Sunday, 29 April 2018

UKPC banned by the DVLA

UK Parking Control Ltd have been banned from accessing the DVLA database. This means for instance that if they issue a windscreen ticket, they have no way of following up and contacting the keeper (unless the keeper appeals giving away their address). This also means that any ANPR site they manage is now effectively useless because tickets cannot be issued at all. Essentially then, their income stream dries up, and any landowners using them have no effective parking management.

This is therefore not a step undertaken lightly by the DVLA. Although the DVLA are not divulging the exact details, they are investigating UKPC for a potential breach of contract. The DVLA will not be releasing details until the investigation is finished. UKPC will be hoping that the investigation is swifter than the investigation into MIL Collections, which has so far taken several years and is still continuing. Perhaps the investigation will be as quick as the one into Proserve, which only took a year or so.

There are around 200 private parking companies and The Prankster receives most if his complaints  about 20 or so of them. Sadly UKPC are one of those companies. UKPC have a long history of dodgy practices, being caught out faking timestamps on photographs multiple times, using council signs to fool motorists, and a myriad of other dodgy practices.

He takes large numbers of motorists to court on bogus charges which have no basis in law. Although he is fully aware of this, he continues to do so in the knowledge that most motorists are scared of court and will pay up on receiving his bullying letters.

Rupert Williams owns UKPC and the network of other companies he owns makes interesting reading. He has siphoned millions out of the business into his own pockets and his other businesses, (inclusing writing off huge loans) yet pays his staff a pittance.

Any UKPC who wishes to contact The Prankster confidentially can do so at

The DVLA needs to take strong action and weed out the 10% of the industry who are not interested in providing proper parking management, but who instead devise schemes to fleece motorists to line their own pockets. These companies give a bad name to the industry, hurt the legitimate parking companies and most of all hurt motorists.

When UKPC previously broke the law by forging timestamps on photographs so that they could charge motorists even though they did not overstay, the issue was brushed under the carpet and no proper investigation was undertaken by the DLVA. Frankly, UKPC have run out of chances, and if they have been found to do wrong, the DVLA should sens out a strong message to the rest of the industry that abusive practices are no longer acceptable.

Happy Parking

The Parking Prankster

Saturday, 28 April 2018

UKPC in trouble again

Parking Company UK Parking Control Ltd are in trouble again, this time for failing to help track down a fly tipper, as this report from The Lincolnite shows.

North Kesteven District Council took them to court for failing to provide CCTV data when requested in order to track down a fly tipper. UK PC failed to show up and were fined almost £6,000 in their absence.

This will be small change to their owner, Rupert Williams.

Mr Williams awarded himself** £663,861 in dividends in 2016 and £354,714 in 2017

Not content with that, he has effectively paid himself another £690,821 by writing off loans of £639,538 to Pins and Stripes Ltd and advancing them another £51,283. Rupert owns all the shares in Pins and Stripes Ltd.

The 2017 accounts also reveal he has written off loans of  £330,030 to companies he owns,

Rupert's companies are not trivial to track down. Some of the companies are listed here

and some are listed here

There may be others.

In other news, The Prankster understands UK PC are currently being investigated by the DVLA.

Happy Parking

The Parking Prankster

**It is not clear how dividends were allocated between A and B shareholders, so The Prankster is not sure whether Amanda Williams is getting any or not.

Monday, 16 April 2018

Parking Prankster on Watchdog

The new series of Watchdog starts this week on BBC 1, Wednesday, 8pm.

The Parking Prankster makes a small guest appearance where he explains how ANPR works (or, more accurately, does not work).

Watch this blog for an up to date report once the program airs.

Happy Parking

The Parking Prankster

Sunday, 15 April 2018

DVLA clarify that parking companies cannot sell on debt to debt collectors.

Parking companies obtain keeper data from the DVLA by way of the KADOE contract. Copies are available under FOI, such as here.

This contract allows parking companies to engage debt collectors to pursue debts, but it does not allow them to sell the debt on to another party.

