Sunday, 13 December 2015

ParkingEye system drivers shoppers away to rival centres

A report in the Worksop Guardian has confimed that ParkingEye's system is driving shoppers away to rival establishments.

Once shoppers get a parking charge they think twice about returning. A Worksop woman stated:
I don’t shop in Worksop any more after my family were hit by two £100 fines for picking someone up. We now go to Meadowhall where it’s free and we don’t get pictures taken of us. It’s invasive and you have to mess around imputing your registration into the machine, which you will get fined for again if you get it wrong.
It is clear that the system is not fit for purpose - there appears to be no genuine reason why a charge would be issued for picking someone up. This clearly indicates either the signs are deficient or the pay on exit system does not show the correct charge to be paid. Issuing charges for inputting a wrong registration is another trick used by the more disreputable end of the parking industry. Car park operators who offer a genuine parking management service have systems which detect when an incorrect number is entered, and help the motorist to enter a correct number. However, this greatly cuts down on the number of parking charges which can be issued. Parking companies such as ParkingEye rely entirely on income from  parking charges and use systems which are hard to use and maximise the number of errors a motorist can make.

The difference in management systems makes a huge amount to the number of charges issued. Freedom of Information requests show that managing a car park in a responsible way results in almost all motorists obeying the rules and so incurring no penalties. Conversely, farming car parks the ParkingEye way results in large numbers of charges being issued to the detriment of motorists, landowners and the general public.

ParkingEye's talent at farming car parks to maximise the ability to issue parking charges allowed them to increase their profit from the £1.7 million reported to the Supreme Court in the Beavis case to £4.8 million the following year (£3.6 million if a pro-rata adjustment is made to take into account the 2014 period is 16 months not 12). This is an abysmal track record if you consider that truly successful car park management is to achieve full compliance without the need to issue charges and alienate your customers, driving them away to rival establishments.

B&Q reportedly terminated ParkingEye's contract because they were driving so many customers away with aggressive enforcement. Once a new car park management company was installed, the customer base gradually returned.

Not everyone agrees with The Prankster's analysis of course. The manager of the Priory Shopping Centre, David Aunins, has defended Parking Eye’s car parking management, which he says is ‘safe and secure’.

It is not immediately clear to The Prankster why adding two ANPR cameras makes a car park either safe or secure, but perhaps if you are mugged while crossing the road at the exact moment a car is entering or exiting then the ANPR pictures can be used to catch your attacker.

Happy Parking

The Parking Prankster


  1. Maybe David Aunins gets a nice BUNG off PE 😱

  2. This was my local shopping centre, never park there at all, use the council car park next to it, no planning permission for the cameras, Bassetlaw council not concerned... just a money pit

  3. Since having to deal with PE in court I decided I wouldn't use any of the vendors on that particular retail centre for 12 months. 2 years later the only time I've since returned has been for an occasional McDonalds drive thru. At the 12 month mark I eagerly ordered a Dominoes having abstained and discovered I now prefer the local pizzeria and haven't ordered since. Shopping habits once changed don't easily change back, although as you say B&Q are seeing the opposite. I'm also aware this post makes me seem a junk food addict, but that's really not the case, there are retail outlets there too!

    1. I agree
      I now have a long list of company's who I will not shop with after they treated me so badly after receiving a parking ticket last year

  4. As the co-author of the report in the Worksop Guardian I should explain that my FoI request to Bassetlaw District Council uncovered that PE do not have planning permission for the ANPR cameras in the Priory Centre. The landowners, Columbia Threadneedle have not responded to my email asking them to investigate PE's 'management' of this car park.
    It is as I said to the reporter Sophie Wills a scam. A scam operated with the blessings of the Priory Centre management and the landowners who put illegal profits above customer care.


    2. Thanks for that.
      Bassetlaw DC is undertaking an inquiry (Allegedly)into the illegal ANPR cameras.I will be sending them a follow up email next week to find out the results of their investigations.

    3. Colin, been there a few months ago, they are not interested, it's not just there but a few locations in Worksop with ANPR, latest is Matalan.

  5. Should the ANPR cameras are found to be illegal,I wonder if PE will be forced to refund the poor unfortunates who payed up?

    1. @bob.

      The cameras ARE illegal. Cameras mounted on steel poles require planning permission.
      You've asked the question I've asked myself: Are the illegal invoices generated by PE's illegal cameras enforceable?
      Is it the case that as the cameras are illegal the contraventions did not take place?
      Perhaps someone more knowledgeable than me can give the answers?

    2. Probably not.

      The principle of ex turpi causa only applies to illegal acts where it would be unconscionable to permit a claim to succeed.

    3. @Mick.

      Thank you for that, I was not aware of it.
      However I did see this while looking at ex tupi causa.......
      "prevents the courts being used to obtain benefits from as a result of the claimant's own illegal conduct"
      Isn't the use of illegal ANPR cameras 'illegal conduct'?
      I'm not versed in this area of the law so I would be grateful if you can put more meat on this particular bone?

    4. Case law suggests that ex turpi causa will only apply where it would be an affront to the public conscience for a claim to succeed.

      It's unlikely, although possible, that the courts would see a failure to correctly apply for planning permission as an act of sufficient gravity to allow the defence to operate.

    5. Thanks for the explanation Mick.
      I have another question for you if you would be kind enough to provide an answer........
      Doesn't the operation of illegal cameras mean a breach of the DPA is effected in as much as the requests to DVLA for the RK's details are not 'just cause'?
      Isn't PE acquiring RK's details under false pretences because they do not have the rights to photograph vehicles in this location?

      Thanks for your responses so far.

    6. You could put it forward as an argument I suppose, but I don't think the ICO or DVLA will show much interest - as long as there is a valid contract in place with the landowner and there are signs (albeit not with planning permission) detailing the terms of parking, then if those terms are breached I expect the ICO/DVLA would consider there still to be enough for reasonable cause even where planning permission has not been sought (especially since the Council will often allow retrospective planning applications).

    7. @Mick

      Thank you for your answer.
      I've learned a lot from your posts about the machinations of PPPC's and the ways they bend the law for their own illegal purposes.

  6. if a parking company is in breach of the law it is also in breach of the BPA and IPC codes
    any company not adhering to a code of practice is also breaking the law

  7. "not adhering to a code of practice is also breaking the law"
    AIUI there is a difference between a CoP and the law as defined by statute.
    Breaching planning permission is an offence whereas a member of an association who breaches the CoP does not necessarily commit an offence punishable by the courts.
    The BPA only has powers to discipline/suspend a PPC because the BPA just that; An association not a legal body created or backed by any laws.

  8. The difference between 'hard' and 'soft' law