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Friday, 28 June 2013

The Prankster visits Changegate car park, Haworth

Changegate car park, Haworth is one of the most notorious car parks in the country. Several online forums detail the scurrilous practices of the car park operators.

Moneysavingexpert
Virtual tourist
Tripadvisor
Facebook
Pepipoo
Bronteparsonage

Complaints include charging for upside-down tickets, using a stooge to hand out tickets and then charging for re-use and instant tickets for leaving the site to try and get change.

The Prankster decided to pay the car park a visit. There are plenty of other car parks in Haworth; this one is opposite the Edinburgh Woollen Mill.

On entering the car park The Prankster noticed the car park attendant waiting in his car.

Charges seemed reasonable.
Some of the signs were the worse for wear.

The ones detailing penalties were in fairly good nick though!

The Prankster spent some time reading the conditions, bought a ticket and then left the car park. The attendant immediately leapt out of his car, went over to The Prankster's car and inspected the ticket. The Prankster left enough leeway so that he could possibly have been charged, but the attendant behaved impeccably in this instance. 

From a discreet vantage point The Prankster watched a few other cars enter. Each time, the attendant leapt out of his car as soon as the motorists left the car park; he inspected the ticket with care.

No charge notices were issued. Perhaps the car park operators have reformed. Who knows - only time will tell. 

The Prankster noted that the car park operators were not members of any ATA, such as the BPA Ltd or even Independant Parking Committee Ltd and therefore could not get his address from the DVLA. He also noticed that the £100 was described as a penalty charge, which means that the car park operators would be on a sticky wicket if they try and enforce it. Private companies cannot issue penalties; they can only recoup amounts actually lost.

Nevertheless The Prankster thought discretion was the better part of valour. After a tasty snack in The Woollen Mill, The Prankster decided it was best to leave before he overstayed his ticket by even the minutest amount. The attendant no doubt knew to the minute when all the tickets would expire and was ready to pounce!

Happy Parking


The Parking Prankster


Thursday, 27 June 2013

Independent Parking Committee Ltd

Notomob and Nutsville are posting and tweeting that there is to be a new Accredited Trade Association (ATA) called Independent Parking Committee Ltd. The DVLA have already been in discussion with this new company, according to documents released under FoI requests. This will mean the end of the British Parking Association Ltd monopoly.

This document explains the role of ATAs. In a nutshell, ATA members can request DVLA information electronically, rather than via paper, which is necessary for the bulk processes of the parking industry. If you're not a member of an ATA, you can't enforce your parking charges because you can't get the address of the registered keeper. That was good news for the BPA Ltd when they were the only game in town, because everyone had to join them and pay their fees. Now there is another player, the situation will change substantially.

According to CompanyCheck, Independent Parking Committee Ltd were formed on 11th October 2012.

The Parking Prankster assumes that the BPA Ltd will welcome the competition, which can only help to drive up standards and reduce costs. Although if the competition is too good of course, costs may be reduced to zero.

Happy Parking

The Parking Prankster

Where is the missing £20 million in ParkingEye's accounts?

ParkingEye are a parking company. An interested party sent me a copy of their 2012 accounts.

The Parking Prankster is especially concerned with the entry in their Balance Sheet marked 'Debtors'. As might be expected, debtors are people or companies that owe ParkingEye money.








As you can see, ParkingEye were owed £1.9 million. This is further explained in note 8 to the accounts.














So, we can see that Debtors have been broken down into several categories. One category of people who owe people money are those who have been sent Parking Charge Notices (PCNs) and have not paid them. There may be some disagreement about this. Many people think these unsolicited invoices are scams and that Parking Companies have no legal right to enforce them - including the BBC Watchdog program. No doubt ParkingEye, however misinformed they might be,  almost certainly do not regard them as scams - otherwise why do they keep sending out those begging letters? In the case of the accounts, it is ParkingEye's opinon which matters.

The Prankster is therefore wondering which category these unpaid PCNs come under. It is almost certainly not 'Director's current accounts' or 'Deferred taxation'. 'Trade debtors' and 'Prepayments and accrued income' do not seem to fit either, but let us be generous and pick the bigger one, 'Prepayments and accrued income'. This gives a maximum of £1,093,670 owed for unpaid PCNs.

The trouble is, this does not seem to add up.

We can estimate the minimum number of PCNs ParkingEye send out each year from figures released by the DVLA saying how many enquiries each parking operator has made. This gives an approximate figure of 600,000.

We can estimate the number of unpaid PCNs from figures released by the British Parking Association Ltd. They say approximately 40% of PCNs go unpaid. That would be 240,000 in ParkingEye's case.

ParkingEye's PCNs vary from around £85 to £100. Let's use the £85 amount. That means that ParkingEye think they are owed £85 * 240,000 = £20,400,000. Let's round that down to £20 million, for convenience!

The question that is puzzling The Parking Prankster is, where is that £20 million in the accounts? It doesn't seem to be in the 'Debtors' column which is where the Prankster would expect to find it.

It shouldn't be a mystical smokey amount which only crystallises on the books if it is actually paid. ParkingEye have argued in POPLA cases that the charges are for parking services. Therefore, in their own opinion, the charge occurs at the point of service and should immediately appear on their books. As they think it is a service, they should also be immediately paying 20% VAT on that amount.

The Prankster is mystified; he does not seem to be able to track the £20 million down!

Perhaps it is written off? Surely if that were to happen for such a large amount, there would be some kind of note in the account from the auditors, Moore and Smalley LP, and their employee, Damien Walmsley? The Parking Prankster does not seem to be able to find it though.




















It seems that ParkingEye themselves do not view these amounts as written off. They are current filing around 2,000 county court claims a month for unpaid PCNs, and they have the right to pursue claims for up to 6 years. If these amounts are not written off, where are they in the accounts?

Well, The Prankster is not an auditor, and the auditors do seem to have signed off the accounts, so no doubt all is well.

The Prankster is still baffled though, so if there are any accountants reading this blog who can explain where the £20 million has disappeared to, The Prankster would be grateful if they would get in touch so he can update this page. ParkingEye's accounts can be downloaded here.

