Friday, 31 January 2014

Reclaim Service Launched

Many parking tickets on private land have no basis in law; some parking companies derive their entire income from charges for breach of contract and it is obviously impossible to run a business entirely on this basis. As Judge Buckley put it:
"...they are pursuing a claim for their own profit as opposed to quantifying a breach and loss which this has caused them..."
When a charge is invalid, it may be possible for anyone who has paid up to reclaim their money for up to 6 years after the event. I am therefore investigating the possibility of setting up a service to help people reclaim money paid for invalid private parking charges.

At the moment the service is running on a trial basis. If you are interested, please go to the Parking Prankster website and fill in the form. If there is enough interest I will select some trial cases and proceed with those.

It is likely that the first cases will involve car parks where I already have plenty of evidence that POPLA or the courts have ruled the charges were invalid.

I am therefore especially interested if you want to reclaim money after being charged for the following sites:

  • The Peel Centre
  • The Range
  • Burton Hospital
  • Fistral Beach
  • Rheidol Retail Park
  • Any airport
  • Any port
  • Corporation Street, Preston
  • St Helen's retail park
  • Hawarth
  • Eurogarages (KFC/Starbucks) at Bath Road, Heathrow
Any other car parks are of course also welcome. However, this service is for private parking charges only - not council or police parking charges.

Happy Parking

The Parking Prankster

Thursday, 30 January 2014

ParkingEye court losses roundup

News of ParkingEye court cases losses are coming in thick and fast and The Parking Prankster has had to redesign his web site to keep up.

Overall losses can be accessed at this link
ParkingEye court losses in 2013 are recorded at this link.
ParkingEye court losses in 2014 are recorded at this link.

Here is the round-up for the last few days. Please contact The Prankster if any results are missing from this list.

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.
Read Bargepole's account here

3JD02462 ParkingEye v Thomas. (Preston 29/01/2014) District Judge Buckley dismissed the case because the signage was inadequate and so the motorist cannot have formed a contract with 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). Deputy District Judge Melville-Shreeve felt the signage was inadequate.
Read Bargepole's account here

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.
Read Bargepole's account here

3JD02357 ParkingEye v Gosnold. (High Wycombe 23/01/2014). District Judge Devlin. 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.
Read Bargepole's account here

If anyone thinks that the reason ParkingEye have difficulty walking right now is because they have a pretty large bargepole shoved right where they don't want it...they are probably correct.

Happy Parking

The Parking Prankster

Tuesday, 28 January 2014

ParkingEye court wins dip to 62%

The Parking Prankster has been made aware of a new FoI request showing the number of court claims won by ParkingEye.

The Prankster freely admits he might be interpreting the figures incorrectly. ParkingEye can feel free to update him with the correct figures if he is wrong.

Hearings marked with a 'J' are apparently judgements, but this can be 'Judgement for Claimant' or 'Judgement for Defendant'. The Prankster thinks 'Judgement for Defendant' will only happen if the defendant counter-claims. He doesn't know of any cases where this has happened, so has assigned all 'J's to ParkingEye wins.

Hearings marked with an 'O' are apparently 'Claim Dismissed'. They may include other categories as well, but The Prankster does not know what these would be. He has therefore assigned all these to ParkingEye losses. The Prankster has also attempted to match up known ParkingEye losses with the data. This was partially successful. In one case the claim was marked 'X' as not recorded yet, and in the Lemon and Harris case there appeared to only be one claim recorded instead of two.

Based on these adjusted figures, The Prankster has come up with the following graph.

The data behind this is as follows.

pe win pe loss
may 1 0
jun 0 1
jul 7 2
aug 9 1
sep 10 6
oct 13 8
nov 31 14
dec 30 16

If The Prankster is correct in his assumptions, the following paragraph is true. If not, this is a situation known in the parking world as 'telling ParkingLies'

ParkingEye's infamous claim that they win 90% of cases was only applicable in August. After that the percentage of cases won per month has hovered between 62% and 69%. This means ParkingEye win less than 2 cases for every 1 case won by the motorist. 

The Parking Prankster has seen transcripts of case won by ParkingEye and can quite understand why they won - the defence was poor or non-existent.

If you are defending a ParkingEye claim and they quote cases they won, you should immediately ask them for all transcripts quoted. These will provide you with a good lesson on how not to conduct your case at court. 

