Tuesday, 1 November 2016

Smart Parking settle out of court for data protection contravention

Smart Parking have settled out of court for a data protection contravention.

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

Prankster Note

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 [2014] 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 [2013] 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.

Happy Parking

The Parking Prankster


  1. why have the DVLA and the BPA not sanctioned smart , the case was proved and paid out

  2. They won't want to upset the gravy train.

    1. however it should be followed up , lets see the DVLA wriggle out , the contractor (smart) has broken their KODOE agreement

  3. This is a correct application of the DPA S13 :)

    TLT and others v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2016] EWHC 2217 (QB) is a more recent fun one, as is Optical Express vs Information Comissioner at the First Tier Tribunal.


  5. Wondering if I should file against Parkingeye as they tried it on with me for an overstay that didn't happen... But they only canceled my charge as a gesture of good will. I was under the grace period agreed with the landowner (ldnpa) and have FOI and emails to prove that. But dvla a complicit as my complaint to them about releasing data without reasonable cause was rejected.

    1. I wouldn't waste your time. Sounds, from the brief summary there, that they had justification to obtain your details.

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  8. I just got a letter from Smart Parking saying they wont uphold my online appeal. Ticket was incoreectly issued as no parking violation occured - looking for advice - should I contact POPLA?

  9. is there a time limit that they have to wait for before they can access your details? as i read on a thread on one of these sites that said they are supposed to wait 29 days before getting your personal details from DVLA

  10. ive read on a previous thread on money saving experts site that parking companies are supposed to wait so many days before accessing personal details from DVLA is this true and if so how many days?

    1. Yes and no. For ANPR tickets, NTK must be received within 14 days. For windscreen tickets, NTK must be between day 28 and 56. Anything other than that and only the driver is liable, not the keeper