The claim concerned a parking event at Fistral Beach. The motorist paid for a ticket and entered their registrations details correctly in the parking machine. Despite this, Smart Parking applied to the DVLA for keeper details and issued a parking ticket.
The motorist appealed and Smart Parking refused to cancel the charge. The motorist asked for contact details of a senior executive but was refused. After much time and effort he eventually found contact details at companies house and wrote to three top executives at which point the charge was finally cancelled.
As Smart Parking had obtained keeper details from the DVLA when no parking contravention had occurred, and had falsely insinuated a charge existed, they were misusing the personal data of the motorist and causing harassment and distress. The motorist therefore wrote asking to be reimbursed.
Smart Parking replied "Smart Parking Ltd are not liable for any costs incurred as a result of the motorist disputing or pursuing the charge".
The motorist therefore filed a claim in the small claims court for £250, plus £25 filing costs.
Compensation for distress and harassment
caused by Smart Parking's misuse of personal
information obtained from the DVLA contrary
to the principles of the Data Protection Act
(DPA) 1998. Specifically, Smart Parking's
surveillance equipment and procedures for
gathering and processing data collected are
not fit for purpose as required under the
A short time later, Smart Parking sent a cheque for £275 to settle the claim
Parking Companies issue charges like confetti. In the ParkingEye v Beavis case, ParkingEye admitted they cancel 65% of appealed tickets. POPLA statistics show another 45% of tickets appealed there are cancelled. Most charges are therefore not valid. Sadly, parking companies do not learn from their mistakes and continue to wrongly issue tickets without changing their processes.
When a ticket is issued but no contravention has occurred, the parking company may be causing a data protection violation by misusing personal data obtained from a DVLA to wrongly assert a charge is payable.
When this happens, Vidal-Hall v Google  EWHC 13 (QB) establishes that misuse of personal data is a tort and that damages that damages for a breach of the DPA could include non pecuniary damage.
The case of Halliday v Creation Consumer Finance Ltd  All ER (D) 199 provides authority that a reasonable sum for compensation would be £750.
Motorists have up to 6 years to file a claim.
The Parking Prankster