Tuesday, 28 March 2017

ParkingEye lose - no proof machines were working at Royal Free Hospital

ParkingEye v Mr H C7FC6J8D 28/3/17

Mr H purchased a ticket for what he thought was the correct amount at the Royal Free Hospital. ParkingEye disagreed. He appealed to POPLA. POPLA did not uphold his appeal.

ParkingEye therefore took Mr H to court.

The hearing

Mr H had very little to do. The judge started off by saying that it was up to the claimant not the defendant to prove their case. He said that as Mr H was saying that he had tried to pay, but either the payment machine was faulty or that the signage was in error, it was up to the claimant to prove that this was not the case.

Because the Parking Eye witness didn’t appear in person it was left to their solicitor to argue their case. She could only rely on the papers in front of her and as these didn’t contain any information to show that the machine was working properly, the judge found in Mr H's favour.

The judge wasn’t interested in anything else (Beavis, Cargius etc) and said that Parking Eye’s evidence was ‘just a lot of white noise’. It all seemed a little random. Perhaps a different judge would have come to a different conclusion.

Happy Parking

The Parking Prankster

Gladstones discontinue Heath Parade scam site claim

Gladstones have discontinued yet another claim for the notorious Heath Parade scam site.

The motorist used a defence based on the Prankster's earlier report on the site.

Will Hurley of Gladstones and the IPC had this to say of the Prankster "your comments and
approach lack any objectivity or credibility".

Obviously a man who takes money from his clients when he knows the claim has no validity is in the perfect position to make comments about credibility.

PCM UK, you've been Gladstoned!

Happy Parking

The Parking Prankster

Monday, 27 March 2017

Prankster Blog gets 3 millionth hit

Parking seems to be a hot topic at the moment.

The blog got its 3 millionth hit today.

Happy Parking

The Parking Prankster

Sunday, 26 March 2017

BW Legal discontinue Albert Street claim

VCS v Ms C C8DP37CH. Claim discontinued

VCS have instructed BW Legal to discontinue yet another claim for car parking at Albert Street, Birmingham.

The problem VCS have is that the signage at Albert Street historically was in the name of Excel Parking services.

After discussing the claim with The Prankster, Ms C pointed this out in a robust letter to BW Legal.

Dear BW Legal,

I note that the signage at Albert Street at the time of parking was in the name of Excel Parking Services and not your client, VCS. Any contract made by the driver would therefore have been with Excel. Your client is therefore not a party to any contract and has no standing to bring a claim.

I therefore look forward to receiving your notice of discontinuance within 7 days.

If you fail to cancel the hearing I will ask for my full costs under 27.14(2)g

This will include my full time spent on this matter at the litigant in person rate of £19/hour.

I refer you to the following blog posts, which confirm you are well aware of this matter from other cases.

I will make the court aware of these blog posts should you proceed to a hearing, as well as these cases which you are fully aware of.

VCS v Zozulya A8QZ6666
VCS v Ms M 3QZ53955 

VCS v Ms A C6DP7P37 claim dismissed.

BW Legal took a little longer than the 7 days, but a notice of discontinuance has now arrived.

Future Albert Street motorists can therefore send the same letter to BW Legal, but add in the link to this blog and the claim reference VCS v Ms C C8DP37CH.

Prankster Notes

The Prankster questions the morals of VCS owner Simon Renshaw-Smith for filing claims when he knows he has no standing to do so. Presumably he hopes the motorist will either be scared into paying up, or that if it goes to a hearing, neither the motorist or judge will realise the signage is in the wrong name.

The signage is now in the name of Vehicle Control Services. This matter only relates to historical parking events.

Happy Parking

The Parking Prankster

Coxeter House get rid of UK CPM due to shambolic enforcement.

Coxeter House is a retail site in Abingdon with a number of businesses and a car park of about 40 spaces.

Due the the size of the car park the landowners (Coxeters Ltd) desired that it only be used by genuine customers of the shops, and not by motorists who wished to park and go elsewhere. This is of course a perfectly reasonable desire on the part of Coxeters. There were historical problems with people parking and then leaving the site and customers not then being able to find a parking space.

They therefore contacted UK Car Parking Management who suggested they put in an unmanned solution where ANPR records vehicles entering and leaving, and customers record their genuineness by entering their registration on tablet computers held within the shops. In theory this all sounded fine, but in practice the system proved unworkable.

UKCPM had limited previous experience with systems of this type. The tablets were cheap and cheerful no-brand models and would continually break down. Large numbers of charges were incorrectly issued to genuine customers. The management team contacted the parking company who wrote back agreeing to cancel all incorrectly issued charges if Coxeters asked them to cancel.

However, the situation did not improve, and Coxeters found themselves spending huge amounts of time getting charges cancelled for their customers.

During the short period of 7 months the system was in operation, over 1,500 incorrect charges were issued, including to the directors of Coxeters, their tenants and their customers. This had the potential to harm their business and Coxeters therefore decided that UKCPM could no longer manage the car park. They tried to enter into dialogue, but UKCPM then became unresponsive.

In order to protect their customers, Coxeters turned off the power supply to the ANPR cameras. UKCPM then removed the cameras. After a number of letters threatening to sue, UKCPM backed down - but only for a little while.

There were still a large number of outstanding charges, and it appears the parking company then began to commence court proceedings only against motorists identified as genuine customers, and not those issued to people who should not have parked. To date UKCPM have not provided any evidence that this is not the case.

Aided and abetted by Gladstones Solicitors, they are now in the process of taking these customers to court.

This is of course totally against the wishes of the landowners, totally against the brief given to the parking company, and totally against the contents of the communications promising to cancel charges when instructed.

Coxeters wish to assist any genuine customers who have been caught up in this debacle. If you are a customer threatened with legal action, or who has a court claim, please contact

Prankster Notes

Although there are about 200 parking companies registered with the trade associations, The Prankster only gets complaints about a very few. Sadly UKCPM are one of these, and it looks as if Coxeters picked a dud. Had they picked a different company, things could have turned out better. Meanwhile Coxters have turned to a manual patrol system operated by rhemselves and this seems to be working well.

Happy Parking

The Parking Prankster

Michael Schwartz suspended for 5 years

The full report is here

Previously the SRA ordered that Mr Schwartz be suspended from practice as a solicitor for a period of 5 years from 9 September 2016, but that the suspension be suspended for 5 years from the same date subject to compliance with the following restrictions imposed by the Tribunal on the
Respondent’s practice as a solicitor.

Mr Schwartz failed to keep to the restrictions, and during the course of giving live oral evidence to the Tribunal during the hearing which took place on 22 December 2016 Mr Schwartz admitted:

  • that he had deliberately and knowingly breached the restrictions on 14 September 2016;

  • that he had then lied about having done so in a witness statement provided to the SRA and to the Tribunal at the December hearing.

The Tribunal therefore decided to activate the 5 year suspension.

Mr Schwartz is therefore suspended for 5 years from 9 September 2016

Prankster Notes

The issue of whether Mr Schwartz actually signed any of the witness statements he claimed to on behalf of Civil Enforcement Limited remains unresolved

The issue of whether Mr Schwartz invoiced for and was paid £50 to file numerous claims on behalf of Civil Enforcement limited remains unresolved

The issue of whether Mr Schwartz took any part in filing claims on behalf of Civil enforcement Limited remains unresolved
Happy Parking

The Parking Prankster

Saturday, 25 March 2017

Overstone Court test case adjourned due to a procedural issue

The test case to examine whether tickets issued by Link Parking to residents and visitors parking in their own spots at Overstone Court, Cardiff was heard on 24/3/2017 at Cardiff Court, being listed for an all day hearing.

