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Appealing a Private Parking Company ticket
Why bother to appeal?.
The short answer is 'Why not?'. After all if you do not appeal and simply pay-up, then you become yet another victim of these money-grabbing scammers.
Sure, it takes a little effort to lodge an appeal as you have to appeal to the PPC & ask them to provide you with the appropriate code for the Independent Appeals Service that their governing body dictates, but at the end of the day a price of a 1st Class Stamp is still less than the cost of simply paying the £70+ that these idiots think a parking space is worth.
It also creates work & expense for the PPC as both appeals services charge the PPC to lodge a defense against your appeal.
You also need to remember that a PPC will rely on making the whole process appear to be so difficult as to persuade the motorist that it is less hassle to simply pay the invoice (remember, it is not a 'fine'. Only Councils and the Police can issue these).
Communal parking - flats & houses.
A lot of ill-informed site Management Companies have been duped into employing PPCs to look after parking on private estates. If you live in a leasehold property on such an estate and your lease states that you have a space/s allocated to you, then your lease (or if you rent, your landlord's lease) trumps any rights of the PPC.
If you live in a freehold property and the deeds allow for parking anywhere on site, then, just like the above, your deeds will trump the PPCs rights.
What this means in practice is that the ball is firmly in your court.
If you have to display a costly permit then you can write to the PPC and inform them that as you have the right to park in the allocated space (or, if the lease/deeds state 'anywhere within the boundary of the site', anywhere), you are exercising your right to opt out of the parking scheme as you, as the landowner, have no wish to participate in the scheme and should you receive any parking charges as a result of opting-out, reserve the right to sue the PPC & the appointing Agent/s (the Management Company & the elected site directors (if any)) for harassment.
The same goes if you receive a PCN. Let them know in no uncertain terms that you will not be allowing them to step into your 'space'. In both instances, send a copy to the Management Company for their records.
Should I tell the other residents what I have done. Absolutely. The more residents who 'reject' the PPC in such a manner, the harder it will be for the Management Company to justify employing the PPC.
If you are unlucky-enough to receive a PCN from a PPC, then your first port of call should be a stinking letter of complaint to the manager of the shop/cinema that you were visiting at the time you received the PCN. This may well bring about a quick cancellation of the offending ticket.
Private Parking Companies have, by their very nature, to be a member of 1 of 2 governing bodies. These bodies run 'Approved Operator Schemes' (AOS) which the PPC needs to be part of before they can access your vehicle's ownership details from DVLA. The Governing Bodies also have 'Codes of Practice' (CoP) that their member PPCs have to adhere to in the day to day running of their operations.
The CoP will lay out such things as wording on signage (including font sizes and spacing).
The 2 Governing Bodies are -
The British Parking Association (BPA)
The Independent Parking Committee (IPC)
The process begins.
Regardless of the Governing Body, the process of appealing should only begin once you have received postal notification of the ticket and NOT when you come back and discover the PCN on your windscreen.
The PPC has to abide by strict time limits in order to comply with the AOS in place. This can be used to buy you time if you use it wisely.
Windscreen ticket - The PPC MUST NOT send a Postal 'Notice To Keeper' (PNtK) BEFORE day 29 or AFTER day 56 from the date of issue. This is to allow for the 28 day period for payment as indicated on the PCN.
Non-windscreen ticket - These are usually generated as a result of 'ANPR' cameras. PNtK MUST be received BEFORE day 15.
All PPCs tend to refer to S.4 of the POFA 2012. This is basically the section of the Protection Of Freedoms Act 2012 that allows them to approach DVLA for your details. If you wish to check-out this particular section, then it has been redacted from the full POFA and posted HERE.
It is worthwhile reading this Legislation as it may assist you in your appeal.
Appealing a BPA member PCN.
If the PPC that has ticket you is a member of the BPA, then the appeals process is very well known and very achievable. This is due to the length of time that the BPA has been in existence.
All BPA AOS members must comply with BPA's CoP as this sets-out the procedures for dealing with a non-paying parker. If you have received a windscreen ticket, then you have 28 days to examine it and to familiarize yourself with this as it can be used to pull to pieces any evidence provided by the PPC.