Despite this a number of parking companies have ignored their contract with the DVLA and have been selling their data to rogue debt collector MIL Collections for as little as £1 per parking charge.

MIL are well known for their aggressive practices which include blatantly lying on the telephone, using false and misleading information in letters, and pursuing debts despite not having in any known case a valid letter of assignment (MIL use an undated 'deed' which has no references to any actual parking charge and in some cases has provably been in existence before the assignment occurred as a recycled deed has been used).

The DVLA initially took no action to protect motorists despite being informed of this practice many years ago, when MIL first started to buy up parking charges. Since then, MIL have caused misery and essentially 'robbed' large numbers of motorists by claiming charges which are not valid.

The DVLA has now finally taken action.

DVLA Statement

The DVLA has issued a statement to the Trade Associations on the matter of Debt Assignment

You will be aware that DVLA has been considering whether to permit private parking companies passing on DVLA vehicle keeper data to third parties as part of the assignment of unpaid alleged private parking charges. The term used in this context to describe this activity is "debt assignment."

The KADOE contract does not provide for the onward disclosure of vehicle keeper data by parking companies for debt assignment, and any proposals to do so require the parking company to seek written authorisation from DVLA. However, following representations from the sector, DVLA agreed to consider its position further.

I can now advise that the Agency has concluded that it will not be changing its position on this matter. As was the case with previous requests from parking companies, DVLA will not allow vehicle keeper data originating from DVLA records to be provided to third parties as part of a debt assignment arrangement. The Agency will consider disclosure of data obtained from DVLA to third parties as part of a debt assignment arrangement as a breach of contract which could result in suspension.

British Parking Association Statement

The British Parking Association has stated they will fully support the DVLA in this matter, and that this is a serious breach which could result in the award of 10 sanction points.

12 sanction points results in an immediate ban.

The International Parking Community

The IPC have not made any public statement on this matter. However, their code of practice states
5.2 You must not pass any Personal Data to any third party company who is not a member of an Accredited Operator Scheme (or similar scheme of a different name) with an Accredited Trade Association or a firm entitled to carry on reserved legal activities 
According to their sanction scheme, misuse of personal data can result in 6-12 sanction points, with a starting point of 10.
Factors indicating higher degree of harm
1. Personal Keeper’s Data compromised or
used or obtained inappropriately.
MIL Collections

MIL Collections are run by failed businessman Alan Davies. Any motorists whose keeper data was purchased from the DVLA by a parking company and then sold on to MIL should raise a complaint with the DVLA and the appropriate trade association, the BPA or IPC.

Misuse of personal data is an offence against the Data Protection Act 1999, so you may also have a valid claim against MIL Collections and the parking company. As the DVLA allowed this practice to carry on for some considerable time despite being notified, you may also have a claim against the DVLA, as they have a legal responsibility to keep keeper data free from misuse.

If you provided your data directly to the parking company, without the DVLA being involved, then this does not apply.

Happy Parking

The Parking Prankster

Friday, 13 April 2018

Parking Awareness do not contest £535 claim for improper use of motorist's personal data

[Update 14/04/2018 Parking Awareness right to reply]

Parking Awareness sent a motorist an invoice for parking which the motorist disagreed was valid. When the motorist did not pay, Parking Awareness sold the alleged debt to rogue debt collectors MIL Collections.

However, Parking Awareness's KADOE contract with the DVLA prevents them from selling on motorists' details without express written permission from the DVLA. Following the Prankster's advice, the motorist wrote to the DVLA and got a letter back confirming they had not asked for permission.

The motorist therefore took out a count court claim against Parking Awareness for £500 for misuse of personal data. They did not contest the case and so paid out £500 plus £35 costs.

The DVLA are now looking into Parking Awareness's dealings with MIL Collections.

Prankster Note

If MIL Collection's have tried to enforce a parking charge against you, and the motorist details were provided by the DVLA, then you may have a valid data protection claim against the parking company, MIL Collections or both. If you are feeling brave, you may also have a claim against the DVLA as they were well aware this abuse was happening but failed to put measures in place to prevent it.

