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#929833 - 20th Feb 2015 3:37pm Private Parking penalties 'charged illegally'
Mark Online   Reading


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Registered: 9th Nov 2003
Posts: 20966
Loc: Wirral
Millions of pounds of parking penalties could have been charged illegally, according to the RAC Foundation.

Penalties for overstays in car parks on private land in England and Wales could in some cases be unenforceable in court, the charity said.

It said the penalties were much more expensive than compensation for a genuine loss incurred by landowners.

But the Independent Parking Committee said penalties are the only protection landowners have against losses.

The foundation also called for the government to ensure that extra parking charges were "reasonable and enforceable" and wants to see its argument tested in court.

Possible refunds
Its report was compiled by barrister John de Waal QC, who also said parking companies were levying charges on drivers which were disproportionate to the losses suffered by landowners as a result of motorists' actions.

The Protection of Freedoms Act 2012 banned clamping, towing, blocking-in or immobilising a vehicle without lawful authority on private land, in a bid to end abuses by rogue clamping firms.

John Davies
Independent Parking Committee
However, the foundation said that private car parks were now using overstay penalty charges as an alternative, with a system of ticketing which was "barely regulated".

Drivers who stay longer than the time they have paid for may receive tickets demanding payments of up to 100, and significantly more in some cases, it said.

It cited the case of a woman from High Wycombe who, in 2014, had been penalty charged 100 for overstaying in a car park which cost 20p per hour.

The report also said European legislation, which requires contracts to be fair, meant so-called "early payment discounts" of penalty charges could also be unlawful because they constitute a "price escalation clause".

It said when parking signs were not clear or prominently displayed, the charge could also be challenged on the grounds of unfairness.

'Barely regulated'
Foundation director Professor Stephen Glaister estimated overcharging in private parking penalties may have reached 100m in 2013, and said millions of drivers could be due a refund.

"We would like to see this legal argument tested in a higher court so that a binding precedent is set," he said.

He also said a case coming to the Court of Appeal next week, regarding a motorist who is contesting an 85 penalty charge, could establish a precedent in law if the motorist wins, meaning others could have a case to get money repaid.

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#929849 - 20th Feb 2015 4:08pm Re: Private Parking penalties 'charged illegally' [Re: Mark]
diggingdeeper Offline

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Registered: 9th Jul 2008
Posts: 9559
Loc: Birkenhead
I just don't get why people are still trying to get round this.

If I own a piece of land which has planning permission as a car park, there is nothing any court can do to stop me charging whatever I like as long as I adequately display the charges.

If my sign says "20p for the first hour and 1000 per hour after the first hour", nobody can stop me charging this, and what's more, I can pursue those payments through the civil courts is somebody hasn't paid them.

If you don't like the parking charges - don't park there, just like if the rent on a house is too much, you wouldn't rent it.

This is basic contract law that our legal system relies on, its not about under/over charging. A business can charge what it likes, its up to the customer to choose if they want those services at that price.
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#929887 - 20th Feb 2015 5:29pm Re: Private Parking penalties 'charged illegally' [Re: Mark]
Mark Online   Reading


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Registered: 9th Nov 2003
Posts: 20966
Loc: Wirral
The problem exists because public and private are not that obvious. And car parks are writing there own rules so to speak.

The argument now is about being "Fair".
What is a fair amount for an Overstay.
If you pay 3 for the first hour then its hardly fair to pay 100 for 2 mins over time.

They are by law allowed to claim back any fair loss of earning.
100 for 3 mins is not fair.
3 divided by 60 mins + a Small Admin charge is what is being put forward so a possible fine of 15 in total. And then i think that is acceptable you've been caught out.


Take the NHS Hospitals for instance.
Its the NHS and we pay for the NHS, so why is that classed as private ? Its managed by a private company and they can take advantage of the rules, I watched an interesting program by the parking organisation on Dispatches or Panorama this week about it.

Private car parks also do not always put up the correct sign-age so its not always a mistake by the motorist.

The bottom line is, that it has become easy money for the industry of private parking.