For instance, do the signs used by the PPC comply with the CoP?. If they contain the use of the word 'Fine' in respect of the PCN, then no, they do not comply as the CoP states that a PCN cannot be referred to as a fine.
When you are happy that you have enough information to hand to begin your appeal, then you need to start the ball rolling with a letter of appeal.
When drafting your letter, make sure that you never refer to yourself as the driver. Only ever refer to yourself as the 'Registered Keeper' (RK). Your appeal needs to be short and have the absolute minimum of information in it (what is known as a 'soft appeal'). For instance if you had over-stayed in a supermarket carpark because you decided to visit the in-store cafe for a bite to eat, this should be kept out of your appeal as it is totally irrelevant.
The PPC aren't interested in how long you spent in the shop, just that you stayed there too long. Their sole job is to extract money from you (and pay the landowner their 'cut').
Appeals should be based on one fact even if there are more listed on the ticket. Whilst visiting a store, you may have a) Parked in a disabled bay (these have no legal existence in private carparks anyway) and b) Stayed beyond the permitted time.
So a good appeal would be -
"I wish to appeal PCN #xxxxxxxx under the grounds that as the carpark is free and there is no means to pay for additional parking time, I believe that no actual loss has occurred and there dispute the charge of £75 as stated on the PCN. If you reject my appeal, please send me a POPLA code so that I may use the independent appeals service."
According to the MSE motoring forum (Parking ticket sub-forum), adding the following to the end of any initial appeal is beneficial to your case.
'' My challenge is based on the assertion that your parking charge does not represent a genuine pre-estimate of loss to yourself or the landowner. In every case where a motorist has raised this issue, POPLA have accepted the appeal. You are therefore fully aware that there is no prospect of your charge being upheld. If you do reject the challenge and insist upon taking the matter further I must inform you that I may claim my expenses from you and my time at the court rate of £18 per hour. The expenses I may claim are not exhaustive but may include the cost of stamps, envelopes, travel expenses, legal fees, etc. By continuing to pursue me you agree to pay these costs when I prevail. ''
If you are lucky, the PPC will accept your appeal and that will be that. However, if they reject your appeal, then it's off to POPLA.
The POPLA appeal.
POPLA are the so-called independent appeals service for parking on private land (so-called because their website is owned by the BPA). They are the people who will hear your appeal at no cost to yourself. They will however charge the PPC £27 + VAT & the BPA £100. POPLA's decision is legally binding on the PPC only. It is not legally binding on the appellant.
Appeals to POPLA need to be carefully worded in order to win. As each person's appeal will be slightly different, I will not take up to much space going through every variant as this will be more of a book than a Hub. At the moment, one group of people are having a roaring success rate at providing winning appeals packs. This group are a bunch of forumites from MoneySavingExpert & if you need their help, you can click HERE and read the 'stickies' before either posting a new thread or PMing one of the forumites mentioned in the stickies.
Appealing an IPC member PCN
The initial appeals process is the same as that for the BPA, except that you need to ask for an IPC appeals code.
It is here where the process differs completely to that of POPLA. The IPC claim to have an independent appeals service, but the address is actually an adjoining office to that of Gladstones Solicitors (whose registered owners are the same as the IPC). They allow appeals to be lodged via their online service. Do not use this as it involves ticking a box that states that you are the driver (remember what I said earlier about only responding as the 'keeper' and not as the driver?. Well, the only way to do this when using the IPC's 'independent' appeals service is to write you letter of appeal.
Evidence so far, indicates that the 'Idependent Appeals Saervice' works in quite a mysterious and rather under-hand way,
When they receibe your appeal against the PPC's rejection of your direct appeal to then, The IPA send-off a copy of your evidence and appeal to the PPC concerned, who can then seek the advice of Gladstones Solicitors before submitting their evidence to support their case.
There have been a few wins on appeal to the IPA, but these are very few and far between.
Even if you lose at this appeal stage, you must still refuse to pay-up and wait for the PPC to begin Court action.
If it goes to Court.