To win a case the Prankster recommends you look at winning transcripts, at the winning legal arguments and that you know your facts when it comes to the hearing. Take a friend with you if this will help.

Happy Parking

The Parking Prankster

ParkingEye v Clarke transcript donated

Mr Clarke has kindly made available for the common good the judgment in the case of ParkingEye v Clarke.

The judgment can be downloaded from here.

This case was for one of The Range car parks in Barrow-in-Furness. Previously in other claims ParkingEye have produced contracts dated Feb 2013 for this car park. In this case, ParkingEye suddenly produced in court a contract dated November 2011. Although Mr Clarke was never allowed to view this, he did raise the date discrepancy with the judge. In any event, in this particular case the judge did not need to worry about this.

Deputy District Judge Buckley ruled that the letter of authority which allowed ParkingEye to manage the car park did not allow them to take proceedings in their own name. He ruled that the 'commercial justification' arguement that ParkingEye used to justify their own profit was invalid because they could not show any financial loss due to the breach of contract; in fact they make a profit from the breach of contract. The judge referred to the situation as 'bizarre'.

Happy Parking

The Parking Prankster

Whitehaven Harbour Commissioners enter the fray. Most incompetent legal department 2014?

This post on pepipoo tells the sorry tale of Whitehaven Harbour Commissioners.

WHC submitted multiple claims against multiple defendants, but failed to adhere to the Protection of Freedoms Act and the Civil Procedure Rules in almost all aspects. Only one Notice to Keeper was served. That was 7 months late and on the day that the court bundle was also served.

A brief defence stating no cause of action was filed, but this was not accepted and the cases were allocated to the small claims track. A more detailed defence was filed outlining WHC's lack of, well, competence.

All 5 defendants then received notices of discontinuance.

WHC have with this master-stroke put themselves in contention for the most incompetent legal department of 2014, easily batting aside Excel and their spreadsheet worries, and are now vying for top spot with ParkingEye.

This is January though, so there is still a long way to go.

Monday, 27 January 2014

POPLA lead adjudicator publishes new guide to operators

The Parking Prankster has learned that the POPLA Lead Adjudicator, Henry Greenslade, has published a test POPLA case which can be used by parking operators to improve their evidence packs. This has been made available to all operators by the British Parking Association Limited in their 23rd Jan AOS newsletter.

The Prankster has seen the test case, and his opinion is that he agrees with the BPA Ltd that this was specifically written as an instruction manual to operators on how to improve their evidence packs.

The Prankster considers that it is not the job of Mr Greenslade to do this. If the BPA Ltd want such an instruction manual they should hire their own barrister to produce one.

The Prankster considers that it is not the place of POPLA to release POPLA judgements to the BPA Ltd. POPLA have previously refused to make POPLA judgements available to the public, and The Prankster has gone through the full complaints procedure for London Councils on this matter. The Prankster considers this is a clear sign of bias to the operators. The Prankster wonders whether any data protection issues have been caused.

The Prankster considers that it is not the place of the BPA Ltd to further distribute the POPLA judgement to all AOS members. The Prankster wonders whether any additional data protection issues have been caused.

The Prankster considers if that genuine pre-estimate of loss is such an issue, then it should be clearly stated as a reason to appeal on the POPLA forms and the POPLA web site. The Prankster has gone through the full complaints procedure for London Councils on this matter, without success.

The Prankster would be very interested to know exactly why, and under whose orders, instructions or requests, Mr Greenslade wrote the test case.

Lastly, The Prankster points out that it is a fruitless exercise. However a pre-estimate of loss calculation is written, it cannot disguise the fact that you cannot run a business on pre-estimate of loss payments. Any operator trying to use clever words to falsely pretend a charge is a pre-estimate of loss is therefore merely setting themselves up for a fraud case somewhere down the line.

The Prankster would like to point out that according to figures released by the DVLA and ParkingEye's own accounts, their cost per parking charge cannot be more than £15. The Prankster would be happy to extend this free service to any other operator who has difficulty with mathematics. Please forward a copy of your accounts together with the number of parking charges issued to and The Prankster will reply with the maximum value your cost per parking charge can possibly be.

Happy Parking

The Parking Prankster

UKCPS cancel all charges where an invalid POPLA code was issued

The Parking Prankster previously reported that UKCPS had issued some invalid POPLA codes. These ended with a letter 'P'.

