PePiPoo Helping the motorist get justice Support health workers

Welcome Guest ( Log In | Register )

TORQUAY MARINA, PREMIER PARK
Fred Flinteart
post Tue, 26 Jan 2021 - 18:28
Post #1


Member


Group: Members
Posts: 42
Joined: 21 Mar 2018
Member No.: 97,157



1. SUMMARY


This thread concerns a PCN I received from Premier Park in November 2016 and the subsequent POPLA appeal. This incident is still relevant because Premier Park had alleged that I had breached a contract clause (“Motorists are required to enter the full and correct vehicle registration...") and POPLA agreed with them. This ‘full VRM’ clause was not on the signs; it was added to the signs in about May 2017, after I had complained.

The ‘full VRM’ clause was not a part of the contract if it was not on the signs. The significance of this is that it renders all similar PCNs issued for incorrect or incomplete VRMs at that site invalid, even where POPLA had rejected an appeal. Any penalties that were paid should be refunded. It seems that this affected PCNs issued at Torquay Marina car park, between the installation of the ANPR system up to about May 2017, a period of about one or two years. Other Premier Park sites may also be affected, if similar signs had been displayed.

Over the past four years I have expended a vast amount of time in intermittent efforts, trying to get the appropriate authorities (POPLA, BPA, DVLA, etc., etc.,) to address my concerns; I did not succeed. There are other concerns, besides the missing ‘full VRM’ clause.

I am posting this for public information rather than advice, so please delay any comments until I have posted all the details; that may take me some days.



Signs November 2016


Amended Signs May 2017

The first few posts consist of the usual evidence pack pictures and the text of the POPLA decision. You could skip that and go directly to post 5 for the content that causes concern. The events are not in chronological order.

This post has been edited by Fred Flinteart: Fri, 29 Jan 2021 - 12:49
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
2 Pages V   1 2 >  
Start new topic
Replies (1 - 19)
Advertisement
post Tue, 26 Jan 2021 - 18:28
Post #


Advertise here!









Go to the top of the page
 
Quote Post
Fred Flinteart
post Tue, 26 Jan 2021 - 19:07
Post #2


Member


Group: Members
Posts: 42
Joined: 21 Mar 2018
Member No.: 97,157



2. PCN


In November 2016 I received a Parking Charge Notice (PCN) from Premier Park demanding £100 (£60 if paid within 14 days). The reason given for the issue of the PCN was “Parking Session Expired or Unpaid”.



I have altered the name, address and the VRM on the PCN image above.

From the outset, I thought that there was something strange about the way the machine operated. I’d never used a machine of that type before. Although I knew that there was something wrong, I was uncertain about what it was. At that time, this type of machine (requiring a VRN to be entered) was quite uncommon. I’d never used an ANPR system car park in which you did not have to display the ticket.

I made the usual appeal to Premier Park. I stated that I had paid to park for 3 hours or more, that I had displayed the ticket inside the windscreen and I left after about 1 hour. That appeal was rejected. I then went to the next stage and made an appeal to POPLA.

This post has been edited by Fred Flinteart: Fri, 29 Jan 2021 - 12:49
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
Fred Flinteart
post Tue, 26 Jan 2021 - 21:27
Post #3


Member


Group: Members
Posts: 42
Joined: 21 Mar 2018
Member No.: 97,157



3. POPLA APPEAL



As part of the POPLA process, Premier Park sent an evidence file in PDF format to POPLA and to me. This document contained 57 pages, consisting of the PCN, the text of my appeal to Premier Park, the ‘look-up list’ of data downloaded from the parking machine and 36 pages of images (signs, machines, car entering and leaving, etc..). The relevant pages are below.


Page 2


Page 19


Page 23


Page 27


Page 32


Page 33


Page 45


Page 47

I submitted an appeal to POLA. The main points I made were;
• I had paid. If the PPC required a VRN to be entered, then the machines should have been programmed to only accept payment only after a VRN had been entered. This was, at least, negligence.
• I had only seen the signs adjacent to the machine (see picture of P33 above) of which there were 14 in the car park. A VRN had only been mentioned on 3 ‘How to Pay’ signs (see picture of P19 above), elsewhere in the car park and none of these were adjacent to the machine.
• The PPCs claim about the signage (see picture of P2 above) stating that “ Motorists are required to enter the full and correct...” was not true, none of the signs had that clause.

Page 47 above is a copy of the 'look-up list'. It shows my payment for 3 hours made at 12:50, five minutes after I had entered the car park, alongside the first two digits of my registration number. The list confirmed that I had paid, as I had stated in my earlier appeal to Premier Park. All the other payments had been made against seemingly valid full registration numbers. Mine was the only incomplete registration number shown on the list.

The look-up list showed that I had paid. The PCN had been issued for "Parking Session Expired or Unpaid".

This post has been edited by Fred Flinteart: Fri, 29 Jan 2021 - 12:50
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
Fred Flinteart
post Wed, 27 Jan 2021 - 06:49
Post #4


Member


Group: Members
Posts: 42
Joined: 21 Mar 2018
Member No.: 97,157



4. POPLA's DECISION


The appeal to POPLA was rejected.

POPLA Assessment and Decision


Decision Unsuccessful

Assessor Name xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Assessor summary of operator case

The operator’s case is that the appellant’s vehicle parked at Marina Torquay car park where the operator issued a parking charge notice for either failing to pay for the parking period or exceeding the paid for parking period.

