Monday, 5 October 2015

Independent Appeals Service hit by false evidence allegations

The Independent Appeals Service is the appeals service run by the Independent Parking Committee. It was recently awarded ADR Entity status by the Chartered Trading Standards Institute despite not meeting a number of the statutory requirements for an ADR Entities.

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

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.

Happy Parking

The Parking Prankster


  1. Replies
    1. Indeed, a 15 month "investigation" sounds like a pretty cushy junket for the folk involved. I wonder if they even bother showing up, or if they're always out "investigating"?

  2. In addition to what has already been said (I had a similar experience with an operator submitting false evidence in the form of a different sign to that displayed at the car park), the IPC attempt to gag the appellant:

    "You agree that the operator’s evidence, including any comments, documents or photo’s are made available to you in strict confidence. YOU MUST NOT DUPLICATE, PUBLISH, SHARE OR REPRODUCE THE INFORMATION IN ANY WAY without the prior written permission of the parking operator. Without prejudice to any other right arising from breach of this agreement, you agree to indemnify the parking operator and the Independent Parking Committee Limited in respect of any costs or other expenses howsoever caused for any breach, by you or any others with whom you provide this information, of this confidentiality agreement."

    When I complained to the IPC about the operator submitting fraudulent evidence, they were not interested:

    "The Independent Appeals Service (IAS) is unable to interfere with the decisions made by the Adjudicator, as this would compromise the independence of the service. Once a decision has been made, the decision is final and cannot be altered."

    Likewise, the DVLA showed no interest when I complained "A fair and transparent IAS must surely provide the opportunity for the appellant to respond to fraudulent evidence and to bring it to the attention of the adjudicator?" In response:

    "The Independent Appeals Service (IAS) adjudicators are entirely independent and impartial and appointed from a panel of qualified solicitors or barristers. They are expressly prohibited from exercising any favour or bias and are not accountable to the operator in any way in their adjudication of an appeal. This is in keeping with the professional standards they are required to meet in order to practice. Their decision is binding on the operators but not on the motorist who is always free to continue to contest a disputed charge. If any motorist feels dissatisfied with the adjudicator’s decision they can challenge this though the courts."

    1. 'If any motorist feels dissatisfied with the adjudicator’s decision they can challenge this though the courts.' The problem is that they cannot. They can only challenge the adjudicator’s decision if the PPC takes them to court. There is no option to take the IAS to court for delivering crooked judgements.

    2. So what happens when the rubbish mentioned in para. 2 is published? Do you get a Prevention of Confidentiality Charge (colloquially known as a PCN)? And let me guess, the publishing of said rubbish caused the operator to be out of pocket by around £100? Talk about if at first you don't succeed……..

      As M'learned Pranky says, don't deal with these monkeys in the first place but if you must then contract them up initially,
      "In dealing with this appeal both the operator and the IAS agree that any documentation produced is likely to end up plastered all over the internet so that the entire world can marvel at your galactic stupidity. The IPC further agree that their reputation is unlikely to be further tarnished as the level of rock bottom was achieved quite some time ago".

  3. £15 to appeal and the decision is binding on the motorist? That's.....that's genius. I can take a guess at exactly how this works without any need for any sight of the contract, and I reckon I won't be too far off:

    The motorist appeals. They pay to register their appeal, forming a contract which, unlike the original contract to park, is very easy to prove. The original parking charge of £100 magically disappears, never to be referred to again, and instead the PPC is "awarded" a completely separate £100 as part of the appeal contract.

    This allows the IAS to pursue the charge with no reference to the original parking incident whatsoever - they can rely entirely on the far easier to prove appeal contract.

    Hang on, no. That makes no sense. As an ADR, the IAS have no incentive to pursue a payment on behalf of the PPC. It would only work if the IAS was run by a bunch of baristas who had a vested interest in enforcing the new contract.

    1. You'd have to be mad to pay to appeal. I certainly wouldn't. They can take me to court, and be kicked to the kerb there, at their damn cost, and I'll have expenses back...

  4. My cousin is having problems with Excel parking in Chesterfield. They want her to use IAS and I've told her to ignore everything. Let Excel take her to court as she has all the photographic evidence and I think she should ask any court for compensation for harassment! Having read this blog and replies I am sure she should not use IAS. Thanks for the blog.

    1. Please contact me at for some specific advice which is not visible to everyone (including Excel) who might read the blog

  5. This is a great website which fundamentally changes the way in which democracy operates rather than in the hands of a few pranksters.

    I fully agree that the IAS lacks legitimacy and accountability in that it thoroughly fails due process, i.e., procedural fairness by giving the car park operator favour in submitting evidence.

    The IAS fails to address the misrepresentations made by the warden or the car park operator, and denies the motorist the opportunity to see the further submission of the car park operator, far less the opportunity to make response thereto. This is a classic case of procedural unfairness squarely putting the IAS in breach of due process.

    We together can make things happen collectively. If we put together our efforts to deal with the car park operator and the IAS, the future generation will definitely benefit, thereby preventing innocent people from being scammed and pranked by illegitimate businesses.

    why don't we give all our evidence to (if they so agree) in confidence and then we take collective action against the IAS, and the whole system of parking penalties. it is indeed ludicrous that most car park operators call them penalties, unfortunately our Supreme Court justices failed to hold them as penalties in the ParkingEye case. it is a shame that they so judged; they are sitting in the ivory tower earning good salaries and possibly huge consulting fees after they retire from the Court, without worrying about money, but they failed to see the extraordinary injustice inflicted by the car park operator and backed up by their so called rotten independent appeals service. Who can see justice in this - the parking fee for an hour is £1, then they charge 100 times, i.e., £100, for overstaying even a single minute. If the Supreme Court calls it justice, I do not and cannot, indeed, I do not see how any reasonable person would call it.

  6. I have recently been successful with my appeal to the IAS. As the parking company provided false evidence can I still take them to Court, despite them saying the case is now closed?