The Prankster has now learned that the BPA have requested UKCPS to cancel the parking charges where an invalid code was issued; these are all charges, and not just ones where the motorist complained.

UKCPS have now changed their processes so this cannot happen in future.

The Prankster congratulates the BPA Ltd and UKCPS for this sensible resolution to this issue.

Happy Parking

The Parking Prankster

Sunday, 26 January 2014

ParkingEye settle for £15

ParkingEye have settled a court claim for £15, according to this post on Pepipoo.

The Prankster notes that ParkingEye prefer to negotiate because going to court costs them around £200-£300, or longer if the hearing lasts over 3 hours. This is because they use a lawyer from LPC Law to represent them. In the small claims track this money is not normally allowable as costs, and so ParkingEye always lose out at court, even if they win.

If you receive a court claim your best strategy is therefore never to pay up but always to file a strong defence. You can then start negotiations from a position of strength.

Of course, you can also carry on to court and have your say at a hearing. ParkingEye's contracts have always been found wanting at court when a strong defence is used. ParkingEye's true cost per charge of under £15 also shows their charge is not a true pre-estimate of loss.

On the other hand, settling for £15 is possibly a good pragmatic decision considering the effort involved in defending a case.

For a free guide containing all the legal arguments you need, visit The Parking Prankster's web site.

The web site also contains many free documents you can use as evidence, and case transcripts to help you.

Although the information is mainly of use for ParkingEye court cases, many items may also be applicable for fighting claims from other operators.

Happy Parking

Friday, 24 January 2014

Highview Parking admit all their charges are unenforceable

The Parking Prankster read about the following POPLA appeal involving Highview Parking.

The motorist sent a brief appeal to POPLA stating their charges were unenforceable.

Highview rejected his appeal stating that it was a template. (Highview forgot to mention their own Parking Charge notice was also a template).

The motorist sent in a rather longer appeal to POPLA, but also stating that the charge was not a genuine pre-estimate of loss, and therefore unenforceable.

Highview stated that this was another template and if POPLA upheld the appeal all of their charges would be unenforceable.

"this is an entirely vexatious attempt to subvert the appeals process, and that [motorist] has no valid grounds for appeals. He has neglected to set out any genuine mitigation that have given us cause to reconsider this charge, and has instead resorted to sending a generic objection that would apply equally to all charges that we issue if it was given any credence in this case."
POPLA upheld the appeal.

Highview are of course correct. The appeal grounds do indeed apply to all their charges and in fact to all charges to all parking companies issued under the guise of breach of contract. It is impossible to run a business solely on monies from breach of contract, because this can only put you back in the position you were. it cannot be used to generate a profit and run a business.

Both the DVLA and the BPA Ltd have currently stuck their fingers in their ears, chanting 'la la la' very loudly when anyone tries to point this out to them. The Prankster firmly believes that one day they will have to pull their fingers out and do something and confront the issue head-on.

Meanwhile, Highview Parking seem to have learned only one thing over the year and a bit that POPLA has been in force - not to threaten that they will be spurred into immediate further action if their appeal is turned down.

Happy Parking

The Parking Prankster

Disgruntled Customer Returns Guide

The 'Parking Prankster Guide to Fighting a ParkingEye Court Case' has had a copy returned to the Amazon bookstore.

The Prankster has no idea why this is. No disgruntled customers have contacted him by email. Perhaps someone tried to sneak a free copy by downloading it, copying it, then returning it. The Prankster will never know as Amazon remain tight-lipped about that sort of thing.

Happy Parking

The Parking Prankster

Hospital Car Parks - Is this a better way to do things?

The Prankster has previously posted about Northumbria NHS where there is a ticketless system and patients have to guess how long they stay. They get a huge fine it they get it wrong. ParkingEye's figures show they would have raked in over £1 million every year on this site - they charge an extortionate amount despite their own accounts showing it costs them less* than £15 per notice issued.

*The Prankster estimates the true cost to be around £7.50.

The Prankster has been sent in some pictures from a different hospital. This car park is managed by Total Parking Solutions. While The Prankster may not agree with everything Total Parking Solutions does, this particular setup is much fairer to the motorist.