Assessor summary of your case
The appellant’s case is that he paid for the parking period.

Assessor supporting rational for decision
The operator has provided photographic evidence of the appellant’s vehicle entering the site at 12:45 and departing at 13:48 on 28 October 2016, as such the vehicle was at the site for 1 hour 3 minutes. The operator has provided photographic evidence of the signage in place at the site showing the terms and conditions in force. The terms and conditions state, “Parking tariffs apply 24 hours a day, 7 days a week” and “If you enter and park on this land contravening the above terms and conditions, you are agreeing to pay: Parking Charge Notice (PCN) £100”. They go on to say, “How To Pay 1. Take note of vehicle registration 2. Go to pay stations & follow instructions 3. Keep receipt. No need to display in vehicle”. The appellant states that the onus of proof lies with the operator, he says that he paid for the parking period and displayed his ticket. He says that the reason for issuing the parking charge notice is unclear. He says that the operator is dishonest and that if a vehicle registration number (VRN) is required then the machine should not print tickets without one being entered. I acknowledge the appellant’s statement. POPLA is an evidence-based appeals service. All appeals are decided using the evidence and statements from the appellant, operator and the British Parking Association’s (BPA) Code of Practice. When assessing an appeal the burden of proof lies with the operator and it is the operator’s responsibility to provide sufficient evidence in rebuttal of the appellant’s statement. POPLA’s main responsibility is to ensure that parking charge notices are issued correctly in line with the terms and conditions of the site. The operator has supplied photographic evidence of the appellant’s vehicle entering and departing from the site, photographic evidence of the signage at the site and screen captures of system searches for the appellant’s full VRN, first part of VRN and end of VRN. The operator has also provided evidence demonstrating that the ticket machine was in working order on the day of the alleged parking contravention. The appellant has provided a statement. Consequently, the terms and conditions of the site require that the full VRN is entered when purchasing a parking period. While I accept that the appellant states that he purchased and displayed a ticket, this is not a requirement of parking at the site. By not entering his VRN the appellant has failed to make a valid payment as this payment is not registered against his vehicle. Furthermore, I note that the appellant states that if a VRN is needed then a ticket should not be issued without one, while I understand the appellant’s opinion this is not a point of appeal I can consider. Likewise, I appreciate that the appellant believes that the operator is dishonest, however, this is not something I can comment on. Finally while I understand the appellant says that he made payment for the parking period, the terms and conditions of the site and instructions on the payment machine advise that the correct VRN should be submitted when purchasing a parking ticket. Therefore, I determine that the appellant has not made a valid payment for the parking period. In conclusion, the operator has demonstrated to my satisfaction that the appellant has not complied with the sites terms and conditions. Therefore, I determine that the operator issued the parking charge notice correctly.


There was something wrong with this, but being unfamiliar with POPLA I was not certain what precisely was wrong.

I e-mailed POPLA to query the decision and received two e-mails in reply, apparently from two other Assessors.

FIRST E-MAIL


POPLA <info@popla.co.uk>
Tue 06/06/2017
Good Afternoon,
Thanks for contacting POPLA.
POPLA have not responded to your email on 17 May as it had not been received by us. As your complaint was attached to your email please find below your points addressed.
When looking at appeals, POPLA considers whether a parking contract was formed and, if so, whether the motorist kept to the conditions of the contract. POPLA does not deal with complaints about the parking operator. This would need to be taken up with the British Parking Association (BPA). The BPA has their own Code of Practice for private parking operators to comply with.
I can see that the assessor has mentioned the word ‘valid’ when writing her assessment in relation to the payment made. I am satisfied that the assessor is correct as the payment was not made against your vehicle registration which invalidated the payment.
The appellant has not copied and pasted another assessment, and is not referring to other documents in this instance.
When reading the response the assessor has responded in relation to your comment ‘The reason Premier Park gave for issuing the a Parking Charge Notice were; "Parking Session Expired or Unpaid". They are mistaken.’ I note that you have not actually stated that the charge notice is unclear within your grounds for appeal, however this wording by the assessor has had no bearing on the decision made.
Having viewed the signage displayed at the site, as provided in the operator’s case files, I can confirm that there is signage displaying that the full correct vehicle registration needs to be entered. It also states the payment instructions clearly on the machine. It is the motorist’s responsibility, when on private land, to familiarise themselves with the signage displayed in order to comply with the terms and conditions. The operator is unable to locate a payment for the vehicle registration parked at the site if it has not been entered correctly. As your correct vehicle registration was not entered this is why the Parking Charge Notice (PCN) was issued.
I note that you mentioned the point about the operator not suffering any loss from how you parked at the site on the date of the contravention. However, this point has not been taken into consideration because it was not mentioned initially within 28 days when appealing to POPLA. This point was mentioned within your motorist comments period. The motorist comments period is to be used to expand upon the original appeal points raised with POPLA in order to rebut the operator’s evidence. It is not to be used as a platform to raise new issues that the operator has not had the opportunity to address.
I can confirm that the assessor’s judgement is correct and the decision will stand.
We note you are unhappy with our decision. However, we have now reached the end of our process and there is no opportunity to appeal.
Yours sincerely,
POPLA Team*

* The name of the author was not provided.