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Aldi Parking PR Disaster - today's highlights

Here are today's highlights from the Aldi Facebook page. We start off with an interested shopper who is quickly becoming dillusioned with Aldi's parking management scheme.


Next, a success story. There are a few of these, so if you have a ticket for parking at Aldi phone Laura and Rachel on 01793 836317 to get yours cancelled.



Some people are apparently interested in other things than parking. Well, it takes all sorts.


Lastly, another Aldi fan hopes they can get this all sorted out and return to business as usual - as do we all. The problem for Aldi now is that they are stuck between a rock and a hard place. If they cancel their contract with Parking Eye they will be liable to huge fines - Somerfield had to pay ParkingEye £350,000. If they don't cancel their contract, customers may leave in droves.
Let's hope Aldi find a way out of this mess!

Happy Parking


The Parking Prankster

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

How much do ParkingEye pay Rachel Ledson?


ParkingEye are a parking company. Rachel Ledson is a solicitor employed by them. Amongst other things, she files small claims on their behalf at the bulk processing centre in  Northampton.












She charges £50 a time for doing this. We know this, because it says so on the claim forms. 











In the small claims court, costs are limited.  You are only allowed to claim capped costs for a solicitor's help in preparing the claim. It says so here.
(1) This Section sets out the amounts which, unless the court orders otherwise, are to be allowed in respect of legal representatives’ charges.
... 
Where –
  • the value of the claim exceeds £25 but does not exceed £500: £50
 So there you have it. Rachel is allowed to charge ParkingEye up to £50 for her services and surprise, surprise, she charges the maximum.

Now, leaving aside the thorny problem that she is actually an employee of ParkingEye, and therefore possibly not allowed to include this charge at all on the claim form, we can look at this figure in more detail.

Firstly, we know ParkingEye really must pay Rachel this amount. If they didn't, then because she is claiming they do on the claim form, that could cause all kinds of bother.

The next question is, how many claims is Rachel filing per week? Well, we don't have full information for that. However, the ParkingEye web site states:
Unfortunately ParkingEye have to issue hundreds, sometimes thousands of County Court Claims each month
We also know that in the 5 days between May 24 and May 28, ParkingEye issued 663 claims. We will assume Rachel issued all of them.

That must have been a good week for Rachel. She earned £50 * 663 = £33,150

If she keeps that up all year, she will be well into 7 figures. Let's assume she has 4 weeks holiday.

£33,150 * 48 = £1,591,200

Wow! At that rate, Rachel earns well over a million pounds a year!

She deserves it though. At 663 cases a week, she has to process 132 cases a day. For an 8 hour working day that’s 16.5 cases an hour, or better than one case every 4 minutes.

Actually, Rachel might earn even more than this. Pretty much every ParkingEye claim form reads exactly the same, almost as if they were computer generated. If they were, then perhaps Rachel could get through them even quicker. If all she had to do was quickly check each form and then sign it, she might be able to whip through them all like lightening. Perhaps she could get through all 663 in a day. Certainly, the bulk claims all seem to be sent out the same day each week. Perhaps Rachel takes the rest of the week off in order to get some serious shopping in; if not, and she works every day of the week at that rate, that takes her earnings up to over 7 million a year.

That could cause ParkingEye a problem. Last years accounts show they only made £4.4 million profit. If Rachel carries on working as hard as she could, that would turn into a £3 million loss. Perhaps they will ask her to take a sabattical before she eats into too much of their profit.

Actually, Rachel might earn even more than this. (Is there an echo in this blog?). £50 is the maximum you can claim for filing a claim of this amount. Perhaps she actually charges ParkingEye £100 to file each claim. That would take her to 14 million a year. Now we are talking serious money! Perhaps not though.

Certainly she cannot charge less. The cynical amongst you may say ParkingEye are trying to play the system, get some free money and sting the motorist for unjustified costs. The Parking Prankster says, shame on you, cynical reader! For one thing, it is unlikely that a real solicitor would deliberately lie like this. If they were caught out, there could be serious consequences; they could get struck off, lose their licence to solicit (or whatever the terminology is) or worse. Deliberate fraud for instance, could result in a jail sentence. So there is no doubt in The Prankster’s mind that Rachel really does charge ParkingEye £50 (or more) to file each claim.

The Prankster realises not all his readers are happy-go-lucky jolly japesters like he is. Some of you may be more worldly weary, jaded and cynical.

If this describes you, and you received or paid a court claim from ParkingEye, Ms Ledson will be more than happy to confirm she really does charge £50 a pop filing fee. Write to her at this address.

ParkingEye Limited
PO Box 565
Chorley
PR6 6HT
Dear Ms Ledson,
I received a claim form from ParkingEye which you signed in the capacity as claimant’s solicitor. I see that ParkingEye are claiming £50 solicitor’s costs. Please confirm this is the amount you are charging ParkingEye for filing this case. If this is not the case, please explain how this amount is arrived at.
And if you already caved in and paid ParkingEye without going to court.
Dear Ms Ledson,
I received a claim form from ParkingEye which you signed in the capacity as claimant’s solicitor. I see that ParkingEye are claiming £50 solicitor’s costs. Please confirm this is the amount you are charging ParkingEye for filing this case. If this is not the case, please explain how this amount is arrived at. If after consideration you feel that £50 is not the correct amount to charge, please reimburse me for any overpayment.

Well of course that all supposes The Prankster's suppositions and maths are correct. If anyone spots any errors, please get in touch.

Happy Parking



The Parking Prankster

Sunday, 23 June 2013

Parking Prankster makes a boo boo

[Edit: The Parking Prankster did make a boo boo, but it wasn't the one he thought he made. The boo boo was taking down the Aldi number too quickly - it was the correct number after all. The rest of this post is left for posterity, but please note everything in red is incorrect.]

The Parking Prankster made a boo boo by publishing the telephone number for ParkingEye rather than for Aldi in this post. He hopes no-one was fooled if they actually called the number.

The Prankster has now removed the number from the post. It seems he is not alone. Aldi have been removing posts referring to ParkingEye as fast as they can...

...not fast enough apparently. Here are some more.