Here, the motorist just turns up, parks, and does their business at the hospital. When they leave, the system knows how long they stayed and charges accordingly.

The system uses ANPR to record the vehicle entry and exit time so that the time of stay can be calculated. When you leave you start to type in your registration. You are then told the fee owed.

The Prankster feels this is a much fairer way of doing things.

  • you don't get charged for not guessing the time of stay correctly when you arrive
  • you don't get charged for not guessing the time of stay correctly when you leave
  • you only get charged for the time you park; you don't have to overpay 'just in case'
  • you don't get charged if you mistype the registration - because you can only enter registrations on the system
  • you don't get charged for forgetting you are using a different car today - because you can only enter registrations on the system
This removes many of the scam elements that unscrupulous car parking companies use to boost their profits. No doubt there may be problems which The Prankster has not thought of, and he would prefer a barrier system, but he accepts he does not live in an ideal world.

Hospital parking by its very nature involves uncertain durations of stay, and also ill people, the elderly, pregnant mothers and many vulnerable people. It is not right that hospitals pass over their responsibilities to these people by opting for a 'free' system which is in reality paid for by fleecing the vulnerable.

What a pity Total Parking Solutions did not win the contract for Northumbria NHS. I'm sure Northumbria NHS would be getting far fewer problems if they had.

Happy Parking

The Parking Prankster

Thursday, 23 January 2014

ParkingEye default judgement overturned

[Update. More news on this case here]

[Edit 26/01/2014 after some corrections from lainieee]

ParkingEye had a default judgement overturned against lainieee, as reported in this thread.

Why ParkingEye were going after a disabled person in the first place is a question only they can answer. As the car park was the Range, Southampton and the date was 2013, only ParkingEye can also answer the question why they were pursuing a motorist when cases have shown ParkingEye have no standing to make a claim in their own name, and when the charge is not a genuine pre-estimate of loss to the landowner.

In the hearing, helped by a representative from pepipoo, and which was not attended by ParkingEye, the judge set aside the judgement and granted all but one of the directions asked for.

The case will now proceed to a re-hearing, unless ParkingEye decide that there is no prospect of success (perhaps because they have no contract with the landowner), or of course, unless the landowner themselves, The Range, decide to order ParkingEye to drop the charges.

Lainieee, exhausted by the day, passed out with stress after getting home. The Parking Prankster wonders how much more stress ParkingEye and The Range intend putting her under?

Happy Parking

The Parking Prankster

Excel challenge ParkingEye competence level

In an attempt to wrest the limelight from ParkingEye and perhaps put in an early bid for the coveted Parking Prankster Award for the Most Incompetent Legal Department 2014, Excel Parking failed to turn up for a court hearing against a motorist, as reported here.

Ironically for a company called Excel, the reason turned out to be that their Legal Eagle, Joel Douglas, did not know how to use Excel and failed to sort his spreadsheets, thereby missing the hearing date.

Excel then decided to flush £80 down the toilet by applying to have the claim reinstated. Even though this was out of time, the courts allowed the application.

During the reinstatement hearing the paralegal admitted the hearing date was missed due to a spreadsheet sorting error. The judge was not overly impressed, suggested he got a diary, and rejected the application.

Happy Parking

The Parking Prankster

ParkingEye retain 100% court record

ParkingEye have retained their 100% record of losing in court when faced with a lay representative, as this post on pepipoo shows.

Analysis of transcripts where ParkingEye have won have shown that the defendants were universally unprepared, asked the wrong questions and used the wrong points of law.

Analysis of cases where lay defendants took part show that the LPC Law advocates are having to fight with the equivalent of one hand tied behind their back, and in some cases, also a gag in their mouth.

If you take on ParkingEye in court you can win if you are well prepared and get a fair judge who is happy to look at the evidence.

3JD02357 ParkingEye v Gosnold. (High Wycombe 23/01/2014) District Judge Devlin

Once again Bargepole was the lay representative for the defendant. ParkingEye must be fed up paying large amounts of money to take cases to hearings, only to never get past the first hurdle.

In this case, there wasn't much evidence at all. The landowner witness statement was declared worthless by the judge. Despite not turning up to court with contracts for the last few cases, once the witness statement was discarded a contract miraculously appeared. Perhaps in future cases the LPC Law advocate should be asked if the contract is available right at the start! In any case, the contract was so heavily redacted as to be worthless. Even the much famed clause 22 was blacked out. The judge decided there was no locus standi and the claim was therefore doomed to fail.

