Saturday, 25 February 2017

UKPC claim dismissed. Misleading signage does not create a contract.

UKPC Vs Kapasi C6HW2J0P Slough 23/2/2-17

UKPC were claiming against Mr Kapasi for 3 tickets.

1. Parked on a double yellow line in an industrial estate.
2 and 3. Parked in a parking place without displaying a valid permit.

Number 1 was a genuine 'mistake' because the parking notice was covered by a trailer who was unloading in the same line.

Charges 2 and 3 Mr Kapasi believed he was parked correctly. There were two car parks on the same piece of land with no distinction between them.

UKPC disagreed and issued a claim through SCS Law.

The hearing

Mr Kapasi reported the hearing was pretty gruelling. He felt very intimidated and out of his depth. Nevertheless he prevailed and all charges were dismissed.

The judge asked Mr Kapasi to accept or deny he was the driver. He accepted, and therefore PoFA keeper liability was not relevant.

The judge went against the Beavis ruling with regard to the BPA code of practice not being followed - the entrance signs to the parking site were missing. He said this only a guideline and does not have legal standing, KADOE contract breaches were between UKPC and DVLA and do not give me a legal standing. The photographs do not need a start and end time. The Beavis case was mentioned in reference to the size of the charge.

The judge ruled that parking on double yellow lines on private land does not create a PCN contract unless sufficient signs are in place and visible. Charge 1 was dismissed.

The multiple misleading signs - one not allowing parking and the other allowing parking, in a bigger typefont and lower in height than the UKPC sign meant charges 2 and 3 were dismissed. Additionally the The contract between UKPC and landowner had an area map which was very illegible. It turned out Mr Kapasi was not parked within the 'marker pen' boundaries.Charges 2 and 3 were additionally dismissed for that reason.

Mr Kapasi asked for costs. Loss of earnings was capped at 95 pounds per day.

Prankster Notes

It is interesting that parking companies claim and judges rule that their charge are valid because they are within the range of their code of practice.

But then they also claim and judges rule that they don't have to obey any other aspect of the code.

The Supreme Court disagreed and stated that obeying the Code of Practice is an essential part of getting keeper data from the DVLA.

Data Protection

As the charges were not valid, UKPC will have committed a number of data protection breaches pursuing charges which were not fair or lawful. Mr Kapasi was put under extreme stress by the process. Although a minimum claim of £250 per parking charge would seem to be in order, in this case Mr Kapasi may be able to claim a higher sum due to the level of distress caused.

Happy Parking

The Parking Prankster

Vehicle Control Systems lose claim. Google shows keeper was not driver

VCS v Mr W C7DP4Q93, 22/2/17 Bradford.

According to Vehicle Control Systems (VCS) Mr W's vehicle was apparently parked in "Cavendish Retail Park", in a "Restricted Area of the Car Park" on 12/05/2015. They did not provide any more information as to the location or the period when the contravention happened.

As Mr W was not the driver and keeper liability was not invoked, he was not liable to the charge.
VCS disagreed and engaged a bottom-feeding law firm, BW Legal, to issue a claim.

Mr W's defence requested VCS to provide a copy of the PCN, and the permission from the landowner to take the proceedings forward. He stated that VCS did not comply to all the conditions that must be met in Sch4 Protection of Freedoms Act 2012 (POFA), and therefore there was no keeper liability

In his witness statement a map of "Cavendish Retail Park" (Google Maps), which is in Rice Lane, Liverpool and also provided his Google Maps Location History on the date they specified. This did not place him in Liverpool or any other apparent Cavendish Retail Park's in the country.

14 days before the hearing, BW Legal supplied their template witness statement and the information that he had requested, along with their usual tripe, consisting of 49 paragraphs of inaccuracies, misinformation, legal misdirection and general garbage.

The Hearing

The Judge clearly knew his stuff and had done his homework. The poor young lady from BW Legal was ripped apart and the Judge handled the hearing beautifully. The Judge was also amazed with the data held on Google Maps Location History.

Some brief points that VCS failed on were:

No Compliance with PoFA 2012, and keeper was not driver
No Compliance with their IPC Code of Practice Part D and other parts
No Permission from the Landowner to make the proceedings (the Judge spotted that contract expired in 2011, 4 years before the PCN issued)
Not marking out the area of the "restricted area of the car park". The Judge gave an example in Leeds where a company had done this.
The supplied PCN was unreadable, as was the rubbish diagram of the car park
The Images did not show anything relevant
The Witness Statement was tooooo looooong and most irrelevant.
PE v Beavis, Elliott v Loake and CPS v AJH Films were not relevant

And they were unable to spell Mr W's name correctly.