Friday, 21 June 2013

How to get a ParkingEye charge notice cancelled if you shopped at Aldi

[Edit - telephone number of ParkingEye removed]
[Another Edit. Thanks to Coupon-Mad for reminding The Parking Prankster that there is more than one person in the world called Rachel; telephone number was Aldi's all along]

Aldi have had a couple of bad days on their Facebook page; it has been inundated with people complaining about parking charges imposed by their parking contractor, ParkingEye. Apparently ParkingEye have been penalising motorists for tiny overstays or minor infringements, which has naturally annoyed legitimate shoppers. After all, if you spent 10 minutes longer in the store, it was because you were buying more stuff!


The mighty ParkingEye legal team, unstoppable and unswervable once set on their way, issued letter after letter to the Aldi motorists, finally concluding in the last few weeks with a deluge of letters before action (LBA) and even small claims. At this point, people power took over, and the Facebook complaints started.

At first, Aldi fobbed off complainants with a stock message about how parking management was good for all. Apart I guess, from the large number of people stuck with invoices from ParkingEye for £100. The stock message was correctly ignored as meaningless bureaucratic blather.


The complaints continued.

Finally, someone high up at Aldi must have finally noticed what was happening and what a PR disaster this all was, and the message changed.


To summarise, Aldi don't want genuine customers to be penalised for shopping at Aldi. If you received a parking charge from ParkingEye and were a genuine shopper get in touch and they will sort it out - even if the case is going to court. (If it is going to court, you will still need to acknowledge the claim and say you want to defend it).

The email address is customer.service@aldi.co.uk. If you want to call Aldi and speak to Rachael or Laura about parking the number is 01793 836317.

Aldi have made a start to unwinding their PR mess, but it looks like there is a way to go yet. It may yet cost them dearly. The Parking Prankster notes that when Somerfield cancelled a parking contract last year, they had to pay ParkingEye £350,000 in damages. The Prankster will keep an eye on developments and blog again if anything newsworthy occurs.

Happy Parking

The Parking Prankster

The Prankster would like to thank pepipoo for bringing this to his attention.

Thursday, 20 June 2013

Free Parking, Yate Shopping Centre

Parking companies like to think that putting up a sign creates a contract between themselves and the motorist. That's all very well, but what holds for one party also holds for the other. Here is the actual entrance signage at the Tesco car park in Yate, managed by Highview Parking.
As you can see, it's a fairly simple contract, offering 'FREE PARKING'. There are no other conditions, such as limited duration, requirements to park within lines, etc. The Parking Prankster thinks that any motorist entering this car park in Yate would be well advised to accept these terms and conditions rather than those they might encounter on any other signs offering parking contracts elsewhere in the car park.

Happy Parking

The Parking Prankster

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

DVLA caught out telling lies about PPC access...again

When asked awkward questions about private Parking Company (PPC) access to the DVLA database, it appears that the standard DVLA tactic is to make up a porkie pie which puts them in the best light and hope that no one questions them further.

Last year they insisted fervently that each PPC request was carefully validated and even stated as much on their web site. Only after concerted questioning did they finally admit that this was a figment of their imagination and correct their little flight of fancy.

Today The Parking Prankster stumbled across this little FoI gem. It would seem reasonable that the DVLA might at least bother to check that the notices PPCs were sending out to motorists were compliant with the new POFA 2012 regulations. The DVLA were keen to assert that this was so, stating that they have checked notices from all companies, although some checks might have been a while ago. When pressed to provide specific examples though, they had to swiftly backtrack and admit they made the first answer up.
No, we don't check notices
The more observant of my readers may just have spotted the tiny discrepancy between the answers. The first answer states that they check notices from all companies, with a nice little touch trying to add realism by stating that some notices were checked a while back. The second answer confirms they don't really check them at all.

Whoops. Civil servants don't like being caught with their pants down like that, so cue some more vigorous bluster on their part.
 This isn't part of DVLA'S remit but is a function of the BPA.
Aha! Well that explains everything then. Not only didn't they do it, but it's not even their job to do it. It's more than their jobs worth to actually bother checking that notices are compliant. It's much more convenient to fob this off onto a limited company funded almost completely by the PPCs themselves.

The Parking Prankster hopes that the DVLA have learnt their lesson from their latest debacle and will tell the truth the first time from now on. He isn't holding his breath though.

Happy Parking

The Parking Prankster

Monday, 17 June 2013

Bradford Council join the Euro ahead of the rest of the UK

Bradford Council stole a march on the rest of the UK by joining the Euro. The Ian Clough car park in Baildon, West Yorkshire, was fitted with a ticket machine which only took euros, not any of that old fashioned 'British money' such as pound coins or other malarkey. Unsuspecting motorists who did not happen to have any euros on them were duly ticketed. In an ironic twist, two ward councillors were among those finding themselves euroless just when it really mattered.

Bradford Council have apparently repented their unilateral decision to go Euro and the ticket machine now accepts UK coins. Perhaps someone told them about Greece.

This article in the Daily Mail explains all. The Parking Prankster admits to not checking any of the facts himself - but it's in the Daily Mail so it must be true.

The article is silent on whether all tickets were cancelled and any monies paid refunded.

Friday, 14 June 2013

Parking Poker - Highview Parking take on The Prankster

Highview Parking have started a new tactic against The Parking Prankster. Rather than proceeding directly to POPLA, they have decided to play Parking Poker. This is probably because their success rate at POPLA is pants. The Prankster puts this down to their preference to have a jolly good rant in their case notes, rather than bothering to put a proper case together, or even exerting themselves to the extent of sending in maps and pictures of the correct car park. He wouldn't go so far as to call Highview Parking 'lying and evasive', but he does note their responses bear no resemblance to serious POPLA case notes, and he might even go so far as to say that their case notes make a mockery of the whole POPLA process.

The latest game of Parking Poker started when The Prankster double dipped his local car park. Like many people all over the country, he found he needed to visit Tesco more than once in a single day. He doesn't usually expect to have to pay £80 for the privilege of doing this; Highview Parking thought otherwise.

They started a game of Parking Poker by chucking £2.50 into the pot, and getting The Prankster's details from the DVLA. It probably irks them to do this, because they no doubt have The Prankster's address burnt into their computer monitors by now, but they have to play by the book. They then sent off their Notice to Keeper to The Prankster.