There were three defendants, two represented by John Wilkie and one by themselves. Martin Gardner of Link Parking attended and was represented by Mr Nash. Mr Nash, although legally qualified, did not possess rights of audience and was therefore appearing as a lay representative, charging Link £450 + VAT.

The hearing was in front of DDJ Pratt in Cardiff.

Rights of audience were discussed. DDJ Pratt ruled that there was no impediment to a lay representative charging for their time, and Mr Nash was therefore allowed to continue.

The next item was a procedural matter to do with one of the defendants. The court had failed to deal with this, despite this being filed back in January and served on the court, Link Parking, and their solicitors, Gladstones. The defendant's father testified in the witness box that he had served the papers on the court by hand, and on Link and Gladstones by first class post.

DDJ Pratt decided he did not have enough evidence to decide on the matter, and therefore adjourned the hearing for the parties to submit more evidence. The hearing was rescheduled for the next available slot in 35 days time, reserved to himself. Costs were reserved.

Prankster Notes

This is not the first time in these related cases that Cardiff court have failed to deal with procedural matters raised. In fact, this is at least the third time. There have now been 4 hearings, all of which could easily have been avoided if Cardiff court had got their act together and dealt with them prior to the hearing. This has caused a huge amount of wasted court time, and also wasted time and expense for the claimant and defendants. This is of course, taxpayers money which has been wasted, and there has now been around one and one half valuable court days thrown away by Cardiff court.

It is noted that the behaviour of Link and Gladstones have not helped, being obstructive at all times, even when previous similar matters have been decided against them. In a similar case, a DJ in Cardiff was extremely critical of Wright Hassall for not using case management to combine dozens of similar parking cases.

The hearing was adjourned because DDJ Pratt decided the issues raised by all defendants were interlinked, and he could not stop hearing one case while continuing with the other two.

The Prankster considers this to be an error. For instance, there have been and are still many cases concerning Overstone Court still continuing in Cardiff court, also raising the same issues in defence, and DDJ Pratt did not seek to make an order staying or combining those cases.

The Prankster considers that the case could still have gone ahead with two defendants, thereby avoiding the waste of court time. In the interest of efficient case management the court could have removed the third defendant. Thus all the major issues could have been dealt with on the day and without wasting court time.

The specific issues raised by the third defendant, which are only applicable to them, could then have been dealt with in a short second hearing if the parties wished to continue based on the results of the first hearing.

As a general note, Link Parking are a huge burden on Cardiff court. In 2016 the court with the most parking cases heard by any one court for any one parking company was Cardiff, hearing 94 Link Parking cases. The next biggest number was ParkingEye, with 49 cases in Manchester.

As these Link cases are mostly for the same sites with the same issues raised in defence The Prankster considers that Cardiff are missing a trick by not using their case management powers to combine hearings.

Happy Parking

The Parking Prankster

Thursday, 23 March 2017

UKPC announce new bonus scheme

This video explains UKPC's new bonus scheme.

Bonuses based on quantity of tickets issued are banned by the BPA.

9.4 Effective from 1st October 2015, the practice of offering financial incentives to AOS parking attendants/wardens which relate to the quantity of PCNs issued by them, should be prohibited within all new employee contracts

UKPC appear to be trying to get round that restriction by basing the bonus on the number of tickets issued, less the costs of incorrectly issued tickets. UKPC also appear to be trying to get round the regulations by referring to the scheme as profit related pay, rather than number of tickets issued.

Of course, the main and only real way a warden can influence profit is by issuing as many tickets as possible. In the video, UKPC explain how a warden can do this by using head office statistics to find the car parks and times when they can issue the most tickets. They also explain how to maximise tickets issued by minimising journey time between sites.

The new bonuses scheme allows wardens to increase their salary by paying a percentage of the revenue generated, minus costs. Of course, the only way to increase revenue, is to issue more tickets.

As long as tickets are correctly issued, costs are almost completely out of control of the warden. Each warden is their own profit centre, with costs of appeals and POPLA and legal action against UKPC deducted. Expenses are also deducted. Other costs are wages, wallets and printer rolls, sending paperwork, and DVLA enquiries. For correctly issued tickets, these are out of control of the warden.

No other way of increasing the bonuses other than maximising tickets issued is discussed, and it is therefore clear to the Prankster that the new scheme falls foul of the BPA code of practice as it is based primarily on relating to the quantity of PCNs issued.

The scheme is described as the "biggest shift in the history of UKPC".

Wardens can increase salary from £14,950, to £19,940.

The Prankster notes a clever psychological trick is used when these figures are shown to wardens. The £19k figure is displayed as £19,940.44. Because the number has more digits, this make it look like a much larger figure than the previous one.

Happy Parking

The Parking Prankster

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Link parking lose Lakeshore case. Permit was displayed

Link Parking v H C5GF86CX. Bristol 20/3/2017

Mr H parked at his own residence and displayed a permit. He appeal, but the appeal was ignored. He also responded to the letter before claim, but was ignored.

Link Parking decided to take him to court anyway.

The Hearing

The judge ruled that they had broken their own procedures in not engaging with Mr H.

The case rested on whether or not placing the permit in the rear windscreen was a violation of the parking terms. The judge ruled it wasn't.

Prankster Note

There are a large number of Lakeshore residents who have been the victim of Martin Gardener's unscrupulous and underhand tactics.

Although Link Parking were not specifically mention in yesterday's debate in parliament, it is clear that MPs are worried about the practices of companies such as Link Parking and their owner Martin Gardener.

Happy Parking

The Parking Prankster

ES Parking Enforcement lose in Bury. Court protocol not followed

ES Parking Enforcement v Mr X. 22/3/17 Bury.

Defendant Court Report

When I got to court it was not busy as Bury court closes on Friday and moves to Bolton.
There were 6 cases listed for 2 judges.

The case before me was also against ES Parking Enforcement through Gladstones and I chatted to him. He went in first and came out less than 5 minutes later. I don’t think he won.

When I went in I was surprised it was in the full court with the judge in isolation on the bench.

DJ Osborne asked me if I was the Defendant and I said yes. He already knew the solicitor as I think she’d just won the previous case to me for ES Parking.

He asked her to open and she said the case rested on the fact that I was presumed to be the driver and that I had failed to pay and display a valid parking ticket in the windscreen despite clear and prominent signage. As I had chosen not to to name the driver I was still liable as by using my car it implied permission was given to accept all the terms of the contract. She asked to judge to award in their favour.

The judge then asked me clarify the main reasons I disputed the claim saying I didn’t need to read my statement as he’d read it. I began by saying that I was not the driver and did not know who the driver was. I had provided proof that I was elsewhere at the time.

The signage was inadequate in any case.

The claim form was deficient in the particulars of claim and I could not defend it.

I had not received a letter before claim and that my request for information was not only ignored but treated as an appeal.

The judge then asked questions about why I thought the signage was deficient.

I explained that much of the signage had gone up after the date of the incident and referred him to clear dated photos which showed that the signs they claimed were there on the date from their Google aerial view were only put up 14 days after.

The judge said although the photos clearly showed this it did not alter the fact that in the photo on the NTK there was a large and prominent sign saying "Have you paid and displayed" which the driver, whoever that may have been could not have failed to have seen.

However the signs with the terms and conditions were, he agreed, put up so high as to be difficult to read and the payment figure was not prominent. So they did not comply.

He moved onto the claim form which brought up some interesting points.

He said that it was not uncommon for online claims from Northampton to give such little information.

 In the particulars of claim and that letters I had been sent such as the notice to keeper detailed the claim and as I had it as an exhibit I could reasonable be expected to know what the claimant was claiming for.

