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Miles
Hi,

This is my first post on this forum and I would like to start by saying that I've used this forum off and on for a few years getting my drivers out of speeding tickets, parking fines and what-not. This site is excellent! Keep up the good work!

To business:

On 12th December 2008 one of my drivers incurred a Charge Certificate - Civil Traffic Enforcement Notice from UKPC whilst parked outside his own home. Parking at his address does not, as far as I am aware, require a permit. He has certainly never asked me to request one as I have done for a number of my other drivers.

My first port of call was this website where I learned that UKPC were nothing more than scam artists and racketeers. After reading through the advice I shot off letters to the DVLA and BPA as detailed on this link. I have today received replies (pretty much standard letters) from both agencies:

DVLA's Reply:

Dear Fleet Manager,

Thank you for your letter about the release of information from the DVLA vehicle register. It has been passed to me for reply as Manager for Electronic Vehicle Records Enquiries.

DVLA takes very seriously its duty under the Data Protection Act to protect the privacy of the motorists whose details it holds for the purposes of registering and licensing vehicles, and to comply with the Act's guiding principles. However, the Act exempts from its non-disclosure provisions, the release of personal data where the law allows it. Regulation 27 (1)(e) of the Road Vehicles (Registration and Licensing) Regulations 2002 allows DVLA to release information to anybody who can demonstrate 'reasonable cause' to have that information.

DVLA does make people aware of the circumstances in which personal data could be released. The Vehicle Registration Certificate (V5C) includes a note on the front explaining that keeper details may be released for a variety of lawful purposes and a comprehensive explanation is included in the leaflet INS 160 that accompanies the V5C. Full details of companies that request information from DVLA, circumstances previously considered to meet 'reasonable cause' and the list of ATA's and their responsibilties is published on the website at www.direct.gov.uk/en/motoring/owningavehicle/adviceonkeepingyourvehicle/dg_4022066.

New measures for companies requesting information were introduced on 1st November 2006, following the review announced by my predecessor, Dr Stephen Ladyman.

Following a review of the release of information from DVLA's vehicle register the then Minister for Transport announced 14 measures designed to protect vehicle keepers from the misuse of their information. This provides a clear and robust complaint procedures where misuse is alleged while allowing those who do have reasonable cause to get the data they need. Full details of the review and the new maesure are available on the Department for Transport's website at www.dft.gov.uk/press/speechstatements/statdataukvehicle.

Requests from private car parking enforcement companies are considered to meet the 'reasonable cause' criteria. Unauthorised parking on private land is a problem many landowners experience and providing them with information is necessary to allow them to enforce the rights to their property. Otherwise they could be forced to wheelclamp or seize 'offending' vehicles.

Electronic links are used to deal with requests, which are of a high degree of standardisation, such as car parking. There has to be a written agreement in place before an electronic link can be set up and each recipient is subject to audit procedures. Various bodies contract this enquiry function to computer bureaux that have the necessary computer facilities to submit enquiries on their behalf.

I am able to confirm that DVLA received a request for information from UK Parking Control via the electronic link on the 15th December 2008 for the vehicle LN08***. As the enquiry and response were electronic, I am not able to provide copies.

After further investigation with UK Parking Control the vehicle number LN08*** was parked at the kew Riverside Development and not displaying a valid Permit on 12/12/08.

UK Parking Control Ltd request and receive data via a secure electronic link. The link is operated in the contextof clear terms of agreement, which details when information may be requested, how it can be used and how it should be stored. Companies must first complete a 6-month probationary period making manual requests, during which time their behaviour in the use of the information is monitored. The level and nature of any complaint is taken into account before an electronic link is granted.

New procedures governing the release of information were put in place following the Ministerial Review and as a consequence The Voluntary Code of Practice no longer applies. However, Companies with Approved Conditional Access to information (i.e. submit requests and receive responses electronically with reduced evidential requirement) must adhere to the Codes of Practice of their regulators/trade associations. If you feel that company has breached the Code of Practice or you have concerns about other aspects of their business practice, you may find it helpful to contact the regulator/trade association, in this case the British Parking Association. To view the British Parking Association's code please visit www.britishparking.co.uk.

However, should you feel that the Agency has been in breech of any provisions of the Data Protection Act in the releasing of your data with regards to this offence, a complaint should be directed to the ....

