Is this the End of Unfair Private Company Parking Fines?
It’s never nice to be caught off guard when it comes to parking, especially when something isn’t as it seems. More and more, people are being ‘caught out’ with parking penalties due to no fault of their own. Private parking companies can be very sneaky with the way they use parking fee signs, often hiding them out of sight or making important information so small, it’s illegible. But, luckily for us, this is all about to change.
The Judge said:
“If I look at the signs, they tell me very little. It is by no means clear, whether from the coloured photographs of the signs, nor, indeed, from the inspection of the signs that took place by me, that this is a pay and display car park”, suggesting that “perhaps the claimant’s real interest lies in a failure to comply, [rather] than actually seeking to bring to a driver’s attention the fact that they are about to enter a pay and display car park.”
Private Parking Laws are Changing
The situation may be improved because on March 15th, 2019, The Parking (Code of Practice) Act 2019 received Royal Assent, approving a new “Parking Code” that protects drivers from unfair fines and will bring the ‘Wild West’ parking industry into line.
The Code is being introduced to make it more difficult for car parking companies to use less-than-informative signs in even less obvious places. Tactics sometimes include:
- Hidden signs in spaces drivers cannot see, e.g. placing a sign on the left side of an entrance which a busy motorist is unlikely to see when turning in
- Making information regarding fees too small to read
- Not making clear outlines of where the parking rules are enforced
This year it is expected that £6.5 million worth of car parking fines are to be issued to a high amount of unaware and confused drivers. This is a severe rise compared to 10 years ago, when the figure for ‘Penalty Charge Notices’ issued by parking companies was £687,000.
What’s more… the DVLA pulls in £16 million a year by charging a £2.50 per driver ‘detail request’ from these parking companies. This joint scheme is charging an unfair whack from unsuspecting drivers who are none-the-wiser when it comes to unclear signs.
But, hopefully, not for much longer; the new code will enforce that any parking company that breaks it will be knocked off the ‘approved’ list by the government, meaning they can no longer source driver details from the DVLA.