The data protection claim would likely apply whether or not the parking charge was valid and whether or not you paid MIL or even if they achieved a court judgment against you.

However, it is important to properly follow the process and get the wording of any claim correct, which will probably be different depending on circumstances.

Parking Awareness right to reply

Matthew Wild, a director of Parking Awareness Services, has contacted The Prankster to state that the reason they did not defend the claim was that they never received the court papers. Their mail processing company who receive their legal mail had stopped providing service in January 2018 (the contract actually ended 4th April 2018).

They therefore only became aware of the claim once the claimant contacted them providing payment details. They are now suing the mail processing provider for their breach of services they provided us, for the amount of this claim and other damages.

Happy Parking

The Parking Prankster

Wednesday, 11 April 2018

MIL Collections - £750 awarded against them for “Unreasonable conduct in litigation”.

MIL Collections v George. D8QZ60RM Truro 10/04/2018. DDJ Rutherford

Guest report from Mr George. MIL Collections were represented by Danielle Metters from LPC Law  Mr George was represented by John Wilkie.

This case has also been reported on the Cornwall Live website.

Court report

DDJ Rutherford has quashed a parking charge and seriously rebuked debt collection company MIL Collections Ltd. The Truro based company were also ordered to pay £750 in costs to the defendant because of their “unreasonable conduct in litigation”.

The exceptional order came after Cornwall based Llawnroc Parking Services and MIL Collections had pursued motorist David George for payment despite Mr George having bought a parking ticket and proved this to the private parking company. Mr George was helped by the Parking Prankster, along with the BMPA and Private Parking Appeals director John Wilkie (acting privately as a Lay Representative) in his defence of a claim from MIL Collections for £215 after the alleged debt was incorrectly assigned to it by Llawnroc.

MIL Collections Christopher Barrett, who calls himself “Head of Legal” for the firm, under cross examination from John Wilkie, admitted the company often provided fictitious names or pseudonyms on documents used in evidence. He agreed Paul King, G Watson and Matt Murdoch and Matt Murdock, names which often appear on MIL litigation, were all made up. In finding for the defendant and awarding exceptional costs Deputy District Judge Stephen Rutherford said:

“If a professional debt agency brings a claim it must get the basic facts right…………
Many of the letters were written by fictitious people or the names they used are pseudonyms, the problem is these letters were produced (in evidence) and that information would never have come out without the astute questioning of Mr Wilkie. They included wrong dates and wrong amounts, I can forgive one mistake, when it get to two or more I become worried.”

The judges criticisms of MIL continued:
“Debt has to be properly assigned and a notice properly given. I’m not satisfied notice of assignment was properly given. I’m not satisfied this was a proper assignment in the first place. It was undated ……. and signed by a Mr Haddock which is a resemblance to a fictional character”.

When awarding costs to Mr George, Deputy District Judge Rutherford said in a small claim court case;

“Costs are only awarded if there has been unreasonable conduct. Late service of the (evidence) bundle, failure to comply with the pre-action protocols, breaking the Financial Conduct Authority rules, failure to comply with court orders, adding additional administration charges twice, effectively a way of trying to get back costs over and above small claims costs by the back door, all of that puts MIL Collections as having a cost order against them. It amounts to unreasonable conduct in litigation”.

Costs of £750 were awarded.

After the case the defendant, David George, said “ MIL Collections appears to use claims to the small claims track to scare people into paying debts which maybe disputed, they use tactics which are, at best misleading to individuals like myself, and the judge has found them out and rebuked them in court”. Mr George also said he was extremely grateful for the help provided by John Wilkie, and to the BMPA and the many Private Parking blogs and websites for their help and encouragement.

Prankster Note

MIL's habit of using fictional comic book characters to sign their legal documents has now hit them hard. Although Matt Murdock may be a successful fictional lawyer, he is not in real life. At this time it is not known whether Capt. Haddock, the harbour master who signed the notice of assignment is real or false.

