Saturday, 17 January 2015

POPLA competency called into question

The Prankster has been made aware of a POPLA case which calls into question the competency of the POPLA assessors and also the POPLA administration team.

As aside issue, the case also calls into question the competency of the car park operators, CP Plus, but then that was probably a given.

The motorist overstayed at a service station because of a breakdown. The car was at all times parked in the recovery area and not the main car park. The Prankster has some file pictures for this service station, and believes there are no signs whatsoever in the recovery area. The motorist was therefore unaware there was a time limit.

The Registered Keeper originally appealed with several reasons. However, one reason was that the Notice to Keeper was not compliant with the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012, and therefore keeper liability did not apply. The appeal was quite detailed, listing several reasons why the notice was not compliant.

The assessor just picked one of these reasons, and declined the appeal point without considering the full list of reasons. There were several other completely valid appeal points which the assessor bafflingly ruled against as well.

The Registered Keeper therefore asked POPLA to reconsider on the grounds they had not properly considered the appeal points.

POPLA replied they would not.

The keeper insisted.

POPLA declined.

The keeper pointed out they had never received an evidence pack from POPLA.

POPLA stuttered. Er...whoops.

They supplied the evidence pack. A short time was allowed for the motorist to rebut the evidence before the appeal was reheard. The motorist found it was closer in content to the inside of a cracker than a proper evidence pack. The signage map was from the wrong car park (the other side of the motorway). No photographs of signage in the area parked were supplied. The GPEOL explanation was copied from a different operator, and they had forgotten to change the name to CP Plus. The initial loss to the operator was stated to be a sum which was not due to the operator but to another party. Most of the GPEOL was due to appeal costs which only occur in 2% of cases. The Notice to Keeper was clearly deficient.

Any competent assessor could have upheld the appeal for a number of reasons.

The keeper send in the rebuttals and waited.

CP Plus complained that they had emailed the evidence pack to the keeper on time, and so the result should stand. The keeper replied he had not received it, it was not in his spam box, and if POPLA wanted to rely on an unsafe mechanism for evidence pack delivery where the operator emailed the motorist, then they should expect to have to hold a few rehearings now and then.

POPLA reconsidered the case with a new assessor.

Not surprisingly, the assessor ruled the NTK was not valid after all, for exactly the same reasons the keeper put forward in the first place. The parking charge was cancelled.

Prankster Note

This puts the whole competency of POPLA at issue. If the assessors cannot get the basic issues right such as the correctness of the Notice to Keeper, then this is a big concern. If the administrators will not allow a rehearing when the assessor has made a clear mistake, this is a big concern. If POPLA rely on operators to send out evidence packs this is a big concern. There are well known postal black holes at ParkingEye and Armtrac, let alone the other operators. Not one of the evidence packs sent to the Prankster by CP Plus were sent on the date they told POPLA, giving The Prankster an unfairly short time to rebut the evidence.

The Prankster wonders how many other appeals have been lost due to errors by the assessors. There needs to be a proper system where assessor errors can be fixed.

Happy Parking

The Parking Prankster


  1. There also need to be in person appeals so that administrators can have their attention drawn to vital evidence.

  2. Is this due to cut backs because Mr Troy won't give POPLA any more money?

  3. To be fair, I had a large number of CP Plus appeals and the evidence packs were sent out by Royal Mail on the date mentioned in the pack and arrived shortly later. But I don't know if this has changed since...

    But of course, POPLA is not prone to failure and the fact that their admin staff is denying rehearings after obvious errors is shambolic. But then you're talking about the private parking industry, what do you expect?