He said he was concerned about the lack of response to my request for information and noted I had included proof of posting in the bundle. He said this was not unusual for these companies to ignore them. (He did not comment on why they had sent a letter of rejected appeal instead)

He then asked me to confirm that I had not received a LBC and mentioned that I was not under any kind of oath in this court. He was quite concerned that I had not received a LBC and as Gladstones had provided no proof that it had been sent he had no reason to disbelieve me that I had not received one.

He said then that this did not comply but would rather now move onto why I thought I was not liable as the RK. I referred him to the exhibits proving my whereabouts and that I could not have been the driver.

He asked the solicitor if she had them and she agreed and said again that as I had chosen not to to name the driver I was still liable as by using my car it implied permission was given to accept all the terms of the contract.

The judge asked me about how many people used the car and why anyone else would use it.
How many were on the insurance and how many others were likely to drive it

The claimants solicitor again said that although I had provided evidence that I was not the driver at the time they relied on the fact that I was liable as the RK. As I had chosen not to name the driver.
The judge looked at me and I repeated that I was not the driver and really did not know who it was.

I then referred the judge and solicitor to my exhibits of the Popla 15 Keeper Liability and the Excel v Lamoureux case and he said that although the Lamoureux case wasn’t binding he saw no reason to dispute it’s valid judgement and agreed with it.

I was then asked if I’d like to say anything else.

I asked why, if there were so many photos taken of the car, was a ticket not affixed and a photo taken of this for evidence. The judge said that he wondered why as well and it was not unusual for these companies to do this so as to go after the keeper and this company in particular was well known for this. From this I took that he had come across ES previously.

He commented that I had a very comprehensive and well laid out bundle and all the information was easily accessible.

In summing up he said there was no point arguing any other possibly valid points as he was confident the claim was defective as it had not followed the correct protocol, but he didn’t elaborate on that, and the case was dismissed.

Prankster Notes

Putting together a well laid out and indexed bundle is always a good plan. Gladstones are well known for their incompetent and slipshod approach to cases, and it is not advised to sink to their level. In this claim it appears Gladstones lost the case for their client by not following the correct protocol.

Happy Parking

The Parking Prankster

Parliament discuss unfair parking practices

Yesterday the sorry state of affairs of the parking industry was discussed in Parliament.

Edited highlights follow.

Although it was made clear that most car park operators operate in a fair manner, predatory practices were discussed and the rogues and charlatans of the industry, including big players such as ParkingEye and Excel Parking, were singled out for their sneaky and underhand tactics.

Kevin Foster: Most, but not all, operate good-quality car parks at a reasonable price and use methods of enforcement that are perfectly fair and reasonable. However, some need to be tackled

...what stuck out about those two car parks [managed by Premier Park and Premier Parking Solutions] was that the number of complaints I was receiving about them far exceeded the number of complaints I was receiving about the entirety of Torbay Council’s parking enforcement

Issues raised with me included everything from unclear signs to bad lighting. There was a day when a particular letter or number was not working on the keypad, which meant that everyone with that particular letter or number in their registration found themselves getting a letter a few weeks later

Many of them cover the suspicion that automated number plate recognition systems are used as an opportunity, first, to fine people after they have left and, secondly, to make the process easy. For example, someone who drives in, waits to see if there is a space, drives out and ends up getting a fine would not get that fine if there were manual enforcement, because someone enforcing tickets would see that that person was waiting. Likewise, barrier systems do not let a car in the car park unless there is a space. This system is a kind of invisible barrier that can become a nasty trap that the driver finds out about later.

We got rid of the cowboy clampers in the last Parliament. The suspicion is that the cowboy clampers have now become the cowboy finers and cowboy invoicers

Adrian Bailey fell foul of the well-known Cormwall operators tactics of photographing at such an angle that the valid ticket is not visible.

 I was quite astonished because my ticket was on the dashboard, but then I realised what had happened. I have a Honda Civic and the dashboard is split-level: the ticket had slid under the ledge at the front and was not visible from the front. Well, I took the ticket and very indignantly went to the attendant, who said, “Oh, you can appeal.” So I did.

Within four hours, I was appealing online. I got a response and some photos, which basically dismissed everything I said. There were two photos—one taken from the front of the car, in which the ticket was not visible, and the other from the passenger-side window, in which where the ticket was could be seen with difficulty. Had that photo been taken from the driver’s side, the ticket would have been perfectly visible and readable.

Again, it points to a culture and philosophy that is designed to catch people out and make the most money out of perfectly human mistakes, despite the fact that an individual on every other criteria will have demonstrated that they not only accept the principle of paying, but have done their personal best to conform to the conditions that preside over the process.

Smart Parking operate a scam where they accept invalid registrations, as reported by Kirsten Oswald.

Kirsten Oswald: My constituent, Steve Mostyn, parked in the Clarkston car park. He paid his 50p and was a bit surprised to receive a penalty charge. It appeared that he had keyed in a digit wrongly; the number he had keyed in did not actually appear in the DVLA database—that registration number did not exist—but the company still fined him

Steve Double explain how ParkingEye and Smart parking are ruining the tourins trade in Newquay.

As has been said, that situation damages the reputation of Newquay and many other holiday areas where such parking firms operate. I believe we need to take action. Many of the hard-working businesses in places such as Newquay are owned by families who go out of their way to welcome tourists. They go the extra mile to look after them well, which is why tourists keep coming back to those places. Those parking firms damage the reputation of those areas and other people’s businesses. They do not damage themselves, because they hide behind anonymous PO boxes. They are faceless organisations that do not face the public.

I am therefore more than happy to name ParkingEye and Smart Parking as the firms operating in Newquay in that way. They deserve to be named because of their refusal to respond to me as the local Member of Parliament

Graham Jones explains that cowboy operators rip off the public, damaging holiday resorts and town centres. He explained how Excel trapped motorists by hiding the change to car park terms behind trees.

For too long, cowboy private car parking companies have operated with impunity. Many have reasonable practices, but a considerable number operate in a way that is not conducive to holiday resorts, as several hon. Members have said, or to town centres, as the hon. Member for East Renfrewshire (Kirsten Oswald) mentioned, and that is certainly not in the best interests of motorists or the community in general. Without any substantial legislation or regulation, those companies have been free—to be fair—to rip off car park users and charge bogus fees. In my view and that of the British public, it is time to act. The reality for far too many motorists up and down the country is that people are duped into false charges and harassed by firms that, as has been mentioned, somehow manage to get hold of personal information, whether through the DVLA or other sources.
Eastgate is a big retail park in Accrington. Back in 2012 much anger and frustration was caused for hundreds—I mean hundreds—of people when its private car park operator, Excel, misled them about its parking charges. I recall having to deal with that as the local MP for week after week. Excel changed the three-hour parking limit to 90 minutes without any clear warnings. The firm announced its new policy on signs hidden behind trees on the edge of the car park. It then issued hundreds of fines to shoppers, with demands for immediate payment or even higher fines once they had understandably failed to spot the notices. Some disabled people were also caught out by the changes, and they threatened court action with the help of the National Motorists Action Group, which was very helpful—I would recommend the group to anyone fighting pernicious private parking companies which operate such voracious policies.

He also explained how cowboy operator ParkingEye use poorly constructed machines to extract fees from the elderly who find them hard to use. 

