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News item private parking, correct area of forum?
whjohnson
post Sun, 11 Aug 2019 - 17:39
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A trip to her slimming club in Helston, Cornwall, landed 26-year-old Juliet Robertson with a £130 parking fine. Then in mid-January she received another fine in the post, for £90, from a different parking firm in Helston.

Juliet, an English student, had bought tickets on both occasions but when she complained to the companies, she hit a brick wall.

The dispute has prompted her to become one of the first people in Britain to use strict new data laws to complain about the way the fine was issued.

Premier Parking Solutions (PPS) and Llawnroc Parking Services bought Juliet’s personal data, including her name and home address, from the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA), which charges £2.50 for each request.

Juliet believes this is against the rules because an official body should not be handing her information to private companies. “These firms are like the highwaymen of the modern age,” she said.

Money has learnt that the Information Commissioner is “aware of issues” regarding the sale of drivers’ data.

The watchdog is on the case
Entirely legally, the DVLA sold the details of 6.8m drivers to parking firms during the last financial year.

Under the Road Vehicles (Registration and Licensing) Regulations 2002, the DVLA can hand over drivers’ details to parking firms — but the companies must have reasonable cause to do so. To satisfy this, it must be part of a registered trade body with a voluntary code of conduct. The company does not have to prove the driver it wants to fine was in the wrong.

In 2006-7, firms issued just 272,000 fines after obtaining vehicle keeper records from the DVLA. A decade later, the figure is 25 times that number, netting the agency about £17m a year.

But how this rule is applied has not changed since the introduction of tough new data rules called the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which came into force in May last year.

GDPR gives people an important right to object to a company using their personal data in certain situations.

There are increasing concerns that parking firms are issuing fines where there is no evidence that a driver has parked illegally. It is possible to complain by writing to the company that shares your data. After that, you can take the complaint to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), the data watchdog.
Driven to complain: Juliet Robertson got two parking fines in 10 days
Driven to complain: Juliet Robertson got two parking fines in 10 days

A switch of dates
When Juliet received her first fine on January 4 from PPS, it threatened her with court action unless she paid £130. It accused her of parking in its Helston car park on Wednesday, November 21 last year without buying a ticket. Juliet told the company she had not parked that day and had a university attendance record to prove it. PPS then changed the date to November 15, which was a Thursday — the day she regularly uses the car park to attend a slimming club. As she had not kept her ticket from two months earlier, she felt forced to pay the fine.

Ten days later she received a second fine in the post, from Llawnroc Parking Services, which accused her of failing to buy a ticket at another car park in Helston. She had kept this ticket as proof but the firm still refused to drop the fine.

Richard Caddy, Llawnroc’s director, agreed to reduce the £90 fine to £50 as a goodwill gesture after being contacted by The Sunday Times but refused to cancel the fine completely.

“Drivers tend to bend the truth to suit their cause,” he said. “It has now become common practice for a driver to obtain another ticket from another vehicle and attempt to pass it off as their own alleged purchased ticket.” He said he was not accusing Juliet of having done this.

Angry at the way she has been treated, Juliet has written to the DVLA objecting to how it has shared her data and is awaiting a response. If her complaint is rejected, it will be sent on to the ICO.

The ICO said: “We are aware of the issues around the sharing of drivers’ details between the DVLA and private parking companies, and we are considering if and how new data protection laws affect this data sharing. We will be offering advice and guidance once those issues have been resolved.”

David Goodbrand, head of data privacy at the law firm Burness Paull, said: “The level of transparency is lacking. The DVLA could do a lot better in informing drivers about what data it holds on them and how it is being shared.”

‘Fishing’ for fines
Sir Greg Knight, the Conservative MP for East Yorkshire, has campaigned against rogue parking firms and was the driving force behind the Parking (Code of Practice) Act, which became law in March.

This stipulates that firms will have to follow a mandatory code of conduct, which is being drawn up. Those that breach the code will be denied access to the DVLA’s database, “effectively putting them out of business,” said Knight.

The DVLA says companies that request information from it to enforce parking charges have to give details of their business activities and evidence that they are either the landowner or acting on behalf of one.

The firms must also be registered with the British Parking Association or the International Parking Community.

Had a fine? here’s how to hit back
If you have received a parking fine in the post and think it is unfair, appeal instead of paying it, writes Kate Palmer.

It’s likely to be called a “Parking Charge Notice” — but this isn’t an official fine backed by law, as are those issued by local councils. It is actually an invoice for an alleged breach of conduct.

