Sunday, 26 July 2015

POPLA 2015 report.

Henry Greenslade has released POPLA's 2015 report, the last one under the auspices of London Councils - next year POPLA transfers to the Ombudsman services.

Although Mr Greenslade and The Prankster have had their differences, on the whole they do see eye to eye on many issues. Obviously this does not stop The Prankster calling Mr Greenslade out from time to time, or Mr Greenslade getting his digs back in the annual report.

It is worth pointing out that if you do not have an independent person of high integrity like Mr Greenslade overseeing an appeals service, what you end up with is the IPC- a disgrace to the industry. The adjudicators are hand picked by solicitors from Gladstones, John Davies and Will Hurley, and the appeals service is structured in a way by John and Will that demonstrably makes it almost impossible for an appeal to succeed. It is no coincidence that Gladstones Solicitors have filed large numbers of court claims last year on behalf of parking companies. As John Davies and Will Hurley directly financially benefit from this, it does call the integrity of the IPC into question. It is no surprise that the IPC do not dare release an annual report. The Prankster has seen a number of IPC appeal results and concludes that the adjudicators have poor knowledge of the law regarding parking, poor knowledge of consumer law, and poor reasoning skills. The Prankster's opinion is that any assessor who is prepared to follow the rules the IPC imposes is not ethically fit to be a solicitor and should serious consider the morals of what they are doing.

The POPLA report shows that the number of successful appeals has risen from to 45% to 52%. One reason for this may be the rise of appeals companies who have an almost 100% record in winning POPLA appeals. As most parking charges are not legally issued for one reason or another, the appeals companies can get almost all charges cancelled. However, POPLA requires the appeal to be correctly structured and will not look themselves for a reason to cancel the charge - the motorist has to know what points to raise.

Mr Greenslade especially thanks the Senior Assessors, Shehla Pirwany and Christopher Adamson, The Prankster echoes that thanks and commends their sensible and consistent approach to assessments.

Mr Greenslade analyses the ParkingEye v Beavis case, and concurs with The Prankster that the verdict did little to improve clarity around parking charges, and that the verdict might not cover charges in fee-paying car parks.
It was neither improper in its purpose nor manifestly excessive in amount,
having regard to the level of charges imposed by local authorities and others for
overstaying in public car parks
As the level of charges imposed by local authorities is £25/£50 in most areas of the UK outside London, the verdict would not seem to be the silver bullet the parking companies hoped for.

Mr Greenslade warns about appeals companies. Although there are genuine appeals companies there have also been some fly-by-night ones which spring up, take money, and then disappear again.

Mr Greenslade refers to the continuing practice of operators to reject appeals without supplying a POPLA code. The Prankster considers that the operators have had enough time to get used to the rules; any operator continuing this practice should have the appeal automatically upheld.

Mr Greenslade analyses some of the intricacies around keeper liability, correctly pointing out that
there is no ‘reasonable presumption’ in law that the registered keeper of a vehicle is the driver
The Prankster contrasts this with the 'kangaroo court' run by the IPC, where the opposite is presumed. The Prankster considers there is no greater indication than an assessor is biased against the motorist that when they off their own bat quote 'Elliot v Loake' as justification that the keeper was the driver. The Prankster expects parking companies to quote this case, but any competent assessor should be able to identify this is not a relevant case.

The lesson to be learnt from this case is that if the owner lies that their vehicle was parked at home all night, but forensic evidence places it at the scene of a crash, that if they also state they had the only keys with them all night, but were not the driver, then they are also likely to be lying about that.

In other words, the common legal principle that if you lie in court, all of your statements are likely to be disbelieved.

Mr Greenslade points out that:
it is certainly a basic principle of a fair appeals service that each party is given the opportunity to see the other party’s case and to comment upon it.
The Prankster points out that the appeals service run by the IPC is therefore certainly not fair because only the operator gets to see the motorists evidence and comment on it. The motorist does not get to see the operator evidence or comment on it.

The IPC has recently made a small change to their procedures, and since April 2015 motorists have been allowed to see the operator evidence, but only after the appeal is over. The Prankster has seen that from information he has been provided with, operators regularly lie to the assessors and are allowed to get away with it. This backs up the BBC Watchdog program, which also revealed that IPC operators lie during appeals.

Mr Greenslade analyses grace periods and reasons why a one size fits all policy is not appropriate. This is consistent with POPLAs approach; in the past POPLA have allowed an appeal for an elderly motorist at the Range who took a long time to park and get the store doors, find it was closed and then leave.

Mr Greenslade gave examples of the deplorable behaviour of some parking companies at hospitals. The Prankster will run a separate blog on this issue. Unlike parking companies, The Prankster considers life threatening situations a good reason to override parking restrictions.

Mr Greenslade points out some of the problems with ANPR systems The Prankster believes the main trouble is the refusal by the operators to admit that ANPR is fallible.

Three operators were reported for sharp practices; ANPR and T R Luckins for trying to put motorists off appealing, and ParkingEye for delaying for months for no reason before rejecting appeals.

A number of operators won no appeals at POPLA. One operator won all appeals.

Happy Parking

The Parking Prankster


  1. Is Hank going over to the new mob? If not PATAS/LT could do with a new boss.

  2. The operator who won all appeals, are they they charging a genuine/reasonable GPoL or working another model?

  3. The operator who won all appeals, are they they charging a genuine/reasonable GPoL or working another model?

  4. Hi there, can you provide a link to where I can find this 'exact' quote as I'm struggling to find it on the link provided, or from the POPLA website:

    "there is no ‘reasonable presumption’ in law that the registered keeper of a vehicle is the driver"

    Many thanks