Another cowboy private company has already been alluded to by Members, and a more recent issue is that of the new buttons on the machines in some car parks. I have had several complaints about a company operating such machines. For example, an elder constituent told me that he had been fined and he had lost his appeal. He is fortunate that he has an appeals process, although he did not win it. He is 81, I think, and he had to bend double to see the buttons. The screens and buttons are at a low height and, on a sunny day, he was unable to bend down sufficiently to enter the information accurately. He tried and, most of the time, succeeded, but on the occasion in question he put the wrong digit in. He explained that he had paid for his time in the car park—he had the ticket—but the company was not interested. He was forced to pay the fine.

He also explained how ParkingEye could make extra money when their machines were not working

One lady could not buy a ticket from the machine at that car park because it was broken. She still ended up with a fine, even though she left a note on her windscreen to say that the machine was broken.
He also explained how the operators try and con motorists into thinking they have statutory backing

Passing off is a massive issue. People turn up at car parks run by private companies to see a yellow and black zig-zag all the way around a cellophane or plastic envelope stuck to their windscreen that is simply passing off as a statutory notice. It is not a statutory notice, and it is not a fine—it is a charge. There is no clear distinction. The Minister ought to look at that, because those little yellow and black bags that appear on people’s cars intimidate them and do not give them the necessary legal information.

Sarah Wollaston explained how Premier Parking Solutions use machines which do not work properly to rake in extra charges.

There are highly unreasonable practices going on. We have heard many Members give examples. In my area, Premier Parking Solutions, to which my hon. Friend the Member for Torbay referred, has a particular problem with its machines, which is affecting many individuals, particularly when number plate recognition is used in combination with a requirement to enter the vehicle’s number plate manually. In many cases, the machines do not record the first number of that registration plate
The issue of the fees the DVLA charge was discussed. The DVLA had previously informed parliament that it provided data to parking companies at a loss, charging £2.50 for a process which costs £2.80.

She also explained how the appeals process is bogus and does not work properly.

The other problem we have is the disincentive to appeal, because those who appeal have to pay a higher charge if their appeal fails—and fail it will. I have a series of clear cases from individuals who can demonstrate—I suggest to the Minister it is beyond any reasonable doubt—that they have legally parked, fully paid the correct amount and left within the required time, but who are still being hit. If they carry through the appeal process, they find they get nowhere. If they then refuse to pay, they are hit with a series of harassing letters and ultimately receive letters from debt recovery agents, which has an impact on their credit rating. That practice is wholly unacceptable, and intervention from Members of Parliament does not make any difference, either.

Drew Hendry points out that industry self-regulation is not working, and that the level of charges is too high.

The current system has been built on the flawed premise of industry self-regulation, enabled by the provision of data from the DVLA. We are sharing DVLA data with companies whose practices, as we have heard from hon. Members today, are simply outrageous. I agree that it is right to call out companies such as Smart Parking, which has been mentioned several times and operates in my constituency too.

People are being charged excessive fines, and the tactics used to collect the debts are intimidation and threat, albeit through the written word. That is still intimidation and it is still unacceptable.

There are also machines that are difficult to use for reasons of height, and so forth. Perhaps when it is dark, or because it is necessary to bend down or conditions are not good, people press a zero instead of an “O” or vice versa. The hon. Gentleman talked about what reasonable behaviour would be, and it is certainly not reasonable behaviour to impose unreasonable fines without a real appeal process.

It is not just a question of the unreasonable behaviour and bullying—because that it what it is. The fines are also disproportionately large compared with what might be imposed through a public sector car park, for example. As my hon. Friend the Member for East Renfrewshire, among others, said, that damages the reputation of our towns and cities, and areas that people visit for enjoyment.

Daniel Zeichner points out that the appeals process is falling apart.

The voluntary regulation system for the private parking sector is falling apart, so I am bound to ask the Minister what he and his colleagues are doing about that

Mr Rees Mogg commented on the DVLA.

These codes of practice are marvellous, but the problem that has been established in this debate is that they are not followed, and the DVLA is complicit in that.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Transport, Andrew Jones, finally admitted that the DVLA had been deceiving Parliament all along, and that the service did not operate at a loss. Previously the DLA had informed Parliament that the cost was £2.0 per access, and they charged £2.50.

There have been a few questions about costs. I can confirm that this is priced on a cost recovery model, so it is neither subsidised nor run at a profit.

He also commented:

That independent appeals service must be free to the motorist. The outcome of the appeal is binding on the parking company but not on the motorist, who can continue to dispute the charge. 

This of course is false. The IPC operate an appeals service which charges motorists £15 and the result is binding on them.

In addition, the Government Internal Audit Agency carries out detailed audit visits on the DVLA’s behalf and undertakes more in-depth checking of individual cases to provide further assurance that requests have been submitted for genuine reasons and there is reliable evidence to back up the request. 

This of course is misleading. The audit visits happen about once every 2 years, and check 50-100 charges for photographs and wording. No attempt is made to check contracts, signage, suitability of parking machines or any other of the predatory practices used. It is therefore a rubber stamping exercise and nothing more. The only time abuses have been found out is by the investigations of independent bodies.

He then reiterated the status quo.

Many Members have mentioned constituents’ complaints regarding bad practice and motorists who feel they have been unfairly treated by parking operators. There are several routes for redress should an operator fall short of the standards expected. The first is the company’s initial appeal process, which it is required to offer under its code of practice. There is also the independent appeals service, which is free to motorists. I have already mentioned the need for an operator to demonstrate compliance with the code of practice in order to retain its membership of an accredited trade association. If there are breaches of the code of practice, the trade association is there to investigate and ensure that action is taken. Without membership, there is no access to DVLA data.

As everyone but Mr Jones is aware, this system flatly does not work, is widely abused by the parking companies and is falling apart.

As Kevin Foster put it

The concern of many is that the industry is able not only to mark its own homework but to choose the marker.

There was one ray of hope from Andrew Jones.

The concern lies in the code of practice and its enforcement. That is where the next actions will be, and I will take those actions forward from today’s debate.

Happy Parking

The Parking Prankster

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

UKPC lose residential case

UKPC v Ms R C4HW0G3N at County Court Gloucester and Cheltenham on 8th March 2017.

Ms R parked in her residence, but forgot to display her permit. She considered that she had the right to park at her own home, but UKPC disagreed.

Guest Court report from Ms R

At court UKPC sent an SCS Law rep who was a pleasant enough lady and I represented myself.
District Judge Iacopi began with UKPC's authority to bring the claim against me. She examined the contract submitted by UKPC which had no date and referred to it as a 'Warden Patrol Parking Contract'. The Judge found no evidence within the contract of a chain of authority between UKPC and the landowner.

 The SCS Law rep referred the Judge to UKPC V Peenith (C9QZ6915) and stated signage erected at the site was proof of a contract. The Judge said of this case  'that's not binding on me'.

The SCS rep stated UKPC had been operating for 6 years at the site so must have a contract, The Judge replied there was no evidence in the claimant's bundle of any authority.

The SCS rep also referred to the lease which stated estate regulations could be varied (parking) but the judge pointed out there was no information as to what the estate regulations were and whether they include parking.

The judge summed up this case stating on the basis of the evidence provided she did not believe there was a chain of authority therefore UKPC had no standing to bring the claim. The judge pointed out that the claimant had failed to get  past the first hurdle (authority) and would have failed the second hurdle (lease).

After a year of stress caused by UKPC the claim was dismissed after 20 minutes and I was awarded costs due to taking time off work.

Prankster Note

Parking companies who try and make their money by 'fining' residents to park in their own places have no place in modern parking management.

The only purpose of paper permits is to generate income for parking companies - they do not provide a proper regulatory system.

A proper system would allow residents to electronically register as many cars as they want to use their space, and also to provide retrospective cancellation of charges if the parker is genuine.