I hope this explains the Agency's position.

[Signed]


BPA's Reply:

Dear Fleet Manager,

I am writing with reference to your recent letter regarding your dispute with UK Parking Control Ltd.

Firstly I must inform you that the BPA is primarily a Member Services Organisation and has no statutory powers of enforcement, and neither is it an ombudsman or Watchdog company. The BPA also recognises that parking customers may not be satisfied with the outcome of complaints or appeals related to parking enforcement but because of the sheer number of enforcements issued nationally and the other reasons stated above, the Association is unable to and will not get involved with complaints about individual parking enforcement decisions.

Also, where your concerns are about the way in which you have been treated by a company employed to carry out 'off street' parking enforcement (that is, in a car park that is on private land), then I regret to say that because of the lack of legislation in this area, we have no legal authority to control these activities and there is little we can do to help you in your complaint.

However, when we receive complaints from members of the public against one of our members, we feel it is important to draw these matters to their attention. If it is pertinent, we will ask them to revisit a case to ensure that the matter was dealt with fairly and in line with our Code of Professional Conduct. Adherence to this code is a condition of BPA membership and the Code governs Best Practice including:
  • trading fairly and responsibly
  • undertaking activities with honesty and integrity
  • responding to complaints and disputes quickly and equitably.
Also all complaints against members are logged. If it becomes evident that there are a significant number of complaints against one member, an investigation will be instigated. If, on investigation the member is found to be in breach of the Code, their membership may be suspended or withdrawn.

Members of the BPA have signed up to this voluntary Code of Practice and we do encourage our Members who may occasionally be in breach of this Code to ensure that the situation is remedied. Where the company is not a Member we have limited influence over that operator and as such we are limited to logging the complaint.

I am sorry that I cannot be of any further assistance to you.

Technical Compliance Team.


So effectively, the BPA's CoP isn't worth the paper it's written on. Additionally, the BPA did not provide me with a copy of UKPC's signed statement of compliance, or even confirm if UKPC were a signed up member of the BPA.

I have also today received my first debt collection letter from Rossendales Collect, which I am sure is just another arm of UKPC. As one would expect from a debt collection agency, this letter is very scary-looking and filled with lots of words highlighted in red. I have been given 7 days to pay the increased fee of £140. Their preferred method of receiving the extortion seems to be via telephone as they have offered two different numbers (both in red) by which to make payment. No mention is made to paying by other means. Their address (in small print at the bottom of their letter) is: Hardman Mill, New Hall Hey Road, Rawtenstall, Rossendale, Lancashire, BB4 6HH.

As I seem to be having a bit of a quiet morning, I have put together the following letter, which is being posted today to my local Trading Standards office:

Dear Sirs,

On the 12th of December 2008 a company vehicle belonging to ********** garnered a purported Civil Traffic Enforcement Notice from UK Parking Control Ltd (a.k.a. UKPC), a photocopy of which is enclosed.

The driver of the vehicle involved was parked outside his home address which, as far as both he and I are aware, is not a parking permit area.

Following this I received a Final Reminder about this 'Charge' and the alleged 'Contravention': a photocopy is enclosed.

Please note neither of these documents contains the actual registered address of UKPC which I am advised is in breach of "The Companies (Registrar, Languages and Trading Disclosures) Regulations 2006 (S.I. 2006 No.3429)"

I add for your information that I have also been referred to multiple Statutes which may be being broken by UKPC including but not limited to:-

• The Enterprise Act 2002 (Supply of Services) Order 2003
• Misrepresentation Act 1967
• Fraud Act 2006
• The Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 (particularly Regulation 7).

Please also take note of the fact that the 'Reminder' clearly states that UKPC is attempting to shift the liability of an alleged contract to a third party - namely my employing company. This is not a genuine PCN as issued by councils so any alleged contract is clearly with the driver whom UKPC have never addressed nor as far as I can tell even tried to identify prior to demanding money from the Registered Keeper. This is clearly not lawful.

It is my opinion that this 'Charge' is in fact an invoice from a private company and is not a Civil Traffic Enforcement Notice. Penalties in civil contracts, where such contracts actually exist, are unenforceable in English law. Much Case Law has been quoted to me in this regard especially, but not limited to:-

Dunlop Pneumatic Tyre Co. Ltd. v. New Garage and Motor Co. Ltd. (1915).