SECOND E-MAIL


POPLA <info@popla.co.uk>
Fri 09/06/2017, 09:51
Dear Fred Flinteart

Thank you for contacting POPLA.

I understand that you are unhappy with the decision issued by POPLA and with the way that this has been written by the assessor however, having assessed the decision outcome I am satisfied that this is the correct decision and so, this will not be changed.

I note that you have said in your grounds for appeal "It is not my responsibility to provide evidence that I had paid. The onus of proof is on Premier Park to show that I had not paid, as they claimed in their Parking Charge Notice. They have not done so". However, the operator has issued the PCN as you failed to make a payment. You have stated that you had made a payment on this date and without seeing evidence of this, we cannot confirm that you did indeed make a payment.

The parking operator has provided evidence to POPLA of a white list look up showing that no payment was registered against your vehicle. If you were in dispute of this, POPLA would need you to provide evidence to show otherwise however no such evidence was provided.

Whilst I also note your comments " The POPLA assessment makes several references to this clause in the site’s terms and conditions. Could you please indicate where this clause appears in the photographs of the site signage that were submitted by the Operator? I cannot find it. Could you indicate exactly where this clause is to be found above the relevant penalty clause; “If you enter or park on this land contravening the above terms and conditions you are agreeing to pay a Parking Charge Notice (PCN) £100.” The operator has provided evidence to POPLA in its evidence pack, of numerous signs displayed throughout the site. The assessor was correct in stating what the terms and conditions said, as I have checked the signage and can confirm that the signs display the above information. The evidence pack should have been sent to you by the parking operator for you to review.

Whilst there may have been no loss to the parking operator, this is irrelevant as you have parked on private land where payment was required. By remaining on site you indicated your acceptance of the terms in place and so a contract was then formed with the operator.

As we have no evidence to suggest that you made a payment at the car park, we are satisfied that no payment was made for your stay and so you were parked in breach of those terms and conditions.

As such, the decision stands and will not be changed.

There may be other options available to you to appeal further however, we would recommend speaking with Citizens Advice to seek out this information.

Yours sincerely,

Xxxxxxxxx *

POPLA Team

*The Assessor’s forename was provided here; I have omitted it.


I knew there was something very, very wrong with the POPLA decision but it took me a long time to realise what it was.


This post has been edited by Fred Flinteart: Fri, 29 Jan 2021 - 12:50
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
Fred Flinteart
post Thu, 28 Jan 2021 - 14:30
Post #5


Member


Group: Members
Posts: 42
Joined: 21 Mar 2018
Member No.: 97,157



5. PROCEDURAL ERRORS


The POPLA Assessor had decided to reject the appeal, because;
• “...the terms and conditions of the site require that the full VRN is entered when purchasing a parking period” and that therefore
• I had “...not made a valid payment for the parking period”.

There are two things wrong with the POPLA decision.

First, the Assessor had switched the reason for the PCN issue.
The PCN had not been issued because I had “...not made a valid payment”, nor had an incomplete VRN been mentioned. The PCN had been issued for “Parking Session Expired or Unpaid”. An invalid payment had never previously been mentioned and had not been addressed in the appeal. The appeal had only addressed the allegation of non-payment.

In the first e-mail (above) POPLA stated that " The motorist comments period... ...is not to be used as a platform to raise new issues that the operator has not had the opportunity to address." However, the POPLA Assessor had introduced the 'invalid payment' issue that the motorist had not had an opportunity to address.

The PCN was issued for non-payment. The look-up list had showed that I had paid for 3 hours’ parking and it had also confirmed my statement, in the earlier appeal to Premier Park, that I had paid.

Secondly, the Assessor decided that I had breached the ‘full VRN’ contract clause.

The ‘full VRN’ clause was not on the signs and it was not a part of the contract.

The car park’s signs were altered in about May 2017, some six months after the PCN was issued; the full VRN clause ( Please enter the full correct registration of the vehicle you are driving ) was then added with printed adhesive tape; see the two pictures in the first post.

The only mention of the registration number on the signs was in the image of the machine’s instructions in the top right of the sign, but that text was in microscopically small print. Contract terms must be prominent and legible and this was neither.

There was also an ‘Enter your full registration’ instruction on the machines (see the picture of page 45 of the evidence file, above). However, the £100 penalty clause is payable for contravening “...the above terms and conditions...” on the signs, not additional terms and conditions displayed on the machines or on other signs elsewhere. The clause concerning the full registration was not then amongst “...the above terms and conditions...” and the penalty clause does not apply.

The payment instructions on the machines come up again later.

These errors may have been a procedural error, the result of an oversight or negligence by an Assessor. However, the original decision was upheld by two other Assessors, after they had been told that the ‘full registration’ clause could not be found and after they had been asked to indicate where that clause appeared in the photographs of the site signs submitted by Premier Park. The Assessors are trained. It seems that the three Assessors had not bothered to scrutinise the evidence submitted by Premier Park and either did not notice, or did not care that the crucial contract clause was not on the signs, although it was specifically cited by Premier Park in their submission.

POPLA will reconsider an appeal only if there has been a procedural error. I wrote to John Gallagher, POPLA’s Lead Adjudicator, about these ‘procedural errors’ in July 2018. I received no reply or acknowledgement.