The judge was quite within her rights to be skeptical about the chain of authority. In the Prankste's experience, parking companies who have a contract will produce it in court. Those who have not, or who have problems, try and bluff the judge.

Happy Parking

The Parking Prankster

Patrick Troy found guilty of filming up women's skirts

Patrick Troy mysteriously resigned as CEO of the British Parking Association (BPA) in February. This report from the Telegraph sheds more light on the situation.

On Monday Patrick Troy was found guilty of filming up women's skirts, which he supposed he did for sexual gratification.

He was fined £85, or £15 below the limit of a parking charge issued by the BPA.

Prankster Notes

Although Patrick has lost his job, he may be able to get work at the Indecent Photography Club.

The Prankster notes this is not the only report of sexual deviancy in the Parking Industry. One of the original directors of one of the biggest parking companys also left under a sudden cloud. An account by an employee provided to The Prankster states he was in the running for a sexual harassment case on account of his lewd behaviour towards women. The information is that a late call for a female to go to his office would result in her finding herself in the embarrassing situation of facing the director, sans pants, possibly pleasuring himself. The information has apparently been backed up by a number of ladies**.

Happy Parking

The Parking Prankster

** The Prankster would be happy to put victims of this person in touch with each other.

Tuesday, 14 March 2017

Court report - new lay representative trashes VCS. Cannot read signs in dark

C7DP3H5T – VCS v Mr. O’C, 14/03/2017

Claimant represented by Miss Rehman (Elms Legal)
Defendant represented by Ian Lamoureux

Guest report

This was a case picked up from the MSE forum. Mr O’C had parked behind a bar in Sheffield late one night, and didn’t spot an unlit VCS sign requiring a permit, placed on the opposite side of the entrance, and not obviously indicating which parking area it referred to. A further issue was the fact that the NtD they put on the screen, had a different registration number on it.

Bargepole prepared the Defence and Witness Statement, which was filed along with photographic evidence. Mr O’C seemed unclear and nervous about arguing his case in court, so Bargepole contacted Ian Lamoureux who had been assisted by SRM and Bargepole to win two cases against Excel in November and February, despite them trying to sneak in a last-minute print out of his Pepipoo thread which mysteriously fell into their lap. Ian had indicated that he wanted to help with other cases, and as he lives in Yorkshire, this seemed an ideal opportunity for him to step up.

As it turned out, the Judge had read the Defence and WS before the parties went in, and had concluded on BOP that the unilluminated signs in the dark could not be reasonably deemed to have been read by the Defendant, and therefore no contract was formed. Ian hardly had to say a word, it was all done and dusted inside 10 minutes. Only £5 costs awarded though, I think Mr O’C forgot to bring proof of earnings.

Happy Parking

The Parking Prankster

UKPC lose claim. Employee entitled to park at his work

UKPC v Mr I, C0HW4PSE before Deputy District Judge Duncan, Clerkenwell14/03/2017

Guest report

Claimant represented by Courtenay Barklem (a qualified Solicitor)
Defendant represented by Bargepole
Claim for £770 (4 x PCNs, creatively inflated from £100)

Mr I had been employed at Car Giant Limited for just under a year. Upon joining, he was issued with a 4-digit PIN code for the barrier to the staff car park, and told by his employer to park there during working hours. The car park was not available to the general public, and only accessible with the PIN code.

At some point during his employment, UKPC were engaged to ‘manage’ the car parking, and there was talk of permits being required, but he was never issued with one, and continued to access the car park using the PIN code as before, with no problems.

Towards the end of his period of employment, he had an unrelated dispute with the employer, resulting in him leaving the company. At that point, he received 4 x PCNs for parking in the staff car park without a valid permit. This resulted in extensive and protracted correspondence with SCS Law, and in order to provide the evidence to defend the claim, he made various trips back to the location to obtain photographs, all of which showed signage in that car park which said ‘Car Giant Limited. Authorised Parking Only’. It was his position that, by virtue of having a valid and operational PIN code, he was an authorised user.

He also lodged a counterclaim, detailing the hours and mileage spent in collating the evidence, and this was appended to his Defence.

We were called in first, thankfully as it was a very busy list, and Mr Barklem outlined the Claimant’s case. He said that any dispute between Mr I and his former employer was not relevant to this case, and should have been the subject of an action before an Employment Tribunal. He also referred to an email from CGL’s Security Manager, which said that all employees were given a copy of the handbook, including the parking policy, upon joining. His case was that the notices were clearly displayed, in at least one instance directly in front of where Mr I had parked, and the contractual terms should apply.

The Defence case was that the issue of the PIN code was a term of his employment contract, and the Claimant’s notices could not vary or override that. He had parked without a permit, and with no issues, nearly every day for 9 months, and it was only during the last 5 weeks of his employment that they started ticketing. He had never been issued with a permit, or with a handbook containing the parking policy. This was sent to him after he left, when SCS Law became involved.

The Judge heard all the arguments, and sent us out to consider the verdict.

He said that the Defendant appeared to be a credible witness, and he accepted the Defendant’s statements that he had never been issued with a permit, or copy of the company parking policy. He noted that although the Claimant’s witness statement said that these documents were issued to all new employees as a matter of routine procedure, there was no evidence that Mr I had received them.

He considered the fact that Mr I had parked without a permit, without incident, for 9 months to be significant, and as there was no witness appearing for the Claimant, there was no explanation for that. For the purposes of the contract, Mr I was an ‘authorised user’, and the Claimant had failed to make a case to the contrary.

The claim was therefore dismissed. The counterclaim was also dismissed, as these matters fell under the heading of costs, for which Mr I was awarded £102.

Happy Parking

The Parking Prankster

Monday, 13 March 2017

TV Parking Programme

TV Parking Programme

ITV's Tonight Series is making a current affairs programme about issues, injustices, and campaigns relating to parking. Do you have a personal story to tell?

Are you going through an injustice at the moment? If so, contact Dave Raddings with brief details:

Happy Parking

The Parking Prankster

Saturday, 11 March 2017

Armtrac lose case over Camborne scam site. Wright Hassall proved wrong

KBT Cornwall Ltd (trading as Armtrac) v Jackson 10/3/2017. C3GF0V9R Truro county Court. DDJ Whitford.

Ms Jackson was new to the area when she visited the notorious Trevithick Road car park scam site in Camborne. She had been warned that the wardens were "a bit keen" so was well aware she needed to pay and display. On arriving she could not see any payment machines. She checked the signage but it did not provide any clues. She tried to attract the attention of a motorist sitting in his car, but he did not look up. She then spotted a sign pointing to a pay machine which she followed. She purchased a ticket and displayed it.

She was therefore dismayed to find on return that there was a parking ticket on the windscreen. Apparently she had paid at the wrong machine.

She appealed the charge all the way through the system on 3 grounds
1) The signage was not adequate to bring to the location of the parking meter to the attention of the motorist, and this was therefore a reasonable mistake to make
2) The charge can only be for trespass, and the ParkingEye v Beavis case shows £100 is therefore too large.
3) Armtrac had no rights to issue or enforce charges.

Wright Hassall dismissed the POPLA appeal with a template which did not properly consider any of the issues raised and was so brief as to be useless. They failed to follow the proper POPLA process and allowed Armtrac to submit evidence which the motorist was not provided with. The Prankster therefore has no hesitation in stating that in his opinion this confirms Wright Hassall are incompetent and biased and that Chairman Nick Abell is a disgrace to his profession for letting this go on under his watch. The Prankster warned the British Parking association that this would happen when they contracted a debt collection company working for parking companies to oversee POPLA.

Ms Jackson also disagreed with the Wright Hassall verdict, although perhaps not in those exact words.