Dont we pay enough for our cars on the road without crazy prices for parking for what ever reason.
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#929905 - 20th Feb 2015 6:19pm Re: Private Parking penalties 'charged illegally' [Re: diggingdeeper]
Blueskier Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 22nd Mar 2013
Posts: 194
Loc: Wallasey
Originally Posted By: diggingdeeper
I just don't get why people are still trying to get round this.

If I own a piece of land which has planning permission as a car park, there is nothing any court can do to stop me charging whatever I like as long as I adequately display the charges.

If my sign says "20p for the first hour and 1000 per hour after the first hour", nobody can stop me charging this, and what's more, I can pursue those payments through the civil courts is somebody hasn't paid them.

If you don't like the parking charges - don't park there, just like if the rent on a house is too much, you wouldn't rent it.

This is basic contract law that our legal system relies on, its not about under/over charging. A business can charge what it likes, its up to the customer to choose if they want those services at that price.


The problem is not what you charge for parking on your land, that is your concern. However if i breach a condition of your parking you can only be compensated for any loss you have suffered flowing directly from the breach. You can not "fine" someone, this is only available to the police the council or the courts. This is basic contract law. Alternatively some parking companies try the trespass angle, this is also flawed because you can only ask for damages that have occurred from the trespass. Neither of these are likely to amount to 100 that is typically charged. I have advised many people and have indeed succeeded myself in having these INVOICES cancelled at POPLA.

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#929939 - 20th Feb 2015 9:06pm Re: Private Parking penalties 'charged illegally' [Re: Blueskier]
Blueskier Offline
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Registered: 22nd Mar 2013
Posts: 194
Loc: Wallasey
DD, i could theoretically put a sign in an obscure part of my property with all sorts of terms and conditions saying anyone who knocks on my door agrees to pay me a million pound. If someone never noticed it and knocked are you saying they would have to pay up and that i could pursue them via the courts? Of course not, that would be ridiculous!
There is legislation to prevent this, it is the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations. There are many cases where Judges have dismissed these cases on grounds of poor/inaccurate/misleading signage, that the charge is punitive so unenforcable, even that the parking company has no right to pursue the case as their contracts do not permit it.

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#930117 - 21st Feb 2015 9:34pm Re: Private Parking penalties 'charged illegally' [Re: Mark]
diggingdeeper Offline

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Registered: 9th Jul 2008
Posts: 9559
Loc: Birkenhead
I was referring to this topic whereby they are saying that overstay charges are unreasonable in private car parks.

Its not a question of fairness, its not about the cowboys with hidden signage, its not about penalties nor fines - it is simple basic contract law. The Car Park can charge whatever it likes - there is no way anyone can overturn or legislate against that unless it comes under the constraints of the Competition Commission eg where companies are colluding prices (ie not competing) or have a very dominant position in the marketplace.
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#930134 - 22nd Feb 2015 12:27am Re: Private Parking penalties 'charged illegally' [Re: Mark]
Mark Online   Reading


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Registered: 9th Nov 2003
Posts: 20966
Loc: Wirral
Its down to the sign-age then.

Private Parking and Public Parking should be idiot proof so we learn that Private parking can have unregulated rules.

Its confusing as I say, for example a public Hospital has private parking contractors looking after parking.

The thing is maybe the few have spoiled it for the many and now it has to be more regulated, as they said in 2013 they stopped clamping and tow away on private land if i understand it correctly.

Its just catches everyone out that a Ticket could cost 2 for an hour and be fined 100 for 2 mins over its not fair on the motorist who used to be able to park almost any where with out a care or a worry.

Shopping Parks now have parking / stay limits where as they never used too. Its all change but the fines should be advertised as big as the charges.

Thats my thoughts.

I'm now learning to look for the signs regardless.
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#930187 - 22nd Feb 2015 12:19pm Re: Private Parking penalties 'charged illegally' [Re: Mark]
dizdazdoz Offline

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Registered: 17th Jan 2010
Posts: 866
Loc: Here
The dude who was in a maccies, ate his "food" then crossed over road to buy a paper, fined as the car park is for maccies customers only, once he left store he was no longer a customer so his 2 min walk for paper cost him a 60 fine. That's were it gets to being a con.