The weight of law in this area, both statute and well established case law, clearly shows that UKPC are acting in a fraudulent and aggressive manner and as such I wish to complain to you regarding this.

I look forward to your reply.

[signed]

Let's see what reply I get to this!
Cargy
I love this line in the DVLA response:

QUOTE
Unauthorised parking on private land is a problem many landowners experience and providing them with information is necessary to allow them to enforce the rights to their property. Otherwise they could be forced to wheelclamp or seize 'offending' vehicles.


I'm tempted to say "...and?"

It's such a lame excuse for releasing personal data, and totally avoids the issue of whether such clamping or siezure would be entirely lawful (especially where disproportional (and probably unlawful) release or recovery fees enter the equation).
Alexis
Is this the first admission that the DVLA are clueless and/or don't give a toss?
Miles
I am also replying to the BPA with this:

Dear Technical Compliance Team,

Thank you for your letter. However, I believe you may have misunderstood my original letter, dated 19th January 2009, as I was not asking you to intervene on our behalf with regards to a dispute with UK Parking Control Ltd.

As stated in my original letter, it is my understanding that all of the BPA’s Approved Operator Scheme members have had to provide the BPA with a signed statement of compliance to your Code of Practice. I should be grateful if you would provide me with a copy of the statement signed by UKPC.

I should also be grateful if you would advise me how many complaints you received against UKPC during 2008.

I look forward to your reply.
dave-o
I doubt they will provide you with either, and as they're a private company you can't FOI them. It might be betteer to phone them, get a name and keep following it up.
Miles
QUOTE (dave-o @ Mon, 9 Feb 2009 - 14:09) *
I doubt they will provide you with either, and as they're a private company you can't FOI them. It might be betteer to phone them, get a name and keep following it up.


I know, but it's worth a try!
Shepherdess
your BPA response is identical to mine although they are in reply to completely different matters!

I can't believe what an idyllic trusting bubble I used to live in ohmy.gif
bama
BP stock letter is bollocks.
see http://forums.pepipoo.com/index.php?showto...st&p=334245

adjust complaints to suit.
Miles
QUOTE (dave-o @ Mon, 9 Feb 2009 - 14:09) *
I doubt they will provide you with either, and as they're a private company you can't FOI them. It might be betteer to phone them, get a name and keep following it up.


I received a reply from the BPA today and, as we expected, they have declined to provide a copy of UKPC's signed Code of Practice agreement stating they cannot under the Data Protection Act.




bama
refer it to the ICO
Fredd
QUOTE (bama @ Mon, 2 Mar 2009 - 12:57) *
refer it to the ICO

On what basis? The "cannot" might be questionable, but "will not" is still an option for them, surely?
southpaw82
Of course. As it's not a subject access request then "no" is a perfectly acceptable reply.
Alexis
You could probably nag them for a generic code of practice though.

I'm sure the BPA would like to be pestered constantly. Their members make a living from it.
ManxRed
Dear Head of the BPA,

As Head of the BPA you are legally required to send me a copy of UKPC's signed code of practice. Failure to comply with this request before seven days from the date of issue of this letter (or is that 'within'? Mandy?? MANDY?? Is it 'within' or 'before'? I can never remember...), OK, within seven days of the date of issue of this letter, then we MAY take you to Court. We've already obtained a CCJ against you so that's your credit rating up in smoke for starters, and we're not going to stop there. We'll be round to your house next week to assess your ability to pay and we may take stuff.

Its up to you, as I said at the beginning, its all legal and everything.

Yours, etc...
southpaw82
"... And following the case of Stooge v Scum you're required to co-operate with us because we say so."
Miles
I also received a reply from Surrey Trading Standards, which have given me UKPC's registered office address...
Miles
I've just had a call from the DVLA, mainly to apologise about the length of time it's taking to reply to me. Apparently my follow-up letter was mis-directed and it's only just dropped into the in-box of the relevent department.

With regards to my request for copies of forms V888/2 and V888/3, the nice lady said that she was awaiting a reply from their legal people on how much information she was legally allowed to provide me in her reply, and that I should receive her letter promptly.

I'm quite looking forward to what her letter contains!

