Monday, 20 July 2015

Independent Parking Company Sham exposed

If a motorist gets a parking charge from a British Parking Association member and appeals to POPLA, they can require proof that the parking company can enforce charges. The company is required to furnish proof, or lose the appeal. This is consistent with the rule of law in this country, which requires the claimant to prove their case.

The Independent Parking Company operate an appeals system more akin to a kangaroo court. In the IPC system the defendant, rather than the claimant is required is to prove their case. In recent cases the IPC barista's have dismissed appeals because the motorist could not prove the operator had no authority to issue charge. Of course, it is a logical impossibility to prove a negative, and therefore an impossibility to win an IPC appeal on this basis.

The IPC claim they audit all their members to make sure they have correct authority in place, but The Prankster has now had access to freedom of information requests which appear to show that is not true.

Armtrac Security Systems are a case in point. Armtract lost all POPLA appeals because they were never able to show they had correct authority from the landowner.

Fed up with the safeguards given to motorists by the BPA they left and joined the other bottom-feeders at the IPC, thus simultaneously raising the average standards in both organisations.

Armtrac will now win all IPC appeals. However The Prankster can reveal they do not have a written contract in at least one of their car parks, and none of the other contracts The Prankster has seen gives them authority to issue parking charges.

Here is a typical contract. This one is for the Price of Wales Pier, Falmouth. As you can read, the contract allows wheelclamping and towing away, but does not mention parking charges.

Obviously if this is the standard of the IPC audit of their members, we can expect a similarly shoddy contract coverage for all its other members.This does not stop Gladstones solicitors issuing claims on behalf of IPC members. Will Hurley and John Davies are members of Gladstones, and also directors of the IPC, and so there is a clear conflict of interest here. By failing to police IPC members correctly and putting in place a regime which ensures that appeals fail, they can then encourage their members to use Gladstones services in court. The Prankster understands that several thousand parking claims were filed by Gladstones last year.

Gladstones make money regardless of the validity of the claim, which is good for them, but not so good for their members. In the recent case of TESGB v Livesey the claim was thrown out because the parking company could not show they had authority from the landowner.

Gladstones are fond of quoting VCS v HMRC as basis for their claim that a parking contract exists regardless of whether the parking company has landowner permission or not. However, it is obvious this is a fallacy. If a parking company rocks up and slaps a parking sign on your door stating they you agree to pay them £100 if you park in your own drive, no judge would uphold the charge; they would not have landowner authority.

The situation is exactly similar in any car park. If the operator does not have authority, they cannot enforce charges. The Prankster is aware of a case where a rogue person rocked up and placed signs in a pub car park and started issuing charges without the landowner permission. Several motorists paid up and this is now the result of a Trading Standards investigation.

The flaw in the VCS v HMRC reasoning can be explained as follows. Here is the relevant quote from paragraphs 21 and 22:
21. The Upper Tribunal's reasoning on this part of the case was that since VCS did not have the right under its contract with the car park owner to grant a licence to park, it could not have contracted with the motorist to grant such a right. In my judgment there is a serious flaw in this reasoning.
22. The flaw in the reasoning is that it confuses the making of a contract with the power to perform it. There is no legal impediment to my contracting to sell you Buckingham Palace. If (inevitably) I fail to honour my contract then I can be sued for damages
The flaw in this reasoning is that it it the judge got it arse-faced. It is the parking company who are attempting to sell the motorist Buckingham Palace and not the other way round. Thus, as the judge points out, the motorist could sue the parking company.

However, the judge failed to complete the analysis. If the motorists detects that the con-man has no authority to sell Buckingham Palace, then can the con-man successfully sue the motorist? The obvious and correct answer is that they cannot.

The judge therefore got the analysis the wrong way round!

Happy Parking

The Parking Prankster


  1. Here is a case where crooks rocked up to a supermarket car park & slapped fake penalty notices on cars parked in disabled spaces. They pocketed more than £350K over the course of several years. The crooks involved where sent to prison.

  2. So any case referred for court proceedings should have offered ADR first of all and arbitration should take place with a recognised accpetable arbitrator such as POPLA which brings the ball back firmly into play.