The Prankster is equally prepared for Highview, and has a template letter in his word processor ready and waiting, just needing a few details filling in. He therefore matched their bet and raised them, telling them they needed to give him a POPLA code if they wanted to see his hand. Normally Highview bend over and drop them at this point, sending a POPLA code and waiting to be spanked at POPLA. However, this time events took a new and exciting twist; Highview totally ignored The Prankster's letter, and instead raised him with a Charge Notice Reminder.

I suppose The Prankster should have expected Highview Parking to do something different at some point. After all, one definition of insanity is to keep repeating the same actions and expecting a different outcome; and after all, Highview Parking are certainly not mad, (although some commenters have thought they might be hopping mad.)

The Prankster counter-betted with a letter enclosing his previous appeal, saying that as Highview had not  responded within the BPA Ltd stipulated time limit of 14 days he considered his appeal to be accepted.

Highview upped the stakes again, replying that they had not received his previous letter but that he could if he wanted, appeal within 14 days. The Prankster considered that he had already sent in his appeal letter twice, and so sat back to wait for the 35 timer to elapse.

Highview panicked and betted out of turn, throwing in a Legal Action Pending letter. No doubt they expected that using red ink and scary words would cause The Prankster to fold.

Your ability to obtain credit in the future may be affected if we have to take this matter to our solicitors for further action.

The Prankster graciously accepted their new bet anyway, and continued to let the timer tick. After 35 days had elapsed from The Prankster's second letter, (which Highview had admitted receiving), he went all in and wrote to Highview explaining that the 35 day timer had expired.

The new letter.
The annotated appeal letter.

The Prankster fully expected Highview to fold at this point, as they were clearly over the 35 day limit. However, to his surprise they matched his bet, throwing in £27 of their own chips and £100+ of the BPA Ltd's cash to see his hand at POPLA.

Unsurprisingly, The Prankster turned over his cards to show a Royal Flush; Parking Company not responding to appeal within 35 days. According to the rules on the POPLA web site, this is an unbeatable hand at Parking Poker, and the Parking Company have to cancel all charges.


The Prankster has therefore appealed to POPLA on these grounds and eagerly looks forward to October when the appeal will likely be heard given the current delays.

Happy Parking

The Parking Prankster

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Highview Parking send in map of wrong car park to POPLA appeal

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.
Shona Watson

Assessor

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:

And here is The Prankster's appeal
Dear Sir,
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.
Yours faithfully,
The Parking Prankster

The Prankster wishes to state that no zombies were hurt during the making of this appeal. He also wishes to state that he believes in responsible parking and has no problem paying a fair parking charge, where the PPC has a proper contract with the landowner, has the correct signage in place, obeys the BPA Ltd code of practice, issues the ticket in accordance with POFA 2012 and charges a genuine pre-estimate of loss.

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).

Happy Parking

The Parking Prankster

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

It's official. DVLA will charge you £5 to find out if a private parking company accessed your data

If a private parking company wants to access your data from the DVLA they can do so, as long as they pay £2.50.

If you then get a Notice to Keeper from said parking company and want to check that they played by the rules and accessed your data in the timescales proscribed by POFA 2012, then you can write to the DVLA to check this. The trouble is, they will charge you £5.

Thats right! The DVLA will charge you twice as much to access your own data as they did when they gave it away to the private parking company!

They didn't always do this. This internal email trail released by an FoI request explains that they started to do this around 10th April 2013.

Here is the first email, explaining that they don't currently charge for these types of requests, but would like to.
Sent: 05 April 2013 08:55
Subject: FW: Requests from the public
Hi,
We have a query regarding members of the public obtaining information from the DVLA and what format they should be submitting this in.
Below are the 4 current ways that a member of public can make a request. The main query rests with number 3 – where the public are asking “have we released any data relating to themselves (but not complaining about it)”. The amount of work involved in this can vary depending on how many enquiries have been made and who by. At this time, we don’t ask for any forms to be completed or charge a fee (historic decision). I would be grateful for your views on this and whether we should be asking for a fee for the administrative work of providing details from the vehicle record.
This may or may not be of any relevance but the internet forums are providing standard templates for individuals to email/post in to DVLA requesting this information so the volume of this type of request is increasing. Example attached.
1. Individual requires information from the vehicle record – submitted using a V888 and dealt with by DVRE. Fee for this type of request (£2.50 or £5.00)
2. Individual is complaining that DVLA have released their data and want an explanation - submitted via a letter and dealt with either by DVRE or DST depending on how the data has been released. No fee for this type of request
3. Individual requires information regarding any release of data from the vehicle record – submitted via a letter and dealt with either by DVRE or DST depending on how the data has been released. DVRE will release copies of any manual applications, if specifically asked by the individual. DST will provide customer name and dates of enquiry including reason, if the enquiry was by electronic means. No fee for this type of request.
4. Data Subject Access Request from an individual requesting information held on them by DVLA – submitted via a letter and dealt with by DVRE (with contributions from other DVLA departments. Fee for this type of request (£5.00 for vehicle information, £5.00 for driver information)
Thanks
Here is the reply from the policy group:

Sent: 09 April 2013 16:42
Subject: RE: Requests from the public
As discussed, and having discussed it with......, Section 7 of the DPA is clear about what constitutes a Subject Access Request, and it includes this:
7(1)(a) Subject to [following provisions], an individual is entitled to be informed ...whether personal data of which that individual is the data subject are being processed by or on behalf of that data controller...
7(2) A data controller is not obliged to supply any information... unless he has received (a) a request in writing, and (b) except in prescribed cases, such fee...as he may require.
Therefore, as far as I’m concerned, this constitutes a Subject Access Request and we are entitled to see that in writing with the fee of £5 before we process it, under current legislation.
Thanks,
 And here is the decision to start charging:
Sent: 10 April 2013 09:09
Subject: FW: Requests from the public
Good morning all,
I have had a response on this matter from Policy (below).
They have stated that these types of enquiries (scenario 3) should be treated as Data Subject Access Requests. Therefore, submitted in writing and with the relevant fee attached. I don’t know if an update is needed to the OI’s as this could be classed as BAU but you may feel that something should be included.
Happy to discuss

So, are you stuck with paying the £5? The Prankster thinks not. You only need to pay the £5 if you want to do all the legwork around checking the PPC sent a compliant request. If you suspect that the request was not indeed compliant, then the DVLA are more than happy to check that for you for free. Obviously, it will cost them far more than just sending you the information you wanted in the first place, but that's bureaucracy for you! And to be fair to the DVLA, they actually would prefer to do the legwork for you. If you do the work yourself, chances are the DVLA would never hear about the improper behaviour of the parking company. As public servants, the DVLA are actually quite keen to hear about cases where parking companies try and bend the rules, so what better way for them to gather and collate the information if they are doing the investigating themselves.