As MIL have never been known to win a parking case against John Wilkie, the Prankster has no hesitation in condemning their business model as being built on a tissue of lies, relying on intimidating motorists into paying amounts which have no basis in law.

MIL owner Alan Davies is therefore nothing more than a con man, relying on bluster and scare tactics to fleece unsuspecting motorists who do not know the true legal position.

If any motorists have paid MIL they have up to 6 years to sue them to get their money back. As MIL have no basis for pursuing these motorists it is likely they also have a valid data protection claim against MIL, and also possibly personally against Alan Davies and Christopher Barrett for using personal data unfairly and unlawfully. From 25 May 2018 any further incorrect use of personal data would be an offence against the new GDPR legislation, for which  companies can be fined up to €20 million, or 4% annual global turnover.

As Alan Davies will by now have no doubt his business model is entirely bogus, it is possible the courts would award large amounts if they find against him.

Happy Parking

The Parking Prankster

Thursday, 22 March 2018

Court report. UK CPM lose on POFA and signage

Case No. D6GF60EJ – UK CPM -v- Mrs H – Before Deputy District Judge Bruce. Chatham.

Bargepole report

This involved setting off at the crack of dawn, and waking up the larks. Chatham is so far East that it’s almost in France. Angus also turned up, to sit in on a few of the 7 parking cases being heard that day.

The Defendant was represented by me. There was no appearance for the Claimant, as previously notified by Gladstones. Although Ms Cross of Elms Legal was there for three other UK CPM cases, she hadn’t been instructed for this one.

This was for a PCN issued at The Meads, Sittingbourne, at a location where the Claimant’s signage says “No Parking At Any Time”. The Defendant was the keeper but had been at home at the time, and the car was being used by another driver.

So the defence really boiled down to two points – no keeper liability, as the Notice To Keeper (NTK) was not Protection of Freedoms Act 2012 sch 4 (POFA) compliant; and no contract was possible due to the forbidding signage.

The Claimant had submitted the usual rubbish Gladstones template witness statement, citing Eliott v Loake and other irrelevant stuff.

The DDJ (a barrister) took it upon himself to make the case for the Claimant from their evidence, and it seemed that it might be an uphill struggle given that he had awarded the case before ours to the Claimants.

We started with POFA, and he said that a ‘period of parking’ wouldn’t apply in a situation where the car shouldn’t be parked at all. I argued that if that had been the intention of Parliament, they would have included wording to that effect in the statute, but they hadn’t, so there must be a period with a defined start and end time.

The DDJ then said that the notice stated that the charges hadn’t been paid in full, and the PPC didn’t know the name of the driver. I pointed out that these statements were prefaced by the word “if”, which gave a different meaning to the wording mandated by statute.

Moving on to the signage, he said that the terms were that if you parked without permission, you agreed to pay £100. I argued that the key phrase was “without permission”, which indicated that there was no contractual offer capable of acceptance by the motorist, or alternatively no contractual licence which could be construed from this wording. I took him to the relevant paragraph from the Bull judgment, and made the case that this situation was on all fours with that one.

He then gave judgment, and at this stage we weren’t sure if we’d done enough to get over the line.

On the POFA question, he felt that the NTK was ‘substantially compliant’; however that wasn’t good enough, the wording of the statute meant that it had to be fully compliant. Therefore, keeper liability did not apply.

He agreed that the Bull case was persuasive, and agreed with DJ Glen that the only remedy could be a claim in trespass. It was a moot point as to whether the Claimant had the capacity to bring such a claim, but in any event, trespass wasn’t pleaded, so that didn’t apply.

The claim was therefore dismissed, and he also observed that had he been finding for the Claimant, he would have disallowed the think-of-a-number-and-double-it additional costs added on by Gladstones.

The Defendant did not take any time off work so there was no order as to costs.