Mick Cooke took exception to Ms jacksons non-payment and got the hopeless and amateurish Jamie Ashford, of Gladstones Solicitors, to file something which almost resembled a claim. It is clear to The Prankster that Mr Ashford abused his position by doing no due diligence. A proper solicitor would have warned his client they had no reasonable prospect of success.

The matter then proceeded to a hearing.

The Hearing

There were 3 KBT Cornwall cases block listed for 10am. Ms Jacksons case was heard second. Mick Cooke was apparently 'in the building' and took part in the first claim, but not the other two. Apparently, although he is not worried about 'going to court', this does not extend to actually going into the judge's chambers.

KBT were represented by Ms Gail Ward, an employee. Ms Jackson was represented by the British Motorist Protection Association.

DDJ Whitlock was in the chair and she opened proceedings by asking Ms Ward if she wanted to pursue the whole claim of £70.86, or only the parking charge of £100, dropping the £50 debt collection charge and £20.86 interest.

Ms Ward immediately agreed, which may be a clue as to what happened in the first case.

Most of the time going through both parties witness statements and evidence. Ms Jackson had spent some time putting together a comprehensive set of photos and descriptions, which helped the judge understand the layout of the car park and the poor signage. Gladstones had "helpfully" not provided the court with all of the KBT evidence, so there was some shuttling back and forth to the judges desk with bits of paper.

They had also "helpfully" provided their template witness statement, which did not address the issues raised, and went off on a tangent accusing the defendant of being incompetent in not seeing the signs. Of course, the defendant fully admitted at all stages that she saw the signs; it was just they were not helpful in the least.

Ms Jackson also referred to a newspaper report on Cornwalllive showing that other motorists had made the same mistake and the wardens confirmed this was a common problem.

She also pointed out that warden Scott Taylor s report stated his observation period started at 11:37. Ms jackson purchased her ticket at 11:34 and then had to walk to her car and put it inside the windscreen. it was therefore likely that the warden had seen the whole thing and had therefore failed to mitigate the situation by warning the motorist.

After considering the witness statements and evidence the judge turned to the BMPA representative. She asked him if he had anything to add.

He conceded that the legal arguments all stood or fell with the signage. He summarised that the layout of the car park was confusing; there was no clear delimitation of the car park boundaries; none of the terms and conditions signage stated which car park it referred to and it was not fair to expect a motorist to go round every sign to piece them all together to understand what was going on.

Ms Ward summarised that there was a sign in the car park giving the name of the car park, and that the name of the other car park was on their sign, so a motorist should have realised that was not the correct machine..

The judgment

DDJ Whitford summarised the case. She stated that the KBT witness statement was not particularly helpful, as it did not address the issues, that the defendant evidence showed the pay here sign to be disguised under a hoarding, and that the defendant would in any case have had her back to that sign. She was not satisfied that people would know where the pay machine was.  She referred to various photographs in the defendant evidence pack to make her points.

The claimant had not discharged their burden of proof and the claim was dismissed.

Ms Jackson was awarded her full costs, to be paid within 14 days.

Prankster Note

The hearing shows the value of creating a good bundle, with a witness statement laying out the points, and referring to evidence by page number. Ms Jackson spent some time taking good photographs to illustrate her points, putting together a bundle, and numbering pages for ease of reference for the judge.

In contrast, the hapless Jamie Ashford sent off his usual incompetent tripe on behalf of Mick Cooke. Half the evidence never even reached the judge. The rest was a template not relevant to the case, and with wild flights of fancy and bogus legal arguments. In one statement Mr Ashford even accused Ms Jackson of being there on business instead of going shopping. It is not known why he would make this accusation or what facts Mr Ashford had in his possession to come to this conclusion when he wrote the statement on behalf of Mick Cooke. The Prankster suspects none. Sadly this is all too typical of the standards of Jamie Ashford's department in Gladstones.

The Prankster expects better of the legal profession. Solicitors should not make up things on behalf of their clients.

Happy Parking

The Parking Prankster

Argos Camborne, Cornwall - Armtrac scam site exposed

Argos Camborne, Cornwall is a well-known Armtrac scan site run by the notorious Mick "Binman" Cooke.

Google Streetview is well out of date for signage, but does show the layout of the site.

The car park location is confusing because there are actually 6 separate areas, with no clear demarcation between them.

Area 1 - Trevithick Road Short Stay car park area (a)
This area is only accessible from Trevithick Road by driving over the lowered pavement. It is separated from the other areas by a raised area containing small trees. There are no signs in this area to say which car park it belongs to.

Area 2 - Trevithick Road Short Stay car park area (b)
This area is only accessible by entering from the Trevithick road first entrance and turning immediately left.

Area 3 - Argos employee car park
This area is only accessible by entering from the Trevithick road first entrance and turning immediately right.

Area 4 - Trevithick Road Short Stay car park area (c)
This area is only accessible by entering from the Trevithick road second entrance. It is separated from the other areas by a raised area containing small trees. There are no signs in this area to say which car park it belongs to.

Area 5 - Private car park
This area is only accessible by entering from the Trevithick road first entrance and turning left at the wall. This is apparently a private car park, also controlled by Armtrac and with the same signage, but not part of Trevithick Road Short Stay car park. There are no signs in this area to say which car park it belongs to.

Area 6 - Tyacks Hotel pay and display car park
This area is only accessible by entering from the Trevithick road first entrance and turning right at the wall. This is a private car park, also controlled by Armtrac and with the same signage, but not part of Trevithick Road Short Stay car park

Pay Machine P1
This is for the Trevithick Road Short Stay car park. It is not in the car park itself, but over the road round the corner behind the Argos store. It is not visible from areas 1 or 2, as the photo below shows.

There are no signs in the car park itself directing the user towards the pay machine.

There is a non-standard 'pay here' sign over the other side of the road high up under the awning of the Argos store and hidden in shadow, making it non-readable, as the photo below shows.

Pay Machine P2
This is for the Tyacks Hotel car park. It is visible from areas 1 and 2. There is a huge sign with an arrow, apparently in the Trevithick Road Short Stay car park, and apparently directing motorists to the pay machine.

The Scam

Motorists unfamiliar with the area cannot find the correct pay and display machine, because it is hidden around the corner. They see a sign with an arrow pointing to the only visible machine, apparently within the same car park, and pay there.

According to local office workers who can see the car park, Armtrac employees lie in wait in their van in area 4, watching what happens. As soon as a victim leaves the car park they pounce and issue a parking charge.

This can be very lucrative in holiday season when many people make the same mistake.

Prankster Note

The Prankster understands it is natural for bottom-feeding parking companies like Armtrac to gravitate to the IPC, where predatory practices like this are condoned by Will Hurley and John Davies.

The Prankster believes that this is not the way car parks should be managed, and that a proper car park company would sign its car park appropriately, clearly demarking the limits of the car park, and clearly signing the way to the pay machines, especially when the pay machine is not even in the car park and is hidden around a corner.

The Prankster also believes that a proper trade association would act to stop practices like this, and would have a quiet word to the operator to improve the signage.

However, The Prankster accepts that running a trade association in a proper way would hurt the bank balance of Will Hurley and John Davies,because they would not be able to make so much money from their other business, Gladstone Solicitors, who file claims on behalf of Armtrac when motorists pay at the wrong machine in this car park.

The Prankster therefore predicts a busy caseload at Truro Country Court.

Any motorist who accidentally paid at the wrong machine in the last 6 years can contact The Prankster for advice at You may be able to get your £100 back and claim for a data protection breach in the range of £250-£650.