The POPLA appeals service is operated by an alternative dispute resolution (ADR) contractor, The Ombudsman Service Limited. I wrote to the ‘Chief Ombudsman’, Lewis Shand-Smith at The Ombudsman Service Limited in March 2018. I received no reply or acknowledgement. The Chief Ombudsman’ title seems to be a grandiose self-awarded job title intended to give The Ombudsman Service Limited some credibility; they are just a limited liability company.

There is a picture in this thread which shows a sign at a Premier Park site in Birmingham, in August 2016; that sign has the ‘Full VRM’ clause. There can be no doubt that Premier Park had omitted the ‘full VRM’ clause from their signs at Torquay, although I cannot say whether that omission was deliberate or unintentional.



The local MP, Kevin Foster, has been campaigning against 'Unfair Penalty Charges in Torbay', imposed by Premier Park at Torquay Marina and by PPS (Premier Parking Solutions) at the Crossways Car Park. The photograph on that link was apparently taken in early 2017 and shows Mr Foster standing by one of the unaltered signs at Torquay Marina. The 'full VRM' clause cannot be seen.



If POPLA were to address these ‘procedural errors’ and acknowledge that Premier Park had omitted the ‘full VRM’ clause from their signs at Torquay, then they would be obliged to review all the appeals involving incomplete or incorrect VRMs at Torquay for a year or two. All the penalties paid for breaching the 'Full and Correct Vehicle Registration' clause had been misappropriated by Premier Park.

This post has been edited by Fred Flinteart: Mon, 1 Feb 2021 - 23:59
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
Fred Flinteart
post Tue, 2 Feb 2021 - 01:00
Post #6


Member


Group: Members
Posts: 42
Joined: 21 Mar 2018
Member No.: 97,157



6. STRADA EVOLUTION CAR PARK MACHINES


After reading that you may think that I had been at fault for failing to follow the instructions on the machines at Torquay, i.e., ;
“Enter Your Full Registration Number... ...Validate”.
Read on.

I still did not understand how I had managed to obtain the car park ticket without entering the VRM. I’d noticed the keypad and had intended to enter the VRM at the appropriate cue. I’d thought afterwards that there had been something odd about the way the machine had operated, but I’d never used that type of machine before. I needed to have another go at using the machines, to find out what had happened. I could not go back to Torquay, it was too far. I searched the internet for images of the same model of machines, Strada Evolution machines manufactured by Parkeon. The ones nearest to me were those operated by Gravesham Borough Council, in and around Gravesend, so I went to Gravesend just to put money into a car park machine.

I bought a car park ticket from a machine in Gravesend and I then understood what had happened in Torquay. The two machines were the same model but they operated in completely different ways, it seemed that they had been programmed differently.

With the Gravesham Council machines, the coin slot was blocked by a motorized barrier until you had entered and verified a VRM; it was impossible to insert any coins before that. There were also clear instructions on the LCD screen at every step. It was virtually impossible to make any sort of ‘operator error’. The only way the user could make an ‘invalid payment’ would be if the user had entered and then verified an incorrect or incomplete VRN.

On the machine in Torquay, the coin slot barrier had not operated, it had been disabled somehow. There were no instructions on the LCD screen.

What the instructions on the machines actually say is;
”PAYMENT INSTRUCTIONS
Maximum coins 25.................. Enter Your Full Registration Number.......................Validate
Insert Coins.........................Confirm...........................Take Receipt“




I had understood that as meaning the first step was to insert the coins, up to a maximum of 25, so I had inserted £3.80, seven or ten coins. The screen was then blank so I looked at the instructions for a clue, and saw that after inserting the coins, you pressed the green ‘Confirm/Validate’ button. I did that and I got a ticket.

What is still unclear is how the first two letters of my VRM had got onto the ‘look-up list’ (see Page 47 of the evidence file above). I had not entered any part of my VRM and had initially thought that the two letters had somehow been obtained by the ANPR system. I later realised that the letters were purported to be data that I had entered at the parking machine. I suspected that the ‘look up list’ had been altered to make it appear that I had entered and then verified an incorrect or incomplete VRN. The shortest valid UK VRM is two characters.

At that time (2017), the manufacturer's brochure for these machines mentioned a 'forfeit' programming option, but that was omitted from later brochures.

Whatever had happened, the simple facts are that the PCN had not been issued for an invalid payment, the ‘full VRM’ clause was not on the signs, the Premier Park submission citing the wording on the signs was incorrect and the three POPLA Assessors who said it was there were mistaken.

There was no specific ‘full VRM’ clause on the signs at Gravesend, it was not required; you could not make a payment nor get a ticket until after you had entered and verified the VRM.

This post has been edited by Fred Flinteart: Mon, 8 Feb 2021 - 11:09
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
Umkomaas
post Tue, 2 Feb 2021 - 11:16
Post #7


Member


Group: Members
Posts: 2,858
Joined: 8 Feb 2013
Member No.: 59,842



Just an observation:

If the 'contravention' took place in 2016, how is there a VRM for a vehicle first registered in 2019 showing on the VRM list (penultimate entry)? Maybe he got a ticket too - keying error?
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
Fred Flinteart
post Tue, 2 Feb 2021 - 12:56
Post #8


Member


Group: Members
Posts: 42
Joined: 21 Mar 2018
Member No.: 97,157



QUOTE
If the 'contravention' took place in 2016, how is there a VRM for a vehicle first registered in 2019 showing on the VRM list (penultimate entry)? Maybe he got a ticket too - keying error?