Prankster Notes

It is sad that the incompetent bunch of solicitors holed up in the golf course at Gladstones Solicitors are allowed to keep churning out these bogus claims. Although they have totally lost all credibility, they work on the premise that either people are scared by their letters, or do not know the true legal reasons why their claims are utterly flawed, and so they make their money from people who are bullied into paying up or who fail the court procedures.

It is difficult to understand why they keep on doing this. Most people would call taking money from other people which you know you are not allowed, theft. Sadly, by hiding behind a legal shield they are able to avoid being called thieves and scammers. Nevertheless, The Prankster wonders how people like Will Hurley and John Davies can sleep at night knowing how they earn their money.

Happy Parking

The Parking Prankster

Sunday, 4 February 2018

Parking Bill moves to next stage. Will Hurley and John Davies's use of obfuscation techniques found out.

On Friday Sir Greg Knight's Parking Bill passed the second reading and now moves to committee stage. If all goes to plan it should reach the next stage around October.

The proposed bill can be found here

The bill's progress can be monitored here.

Hansard's copy of the Friday's debate can be found here.

The bill aims to impose a common code of practice and regulated appeals system across the parking industry. As Sir Greg Knight put it;

Motorists should have the certainty that when they enter a car park on private land, they are entering into a contract that is reasonable, transparent and involves a consistent process. Poor signage, unreasonable terms, exorbitant fines, aggressive demands for payment and an opaque appeals process, together with some motorists being hit with a fine for just driving in and out of a car park without stopping, have no place in 21st-century Britain.

The debate was a one sided affair with no dissenters and MPs from all sides of the house and around the country lining up to expose the scams and dirty practices of the parking industry.

There were a number of choice quotes.
“These people are the John Wayne of the cowboys”
 “The BPA are as much use as a multi-storey car park in the Gobi Desert”
 “This Bill will mark the beginning of the end of these parasites”
 “This industry is like putting Dracula in charge of the blood bank”

Some of the scams which have come to the notice of MPs include:

  • Parking companies failing to reply to correspondence
  • Confusion "marketing"; signs that advertise different terms and condition for the same car park - only one of which is correct
  • Using small signs mounted so high up motorists are likely to miss them - especially disabled motorists; using font too small for motorists to read
  • Obtaining a pecuniary advantage by deception.; deliberately breaching the code of practice; cancelling charges when the motorist appeals, but not correcting the problem and continuing to accept payments from other motorists for the same event
  • repeated issuing of charges to individuals parking in their own parking space outside their property
  • repeat ticketing of motorists away on holiday
  • ticketing residents before they have been informed a new scheme is in place
  • stopping in an empty lay-by for 15 seconds to check satellite navigation settings
  • using the term PCN and the mimicking of police tickets or court documents to deceive motorists into thinking they have received a statutory parking fine.
  • charging motorists for mis-keyed their number plate into an automatic machine when the parking company has a record of all vehicles currently in the car park
  • failing to maintain payment machines then charging motorists when the machines do not work
  • Advertising phone numners which do not work; are not answered; or are too complicated.
  • Only accepting payment by app
  • Acting in a predatory fashion at hospitals
  • Making it hard to get parking permits for a change of car
  • targeting of taxi drivers picking up passengers from retail parks
  • disparity between the ease with which a roboclaim company can file a bogus claim compared to the cost of defending it
  • lack of transparency of hotspots where large numbers of charges are issued
  • charging customers for temporarily leaving a retail park
  • The grossly invasive, threatening and wholly inappropriate use of debt collection companies
  • Offering free parking with hidden terms and conditions designed only to trigger charges
  • Issuing charges to people who decide not to park
The Prankster has seen all these practices and confirms they are in common use. The Prankster receives 10-20 emails a day on these themes.

Prankster Notes

There are a large number of parking companies, and although no-one likes receiving a parking charge, most of these companies act responsibility and very rarely feature in the Prankster's email inbox. When they do, the companies involved very often accept the charge is not valid and cancel the charge.

