Sunday, 30 November 2014

Patrick Troy admits private parking charges are penalties

This article in the Sunday Times discusses the appeal services offered by The article is also discussed on MSE here.

Patrick Troy, CEO of the British Parking Association Limited,  expressed his views on the situation.
There is a danger with these websites because they make people believe that they can get them off parking tickets, but if they did park in the wrong place, then they should pay the penalty." 
Under UK Law, only the Government can impose penalties, and herein lies the problem with many private parking charges. The doctrine of penalties in UK Law provides that if a contract is breached, the aggrieved party has a right to be put back in the position they would have been in had no breach occurred. Over the last few years, parking companies have revealed to POPLA and the courts that their average cost per ticket issued is around £20. They are therefore shooting themselves in the foot by charging £100. This immediately establishes the charge is a penalty and therefore makes it unenforceable in law.

This is the basis on which the ParkingTicketAppeals works. Private parking companies can therefore immediately make their charges enforceable by reducing the charges to around £20. This would cause services like ParkingTicketAppeals  to go out of business.

The BPA previous required its members to comply with the usual interpretation of the law. Its code of practice stated that all charges must be a genuine pre-estimate of loss. However, most of its members flagrantly disobeyed that requirement. Large numbers of complaints were received from motorists regarding this, but not a single sanction point  was issued for breaching this rule. Instead, the BPA changed the code of practice to remove the requirement. The new code requires that charges are 'commercially justified'.

The Parking industry is attempting to get the interpretation of the law changed, and there is a test case due to be held in February 2015 in the court of appeal; ParkingEye v Beavis. The Parking industry will be arguing that there will be parking chaos if the interpretation is not changed, and that although it only costs them around £20 per ticket issued, they must charge £85 to introduce a deterrent.

The Prankster would point the court of appeal to the following facts.

1. £16 appears to be a sufficient deterrent. ParkingTicketAppeals state they get very little repeat business
2. Scotland, where the law is different because only the driver is liable, does not have parking chaos
3. There was not parking chaos in England and Wales before the law changed in October 2012
4. There is not parking chaos in other countries
5. There are parking companies which charge £20 per ticket and who run a thriving business. It is therefore not necessary to charge £85 to have a viable business, and to provide sufficient deterrent to stop motorists transgressing.

Prankster note

As previously reported, the person running ParkingTicketAppeals changed on Friday. The two people originally running the service are no longer involved. The Prankster has contacted the new person to find their experience in parking appeals but has had no reply. The Prankster is therefore reserving judgment on the effectiveness of their service going forward for the time being.

Happy Parking

The Parking Prankster


  1. Many PPCs try to charge motorists £100 and not the so-called "loss" suffered by the PPC. Where does that £100 figure come from? It comes from the BPA Ltd. who recommended that figure as it mirrored (according to the BPA) council penalty charges. Of course they were comparing apples to oranges. Council charges are enshrined in law by means of TOs while PPC's figures are just plucked out of the air.

    Then you have to ask, who's losses? the landowner's or the PPC's?

  2. Even the argument for a £20 charge doesn't stack up. If the the aggrieved party has a right to be put back in the position they would have been in had no breach occurred, then there's no need to issue a charge in the first place surely!

  3. This £20 charge completely misses that the landowner rarely suffers any loss at all. Charges are frequently handed out for minor breaches, such as a 15 minute overstay when the carpark is empty, or there is no parking charge.

    At the end of the day, of the car park owners really want to control parking, rather than trying to make a profit from the parking charges, they should install barriers.

    P.S. Thanks for the Parking Eye example defenses, PE didn't even go to POPLA once confronted with one!

  4. The land owner rarely gets any recompense for their so called loss.That goes straight into the pocket of the PPC who offer to "manage" the car park for free as long as they get all the dosh. Aldi, for one, have confirmed that several times on their FB page.

  5. And I thought Mr Troy was a compulsive liar, certainly when faced with a parliamentary committee, but here he is, telling the truth for once. Well done Mr Troy!

  6. I have now had a reply from the new person running PTAS. This has allayed at least some of my concerns, and I will be continuing to monitor the situation.

  7. What losses? There wasn't a single parking spot to be found at the Metrocentre yesterday so people were parked on the roadside without causing any obstruction.
    Guess what?
    Got it in one.
    There were 3 of the buggers all rushing around in a feeding frenzy sticking tickets on windscreens. Maybe people should just stop visiting these places altogether. That'll be a landowner loss to be reckoned with.

  8. Perhaps the penalty digits in question are osteopathic rather than financial.