It appears that Highview Parking merely did a quick cut and paste job when sending in their evidence to The Parking Prankster's latest appeal. Unfortunately for them, they appear to have forgotten that the previous incident was in a different car park.
The Prankster therefore thought it would be more fun to appeal on this basis than the actual reason mentioned in his letter to Highview Parking, which was that he was not parked there at the time.
The POPLA assessor naturally took a dim view of Highview Parking's incompetence, upholding The Prankster's appeal. Here is her decision.
Reasons for the Assessor’s Determination
On 8 March 2013, the Operator issued a parking charge notice because on 24 February 2013 the vehicle with registration mark xxx xxx was recorded via automatic number plate recognition as having stayed in the overflow car park for 4 hours 49 minutes, which was longer than the maximum stay of 4 hours.
The Operator’s case is that the terms and conditions are displayed at the site. Copies of the conditions have been produced and state that there is a 4 hour maximum stay. They also state that a failure to comply with the conditions means that a parking charge notice will be issued.
The Appellant made various representations, stating that he does not believe he has entered into a contract with the Operator, whether actual or implied, written or verbally, or by notice in the form of signs. The Appellant submits that the map produced by the Operator doe [sic] not include a key or labels. The Appellant produced a map of the site with the overflow car park marked on, and submits that there were no signs in this area of the site.
The Operator rejected the representations, as stated in the notice of rejection they sent, because the Appellant did not provide any valid reasons to cancel the parking charge notice. The Operator produced images that appear to show the vehicle entering the site at 15.50 on 24 February 2013 and exiting at 20.39 the same day. The Operator produced photographs of some of the signs in the area, which state that the maximum stay is 4 hours. A map of the site has also been enclosed. However there is no key, although it appears that the green circles indicate trees and the orange circles indicate the location of signs. It is unclear where the overflow car park is from this map, however in the area marked at the overflow car park by the Appellant there does not appear to be any signs. There is also an area marked "parking spaces", however there is no indication that any signs are displayed in this area either.
Having carefully considered the evidence before me, I must find as a fact that, on this particular occasion, the Operator has not shown that the terms and conditions were clearly displayed throughout the site and in the overflow car park. As the Appellant submits that there was no contract between the parties, the burden of proof shifts to the Operator to prove otherwise. The Operator has not discharged this burden.
Accordingly, this appeal must be allowed.
Here is Highview Parking's map.
Here is the map that The Parking Prankster helpfully sent in to POPLA to clarify the situation.
Here is Highview Parking's full case:
I have received the speculative invoice referred to above and I wish to invoke your appeal process.
I do not recall parking at these times. On the day in question, I seem to recall my life being in danger due to the forthcoming zombie apocalypse. It was extremely difficult to get back to my car without attracting the attention of the undead. You will appreciate in poor light it is difficult to distinguish flesh eating zombies from the shambling semi-conscious shoppers, and the jerking, spasmodic movements of the hoodie wearing iPod listeners lost in the cacophony of their own little worlds. In view of this danger to my life, I have no doubt that you will view these as mitigating circumstances and cancel the charges.
I would also like to bring it to your attention that I singlehandedly rescued two small children from Pizza Express. Without my selfless heroism they would undoubtedly have perished. I would like to put myself forward therefore for customer of the month. If I win then I think a small cash award of around £100 would be appropriate. Please forward a cheque or postal order to the above address.
The Parking Prankster
Also, as in this case, the charge must actually be due, and not as a result of the car park ANPR system failing to detect two visits in one day.
The Prankster also wishes to state that although he did not in the end receive any cash reward from Highview Parking, in view of the circumstances he has awarded himself Highview parking Customer of the Month March 2013 (self awarded).
The Parking Prankster