However, there are a few companies who crop up time after time. they act in a predatory and unfair fashion. Names highlighted in the debate include Premier Parking Solutions, Premier Park Ltd, Link Parking, New Generation Parking, UK Parking Control and ParkingEye, and these correspond closely with the problem companies from the Prankster's postbag. Other problem companies include Excel Parking/Vehicle Control Services. These were not mentioned by name, but cases involving them were highlighted in the debate. 

Smart Parking, were mentioned as a company that blights communities throughout Scotland. Their activities hit England and Wales as well.

Rogue solicitor firm Gladstones Solicitors were mentioned; the MP in question had referred them to the Solicitors Regulatory Authority for investigation. It did not escape the MP's notice that the directors of Gladstones had tries to obfuscate their association with the International Parking Community by repeated changes of names and address. 

The Prankster notes that although the obvious conflict of interest was highlighted by MPs, the DVLA have already investigated this relationship and for some unaccountable reason found there was no conflict. noted. Apparently the DVLA see no problem with "putting Dracula in charge of the blood bank."

Genuine parking companies have nothing to fear from this bill. In fact, they stand to gain because removing the bottom feeding practices means a level playing field for all companies.

Happy Parking

The Parking Prankster

Tuesday, 9 January 2018

Link Parking, you've been Gladstoned.

Claim Number D6GF6K5E (Link Parking vs Mr Mann). 09/01/2018. Cheltenham. DJ Singleton

Last year a member of the facebook group Fight Your Private Parking Invoice was approached for help in regards to a County Court claim issued by Gladstones Solicitors on behalf of Link Parking.

Guest Report

Summary; Gladstones Solicitors sent evidence late; witness statement late; their witness wasn't present in court; they couldn't prove the permit was a photocopy; case dismissed.

Mr Mann had been ticketed for parking in a visitors bay within a residential complex where he owns a property. The claimant alleged that he displayed a "photocopied" visitors permit as opposed to a "proper" permit.

As per usual, and as I've become used to seeing, Gladstones Solicitors issued the usual nonsense roboclaim that did not set out any course of action, far from professional for a regulated solicitor.

Upon drafting a defence and submitting it, Mr Mann received the usual proforma nonsense from Gladstones Solicitors; however we proceeded ahead.

The hearing

The case was allocated to the Cheltenham County Court. District Judge Singleton gave a concise and strict set of directions for all parties, including that Gladstones Solicitors must file a response to the defence; this was submitted late by Gladstones. Parties were also asked to submit evidence by set dates. Mr Mann ensured his was sent out on time; of course Gladstones Solicitors filed their evidence late, and even filed their witness statement late. Their Witness Statement was from the director of Link Parking.

The hearing was due at 14:00 on the 9th January 2018. A solicitor appeared on behalf of the Claimant. Mr Mann was assisted by Michael Hartnett, a member of the Facebook group. In the hearing, District Judge Singleton essentially said everything that was needed to be said and was not impressed with Gladstones' conduct, wasn't happy that the witness was not present in court, and the main point being that the claimant couldn't prove that a photocopy permit was used.

Case dismissed.

It amazes me from having supported quite a few members on the forums with court claims, that Gladstones Solicitors still systematically behave in a way that is deliberately deceitful, unprofessional and is simply not the conduct you'd expect from a professional company.

They have no regard to the court system, and merely use it in the hope that they'll get a default judgment or the defendant simply pays up.

Once again, Link Parking, you've been Gladstoned.

Prankster Notes

Gladstones Solicitors are owned and run by John Davies and Will Hurley. Yet again they have shown what an incompetent pair of charlatans they are, filing a claim with no merit and failing to ensure their company obeys the most simplest of court directions.

Luckily John and Will are apparently untroubled by any moral compass, or they would no doubt be unable to sleep at night.

Their actions amount to no better than stealing from their customers, since they are not providing the least kind of service one would expect from a properly behaved firm of solicitors. They are also essentially stealing from motorists, by attempting to claim money which is not owed by them.

Link Parking, you've been Gladstoned

Happy Parking

The parking Prankster