Recently The Prankster asked for members of the public to refer controversial decisions to him, and a disturbing trend has emerged; in almost all cases the motorist has stated that the operator has provided false evidence to the appeals service. In some of these cases the motorist subsequently complained to the IPC and also the lead assessor of the IAS but either no reply was received or no action was taken.
The fact that operators provide false evidence in appeals will come as no surprise to viewers of BBC Watchdog. The BBC sent an undercover reporter to an operator, believed to be PCM UK. One of their employees was caught on camera admitting that they made up stuff for appeals most of the time. The IPC have taken no apparent action, despite the admission of fraud by the operator.
The trend continues to this day. A sampling of the evidence motorists claim is fraudulent contains the following
- Excel Parking claiming to the IAS that the charge is a contractual charge while in court claiming the charge is for breach of contract. This may be fraud against HMRC; claiming a charge is for breach avoids payment of 20% VAT, thus significantly boosting income.
- Vehicle Control Services claiming to the IAS that the charge is a contractual charge while in the pre-action protocol claiming the charge is for breach of contract.
- Wardens claiming in a signed witness statement the motorist did not come and ask for assistance when the motorist says they did
- Wardens claiming they did not talk to the motorist when the motorist says they did
- Wardens submitting photographs which do not back up their story and therefore may have been doctored in the same way as in the UK Parking Control scandal
- Vehicle Control Services claiming at airports that motorists passed a large number of signs facing the motorist when Google StreetView shows that the signs are at 90 degrees to the road and therefore cannot be seen while driving
- Vehicle Control Services claiming at airports that current byelaws are not in effect because they are obsolete
A condition of an ADR Entity is that they allow both parties to see and report on the other parties evidence. This is a fundamental condition of fairness. Here is the relevant condition from Schedule 3 of the statute:
7(b) provides a party to a dispute within a reasonable period of time, upon request, with the arguments, evidence, documents and facts put forward by the other party to the dispute, including a statement made, or opinion given, by an expert;
(c) ensures that the parties may, within a reasonable period of time, comment on the
information and documents provided under paragraph (b);
The IAS does not allow the motorist to comment on operator evidence, and is therefore in breach of the statutory requirements for ADR Entities. Here is the statement from their FAQs
the operator is provided with 5 working days to provide written representations and evidence in support of their response to you. You will be notified by email when this has been submitted and the case will then be placed before an adjudicator for a decision to be made.
Please note, you are not able to respond to these submissions but you can view them by logging into the system
The IAS have stated that for some classes of appeals, decisions will cost the motorist £15 which is non-refundable even if they win, and will be binding on the motorist.
The Prankster considers that any motorist would be barmy to take up such an offer, given that operator's have been accused of routinely submitting false evidence, that the motorist has no right of reply to this and that there appears to be no effective complaints procedure.
John Davies and Will Hurley appear to have created a system by which operators can lie and get away with it, and there is no apparent censure by their trade association, the Independent Parking Committee. This is extremely worrying and The Prankster calls on the DVLA and the Chartered Trading Standards Institute to investigate further, and also to suspend ADR Entity status from the IAS until they meet all the statutory requirements.
The Prankster can confirm that the DVLA have been investigating the IAS since May 2014 but have so far not completed their investigation.
The Parking Prankster