Patrick Troy, CEO of the British Parking Association Limited, expressed his views on the situation.
“There is a danger with these websites because they make people believe that they can get them off parking tickets, but if they did park in the wrong place, then they should pay the penalty."Under UK Law, only the Government can impose penalties, and herein lies the problem with many private parking charges. The doctrine of penalties in UK Law provides that if a contract is breached, the aggrieved party has a right to be put back in the position they would have been in had no breach occurred. Over the last few years, parking companies have revealed to POPLA and the courts that their average cost per ticket issued is around £20. They are therefore shooting themselves in the foot by charging £100. This immediately establishes the charge is a penalty and therefore makes it unenforceable in law.
This is the basis on which the ParkingTicketAppeals works. Private parking companies can therefore immediately make their charges enforceable by reducing the charges to around £20. This would cause services like ParkingTicketAppeals to go out of business.
The BPA previous required its members to comply with the usual interpretation of the law. Its code of practice stated that all charges must be a genuine pre-estimate of loss. However, most of its members flagrantly disobeyed that requirement. Large numbers of complaints were received from motorists regarding this, but not a single sanction point was issued for breaching this rule. Instead, the BPA changed the code of practice to remove the requirement. The new code requires that charges are 'commercially justified'.
The Parking industry is attempting to get the interpretation of the law changed, and there is a test case due to be held in February 2015 in the court of appeal; ParkingEye v Beavis. The Parking industry will be arguing that there will be parking chaos if the interpretation is not changed, and that although it only costs them around £20 per ticket issued, they must charge £85 to introduce a deterrent.
The Prankster would point the court of appeal to the following facts.
1. £16 appears to be a sufficient deterrent. ParkingTicketAppeals state they get very little repeat business
2. Scotland, where the law is different because only the driver is liable, does not have parking chaos
3. There was not parking chaos in England and Wales before the law changed in October 2012
4. There is not parking chaos in other countries
5. There are parking companies which charge £20 per ticket and who run a thriving business. It is therefore not necessary to charge £85 to have a viable business, and to provide sufficient deterrent to stop motorists transgressing.
As previously reported, the person running ParkingTicketAppeals changed on Friday. The two people originally running the service are no longer involved. The Prankster has contacted the new person to find their experience in parking appeals but has had no reply. The Prankster is therefore reserving judgment on the effectiveness of their service going forward for the time being.
The Parking Prankster