I hadn't noticed that, very well spotted. I am glad that someone has been reading this. The 'contravention' did take place in 2016.

I checked that on the original PDF evidence file I received. The computer says that's a scooter, first registered in 2020. It was probably a 'keying error' as you say, although we don't know what did happen.

If that driver was issued a PCN and paid a penalty charge for an incorrect VRN or for an 'invalid payment', then they're due a refund plus interest at 8%, IMHO. That is possibly 2 out of those 25 vehicles in a 27 minute period that may have been issued a PCN for breach of a non-existent contract clause. If you extrapolate that for a year or two, then it seems a lot of drivers have been the victims of Premier Park and POPLA's procedural error.

The 'AB99 XYZ' VRM on the PCN is one I made up.

This post has been edited by Fred Flinteart: Sat, 6 Feb 2021 - 12:14
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
Fred Flinteart
post Wed, 10 Feb 2021 - 11:27
Post #9


Member


Group: Members
Posts: 42
Joined: 21 Mar 2018
Member No.: 97,157



7. HOW POPLA SHOULD HAVE DEALT WITH THE APPEAL.


The POPLA response to the appeal could have been condensed into 5 or 10 sentences and it should have been along the lines of something like this;
• The PCN was issued for ‘Parking session expired or unpaid’.
• The Appellant had entered the site at 12:45 and left at 13:48.
• The Appellant stated he’d paid for 3 hours or more and had left the car park after 1 hour.
• The look-up list shows a payment for 3 hours at 12:50, against the first two letters of the Appellant’s VRM.
• The balance of probabilities is that the Appellant had paid for 3 hours and left before the session had expired.
• The appeal is upheld.

POPLA’s response didn't state that because the Assessor ( for some reasons that POPLA won’t/can’t explain) had interpreted ‘Parking session expired or unpaid’ as meaning ‘Incorrect VRM/invalid payment’.

If the Assessor had read the PCN as having been issued for an ‘Incorrect VRM’, then the POPLA response to the appeal should then have been along the lines of;
• The PPC claim that their signage had clearly stated: “Motorists are required to enter the full and correct vehicle registration when making a payment at the terminal.”
• That statement is not true.
• The appeal is upheld.

If POPLA had upheld the first such appeal concerning PCNs for Torquay Marina, then Premier Park would have then immediately altered the wording of their PCNs and their signs so that similar future appeals would be dismissed. That didn’t happen, it appears that the same signs had been in place since the installation of the ANPR system and it also seems likely that several hundred motorists’ have had money misappropriated from them as penalties for the contravention of a contract clause that was never there.

I don’t know what had happened. It appears that Premier Park had a standard format for their signs, had submitted their standard format case summary, and that the POPLA Assessor had copied and pasted their standard format appeal rejection without having bothered to scrutinise the photographs of the signs.

POPLA have ignored all correspondence about this.

I would like to invite a senior POPLA representative to explain this on this forum and also to explain how POPLA proposes to redress these ‘procedural errors’ that seem to have unfairly penalized many motorists. This would be for the benefit of those motorists who haven't realized that they had been unfairly penalized.

There’s no rush; I’ve been trying to get answers from POPLA for 4 years.

This post has been edited by Fred Flinteart: Wed, 10 Feb 2021 - 11:32
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
Jlc
post Wed, 10 Feb 2021 - 11:57
Post #10


Member


Group: Members
Posts: 36,950
Joined: 25 Aug 2011
From: Planet Earth
Member No.: 49,223



QUOTE (Fred Flinteart @ Wed, 10 Feb 2021 - 11:27) *
I would like to invite a senior POPLA representative to explain this on this forum...

That won't happen...

The catch-all answer will be that the decision is only binding on the operator. The operator has the right to pursue the matter through the courts.

Perhaps PAS232 will shake things up...

This post has been edited by Jlc: Wed, 10 Feb 2021 - 11:58


--------------------
RK=Registered Keeper, OP=Original Poster (You!), CoFP=Conditional Offer of Fixed Penalty, NtK=Notice to Keeper, NtD=Notice to Driver
PoFA=Protection of Freedoms Act, SAC=Safety Awareness Course, NIP=Notice of Intended Prosecution, ADR=Alternative Dispute Resolution
PPC=Private Parking Company, LBCCC=Letter Before County Court Claim, PII=Personally Identifiable Information, SAR=Subject Access Request

Private Parking - remember, they just want your money and will say almost anything to get it.
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
Fred Flinteart
post Sat, 13 Feb 2021 - 16:26
Post #11


Member


Group: Members
Posts: 42
Joined: 21 Mar 2018
Member No.: 97,157



QUOTE (Jlc @ Wed, 10 Feb 2021 - 11:57) *
QUOTE (Fred Flinteart @ Wed, 10 Feb 2021 - 11:27) *
I would like to invite a senior POPLA representative to explain this on this forum...

That won't happen...

The catch-all answer will be that the decision is only binding on the operator. The operator has the right to pursue the matter through the courts.

Perhaps PAS232 will shake things up...


Why would the proposals of PAS232 be any different?