Lets look at that first letter again.
2. Individual is complaining that DVLA have released their data and want an explanation - submitted via a letter and dealt with either by DVRE or DST depending on how the data has been released. No fee for this type of request
Parking Companies give you an address to write to if suspect the DVLA have acted improperly, which is:
Release of Information
Paying Enquiries Section
DVLA
Swansea
SA99 1AJ

Or you can just get this address from the back of the parking charge notice.

You should therefore write something along the lines of:

Dear Sir,
I have received a parking charge notice (copy enclosed).  As you can see from the notice the parking company is trying to pursue the registered keeper. However I have reasonable grounds to believe that they did not comply with the procedures and timescales required. [Insert grounds here]. I therefore believe my data has been used inappropriately. Please can you therefore investigate and report back to me.

Reasonable grounds would include:

  • the date of the notice being received close to a deadline date
  • you have been issued a parking charge before and suspect they are using the same details without requesting from the DVLA a second time
  • you suspect they are using details from another parking company
  • you have information that the parking company used similar dodgy practices in the past

Obviously, if you don't have grounds for suspicion you would not need to write in the first place. We're not talking about drowning the DVLA with requests here; only those instances when you think something fishy is happening with the parking company.

[Edit 6/7/13 Tracy Kiss shows us all how to do it here]
Happy Parking

The Parking Prankster

Sunday, 9 June 2013

Tracy Kiss sticks it to UKPC

The Parking Prankster is loving Tracy Kiss's blog highlighting the sneaky and duplicitous tactics employed by UKPC.

Following in the footsteps of radioactive spiders and Spartacus, The Prankster has no doubt that ordinary entrepreneur, author, blog writer, mother, survivor and model Tracy Kiss will also get her parking charge notice cancelled. What a shame it seems to be taking so long.

Here are some of the underhand tactics employed by UKPC, according to the Prankster's reading of Tracy's blog.

Ignoring an undertaking given by their employee

The Parking Attendant clearly told Tracy that the ticket would be cancelled. As an employee and agent of the company, UKPC cannot ignore his undertaking.

Losing her letter


UKPC 'lost' Tracy's letter, along with her copy of the ticket. How convenient for them! The Prankster has also been the victim of similar mysteriously lost letters by parking companies. Like Tracy, The Prankster always photographs everything before he posts it. He also gets a proof of postage, which is free from any post office.

Not providing any reasons for refusing the appeal

The Lead Adjudicator of POPLA has written about this kind of behaviour in his annual report in the section 'Standard Wording in the Operator's Rejection'. Parking companies should not issue template rejection letters but should actually address the issues raised by the motorist.

UnPOPLAular


The Prankster is disappointed that Tracy did not appeal to POPLA because he is certain she had more than enough grounds to get the charge cancelled. UKPC have one of the worst records at POPLA with more tickets cancelled than any other parking company.

DVLA in on the scam?


The saga continues. Now the DVLA has stonewalled Tracy as well. While trying to find out if UKPC have lied to her, the DVLA have refused to provide her with any details, trying to charge her twice as much as  the parking company paid them for the information in the first place. They have also refused to provide her with the same information that has been provided for free to other people in the past. Is this a conspiracy between the DVLA and the parking companies, or is this just incompetence on the part of the DVLA? After all, the person who should have answered Tracy was on holiday, and a minion answered in his place. Perhaps it was just a mistake and when Mr Evans returns from holiday he will be able to sort everything out.

The Prankster eagerly awaits the next turns and twists in the story. He wishes her luck and is certain she will prevail in the end. He notes that pepipoo and Parking Cowboys are on the case and are helping out!

More UKPC boo-boos

Here is a story Nutsville ran about UKPC forgetting to secure their servers.

If you paid a parking charge to UKPC in the last six years, especially if it was at a hospital, and especially if that hospital was Stoke Mandeville, Wycombe or Amersham, check out The Parking Prankster's previous blog entries starting here to find how to claim your money back.

Saturday, 8 June 2013

POPLA potentially ignoring Data Processing regulations. Sending unnecessary personal information to parking companies

The Parking Prankster first learned of this when he got an email from a parking company out of the blue. WTF! How did they get his email address? A quick check of the actual email contents revealed the culprit - POPLA.

When The Prankster filled in his POPLA appeal on-line, as well as all of the details related to the case he also filled in his address, email, and telephone. A quick flurry of emails* to the POPLA administrators confirmed the worst; POPLA willy-nilly pass on the private details of every person who appeals.

Now, The Prankster understands that POPLA will pass some stuff back and forth between himself and the parking companies, but he is not happy with personal data unrelated to the case going to the parking company; he doesn't want the parking company phoning or emailing him, and sees no reason why they should need this data.

It appears this data is passed to the parking company purely for operational convenience. That way, POPLA doesn't have to act as a central clearing house, and can rely on the parking company to send evidence packs to the motorist by email and post, without having to bother with this administrative overhead themselves. (There is of course no reason whatsoever to pass on telephone numbers.)

Flawed Reasons


The Parking Prankster believes this is flawed for two reasons. Firstly, 'operational convenience' is not a good reason to flout the Data Processing regulations. The laws are there for a reason, and I am sure that a great many people, similar to The Prankster, are now unhappy that parking companies have their address, email and telephone number. Quite simply, the industry is known to have a goodly share of scammers and untrustworthy individuals, and you just have to look at the criminal records of some of the individuals involved to understand why it is not a wise move to let them have your personal details.

