blogged about the situation.

The FoI request also shows that other information was requested, but is withheld by the DVLA in case anybody has broken the law.
The documentation you requested is held. However, DVLA considers it exempt from disclosure under section 31(1)(g) of the FOIA and in particular section 31(2)(a). DVLA believes that disclosure of the information requested would be likely to prejudice DVLA’s ability to exercise its function for the purpose of ascertaining whether any person has failed to comply with the law. 
The Prankster therefore wonders who the DVLA beleive might have broken the law. The obvious suspect is ParkingEye. By claiming that they can sue the registered keeper under PoFA when they can't there may be a tort of deceit going on.

Once the DVLA have finished looking at ParkingEye, they may also want to check out VCS and APCOA for claiming keeper liability at various airports, and AS Parking for claiming keeper liability on a council car park in Cornwall.

Happy Parking

The Parking Prankster


  1. So at last the DVLA may do something after finding this out, What about the BPA and all the POPLA appeals relating to relevant land and the authority to issue tickets at airports and ports?

  2. Let's hope justice is served :-)

  3. It would be nice to think that the DVLA would take legal action against ParkingEye.

    But in reality, unlikely to happen. PE make around 800,000 data requests annually at £2.50 a pop, which represents £2m into DVLA coffers. There are senior people whose jobs and bonuses depend on that, so it would be like turkeys voting for Christmas.

    The DVLA have been presented with shedloads of evidence of PE wrongdoing in the past, and have sat on their hands and done nothing. They may send them a stiff letter, but that's about all.

  4. Perhaps the DVLA will investigate the DVLA and the DVLA will conclude that the DVLA are doing nothing wrong as far as the DVLA can determine?

  5. They grew a pair of balls around the end of 2012, they banned access to their database from a number of companies. But they still did nothing with Parking Eye, I think I made about ten separate complaints around them and nothing was done. Their breaches were in some cases worse than the ones who got banned. I know as Excel and Roxburghe were banned on evidence I provided to the dvla. The reason why nothing is done is because of the £2m they make each year.