If the current POPLA ADR system is dysfunctional then we, the motorists and the motorists’ organisations, need to protest loudly and repeatedly to ensure that the defects in the existing system are acknowledged, rectified and not reproduced. Is the POPLA ADR system dysfunctional?

The appropriate response to the original complaint (see Post 4 above) would have stated that;
• The ‘full correct registration’ clause was not on the signs at the time of the incident and was not a part of any parking contracts;
• The Assessor made a procedural error in introducing and considering an allegation of an invalid payment or incorrect VRM.

That did not happen.

The subsequent letters of complaint to POPLA & The Ombudsman Service Limited (see post 5 above) should have received a response confirming that there had been procedural errors, stating that POPLA would notify all the other motorists whose appeals had been incorrectly dismissed and outlining how POPLA proposed to ensure such errors were not repeated to ensure that motorists would be confident that the system was fair and impartial.

That did not happen. Two Assessors state that they can see the missing ‘full correct registration’ clause and the letters of complaint were ignored. The POPLA appeal system is defective.

As I understand it (and I hope someone will tell me if I’m mistaken), the POPLA contract is an agreement between the BPA and an ADR contractor. The BPA represents the interests of PPCs and it will select the ADR contractor that best serves the interests of its members.

The BPA have a duty to enforce standards of professional conduct by its members. Whatever the reason for the omission of the ‘full correct registration’ clause from the signs, it would have been apparent to the BPA that Premier Park had misinformed the motorists and POPLA. The BPA should have ensured, as a matter of professional integrity, that all misappropriated penalties were refunded.*

The majority of the victims of this error would have been residents of the Torquay area; one would expect the elected representatives to have taken steps to ensure that the victims amongst their constituents were informed and reimbursed.*

The DVLA have a duty to the motorists, the general public to ensure that the ADR systems are fair and impartial and that the ATAs are policing and enforcing standards of professional conduct by their members.*

*More about that later.
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
Fred Flinteart
post Fri, 26 Feb 2021 - 13:02
Post #12


Member


Group: Members
Posts: 42
Joined: 21 Mar 2018
Member No.: 97,157



The story about Premier Park has been featured in the local press, DevonLive.

I'll be adding more to this thread as I get time.
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
Umkomaas
post Fri, 26 Feb 2021 - 14:00
Post #13


Member


Group: Members
Posts: 2,858
Joined: 8 Feb 2013
Member No.: 59,842



QUOTE (Fred Flinteart @ Fri, 26 Feb 2021 - 13:02) *

Great fight back.

Don't forget the contract principal in all of this - they can be held jointly and severally liable for the actions of their agent. Also, many PPC contracts offer indemnity (for costs) to 'protect' the principal, so if you get the principal to cave, that potentially sets up quite a tsunami of costs for the agent to deal with through any indemnification they might have provided.
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
Fred Flinteart
post Wed, 3 Mar 2021 - 13:07
Post #14


Member


Group: Members
Posts: 42
Joined: 21 Mar 2018
Member No.: 97,157



7b. POPLA WRITES BACK


POPLA have replied to the DevonLive news article. I have copied and pasted their complete response below.

A POPLA spokesperson said:

"We looked at this appeal more than four years ago. At the time, when considering appeals about failure to pay, we considered whether a valid payment was made against the vehicle registration in question.

"In this case there was no evidence that a valid payment was made for the vehicle, while the parking operator provided clear evidence that a valid payment wasn’t made. This is why we refused the appeal.

"POPLA did not change the reason for the parking charge, as has been suggested. This isn’t something we would ever do. The charge was issued for “parking session expired or unpaid” and the evidence showed that the motorist’s vehicle did not have a paid parking session associated with it.
"POPLA is an independent appeals service operated by Ombudsman Services. We make decisions based on evidence, facts and consideration of the British Parking Association (BPA) code of practice for parking operators.

"In January 2020, the BPA updated its code of practice, setting clear expectations for parking operators on appeals involving ‘keying errors’ made by a motorist when entering their registration number.

"The updated BPA code states that if a motorist proves they accidentally made payment against the wrong vehicle, or made another significant keying error, the operator can only recover the costs caused by the motorist’s error, with the amount they can seek capped at £20.

"Now that the BPA has formalised expectations of parking operators in its code of practice, we can make decisions to allow appeals if operators have not met these expectations.

"We welcome this change and the opportunity it has given for ensuring fair treatment and fair outcomes for motorists."

End of POPLA’s statement


Could some of you readers oblige me with a few impartial opinions about that statement? Does that actually say what I think it does?

That is; POPLA deny changing the reason for the parking charge, they would never do that.
At that time, when they considered an appeal against 'unpaid' parking sessions, POPLA would consider the appeal as against 'a valid payment was not made', without telling the motorists. The POPLA statement does not mention the 'Full and correct registration' clause not being on the signs.

So what happened was;
  • The PCN was issued for “parking session expired or unpaid”.
  • The motorist(s) had paid and so appealed against the PCN issued for an unpaid parking session.
  • The parking operator provided clear evidence that a payment had been made.
  • POPLA then refused the appeal because a valid payment wasn’t made.
  • The first the motorist(s) knew about the new and improved ‘...valid payment wasn’t made’ PCN allegation was on reading the POPLA Assessor’s decision.