Secondly, parking companies are already abusing the process. They have to sign a declaration to POPLA giving the date when the evidence pack was sent to the motorist. Not once has The Prankster received the evidence pack on the date the parking company signed. Not once has he even received it on the following day! Or the day after that! Seeing as the packs were sent to the Prankster by email and not post, there can be no 'it was lost in the post' excuses. The evidence packs were sent between 3 and 4 days after the day they were actually signed as being sent.

This is important. POPLA give the operator a deadline for replying. If the operators are fraudulently misrepresenting that the evidence was sent in time for the deadline, when it actually was not, then they are abusing the process. Less importantly right now, this may not leave the motorist enough time to consider the evidence from the parking company. As POPLA is currently running an estimated 4 months behind schedule, this is probably not a great hardship on the motorist right now. However, if POPLA ever get their act together and start to adjudicate on time, then it will become more relevant. An operator reply giving only 4 days to consider and reply to 40 pages of evidence is simply not fair on the motorist.

It gets worse. Not only are POPLA giving your data to the parking companies, but also to other third parties. Some parking companies, unable to cope with the stress and bother of POPLA appeals themselves, have contracted the work out to third parties. The Prankster is not happy with his data going to the parking companies, let alone any Tom, Dick or Harry that they may have paid to take the POPLA burden off their hands.

*a quick flurry of emails in POPLA timescales means 2-3 weeks worth of effort.

The Prankster Writes


The Prankster has therefore written to POPLA with his concerns. He got back a 'we will take a look in a while' email. The Prankster replied saying that was not good enough, that potential Data Protection violations should be taken seriously, and setting a deadline of two weeks for a reply; more than enough time for any organisation who take Data Processing seriously to start the ball rolling. That deadline has now expired.

If you are similarly concerned that POPLA may be flouting the Data Processing regulations and not really taking this seriously enough to bother investigating in a timely way you can complain to London Councils here. If you are not happy with their answer, then you can take it further with the Information Commissioner here.

POPLA's statement on Data Handling


POPLA's privacy statement is here and contains this statement.

With the exception of requirements expressed by parliament, information you provide us in connection with the registering and conduct of an appeal will not be shared with any other parties.
The Prankster firmly believes until shown otherwise that parliament has not expressed a requirement for his personal details to be shared with the parking company, and for any of his details to be shared with a third party working on behalf of the parking company.



Thursday, 6 June 2013

Spartacus has no need for superpowers

Today G24 cancelled a parking charge issued to Spartacus, as reported on the notomob site here.

The Parking Prankster admires the ability of Spartacus to get his parking ticket cancelled, without the use of any superpowers whatsoever.

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

How to claim any parking charge back from UKPC

Edited to correct some court costs and procedural details.

You need more balls for this one, because it will take some time and effort, plus some costs up front. Because this may end up having to go to court, there is also no guarantee that you will get your money back.

First, read up on my three previous posts, explaining how UKPC regularly charge more than they are allowed to for Parking Charge Notices. G. Bozzino neatly sums up the position in his FoI request as follows:
Under Contract Law a provider of services may only claim an amount equivalent to actual loss or a pre-estimate of loss if a contract is breached; they may not demand a punitive sum. 
UKPC regularly charge extra amounts they are not entitled to, such as wages, office running costs and kickbacks to the land owner.

If this situation applies to any parking charge you have paid to UKPC in the last six years then you can claim your money back.

Step 1
Write a 'Letter before Action' to both UKPC and the landowner pointing out the above and asking for your money back.

Step 2
If this does not work, file an MCOL claim naming UKPC and the landowner as defendants. This will cost £25 (current court costs are explained here). Ask for a copy of the contract between UKPC, and a full breakdown of how the actual loss or pre-estimate of loss is arrived at.

Step 3
If they do not pay up, pay for a court hearing. The allocation fee is waived for claims under £1500, but there is a £25 hearing fee. As claimant you get first choice of court. The defendant is allowed to ask for a different court and if you do not agree a judge will decide. Going to 'their' court allows you to charge reasonable travel expenses if you win, so you might prefer to travel.

Step 4
Turn up for the hearing. If they do not, you will get a default judgement against them. If they do, then it depends what documents they filed. If the contract shows kickbacks to the landowner it should be a slam dunk. If they refuse to provide a contract, or try and argue the costs are genuine then it depends on your arguing power and the view of the judge. The odds will be heavily in your favour, but judges can be temperamental.

If you win, you can ask for costs. This is the small claims court, so they will be limited mostly to your travel costs. If you lose, you will have to pay their costs, which are similarly limited.

Step 5
If they still do not pay up, you may have to get a bailiff to seize goods. This will cost at least £100, and maybe more. If the landowner is a big company, it may be far easier to get them to cough up than it will UKPC.

Step 6
If you do get the money back, this will also include any extras such as bailiff fees, court fees etc. Well done!

As you can see, this is not for the faint hearted. However, if you feel strongly about this, it is a fairly straight-forward process.


How to claim a parking charge back from any hospital where UKPC issued the charge

If your hospital was Wycombe, Amersham or Stoke Mandeville then I have already specifically blogged about those. For any other hospital where UKPC issued the parking charge, use these instructions.

These instructions are less certain to guarantee a result, because currently you do not have sight of the contract between UKPC and the hospital in question. However, you are entitled to have reasonable suspicion that it will be broadly similar to contracts we do know about.

This blog post shows that UKPC are charging amounts they are not allowed to in parking charges, such as commission to the hospital, administration charges and office costs.

If the contract that UKPC have with your hospital is similar, then you will be able to recover your parking charges too. This may require some persistence on your part.

Step 1 is to make an FoI request to the hospital in question, asking for a copy of the car parking contract and also for a breakdown of the parking charges.

Once you have that, and it may take a while, write a letter before action similar to the one in my previous post.

Happy Parking

The Parking Prankster

The Parking Prankster would like to thank G. Bozzino for bringing this FoI request and Philter at  pepipoo for bringing it to his attention.

How to claim a parking charge back from Amersham or Stoke Mandeville Hospitals

This freedom of information request discloses that Bucks Healthcare Trust and their contractors, UKPC have been overcharging for parking charges issued at Amersham and Stoke Mandeville hospitals. Private companies are not allowed to charge you a 'fine'. They can only recover actual costs, which cannot include general running costs of a business such as staff wages, building rent, fluorescent parking warden jackets and so on. It also cannot include any element of profit, or a commission to a third party. The true typical cost of issuing a parking ticket is probably therefore around £5, which will be the £2.50 fee to the DVLA for getting your address, plus some postage stamps and stationery.