Happy Parking

The Parking Prankster

Tuesday, 7 March 2017

Excel lose in court - no contract and ill-lit signs

Excel v Barnes. 1/3/2017 Manchester. C7DP1C3P

This was a claim for parking in Chorlton-cum-Hardy for 44 minutes one night.

This was yet another huge waste of money for Excel Parking Services, forking out an estimate £200 for a representative only to be shown the door after 10 minutes. Their representatives main act was to attempt to negotiate a settlement of £150 before the hearing began, but this was not attractive.

In the hearing Excel produced no evidence a contract to manage the land existed, only a witness statement. The evidence also showed the signs were badly lit, which was enough for the judge to decide there was no point in continuing.

Prankster Note

Excel do produce contracts for land they have contracts to manage, so the lack of a contract is a good sign that either they do not have one, or that it is fatally flawed and they are acting outside their remit.

Signage must be visible at the time of parking, not just in bright sunshine in the middle of the day. If signage is not well-positioned and well-lit at night, then no contract by performance will be entered into.

Similar considerations may apply if the day was foggy, or it was snowing or raining very heavily.

Happy Parking

The Parking Prankster

Sunday, 5 March 2017

UKPC lose in court

UKPC v B. 8/2/2017. B2QZ1J4J. Clerkenwell and Shoreditch. DJ Cross

This post on moneysavingexpert details yet another UKPC claim lost.

The driver parked in a way UKPC did not like, and the keeper was issued 3 charges.

As the driver was parked with permission of the resident, the keeper considered no charges were due. UKPC disagreed and filed a claim.

First Hearing

The defendant represented themself.
UKPC used a gun-for-hire solicitor

The judge began with a summary of what documents he had received thus far and in the process made the following remarks:

He noted that the particulars of claim from the claimant were very brief
He noted that the defendant had sent at part 18 request and in their response they refused to produce a contract (he was not impressed)
He also noted that the defendant had submitted a defense & witness statement

The judge then asked if the claimant responded to the defense to which they said they hadn't - this seemed to displease the judge.

He then asked to see the contract to ensure that the claimant had the right to bring the claim. The solicitor tried his hardest to persuade the judge that the contract wasn't needed and that the witness statement from UKPC was enough. He cited 'commercial sensitivity' but the judge wasn't having any of it and demanded that it be shown to both himself and the defendant. Reluctantly it was then produced (unredacted) with the terms and conditions and the judge and defendant started to read.

The defendant wasn't sure where to start and the judge could see that - the solicitor tried to direct them to a particular clause but judge declined his offer and said he wanted to go through it all.

The judge asked him who the contract was with - it was the managing agent.
The contract had no end date to which the judge asked how he could be sure if it was still in place.
He also asked who the landowner was and if in fact the contracting party was the managing agent - the solicitor said he didn't know to which the defendant said they knew it wasn't as they had completed a land registry check that could be found in their bundle.

Within their contract with the managing agent, there was a clause that said they could bring court proceedings to recover money but at their own expense. The solicitor referred to POFA 2012 and said that the managing agent would be the 'occupier' of the land and therefore this allows UKPC to bring the claim in their own name. The defendant argued that this related to a contract and how anyone know if the managing agent had the authority to to this and that the only way we could be sure was to see evidence of the landowner giving authority to them to do so. The judge looked like he thought this was a valid point.

The judge then had enough and said that he had a number of issues and there were a lot of points to go through and it could not possibly be done in the two hour allocation. He said he had hoped to resolve at least one of the discrepancies but could see that he couldn't (possibly referring to UKPC's right to bring the claim).

Their representative asked if we could at least go through some of the issues but the judge refused and said he wanted it done all at the same time and not 'piece meal'

The judge then went on to say that it was wholly unacceptable that the claimant only produced the contract on the day of the hearing. He could see no reason why they couldn't have produced it sooner. He said it was not fair and obstructive to the defendant as they were unrepresented and could not possibly be expected to review it on the spot.

He then gave the following directions

1) The claimant has to serve a response to my defense together with a copy of the contract awarding parking services to the claimant as well as the terms and conditions that were applicable to the contract. He then granted permission for them to redact any commercially sensitive information (after asking if I was ok with that)

2)The claimant has to serve a trial bundle and the hearing be relisted for an allocation of 1 whole day!

The solicitor tried again and said he thought half a day would be sufficient but the judge said no, we need a full day.

Hearing 2

UKPC sent a different solicitor from the last hearing. The judge was also a different judge.

Their solicitor and the defendant spoke briefly, he was very keen to confirm whether the defendant denied that they were driving the car (as it wasn't addressed in the witness statement).

The defendant reiterated that I was defending the claim as registered keeper and had not driven the vehicle to that location nor had reason to believe that anyone else had. He seemed happy enough and commented that he didn't think the case law provided would be too relevant (due to their age) and that the arguments would be down to other issues raised such as authority. He also asked if the defendant had received the new trial bundle and the defendant informed him that they hadn't.

The judge seemed to have been clued up with the history of the case which was good. He highlighted that UKPC had changed their evidence (updated terms and conditions of contract) despite pleading in the witness statement that the old ones were current. He highlighted that Ms Ndure and their Witness completely contradicted themselves. He also was amused at the 1 day allocation but said it was nice that things didn't have to be rushed for a change

He then allowed the other side to go through their witness statement. The judges views were that the statement seemed to have more opinion in it than fact and kept referring to it as hearsay. He asked why the witness was not present to be cross examined. The solicitor's response was that he did not know... so could not say.

The witness statement contained sentences like 'the car was recorded being parked in stitu'; 'Notices to keeper were posted to the defendant' - The judge didn't feel that this was detailed enough and kept saying things like 'how?' and 'recorded how?'

The judge then went through their evidence and and picked up on a number of discrepancies, raising issues such as no entrance signage and the amount of charge for the individual PCN's.

The defendant was then given the opportunity to speak.

They told the judge that they were not the driver nor did they have any knowledge of anyone driving.The judge asked if the car in the photo was theirs and the defendant said that it looked like theirs and had the same number plate. He asked if the defendant lived alone and they responded that they didn't and that there were other drivers in the household.

The defendant was then given the chance to raise issues so they started with the contract:

- The contract is with the managing agent not the landowner (this got a reaction from the judge because by his own admission he didn't notice that.
- They were breaching the BPA code of practice clause 7.1. Their contract didn't meet 7.2 (a, d & f) The solicitor did argue that this was just a guide but the defendant pointed out that it was one of the key terms of the contract to keep to the code of practice.
- The 'Parking charges' section on the contact differed from what was on the PCN and the signs submitted as part of their evidence.
- The contract referred to the an attached site plan - BUT there was no attached site plan
- I did however get a copy of a site plan as part of my part 18 request and looked like it indicated that there were 6 signs (less than the 'more than 9' stated previously) The judge actually referred to that in his summary.
-There was no proof that the contract was still in force after its initial period (they tried to argue that the signs still being present and updated shows that there is still an agreement in place). The judge didn't buy it.
- The biggest point was that the managing agent had signed the contract stating that they were the landowner as detailed in previous posts - The judge hated that.
- Photos were all of poor quality and only one showed where the car was situated in relation to the signs. The other isolated photos of the signs were just that so were not really taken into consideration.
- All x3 PCNs were allegedly issued in the very early hours of morning when it would still be dark. The close up photo of one of the signs in the dark really hurt them because it showed that they were not illuminated in anyway whatsoever!
- Only a premium rate number was being displayed on the signs (contrary to BPA CoP, 18.7)
- The charge was disproportionate. The judge and the solicitor went back and forth as to the relevance of the Beavis case judgement.
- Only 1 NTK was received and the other two were never sent. They were not sent in response to my part 18 request and only appeared in the evidence in a complete different format to the one I received.
The excuse given was that they had changed their system and they were reconstituted versions. I refuted this and used it as an excuse to remind the judge that this was a very dishonest company and had been caught out before.