I believe that the fine should only be for every hour you go over you pay for 1 hour + a admin fee of 15-20 is suitable, as said above there is a difference between private and public and private are only allowed by law to recover losses and no more.

Seen the same program as Ste and will be interesting when the case goes to the EU, however I do hate the EU laying our laws so feel awkward with this one.

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#930188 - 22nd Feb 2015 12:30pm Re: Private Parking penalties 'charged illegally' [Re: Mark]
HansG Offline
Member

Registered: 6th Jan 2015
Posts: 70
Loc: Wirral
LOL @ diggingdeeper

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#930325 - 23rd Feb 2015 10:45am Re: Private Parking penalties 'charged illegally' [Re: HansG]
venice Offline

Forum Master

Registered: 21st Jul 2011
Posts: 2423
Loc: Wirral
Wished Id done something to complain about a 60 fine I got a few months ago. I parked on the ground floor of the short stay multi storey behind the market in Chester , adjacent to the road you go in off. It was the 'plot' right next to the pedestrian exit by the entrance. As there was a large neutral space behind me before the next 'plot' and because I didnt want careless people going past my the front of my car with buggies etc, I parked a couple of feet back ,and my wheels were 30" or so behind the line and into the neutral space. At the time I had other stuff on my mind and just paid up.

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#930332 - 23rd Feb 2015 12:37pm Re: Private Parking penalties 'charged illegally' [Re: diggingdeeper]
DavidB Offline
Wiki Guide

Registered: 7th Dec 2003
Posts: 5591
Loc: Bebington, Wirral
Originally Posted By: diggingdeeper
If my sign says "20p for the first hour and 1000 per hour after the first hour", nobody can stop me charging this, and what's more, I can pursue those payments through the civil courts is somebody hasn't paid them.


That is true, but you doubt you can force anyone to pay 1000 for parking on your land in a court.
I doubt I will ever be coming to 'Andy Land' again, judging by your prices. frown
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#930353 - 23rd Feb 2015 3:36pm Re: Private Parking penalties 'charged illegally' [Re: DavidB]
diggingdeeper Offline

Wiki Guardian

Registered: 9th Jul 2008
Posts: 9559
Loc: Birkenhead
Originally Posted By: DavidB
Originally Posted By: diggingdeeper
If my sign says "20p for the first hour and 1000 per hour after the first hour", nobody can stop me charging this, and what's more, I can pursue those payments through the civil courts is somebody hasn't paid them.


That is true, but you doubt you can force anyone to pay 1000 for parking on your land in a court.
I doubt I will ever be coming to 'Andy Land' again, judging by your prices. frown


That was the discounted mates rates! I'd give you another 10% off happy
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#930355 - 23rd Feb 2015 4:06pm Re: Private Parking penalties 'charged illegally' [Re: diggingdeeper]
chriskay Offline
Forum Veteran

Registered: 25th Oct 2007
Posts: 4868
Loc: shropshire
Originally Posted By: diggingdeeper

If my sign says "20p for the first hour and 1000 per hour after the first hour", nobody can stop me charging this, and what's more, I can pursue those payments through the civil courts is somebody hasn't paid them.


That's O.K. I'll pay my 20p to cover the first hour then stay another 59 minutes: no penalty since the notice says "per hour after the first hour" and I haven't stayed another hour. Nothing on the notice about part of an hour. wink
(This might actually hold up in a court; depends on the wording of the sign).
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#930366 - 23rd Feb 2015 4:47pm Re: Private Parking penalties 'charged illegally' [Re: Mark]
diggingdeeper Offline

Wiki Guardian

Registered: 9th Jul 2008
Posts: 9559
Loc: Birkenhead
Us poor car park owners have a terrible time with the punters trying to stop us enjoying our lavish lifestyles.

Guess I need another trip to the signmakers, I might as well up the charges at the same time - or better still just have ....

Throw your wallet in my direction when you arrive, no returns or refunds

In aid of charity


(0.001% of profit given to charity of my choice)


Edited by diggingdeeper (23rd Feb 2015 4:48pm)
Edit Reason: "income" changed to "profit"
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