ParkingEye's attempt to scam a driver out of £70 failed when the driver spotted that she had been charged not for the time her car was parked, but the time between her car entering the car park, and a different car exiting.
As any competent person can see, her car's numberplate ends with a 'K' while the other plate ends with an 'X'.
The full story is detailed in the Liverpool Echo
This is the second time this driver has been issued a bogus charge by ParkingEye, clearly showing their technology is not fit for purpose.
ParkingEye boast that each parking charge undergoes 19 checks before it is issued. No doubt they will now have to add a 20th check - that the car is the same for both entry and exit.
Parking companies like to maintain the fiction that ANPR is an infallible technology, when the reality is that it is anything but. In this case the Optical Character Recognition (OCR) software has misread the X as a K.
The government have realised ANPR is not up to scratch, and banned the use of ANPR for council car parks, but have not yet taken this one step further to regulate the use in private car parks.
There are responsible ways which car park operators can use ANPR. For instance, the Marlborough Hill car park in Bristol shows that given the right technology a car park can be run harmoniously with a minimum of charges issued. However, operators like ParkingEye do not use technology like this - presumably because it would hurt their profits too much.
According to ParkingEye sources, they operate their cameras at efficiencies anywhere down to 70%, which means that 3 of every 10 cars entering or leaving are incorrectly detected. This is measured by comparing the vehicles apparently entering against the vehicles apparently leaving. The Prankster believes this is unfair and that either government or the industry should set higher minimum operating standards.
It is likely that the driver, Diane Kinvig, now has a valid data protection claim against ParkingEye. They have used her data in a way which is clearly not fair or lawful, which violates data principle 1.
A valid claim would appear to be in the range £250-£600 per incorrect parking charge issued, or £500-£1200.
The Parking Prankster