The Prankster apologies for the possibly misleading blog title. Obviously it is not possible for something with zero credibility to fall lower.
This case, reported on pepipoo concerns a motorist who visited a Parking Awareness Services car park. There were two signs which caught her attention. One said that the car park was in operation 24 hrs/day and the other that was hand-written said “All day parking £7” with no indication that the ticket would expire before midnight. She therefore spoke to the attendant and asked for an all-day Parking Ticket and specifically informed the attendant that she was visiting the Blackpool Pleasure Beach. The attendant did not at any time ask when the she intended to return. The car park was almost next door to the Pleasure Beach and the attendant would be fully aware that it did not close until 10 pm. The attendant did not at any time before or after issuing the parking ticket warn the motorist that it would expire at 7 pm. The Attendant, after writing the ticket himself, placed it in the windscreen without showing it to the motorist.
On returning after 7 the motorist was surprised to find a parking charge.
She therefore appealed to the operator, and when that was rejected to the Independent Appeals Service, which also rejected the appeal. The motorist, correctly realising that the IAS had all the characteristics of a kangaroo court, knew the decision had no validity and so decided not to pay.
The kangaroo court stated it was the motorist's responsibility to produce photographs of signage, which of course is a complete reversal of the ways courts behave; in a real court it is the claimant's responsibility to prove their case.
Matthew Wild of PAS, no doubt emboldened by the IAS decision, eventually plucked up enough courage after 8 months to file a court claim. He decided not to use Gladstone Solicitors, no doubt reasoning that he was perfectly capable of losing his own case, without the need to pay fees to Gladstones to lose on his behalf.
This duly happened, and the claim was dismissed on the grounds that no contract could have been formed. There was a lack of signs stating an expiry time, so as the motorist was not aware (and could not reasonably be aware) of the 7pm time limit on the ticket at the time they purchased the ticket, the terms of the contract were void. (Prankster note; the ticket was merely a receipt that could not introduce a new condition. Thornton v Shoe Lane Parking (1971) is case law which explains this).
Mr Wild therefore had to shell out an estimated £200 or more, but on the plus side he did get two very nice days out in Stoke, which no doubt made the whole thing worthwhile.
The IAS is a cruel joke on the less able members of the IPC, who have little or no knowledge of the legal areas around parking on private land. The IAS baristas are equally talented, which makes the situation something of the blind leading the blind. Winning an IAS appeal raises expectations of the parking operator that they actually have a case. As we see, a real judge takes the opposite view.
This does not help poor Mr Wild, who is now £200 lighter, albeit he may now have many happy tourist memories of Stoke. As he has also forked out £15 for the IAS appeal he might well be coming to the conclusion that this forum shopping malarkey is not all its made out to be.
If you think the IAS is a cruel joke on operators and the government should step in to put them out of their misery, consider signing Barry Beavis's petition.
The Parking Prankster