Is that right? That seems to confirm exactly what I have been complaining about for four years. POPLA did change the wording of the allegations they considered in the appeals. This is all a bit surreal.

All POPLA should have considered was whether the session was paid or unpaid. An invalid payment is a paid payment. I’d shown that I had paid and POPLA then moved the goal posts by introducing the 'invalid payment' argument.

Even if you were to assume, for the sake of this argument, that POPLA were correct in considering an 'invalid payment' and accept that 'the vehicle did not have a paid parking session associated with it' due to the lack of the full & correct VRM, then that would raise a different, insurmountable problem, in that the 'full and correct registration' clause was not on the signs.

I had asked POPLA four years ago to highlight where the full VRM clause was to be found on the signs. They won't. An explanation about the missing 'full and correct registration' clause is conspicuously missing from the POPLA statement.
All such clauses must be " conspicuous and legible... so that they are easy to see, read and understand" (BPA Code of Practice).
POPLA are being asked about this now because they refused to address it four years ago.

Some more about that in the next instalment.

This post has been edited by Fred Flinteart: Sun, 7 Mar 2021 - 01:26
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
The Rookie
post Wed, 3 Mar 2021 - 15:03
Post #15


Member


Group: Members
Posts: 49,363
Joined: 9 Sep 2003
From: Warwickshire
Member No.: 317



"unpaid" and "invalid payment" are the same thing in terms of contract law.


--------------------
There is no such thing as a law abiding motorist, just those who have been scammed and those yet to be scammed!

S172's
Rookies 1-0 Kent

Council PCN's
Rookies 1-0 Warwick
Rookies 1-0 Birmingham

PPC PCN's
Rookies 10-0 PPC's
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
Fred Flinteart
post Wed, 3 Mar 2021 - 17:17
Post #16


Member


Group: Members
Posts: 42
Joined: 21 Mar 2018
Member No.: 97,157



QUOTE (The Rookie @ Wed, 3 Mar 2021 - 15:03) *
"unpaid" and "invalid payment" are the same thing in terms of contract law.


Where did you get that from? I don't think that is correct. Are you saying that 'unpaid' is a universally recognised synonym for 'invalid payment'?

I did an internet search for "invalid payment" and every single example I looked at referred to some incident in which an invalid payment had been declined, e.g., credit card declined payment. I could find no mention of any incidents like this, in which the 'invalid payment' had been taken and a penalty was also imposed for non-payment.

I do not think there is such a concept as an invalid payment in UK contract law; I am not a lawyer. I think POPLA made it up. I'm open to correction.

In this instance POPLA are claiming that the payment was invalid because of a breach of the 'full and correct registration' contract clause.
As I keep on stating, the 'full and correct registration' contract clause was not then on the signs and is not a part of the contract.

The PCN gave the reason for issue as 'Parking Session Expired or Unpaid'. Premier Park provided proof that a payment had been made.
If Premier Park had wanted to impose a penalty for an incorrect VRM, then the reason for the issue on the PCN would have said something like ''Incorrect or incomplete VRM'. It did not say that.

This post has been edited by Fred Flinteart: Thu, 4 Mar 2021 - 20:16
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
Fred Flinteart
post Wed, 7 Jul 2021 - 20:45
Post #17


Member


Group: Members
Posts: 42
Joined: 21 Mar 2018
Member No.: 97,157



I apologise for having neglected this thread for the past 4 months, I had other urgent matters I had to deal with (more about that later, perhaps). I will resume where I’d left off.

The story so far.

With regard to the POPLA statement to the Press, a POPLA spokesperson said:

“We looked at this appeal more than four years ago. At the time, when considering appeals about failure to pay, we considered whether a valid payment was made against the vehicle registration in question…
…POPLA did not change the reason for the parking charge, as has been suggested. This isn’t something we would ever do. The charge was issued for “parking session expired or unpaid” and the evidence showed that the motorist’s vehicle did not have a paid parking session associated with it.”

That is double-speak; ‘This isn’t something we would ever do; at that time we did it as a matter of standard operational procedure.’

The facts are;
1. the PCN was issued for “Parking Session Expired or Unpaid” (see Post #2):
2. the POPLA Assessor rejected the Appeal for an Invalid payment (see Post #4): “Therefore, I determine that the appellant has not made a valid payment for the parking period.”

POPLA had changed the reason for the PCN. If the POPLA Assessors had considered that ‘Unpaid’ means the same as ‘No valid payment was made’, then they should have informed the motorists of that before the appeals; they did not. The first I’d heard of an ‘invalid payment’ was when I received the ‘POPLA Assessment and Decision’.

‘Parking Session Expired or Unpaid’ does not mean the same as an ‘Invalid Payment’. An invalid payment is paid and there was ample evidence that I had paid. This appeal should have been upheld, as should every other similar appeal where POPLA had similarly changed the reason for the PCN.

However, a more disturbing feature of POPLA’s press statement is what it does not say. The statement, made in response to a press story about the ‘Full correct VRM’ clause having been omitted from the signs, does not mention the ‘Full correct VRM’ clause. POPLA are being coy. This is the elephant in their room that they’d like us all to disregard; it’s a rogue, rabid elephant that's not going to be ignored.