Check whether the firm belongs to the British Parking Association (BPA) or International Parking Community (IPC) trade bodies. If it does, you can appeal using that body’s process. For the BPA, it is Popla (popla.co.uk); for the IPC it is the Independent Appeals Service (theias.org).

You have 28 days to go to Popla or 21 days if using the IPC. Appeals take at least a month.

If the parking firm is not a member of a trade body, you need to write to the firm explaining why the penalty is unfair.

In either instance, gather evidence to support your case. This could be a ticket you bought, bank statements, or proof that there was no signage or insufficient signage.

If you complain to the trade body and win, the decision is binding on the parking company.

You can also complain to the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority (DVLA) directly about its handling of your data. This applies only if the firm obtained your details through DVLA records. This will be the case if you did not give this information when you bought the ticket or if the fine was attached to your car.

If you can show the DVLA was not authorised to hand out your information, the fine should not stand.

To help, Money has created a template letter you can fill out, at thesundaytimes.co.uk/dvlaletter. The letter should contain your full name and address, as well as your car registration number.

If this fails, complain to the Information Commissioner’s Office, the data watchdog, and ask for a response within 28 days. Post the letter to: DVRE, DVLA, Swansea, SA6 7JL.
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post Sun, 11 Aug 2019 - 17:39
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Ocelot
post Sun, 11 Aug 2019 - 17:48
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I wish these papers would stop referring to them as 'fines'. There were 20 references in that article.
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southpaw82
post Sun, 11 Aug 2019 - 17:58
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QUOTE (Ocelot @ Sun, 11 Aug 2019 - 18:48) *
I wish these papers would stop referring to them as 'fines'. There were 20 references in that article.

Why? That’s what the ordinary man in the street would call them.


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Any comments made do not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon. No lawyer/client relationship should be assumed nor should any duty of care be owed.
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Fredd
post Sun, 11 Aug 2019 - 19:31
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QUOTE (southpaw82 @ Sun, 11 Aug 2019 - 18:58) *
QUOTE (Ocelot @ Sun, 11 Aug 2019 - 18:48) *
I wish these papers would stop referring to them as 'fines'. There were 20 references in that article.

Why? That’s what the ordinary man in the street would call them.

Entirely agree. However this is stretching things, even by the standards of modern "journalism":
QUOTE
There are increasing concerns that parking firms are issuing fines where there is no evidence that a driver has parked illegally.


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anon45
post Mon, 12 Aug 2019 - 21:06
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The article implies that all PPC "fines" are automatically enforceable per se, even where the vehicle was not parked at all (as per the article on "Juliet").

To my mind, that is the real error in the article.
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whjohnson
post Tue, 13 Aug 2019 - 08:24
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I responded to the person who sent me the article as follows. I hope it helps him understand the subject a little more clearly.

ME -

Ok, so nothing really new. The media STILL uses the wrong terms - A 'Fine' can only be imposed by the police/magistrate/council. The word Fine is a legal term and a private parking company cannot 'fine' you any more than I could for non-payment of my invoice. They do not have the legal powers to do so.

POPLA used to be a fair appeals service run by an entity called London Councils. The IPC on the other hand is owned by a company who also owns Gladstone Solicitors - the very parasites who issue millions of civil claims every year for unpaid private parking tickets, often on trumped up or illegal contract terms. The victims are usually intimidated into not contesting and just paying up for fear of getting a CCJ. The industry is rotten to the core. For example, all private parking firms have to belong to an accredited body recognized by the Govt in order to gain access to the DVLA database for Keeper details. The accredited bodies are funded by by the parking companies who pay an annual sub. Now, it is not profitable for a parking company to have ticketing appeals found against them. It costs them £20 per appeal so many just go straight to the civil claims process instead.

The IPC (Independent Parking Committee) guarantees it's customers the parking companies, that they will ensure that 80% of appeals will go in favour of the parking company. How fair and balanced is that?

My advice? Never ever pay them anything. Don't ignore their correspondence, but look on pepipoo website for info as to how to deal with them. Each company is different, and sometimes a cleverly worded F--off letter dissuades them from going to court. Others however, are extremely vexatious and you need to play them at their own game.
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Steve_999
post Tue, 13 Aug 2019 - 08:43
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QUOTE (whjohnson @ Tue, 13 Aug 2019 - 09:24) *
. . . . . A 'Fine' can only be imposed by the police/magistrate/council.. . . . .


Oh dear - even more confusion being spread!

A fine can only be imposed by a court.