Not so much a win, as a rout.

Prankster Note

Both Google and Apple provide location history facilities. Although some people hate them, they can have their uses, as this case shows.

Happy Parking

The Parking Prankster

ParkingEye scam fails. Car parked elsewhere

[Due to some unspecified google error The Prankster had to rewrite this blog]

ParkingEye attempted to scam a driver out of £85 by claiming they were parked in a car park for 18 hours.

The scam only failed when the driver proved they were parked over 15 miles away in a secure car park at work at the time.

In an amusing twist to the tale, the ANPR at the works site misread the registration, interpreting a 'F' as a '6'. Perhaps this gives a clue as to why ParkingEye's system also failed.

Prankster Note

Parking companies like to maintain the fiction that ANPR is an infallible technology, when the reality is that it is anything but.

Not all drivers have a secure car park they can use to prove they were not in a ParkingEye car park. ParkingEye play on this, and sadly have even won court cases where their clever advocates persuaded judges that ANPR technology is infallible. It is of course, not fair or just that drivers then have to pay several hundred pounds for a contravention that never even occurred.

Parking companies use ANPR to save costs of parking wardens. It is not right that they use a minimum cost solution which does not work properly and issues bogus charges. Technological solutions and failsafes do exist, and create a much fairer environment. The Marlborough Hill site in Bristol is one such example - freedom of information requests reveal that the number of charges for overstays are minimal.

Sadly, such technology is rarely used. The Prankster believes this is because it would cut down ParkingEye's income to a point where they would not be financially viable. The Prankster is of the same mind of the Government and believes it is not fair to deliberately run a car park in a way to maximise the chances of issuing a parking charge:

Contracts should not be let on any basis that incentivises additional charges, eg ‘income from parking charge notices only

The Prankster calls for a change to the code of practice to ban the use of ANPR except on sites where a failsafe is in place.

Data Protection

It is likely that the driver, now has a valid data protection claim against ParkingEye. They have used their data in a way which is clearly not fair or lawful, which violates data principle 1.

A valid claim would appear to be in the range £250-£600.

Happy Parking

The Parking Prankster

Friday, 24 February 2017

ParkingEye scam fails - one car in, a different car out

ParkingEye's attempt to scam a driver out of £70 failed when the driver spotted that she had been charged not for the time her car was parked, but the time between her car entering the car park, and a different car exiting.

As any competent person can see, her car's numberplate ends with a 'K' while the other plate ends with an 'X'.

The full story is detailed in the Liverpool Echo

This is the second time this driver has been issued a bogus charge by ParkingEye, clearly showing their technology is not fit for purpose.

ParkingEye boast that each parking charge undergoes 19 checks before it is issued. No doubt they will now have to add a 20th check - that the car is the same for both entry and exit.

Prankster Note

Parking companies like to maintain the fiction that ANPR is an infallible technology, when the reality is that it is anything but. In this case the Optical Character Recognition (OCR) software has misread the X as a K.

The government have realised ANPR is not up to scratch, and banned the use of ANPR for council car parks, but have not yet taken this one step further to regulate the use in private car parks.

There are responsible ways which car park operators can use ANPR. For instance, the Marlborough Hill car park in Bristol shows that given the right technology a car park can be run harmoniously with a minimum of charges issued. However, operators like ParkingEye do not use technology like this - presumably because it would hurt their profits too much.

According to ParkingEye sources, they operate their cameras at efficiencies anywhere down to 70%, which means that 3 of every 10 cars entering or leaving are incorrectly detected. This is measured by comparing the vehicles apparently entering against the vehicles apparently leaving. The Prankster believes this is unfair and that either government or the industry should set higher minimum operating standards.

It is likely that the driver, Diane Kinvig, now has a valid data protection claim against ParkingEye. They have used her data in a way which is clearly not fair or lawful, which violates data principle 1.

A valid claim would appear to be in the range £250-£600 per incorrect parking charge issued, or £500-£1200.

Happy Parking

The Parking Prankster

Vehicle Control Services discontinue Albert Street claim

Vehicle Control Systems (VCS) have a huge problem with historic parking charges issued at Albert Street, Birmingham, and the problem is that they had no right to issue the charges in the first place.

This is because the signage is all in the name of a different parking company, Excel Parking Services.

The signage helpfully says, "By parking on this private car park you are entering into a contract with Excel Parking Services Ltd."

Now, VCS could get involved in parking management at this site in a number of ways.

1) VCS could act as debt collectors, and collect monies on behalf of Excel.
2) Excel could legally sell the charge to VCS (subject to DVLA permission) by completing deeds of assignment
3) VCS could change the signage, and collect monies on behalf of themselves

They have gone for option 3, but this only affects new charges, not historic ones.