Bargepole took the opportunity to ask the judge point to consider if Jonathan Langham was committing perjury by stating that PE’s costs were £53 per ticket, when it could be proven from DVLA figures and their own published accounts that the true figure was nearer £15. The Judge said that didn’t relate to the issue of standing, so he wasn’t going to examine that.

No doubt all future defendants will be more than happy to raise the issue of perjury if ParkingEye continue to lie that it costs them £53 per parking charge issued. POPLA defendants will also no doubt be raising this with the Lead Adjudicator. No doubt the BPA Ltd and the DVLA have also taken note of this and are busy investigating whether any sanction points should be awarded and whether ParkingEye should be suspended from the DVLA database.

Happy Parking

The Parking Prankster

ParkingEye spanked in court. Importance of following court procedure

The Prankster has been given permission to report on the following case, which highlights several interesting points for those of you due in court in the near future.

ParkingEye received their regular spanking, this time courtesy of EDW from pepipoo who was there to assist as lay representative. This was case 3JD02719, ParkingEye v Davison, Peterborough County Court, 17/1/2014. ParkingEye have lost every case where a lay representative has aided the defendant.

The judge, DJ Mason, would not initially allow EDW to speak, misunderstanding the difference between a lay representative and McKenzie friend. This was elegantly got around by EDW who told Mr Davidson what to say, until the judge got fed up with the parrot act, and let EDW continue by himself when necessary.

The Lay Representatives (Rights of Audience) Order 1999 makes it clear that a lay representative has rights of audience as long as their client attends the hearing. It is available here and well worth taking to any hearing.

In the small claims court judges have wide discretion on how to act. They can relax the rules and allow behaviour which would not be normally tolerated...or they can be a sticker for the rules.This judge was one of the second kind!

ParkingEye like to play fast and loose with the rules, and got caught out big-time by the judge. If you are going to court, you should make sure as far as possible you obey all the right protocols, and do not make the mistakes they did.

The judge ruled that as ParkingEye were not bringing their witnesses to court (they never do) then in the interests of fairness, ParkingEye would not be allowed to question any witnesses themselves. This is an interesting ruling, and is well worth bringing to the notice of any judge if ParkingEye try the same at your hearing.

The judge also ruled that precedents would not be accepted unless they were filed in full, and in advance. This is a very fair ruling. ParkingEye love to misquote cases and take small snippets of irrelevant text to use in their case. They never provide full transcripts in advance which leaves the defendant at a significant disadvantage because they are not able to show why the transcripts are not relevant, and of course, there is not time to read 30 transcripts (yes, really!) on the day.

If you are fighting ParkingEye, make sure you request all transcripts immediately, and repeat your requests until you get them. If you do not, file all correspondence as evidence, then ask the judge to disregard all ParkingEye precedents.

Similarly, you must provide your transcripts to the court. There are a large number on The Prankster website. The Prankster guide is funding more, and others are being donated. These will be made available as soon as possible.

The case was won because ParkingEye filed two different signs as evidence showing two different charge levels - £90 and £100. This is a regular occurrence; The Prankster knows of 8 other cases where ParkingEye's blundering legal team have filed wrong signage information. In fact, The Prankster considers that close scrutiny of most ParkingEye cases would reveal either their map or their signage information would be inaccurate. This is therefore always well worth checking.

The defendant raised that point in his defence prior to the hearing. ParkingEye replied, but only to the court and not to the defendant. The judge therefore ruled that this was not admissible, and since the defendant did not know which contract he was there to fight, the claim was dismissed.

ParkingEye were refused leave to use any of the information supplied as part of the defendant's CPR R.18 request for information, as they did not file it with the court. The judge was also very critical of ParkingEye because their bundle did not have an index, page numbers or paragraph numbers. Do not make the same mistakes. File all information you want to use both with ParkingEye and the court. Make sure you have an index and that at least all pages are numbered.

The judge also agreed that in any case the amount either of £90 or £100 was not right; a £5 fee for a 27 minute overstay was more in line with a genuine pre-estimate of loss. However, she did not rule on this point because this was not necessary.

All in all, another excellent result for the motorist, and one in which some valuable lessons can be taken away.