In other news I have yesterday received my third on 'final' demand from Rossendales! I have, of course, treated this with the contempt it deserves.
ManxRed
QUOTE (Miles @ Thu, 12 Mar 2009 - 13:43) *
In other news I have yesterday received my third on 'final' demand from Rossendales! I have, of course, treated this with the contempt it deserves.


Did it flush easily?
Miles
An update:

On 13th Feb I wrote the following to the DVLA
QUOTE ( )
Dear Mr ....



Thank you for your standard response letter, received by me on the 9th February.



I refer to my original letter of 19th January 2009, in which I requested a copy of form(s) V888/2 and/or V888/3 which UK Parking Control Ltd should have submitted showing permission from the landowners of Melliss Avenue, Kew Riverside, Kew, Surrey, TW9 4BQ.



To quote the DirectGov website (http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/Motoring/Ownin...icle/DG_4022067):



Using the V888/2 and V888/3

All companies using the V888/2 and V888/3 forms must provide further details about your business along with the application. The link below provides guidance on what is required.



When using the V888/3 you must also produce evidence that a penalty charge scheme is in operation. Enforcement companies don’t have to provide contracts but should supply a letter from the landlord (on headed paper) confirming that they’re acting with the approval of the landlord in enforcing parking restrictions. Letters should also include the start and end date of the contract, the locations of sites and if CCTV or manual ticketing is in operation.



If enforcement companies have to send copies of contracts they should only send the relevant pages that confirm dates, site locations and ticketing arrangements.



I re-iterate my request and should be grateful if you would send me evidence submitted by UKPC of this contract between themselves and the landowners.



Yours sincerely




Fleet Manager


I have today received this reply:

Dear Fleet Manager

Thank you for your letter about the release of information from the DVLA vehicle register. It has been passed to me for reply as Manager for Electronic Vehicle Record Enquiries.

DVLA takes very seriously its duty under the Data Protection Act (DPA) to protect the privacy of the motorists whose details it holds for the purposes of registering and licensing vehicles, and to comply with the Act's guiding principles. However, the Act exepts from its non-disclosure provisions, the release of personal data where the law allows it. Regulation 27 (1)(e) of the Road Vehicles (Registration and Licensing) Regulations 2002 allows DVLA to release information to anybody who can demonstrate 'reasonable cause' to have that information.

UK Parking Control Ltd apply electronically to DVLA. Therefore do not need to complete the V888 form and before we offer an electronic service to any organisation, it must first serve a 6-month probationary period making manual requests only, during which time their behaviour in the use of information is monitored. The number and nature of any complaints are taken into account, even if satisfactory, a link is granted only after confirmation that a company is a member of an Accredited Trade Association (ATA) relevant to that industry.

Whilst DVLA is keen to ensure that information is released only in appropriate circumstances, it has no authority to regulate companies or arbitrate in disputes between parties, it is unable to influence the values of penalties imposed or the length of time allowed to park. These are matters for the landlord or his agent, enforcing these restrictions is 'reasonable cause'. Disputes over circumstances leading to incidents must be resolved between the parties concerned. Ultimately, of course, an individual may choose to put his or her case to the courts.

I hope I have clarified matters for you and that the information I have provided fully explains the Agency's position when releasing information from the vehicle records held at DVLA.

Yours Sincerely

.....


Make of that what you will.

This letter has made it obvious to me that once you have been a good little scammer and passed your six-month probationary period you can request details of as many vehicles as you like without providing any shred of evidence of permission from landowners that you are acting on their behalf. The DVLA basically don't give a damn as you've passed their paltry six-month probationary period and now you're just part of their revenue stream.


bama
but the DVLA does have responsibility for monitoring the ATA.
Alexis
QUOTE
it is unable to influence the values of penalties imposed


Shows the grasp they have of the whole thing.

The problem is the law. 'Reasonable cause' can mean anything - I can make up some cock and bull story and buy the details of an expensive car on the street. I could probably ask for the address and get them no problem, even though I might be looking to break in and steal the keys at 3 in the morning.

The problem is that EVERYTHING can be 'reasonable' if you make it sound so.

This is a government issue and the DVLA have got an answer for everything, because they just tow the governement line.
Roverboy
As has been seen on Watchdog and the disappearing entitlements fiasco, the DVLA are a law unto themselves and appear have to answer and justify their actions to no-one !!!!
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