The Judgment

1) No locus standi
- Original contract was pleaded and should have been produced at the hearing but it wasn't despite being told this by the first judge.
- In their response to my part 18 request UKPC originally said that they had a contract with the landowner
- Contract duration not addressed in witness statement

This alone disposes all 3 parking charges.

2) Signage not sufficient/prominent
- Despite not knowing who the driver was, looking at the evidence the signage was inadequate
- Location, size and view of signs 'utterly' inadequate
- NOt obvious where car was parked in relation to signs in all pcns
- No entrance signs
- Not obvious enough for driver to assume that it was not a public road (like a shopping mall car park would be)

3) Charge is disproportionate
- No evidence provided as to why it is appropriate.

4) NTK do not comply with POFA 2012
- Clause (6) (8) c & h
- Judge stated that he believed the defendant to be an honest individual and believes that they did not receive the x2 NTK's as they had always maintained.

The defendant spoke with their solicitor solicitor during the break and he said that he thought they would get the judgement. He admitted the evidence was poor and even went as far as to say that the claimant do not do things properly unlike some other companies.

The original claim was for £470 + COSTS - UKPC ended up paying £111 for loss of earnings and travel.

Happy Parking

The Parking Prankster

UKPC lose in court. Fail to respond to SAR

UKPC v Ms C C7HW70K6. Portsmouth. 6/2/2017

Ms C was the keeper of a vehicle parked outside a bay in a residents car park. She was not the driver.

Her partner would move the car up from their allocated space closer to their flat entrance (into passing bay/loading bay) and then leave to help her up or down stairs (she was pregnant with twins and their two year old.). The warden had been informed of this, although conveniently had no recollection.

UKPC issued 4 tickets which Ms C contested.

MS C sent two Subject Access Requests (SAR) to UKPC which were not complied with. One was ignored totally and the other was missing some very relevant information.

The first hearing

The first hearing was adjourned for the SARs to complete.

The second hearing

The judge dismissed the claim in the second hearing, stating he found the failure to comply with the SARS "particularly worrying"

The main reasons for dismissal were; failing to follow BPA code; not giving a grace period or time period on tickets, so couldn't prove how long the vehicle was parked; the dates were all wrong; fabrication of signage in the evidence pack and the lack of distinction between visitor and resident parking.
and visitors parking.
Happy Parking

The Parking Prankster

Saturday, 4 March 2017

MIL Collections in line for the Parking Futures Award

The British Parking awards are coming soon, and this excerpt from the IAS spring newsletter shows that MIL Collections are in line for the Parking Futures Award.

This award is for innovative service providers who are helping to transform the provision and delivery of parking, who are pioneers and innovators, who have disruptive business ideas and use emerging technologies.

MIL Collections certainly have a new idea for the concept of debt collection. They encourage parking companies to break data protection laws by selling them data in clear breach of the KADOE contract with the DVLA, thus running the risk of large amounts being awarded against them in court claims. They also risk being suspended from access to the DVLA database.

Another initiative is to bypass the laws regarding the assignment of debt and not bother with them in the slightest. Although this means they have no legal claim on any debt, their pioneering innovation is to realise this does not matter anyway, and they file vast amounts of court claims with no legal standing, hoping that the defendant does not notice this.

Their use of fictional characters Matt Murdock and Watson, while amusing, cannot be considered innovative. The Prankster expects them to score "nul points" for this.

One great strategy which has worked well for MIL in the past is apparently to enter into a profit sharing arrangement with parking companies, but tell the motorist that the debt has been assigned to MIL and the parking company has no more interest in the charge. As they never cough up the paperwork, it is of course almost impossible for the motorist to prove this. The Prankster looks forward to MIL coming clean on this and providing full documentation to settle this one way or the other.

Another great cost saver is to send representatives with no right of audience to court hearings. This saves them lots of money, except in those rare cases where the right of audience is challenged and they are sent home with their tail between their legs.

Lastly, MIL have great ways to boost profits for parking charges, such as adding a £90 charge to "read the papers" in those rare cases where they do get a win.**

Award Prediction

So, a legal company which uses dodgy paperwork, files court claims with no hope of winning and has little or no understanding of the law. What's not to like for Will Hurley, who is judging the contest?

Unless of course he is jealous he did not think of it first.

The Prankster confidently expects MIL to ace the award. It is obviously made for them, in the same way that the Nick lester award for being Nick Lester was won by Nick Lester.

Happy Parking

The Parking Prankster

**Although MIL have no viable claim, the way the legal system works in this country is that it is up to the defendant to point this out. It is not up to the judge. Therefore, if a defendant does not include all their defence points within 14/28 days of the claim being filed, it is still possible to lose a claim.

Friday, 3 March 2017

ES Parking discontinue Spinningfields claim

ES Parking Enforcement v Mr I 10/2/2017. C0GF2C1K Oldham.

Mr I had an upcoming court hearing relating to a parking event in Spinningfields, Manchester. HE contacted The Prankster for information regarding previous Spinningfield cases

Armed with this information Mr I, a trainee solicitor, created a skeleton argument and filed the same on Monday 6th February 2017 with the court and Gladstones Solicitors.

The hearing took place on Friday 10th February 2017. Prior to the hearing, I did not hear anything from Gladstones so was expecting Brian Hargreaves to turn up. However, there was no sight of him.

On entering the hearing room the judge asked "Oh, do you not know - the case has been discontinued?" Mr I replied stating "No, I have not been aware and this is a ploy Gladstones always use in which they run the case to trial and discontinue at the very last minute" - He also made reference to how rubbish their conduct is.

As it transpired, Gladstones filed their Notice of Discontinuance on Thursday evening at 5:13pm with the court. Mr I received their notice of discontinuance in the post on Saturday 11th Feb 2017.

The judge asked  if it cost anything to attend the hearing; Mr I informed him he had to book a day off work, parking and fuel costs. The judge awarded £5 for fuel costs and parking and £60 for holiday that I took.

Prankster Note

5pm to 5:15 seems to be the busy time in the Gladstones office. This is when they churn out the notices of discontinuance for tomorrows hearings.

Happy Parking

The Parking Prankster

Parking and Property Management Ltd - you've been Gladstoned

Parking and Property Management Ltd v Mr M. 17/02/2017. Southampton [Claim reference withheld on request]

PPM issued Mr M a ticket for parking in his own space. Despite Mr M telling them this, they carried on regardless. Gladstones egged them on to court, but on the appointed day of the hearing no-one showed up.

The judge struck the claim out because of the non-attendance of PPM, but also confirmed he would have struck it out anyway because Mr M had a lease which includes the use of the parking space. The judge said it was very straightforward.

Gladstones were incompetent throughout the process. Firstly they failed to submit their statement and papers to the court on time. (They only submitted them following judges orders). Secondly, they failed to give the required 7 days' notice that they weren't going to attend. Thirdly, they carried on with this case when anyone with the slightest modicum of understanding of contract law would know that they couldn't succeed. 

Prankster Note

The deluded heads of Will Hurley and John Davies continue to promote the fiction that the mere presence of signage automatically creates an enforceable contract. Sadly they have convinced many parking companies this is true and to take out court claims on the back of this.

As any proper lawyer knows, this is not the case and there are other hurdles to cross, such as having the ability to perform the contract and to actually offer some form of consideration to the motorist. And of course, in many cases, the little matter of the signage being prominent and readable.

Happy Parking

THe Parking Prankster