Bucks healthcare Trust have admitted that the charges include many non-allowed elements. This makes the whole charge invalid, and you are therefore entitled to claim your money back from Bucks Healthcare Trust and UKPC. You have six years to do this in, so you can claim back to June 2007; normally you would be expected to claim as soon as possible, however if there are reasons why you did not, such as you only found out you could when you read this blog, then this can be considered as a mitigating circumstance.

Here are the crucial admissions from the FoI request;

The client will receive 10% commission of all revenue received from PCN's issued.
For a charge of £60, this will mean £6 going to the hospital as commission. This is not an actual cost, and therefore not allowed.
The £30 payment covers UKPC administration and office costs (if the parking charge is paid within 14 days of it been issued). The increase to £60 covers additional administration to recover payment.
Administration and office costs are also not allowed as costs, because the business will pay these out anyway, whether or not a Parking Charge notice is issued. Only actual costs directly attributable to the Parking Charge are allowed.

Step 1 is to write a letter before action to both UKPC and Bucks Healthcare Trust


Finance Director
UKPC
Unit 29, 1-2 Denham Parade,
Oxford Road,
Uxbridge,
Middlesex UB9 4DZ

Finance Director

[Amersham HospitalWhielden Street
Amersham, Bucks
HP7 0JD]

or

[Stoke Mandeville HospitalMandeville Road
Aylesbury, Bucks
HP21 8AL]


Letter before action

To Finance Directors, Bucks Healthcare Trust, UKPC

Dear Sirs,

I paid a parking charge to you of [x] on [y-y-yyyy]. I have since found out that you have addmitted that you pre-estimate of liquidated damages for £60 was incorrect and includes charges which are not allowed. I refer you to these admissions in the Freedom of Information disclosure published here:
https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/contract_with_uk_parking_control#incoming-393359

"The client will receive 10% commission of all revenue received from PCN's issued."
and
The £30 payment covers UKPC administration and office costs (if the parking charge is paid within 14 days of it been issued). The increase to £60 covers additional administration to recover payment.
I regard this as invalidating the parking charge notice. I require you to refund me the full amount of [x] by [14 days time]. If this is not done, then I reserve the right to name both parties as defendants in a county court claim.

This should do the trick. If not, then in a later post The Parking Prankster will explain how for a simple £15 you can file a county court claim for your money back.

Don't worry about this costing the NHS money. UKPC have indemnified Bucks healthcare Trust against all costs in section 3 of the contact:
"On the said land, the contractor shall indemnify and keep indemnified the Client from any claim arising against either party."
Happy Parking

The Parking Prankster

The Parking Prankster would like to thank G. Bozzino for bringing this FoI request and Philter at  pepipoo for bringing it to his attention.

How to claim a parking charge back from Wycombe Hospital

This freedom of information request discloses that Bucks Healthcare Trust and their contractors, UKPC have been overcharging for parking charges issued at Wycombe hospital. They meant to charge £60 (discounted to £30), but actually charged £100 (discounted to £60). Actually, even £60/£30 is invalid, as The Prankster will discuss later.

If you paid out a parking charge at Wycombe hospital you can therefore claim the money back from Bucks Healthcare Trust and UKPC. You have six years to do this in, so you can claim back to June 2007; normally you would be expected to claim as soon as possible, however if there are reasons why you did not, such as you only found out you could when you read this blog, then this can be considered as a mitigating circumstance.

Step 1 is to write a letter before action to both UKPC and Bucks Healthcare Trust


Finance Director
UKPC
Unit 29, 1-2 Denham Parade,
Oxford Road,
Uxbridge,
Middlesex UB9 4DZ

Finance Director
Wycombe Hospital
Queen Alexandra Road
High Wycombe, Bucks
HP11 2TT

Letter before action

To Finance Directors, Bucks Healthcare Trust, UKPC

Dear Sirs,

I paid a parking charge to you of [x] on [y-y-yyyy]. I have since found out that your pre-estimate of liquidated damages for £100 was incorrect and that you now consider the true value was £60. I refer you to this admission in the Freedom of Information disclosure published here:
https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/contract_with_uk_parking_control#incoming-393359


"We would like to clarify that the PCN charges at Wycombe Hospital are identical to those at Stoke Mandeville Hospital; an error had been made where reference to a fee £100 was stated."
I regard this as invalidating the parking charge notice. I require you to refund me the full amount of [x] by [14 days time]. If this is not done, then I reserve the right to name both parties as defendants in a county court claim.

This should do the trick. If not, then in a later post The Parking Prankster will explain how for a simple £15 you can file a county court claim for your money back.

Don't worry about this costing the NHS money. UKPC have indemnified Bucks healthcare Trust against all costs in section 3 of the contact:
"On the said land, the contractor shall indemnify and keep indemnified the Client from any claim arising against either party."
Happy Parking

The Parking Prankster

The Parking Prankster would like to thank G. Bozzino for bringing this FoI request and Philter at  pepipoo for bringing it to his attention.

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

POPLA facing 4 month backlog. Still, it's better than 7 months.

This is a rewrite of my earlier blog, but using, uh, actual facts this time.

According to the POPLA annual report (published strangely after only 6 months) POPLA had received 4,051 appeals by the 31st March, and processed 1,969 of them. The first appeal was processed on 28th November, according to the same report, so we have had approximately 4 months worth of appeals processed by 31st March.

Ignoring the fact that POPLA took two weeks off in December, this is a rate of around 500 a month and leaves 2082 cases still to be adjudicated as of 1st April.

If POPLA continue to process cases at the same rate, this backlog would take around 4 months to clear, so a case submitted on 1st April should be adjudicated sometime around 1st August.

Still, it could be worse. The BPA Ltd assumed that POPLA would be taking around 17k cases a year, or 5700 every 4 months. Currently we are slightly down on that figure, by about 1650. This would have caused the backlog to increase by another 3 months.