I asked POPLA to indicate where the ‘Full correct VRM’ clause was to be found on the signs, but they won’t. Instead, I was sent two e-mails, both confirming that the clause was on the signs (see Post #4);
• E-mail of 6/6/17; “Having viewed the signage displayed at the site, as provided in the operator’s case files, I can confirm that there is signage displaying that the full correct vehicle registration needs to be entered.”
• E-mail of 9/6/17; “The assessor was correct in stating what the terms and conditions said, as I have checked the signage and can confirm that the signs display the above information.”

So where is it?

The BPA confirmed the clause was not on the signs (e-mail of 19/07/2019);
“You mention that the signage did not state that motorists need to enter their full registration. From the POPLA evidence pack I can see that the signs do not explicitly state this, however I have noticed that they advise motorists to refer to the instructions on the machine, and the machine instructions advise that your full registration must be entered.”

This is very strange. Premier Park’s Case Summary says the ‘Full VRM’ clause is clearly stated on the signs (Post #3); the Assessor could see the ‘Full VRM’ clause on the signs; the two other Assessors, who reviewed the decision, confirmed it is on the signs, yet the BPA says the ‘Full VRM’ clause was not explicitly stated on the signs. The BPA need to communicate that fact to their Contractors, Ombudsman Services Limited, who operate POPLA on behalf of the BPA.

Contrary to what the BPA said, the signs do not refer motorists to the instructions on the machines. Just to clear up any doubts, here’s a picture of the sign.



I’ve marked the only mention of the ‘Full VRM’; you’d have needed a step-ladder and a magnifying glass to read it.
The £100 PCN is payable for contravening the above T&Cs, not T&Cs found elsewhere.
The sign refers you to the instructions on the machine if paying by card or contactless. I paid with coins and I followed the instructions on the machine.

What the signs and the contract actually say are not what Premier Park or the BPA would like them to say.
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
The Rookie
post Thu, 8 Jul 2021 - 06:46
Post #18


Member


Group: Members
Posts: 49,363
Joined: 9 Sep 2003
From: Warwickshire
Member No.: 317



QUOTE (Fred Flinteart @ Wed, 3 Mar 2021 - 18:17) *
QUOTE (The Rookie @ Wed, 3 Mar 2021 - 15:03) *
"unpaid" and "invalid payment" are the same thing in terms of contract law.


Where did you get that from? I don't think that is correct. Are you saying that 'unpaid' is a universally recognised synonym for 'invalid payment'?


The driver either made a valid payment in line with the T&Cs or they did not, ergo they would carry the same effective meaning.

The point is either the driver either incurred the extra charge are they did not, PoFA issue aside, what happens after doesn't change whether the money was owed or not and that is how a Judge would look at it. Though of course you can challenge the 'commercial justification' on the basis of the exact facts.


--------------------
There is no such thing as a law abiding motorist, just those who have been scammed and those yet to be scammed!

S172's
Rookies 1-0 Kent

Council PCN's
Rookies 1-0 Warwick
Rookies 1-0 Birmingham

PPC PCN's
Rookies 10-0 PPC's
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
peodude
post Thu, 8 Jul 2021 - 14:26
Post #19


Member


Group: Members
Posts: 624
Joined: 8 Aug 2006
Member No.: 7,035



Is the Marina also known as Tor Bay Marina?

If so, an additional point is that is subject to bye-laws

QUOTE
Parking of Vehicles 77.(1)No person shall park or leave a vehicle in any place where it is likely to obstruct the use of the Harbour Estate, or in any part of the Harbour Estate where the parkingof vehicles is prohibited and notice of such prohibition has been erected by the Harbour Master.(2)Any notice erected under paragraph (1) of this Byelaw shall be conspicuously posted in or in proximity to the place to which it relates.(3)If the Harbour Master so directs, the owner of a vehicle parked or left in contravention of paragraph (1) of this Byelaw shall remove the same to a place where it does not contravene the Byelaw, and if the owner fails to comply with the Harbour Master’s direction or cannot reasonably be found the Harbour Master may remove the vehicle

.....

Penalties for Breach 121.(1)Any person who contravenes or otherwise fails to comply with any of these Bye-laws, or any condition,requirement or prohibition imposed by the Harbour Master in the exercise of the powers conferred upon him by these Bye-laws, shall be guilty of an offence and be liable, on conviction before a court of summary jurisdiction, to a fine as follows:-(a)for the contravention of Bye-laws 14 (2)(b), 34, 35, 49, 51, 77, 85, 86, 88, 94 and 95 not exceeding level 2 on the Standard Scale;


https://www.tor-bay-harbour.co.uk/media/112...our-byelaws.pdf

Meaning it is not relevant land for PoFA as well.
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
ostell
post Thu, 8 Jul 2021 - 16:46
Post #20


Member


Group: Members
Posts: 16,382
Joined: 8 Mar 2013
Member No.: 60,457



There gave been other cases where was not relevant land has beennsuccessful
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post

2 Pages V   1 2 >
Reply to this topicStart new topic
1 User(s) are reading this topic (1 Guests and 0 Anonymous Users)
0 Members:

 



Advertisement

Advertise here!

RSS Lo-Fi Version Time is now: Friday, 24th September 2021 - 09:22
Pepipoo uses cookies. You can find details of the cookies we use here along with links to information on how to manage them.
Please click the button to accept our cookies and hide this message. We’ll also assume that you’re happy to accept them if you continue to use the site.