If you find yourself being taken to Court by a PPC, then you really cannot chance your luck with a dodgy home-spun defense. The MSE forumites along with those on Pepipoo & 'The Parking Prankster' have a great deal of experience in creating Court defence packs for free (although if You want to send them a 'thank you', I'm sure they would appreciate it).
If you do end-up in Court, the main point to remember is that a 3rd-party (in this case, the PPC) has no legal authority to make a contract between the landowner and the land user (you). The whole case is actually one of tresspass and only the landowner can bring it.
A PPC won't want you to know this.
There are exceptions where the PPC actually rents the carpark from the landowner and in such (rare) cases, the PPC DOES have landowner rights to enter into a contract with you for parking.
Another very good point (and one that needs to be included in any defence pack) is that if the signage can be seen from the public highway, then planning permission is required under the 'Town & Country Planning Act 2000'. As this is a criminal offence, any PPC with any intelligence will soon withdraw their claim as they have no wish to be caught in a catch 22 situation.
By that, I mean that if they admit to not having planning permission, they are admitting to having committed a criminal act, and by stating they have obtained PP (this can be checked-out by viewing your local Council's online planning portal), and it is found they have not, then they may find themselves in trouble anyway.
Just to prove it works.
Just to prove that you CAN beat these scum in Court, here are a list of the cases lost by some of the big names (courtesy of the 'Parking Prankster').
3JD13428 ParkingEye v Williams (Derby, 28/03/2014). Rheidol Retail Park. ParkingEye did not produce a contract. ParkingEye's lawyer asked for the case to be adjourned so a contract could be produced. The defendant argued that they wanted the case over with. DDJ Potts ruled that because of the small sums involved he would rule on the evidence available on the day.
3JD09341 ParkingEye v Jones (Bristol, 28/03/2014). Bristol Retail Park. DDJ Batstone agreed with the findings of DDJ Melville-Shreeve (ParkingEye v Collins-Daniel) that the signage in the car park was 'wholly deficient'. The judge referred to ParkingEye v Collins-Daniel case several times.
3JD05448 ParkingEye v Gilmartin. ParkingEye obtained a default judgement which was later contested. At the hearing ParkingEye did not attend and the judge agreed to refer the case to POPLA. POPLA ruled that as this was a free car park ParkingEye had to show there was an initial loss to the landowner. As they did not, all sums spent on recovering a non-existing loss could not count as part of a genuine pre-estimate of loss calculation. POPLA returned their verdict on 28/03/2014.
3JD00719 ParkingEye v Mr O. The driver overstayed at a retail park because they had to unexpectedly breastfeed their child. DJ Major at Croydon County Court referred the case to POPLA on 13/09/2013. ParkingEye did not submit any evidence to POPLA who had no alternative but to uphold the appeal.
3JD01136 ParkingEye v Gallen. ParkingEye dropped this case without explanation shortly before the hearing. It is not known if this was because they found out 'Bargepole' would be lay representative, or if it it was due to the high quality of Mr Gallen's defence. A large number of letters ParkingEye alleged were sent never arrived at Mr Gallen's house. The evidence ParkingEye submitted to prove the letters were delivered in fact proved the letters were not delivered.
3JD08399 ParkingEye v Ms X. (Altrincham 17/03/2014). Fistral Beach. The defendant spent 31 minutes waiting for a car park space during the crowded holiday season. The ANPR evidence was therefore not relevant as it showed the time in the car park, not the time parked. The judge ruled this was not against the terms and conditions of the signage. The judge also stated that in any case £100 was not likely to be a true pre-estimate of loss.
3JD10678 ParkingEye v Rickard (Aylesbury 13/03/2014). The contract was only produced on the day, was heavily redacted and too small to read. The judge dismissed the claim because ParkingEye had no standing to bring the case.
3JD06363 ParkingEye v Tubey (Derby 10/03/2014). DJ Stark. Claim stuck out (no further information)
3JD04274 ParkingEye v Slijvic (Warrington 10/03/2014) Holiday Inn, Sheffield. DDJ Glassbrook. ParkingEye argued they were the principal, which contradicted the Jonathan Langham witness statement and the Jonathan Kirk QC document on agency. The judge was not impressed. The signage information provided conflicted with itself. Making an honest mistake of the car park to use was an allowable defence.