What this therefore means is that when VCS file charges against motorists for this site, they have no right of action. Only Excel would have, but as Excel have never contacted the motorist, this would present its own difficulties.

VCS are of course fully aware of this, but this does not stop them filing claims. They know that most motorists will take fright at the sight of a claim form, and pay up; so VCS play the numbers and file anyway.

When the motorist points out the flaws in the case they bluff and bluster. Here is a typical letter from legal muppets, BW Legal, "explaining" that VCS can pursue a claim.

The bluff did not last long - 3 days. Here is the next letter discontinuing the claim.

Prankster Note

You have to despair at the legal profession if their level of knowledge is such that they think one person can claim for a contract formed with a different person. This is Contracts 101. The situation worsens when you find out that BW Legal have been awarded Legal Team of the Year 2016. This means there are large numbers of lawyers out there who are even more incompetent than BW Legal.

Happy Parking

The Parking Prankster

MIL Collections discontinue claim

MIL Collections have discontinued yet another claim, this time against Ms L.

The form is signed by Chris Bartlett, MIL's head of legal, who appears to be one of the few real people who sign MIL's forms.

The claim relates to an alleged charge seemingly purchased from Capital to Coast. Once the claim was allocated to Southampton, MIL send the defendant a letter saying "It appears from your last correspondence that you don't understand the court process." and advising her to contact a solicitor.

This is always a good sign that MIL are running scared and will eventually discontinue because they know the defendant has had advice that MIL's claims are bogus and are almost guaranteed to fail in any hearing.

A few weeks later, the notice of discontinuance arrived.

Prankster Note

It is worth casting our mind back to those heady days in July 2016 when Alan Davies of MIL Collections was boasting to Parking News that he always sends advocates to hearings.

Since then the wheels have fallen off his business as it has been revealed the 'advocates' he sends often do not have right of audience, and even when they do, still lose.

And of course, as per todays case, when MIL know they are facing a robust defence, they discontinue. Strictly speaking this particular scenario would not mean Alan Davies is lying when he says he always sends advocates to hearings, but it would be a case of being economical with the truth.

It seems like Ms L did understand the court process after all, and that it was Alan Davies who did not.

Happy Parking

The Parking Prankster

Wednesday, 22 February 2017

Court Report - Brentford - Gladstones Incompetence Reaches New High (or Low)

C2GF5F3Z PARK DIRECT UK LTD -v- Mr H, 22/01/2017 before District Judge Nichols

Guest report - A Bargepole production

This was a claim for two PCNs, which with creative accounting Gladstones had inflated to a total of £395. The original claim form contained the usual non-existent particulars, just a list of dates and amounts, and a Defence had been filed, inviting them to fully particularise the claim, which they never did.

The only other document received by the Defendant was the Claimant’s Directions Questionnaire, but no Witness Statement at all had been served prior to the hearing. We therefore wondered whether they might try and spring it on us on the day, or indeed whether they had emailed a discontinuance late in the evening beforehand.

It transpired that, at 4:18pm the evening before the hearing, a Notice of Discontinuance (NoD) had been sent by email from Helen Cook at Gladstones, to John Wilkie at PPA. In the accompanying message, she claimed that they had not received a copy of the Defence from the Court, and therefore had been unable to comply with the directions to file a Witness Statement 14 days previously, and so had no choice but to discontinue. This message had a distinct piscine odour about it, as without a copy of the Defence they would not have been able to complete the DQ and their usual nonsense request for special directions that the case be heard on the papers.

In any event, the NoD had not been served on the Defendant, so he duly turned up to court at the appointed time, accompanied by Bargepole as his Lay Representative. The case was still listed on the Court notice board, and we reported to the Usher, who said (unsurprisingly) that nobody had turned up for the other side.

When we were called into Court, DJ Nichols said that a NoD had been emailed to the Court, and received at 4:21pm the previous evening. As the Court working day officially ends at 4pm, this could not be considered to have been filed in time, and would be deemed to have been filed on the day itself. Mr H confirmed that he had not been served with any such notice.

The Judge said that the late filing of the NoD, when the Defendant and his representative were already in Court, constituted unreasonable behaviour, and in addition to ordinary costs, he awarded further costs under CPR 27.14(2)(g), so a total of £195.

All done and dusted in under ten minutes, and Park Direct will no doubt be looking forward to receiving Gladstones’ invoice for their sterling work.

Prankster Note

It does seem like parking companies would rather discontinue than lose. Only in the curious world of Roboclaims would this make sense.

Park Direct - you've been Gladstoned

Happy Parking

The Parking Prankster