Things may be getting worse. The current figures show that cases are now being submitted at the rate of 1000 per month. If this carries on at the same rate, then cases are coming in twice as fast as they can be processed. Every month that goes by will see another month added to the delay.


As more motorists learn that they get a better than 50% chance of having their case upheld by POPLA, we may even see the number of cases per month go up. As each case costs the BPA Ltd around £130, we might expect the BPA Ltd to take a good look at the POPLA report to see which Parking Companies are taking the mickey.


Things may also be getting better. The report hints that POPLA are getting more staff. We will have to wait for further figures to see how this affects the backlog.

Meanwhile, here are the figures to date:
       Cases Completed Won by Operator

Jan 25  1490       650             260
Feb  6  1551       843             328
Mar 31  4051      1969             911 



Happy Parking

The Parking Prankster

POPLA facing 5 month backlog. Still, it's better than 18 months.

Update:The Prankster has now seen the real report here and accepts that this blog post is therefore wildy inaccurate. Like a mad game of Chinese Whispers, this blog proves that a report of a report is not a good source for writing a report. The Prankster will leave this blog up for posterity, and write a second blog post some time soon.

According to this article published today in the Standard, POPLA has currently received over 4,000 appeals. According to the same article, it took six months to process the first 1,969 of these. This is a rate of around 330 a month and leaves around 2000 cases still to be adjudicated.

POPLA started in November 2012, so its six months were up in April. Assuming another 330 cases were processed in May, that still leaves 1670 cases, or about 5 months worth.

The BPA Ltd assumed that POPLA would be taking around 17k cases a year, or 8500 every six months. Currently we are well down on that figure, which would have caused the backlog to be around 18 months if another 4500 cases had been added.

The Prankster has not seen the figures on which the Standard article is based, so there may be some inaccuracies. He suspects they are taken from the Lead Adjudicator's six month report which was due to be published now, but has not yet been made public. Perhaps newspapers had an early look. The Prankster will revisit the figures once they are made public.

Meanwhile, here are the figures to date:

      Cases Completed Won by Operator

Jan 25 1490       650             260
Feb 6  1551       843             328
May 1  4000      1969             911 



Happy Parking

The Parking Prankster

The Prankster thanks Parking Cowboys and BailiffHunter for tweeting the Standard article and bringing it to his attention.

Company Car Drivers Exempted From Private Parking Charges

It's highly likely that if you are a company car driver the government may have accidently exempted you from paying private parking charges. Here's why.

Many company car drivers are not the registered keeper of the car they drive. Either their company is, or perhaps a specialist third party 'car provider' such as a lease management company. These third parties assume the duties of the registered keeper, including taxing and insuring the vehicle.

Suppose you are the driver of a company car, and one day a private parking company decides to ticket you. They don't know where you live, so they get the registered keeper details from the DVLA, and send a Notice to Keeper to your company. Your company pass it on to you.

Now, here's the good bit. To comply with the POFA 2012 requirements, the Notice to Keeper has to be sent within a certain timescale; before 14 days for ANPR cases, and between 28 and 56 days for tickets placed on the windscreen.

The beauty is, at this point in time, the Notice to Keeper has not yet been served at all. This is because, for the purposes of the POFA 2012 requirements, the Registered Keeper is not the same as the actual 'keeper'. POFA 2012 defines the keeper as:
“keeper” means the person by whom the vehicle is kept at the time the vehicle was parked, which in the case of a registered vehicle is to be presumed, unless the contrary is proved, to be the registered keeper;
The "keeper", under the definition of the act, is you, the company car driver. The Notice to Keeper has not been delivered to you by any of the required methods under the act, which are defined as:

(4)The notice must be given by—(a)handing it to the keeper, or leaving it at a current address for service for the keeper, within the relevant period; or(b)sending it by post to a current address for service for the keeper so that it is delivered to that address within the relevant period.

Therefore, all that you, the company car driver, needs to do is wait until the timescales expire: 14 days for ANPR and 56 days for windscreen tickets. At that point keeper liability ceases to exist, and the parking company can only pursue the driver of the vehicle. Then you can write to the parking company to appeal the charge:

Dear Parking Company,
I am the keeper of the vehicle as defined in POFA 2012. Your Notice to Keeper has not been delivered to me in the timescales required by the act, and I therefore wish to invoke your appeal process. If you do not agree that your notice should be cancelled, please send me a POPLA code.
 If they do not cancel the charge, then ask POPLA to do it.
I am appealing the charge because the notice to keeper has not been delivered to me within the timescales required by POFA 2012. I am the keeper of the vehicle as defined in POFA 2012. The parking company can therefore no longer pursue the vehicle keeper and may only pursue the driver of the vehicle. The parking company have offered no proof as to the identity of the driver.
You will need to send POPLA proof that you are the keeper, such as a letter from your company.

The Parking Company cannot pursue your company or indeed anyone else for the parking charge, because the legislation simply does not make them liable.

Of course, you would want to make sure that your company does not grass you up by sending the parking company your details prematurely. You also need to make sure that any lease management company are not going to impose their own administration charges on you. In such cases it may be better to fight the parking charge by other methods.

The same exemption unfortunately does not hold for hire cars, because there is a separate clause in the act to specifically deal with this situation. It does hold for other situations where you use and keep a car for a while,  even cases where you lend a mate a car for a while and they keep it at their place. If that happens, you may consider it wise to write your mate a letter first, because you will need to prove you are not the keeper during that period. Otherwise you become liable for your mate's bad parking!

Dear Dan,
I'm lending you my car for a while, and expect you to look after it at your place. This makes you the 'keeper' under the POFA 2012 definitions, which means you will be liable for parking charges if a private parking company serves you a correct Notice to Keeper.
Regards,
Prankster

Please note that the Prankster does not encourage bad or irresponsible parking, or misuse of parking facilities. The Prankster believes that all parking charges should be paid whenever the ticket is legitimate, the Private Parking Company has a proper contract with the landowner, has the correct signage in place, obeys the BPA Ltd code of practice, issues the ticket in accordance with POFA 2012 and charges a genuine pre-estimate of loss.

Happy Parking

The Parking Prankster

The Parking Prankster would like to thank various posts on pepipoo for bringing this to his attention.