3JD08925 ParkingEye v Watson (Stoke 24/02/2014). Duke of Gloucester pub, Crewe. ParkingEye redacted the charge and grace time on the contract shown to the judge and so the judge could not confirm the charges were agreed by the landowner. The landowner has since cancelled the contract with ParkingEye.
3JD08473 ParkingEye v Mason (Sheffield 12/02/2014). District Judge Birkby. The judge was furious that no contract had been provided before the hearing, and that the contract produced on the day was redacted and a variation rather than the actual contract. The case was dismissed in 5 minutes as ParkingEye had no standing to bring the case. The defendant did not need to speak. The defendant was therefore unable to point out that the company stated in the witness statement as landowner did not exist as it was dissolved in 2009, three years before the contract which was dated 2012.
3JD03769 ParkingEye v Baddeley (Birmingham 11/02/2014) District Judge Bull. Newton Shopping Centre. The judge was not impressed with the size and lack of organisation of ParkingEye's bundle given the size of the claim and the fact ParkingEye had only booked one hour. The judge found that the defendant's calculation of pre-estimate of loss of around £5 was persuasive, and as ParkingEye could not explain how their calculation of £53 was arrived at, accepted the defendant's calculations. The claim was therefore dismissed.
3JD02430 ParkingEye v Howe. (Rhyll 30/01/2014) District Judge Thomas. Crewe Arms Hotel car park. The judge ruled the signage was not adequate and the defendant had done all she could be expected to do to ensure she had complied. The landowner witness statement had a company which did not exist at Company's House.
3JD02462 ParkingEye v Thomas. (Preston 29/01/2014). Churchill Way car park, Leyland, Lancs. District Judge Buckley dismissed the case because the signage was not adequate to create a contract between motorist and ParkingEye.
3JD06925 ParkingEye v Hopewell. (Halifax 29/01/2014) Deputy District Judge Gardner. The case was adjourned to await the results of the HHJ Moloney case.
3JD06533 ParkingEye v Collins-Daniel. (Bristol 24/01/2014). Eastgate Retail Park, Bristol. Deputy District Judge Melville-Shreeve felt the signage was inadequate. ParkingEye did not provide a landowner contract because there was a vendetta against them by unspecified online forums and providing a contract broke confidentiality laws. The Judge said this was rubbish.
3JD05814 ParkingEye v Taylor. (Morpeth and Berwick 24/01/2014) District Judge Howard. Belvedere car park, Newcastle upon Tyne. ParkingEye did not produce a contract. The judge ruled that without a relevant contract they could not issue parking charges as they were not the landowner and they could not therefore bring the claim in their own name.
3JD02357 ParkingEye v Gosnold. (High Wycombe 23/01/2014). District Judge Devlin. Wembley Retail Park. The judge agreed the landowner witness statement from Workman LLP was worthless. The LPC Law representative produced a heavily redacted version of the contract which the judge decided did not satisfy the 'relevant contract' provision of PoFa 2012 sch 4. The judge decided he did not need to rule whether Jonathan Langham's statement that ParkingEye's costs were £53 per ticket, when their accounts and DVLA figures showed the true figure was nearer £15, was perjury. As there was no standing for ParkingEye to bring the case, it was dismissed. £90 costs were awarded to the defendant.
3JD05152 ParkingEye v Beavis (Jan 2014). Case stayed. "By 4pm on 31 January 2014 the Claimants solicitors shall notify HHJ Moloney QC as the designated Circuit Judge if any similar cases pending in the Cambridge, Essex, Suffolk or Norfolk Courts with a view to their being listed on the same occasion or stayed pending the outcome of these proceedings." This case is still ongoing and is likely to be very significant.
3JD02719 ParkingEye v Davison (Peterborough 17/01/2014). ParkingEye filed conflicting signage information and failed to inform the defendant which signage was correct. The judge felt a parking charge of £5 would be appropriate.
Parking Prankster's guide to fighting Parking Eye (can be applied to other PPCs)