The police and councils issue Fixed Penalties, not fines.
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Fredd
post Tue, 13 Aug 2019 - 09:32
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All you're doing is raising your blood pressure unnecessarily. To the proverbial man on the Clapham omnibus a parking or penalty charge is a "fine" in just the same way as a library overdue charge is a fine, or a Dyson is a hoover. Your chances of achieving technically correct usage by the public are nil.


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nigelbb
post Tue, 13 Aug 2019 - 10:25
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QUOTE (Fredd @ Tue, 13 Aug 2019 - 10:32) *
All you're doing is raising your blood pressure unnecessarily. To the proverbial man on the Clapham omnibus a parking or penalty charge is a "fine" in just the same way as a library overdue charge is a fine, or a Dyson is a hoover. Your chances of achieving technically correct usage by the public are nil.

The young 'uns won't recall but for years we computer users referred to floppies when were quite clearly stiffies


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British Parking Association Ltd Code of Practice(Appendix C contains Schedule 4 of POFA 2012 ) & can be found here http://www.britishparking.co.uk/Code-of-Pr...ance-monitoring
DfT Guidance on Section 56 and Schedule 4 of POFA 2012 https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/syste...ing-charges.pdf
Damning OFT advice on levels of parking charges that was ignored by the BPA Ltd Reference Request Number: IAT/FOIA/135010 – 12 October 2012
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Steve_999
post Tue, 13 Aug 2019 - 11:21
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QUOTE (nigelbb @ Tue, 13 Aug 2019 - 11:25) *
QUOTE (Fredd @ Tue, 13 Aug 2019 - 10:32) *
All you're doing is raising your blood pressure unnecessarily. To the proverbial man on the Clapham omnibus a parking or penalty charge is a "fine" in just the same way as a library overdue charge is a fine, or a Dyson is a hoover. Your chances of achieving technically correct usage by the public are nil.

The young 'uns won't recall but for years we computer users referred to floppies when were quite clearly stiffies


Actually, I think that to the young they would appear to be "floppy". It's just the older generation who would be proud to call them "stiffies"!

QUOTE (Fredd @ Tue, 13 Aug 2019 - 10:32) *
All you're doing is raising your blood pressure unnecessarily. To the proverbial man on the Clapham omnibus a parking or penalty charge is a "fine" in just the same way as a library overdue charge is a fine, or a Dyson is a hoover. Your chances of achieving technically correct usage by the public are nil.


Quite correct Fred, but I don't let it raise my blood pressure! I just believe that the only way of trying to educate is by not letting such errors go without being challenged.
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ManxRed
post Tue, 13 Aug 2019 - 11:24
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QUOTE (nigelbb @ Tue, 13 Aug 2019 - 11:25) *
QUOTE (Fredd @ Tue, 13 Aug 2019 - 10:32) *
All you're doing is raising your blood pressure unnecessarily. To the proverbial man on the Clapham omnibus a parking or penalty charge is a "fine" in just the same way as a library overdue charge is a fine, or a Dyson is a hoover. Your chances of achieving technically correct usage by the public are nil.

The young 'uns won't recall but for years we computer users referred to floppies when were quite clearly stiffies


Depends on what website you were visiting, shurely?


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Charlie1010
post Tue, 13 Aug 2019 - 11:37
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Floppy discs have always been floppy.
The casings became stiffer when they got smaller but the disc is still floppy.
Hard discs are stiff.

This post has been edited by Charlie1010: Tue, 13 Aug 2019 - 11:40
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Steve_999
post Tue, 13 Aug 2019 - 12:43
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QUOTE (Charlie1010 @ Tue, 13 Aug 2019 - 12:37) *
Floppy discs have always been floppy.
The casings became stiffer when they got smaller but the disc is still floppy.
Hard discs are stiff.


That's what I keep telling her though! Doesn't work! (or that's what she says!).
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Charlie1010
post Tue, 13 Aug 2019 - 17:24
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When discussing acoustics with clients I still enjoy explaining the difference between hardness and stiffness.
😂
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Ocelot
post Tue, 13 Aug 2019 - 18:43
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QUOTE (southpaw82 @ Sun, 11 Aug 2019 - 18:58) *
QUOTE (Ocelot @ Sun, 11 Aug 2019 - 18:48) *
I wish these papers would stop referring to them as 'fines'. There were 20 references in that article.

Why? That’s what the ordinary man in the street would call them.


It gives them a validity they don't deserve.
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DastardlyDick
post Sat, 17 Aug 2019 - 15:09
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QUOTE (Ocelot @ Sun, 11 Aug 2019 - 18:48) *
I wish these papers would stop referring to them as 'fines'. There were 20 references in that article.


To be fair, they've written the article so that your average Joe Public will know what they're on about.
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