Happy Parking

The Parking Prankster

Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Why are ParkingEye giving incorrect financial information to the courts?

ParkingEye are fond of stating the following as part of their claims to the courts.

"The Average payment by motorists who have been issued with a Parking Charge by ParkingEye is circa £63. Circa 84% of this payment (circa £53) covers ParkingEye's costs. This information has been taken from ParkingEye's company accounts and are [stet] publicly available."

The Prankster makes the reasonable assumption that this statement is referring to their 2011/12 accounts, which are the latest available. The number of requests made to the DVLA by ParkingEye during their 2011/12 accounting period was 629,181, and can be found from this freedom of information request. We can assume that most of these will result in a parking charge notice being issued - ParkingEye are not allowed to make requests to the DVLA unless they intend on issuing a parking charge notice.

There will be some requests where this is not possible - a stolen vehicle for instance. The Prankster has spoken to other car park operators who feel that this would be a very small number, certainly less than 5%.

Let us be generous and assume 5% of requests do not result in a parking charge notice. This leaves 597721 parking charges issued.

The entire cost of running ParkingEye's business in 2011/12, taken from their accounts, is £9.3 million. This means the maximum cost of issuing a charge is total cost / number of charges, or £9.3m / 597721 .

This comes to £15.56.

However, not all the cost of running a business is applicable to issuing parking charges. Therefore the true cost of issuing a charge is less - possibly a lot less.

Here is a snapshot from ParkingEye's web site showing they provide other services apart from enforcement.

None of the costs involved with the provision of these services can be attributable to enforcement costs. Thus, ParkingEye will need to apportion the costs of ANPR, communications, servers, and the like. As the number of enforcement incidents is far less than the total number of motorists, the apportionment will need to take this into account, and the true costs of enforcement will only be a tiny fraction of the whole.

The Parking Prankster has previously published a list of job titles of ParkingEye employees (currently redacted)*. The list showed that large numbers of employees have nothing to do with enforcement. Salaries of these employees cannot be counted against enforcement costs, and similarly other costs such as building rent and insurance, if not counted as normal running costs, must also be apportioned.

Taking all this into consideration, it is likely that the true cost of issuing a parking charge notice is more like £5 to £10.

The Prankster wonders why ParkingEye continue to send this apparently false figure of £53 to the courts. The Prankster also wonders why in some court cases the figure magically changes to £55.

Happy Parking

The Parking Prankster

*The Prankster is currently in dialog with ParkingEye regarding the unredaction of the list of employees, in the public interest.

Sunday, 19 January 2014

How to win a ParkingEye court hearing - worked example

The Parking Prankster has been donated the full transcript of ParkingEye v Lemon and Harris which is now available for those fighting ParkingEye court cases.

The Prankster thinks this is required reading. It shows how to behave in court; how to be prepared; how to answer questions and how to stick up for yourself when the ParkingEye lawyer makes factually incorrect statements.

The two defendants did a superb job and if they did make a few errors then that is no more than The Prankster has himself done on occasion and provides lessons from which everyone can learn.

If you are in a court case with ParkingEye then they will quote various cases they won. You should request copies of these transcripts (give them 14 days, then badger them every 7 days after that). When you read these you will be able to appreciate the difference between being well prepared and fighting a great case in court, and being unprepared, using the wrong legal reasons to fight a case, and not coming prepared with the right evidence.

ParkingEye v Lemon and Harris

The case gets going (page 5) with the LPC Lawyer, Mr Beeby producing a previously unseen contract like a rabbit out of a hat.

This was a schoolboy error for which he has no doubt been reprimanded by Chorley Towers. The whole point of the Landowner witness statement is to prevent the contract getting in front of the judge. The judge noticed that the contract was dated after the parking event and it all went downhill from there. Chorley Towers have stopped giving their LPC Law representatives a copy of the contract, presumably to stop them making this error.

You should therefore go to court armed with a list of cases where ParkingEye's landowner witness statement has been found by judges to be factually untrue. If ParkingEye do not produce the contract then ask for the case to be dismissed based on their past record. If the judge choses to adjourn instead you can now point out that judges have adjourned at least 3 cases to allow ParkingEye to come up with a properly dated contract and in none of them have ParkingEye come up with the goods.

If the contract is not dated properly then it should be game over. Otherwise, ParkingEye v Sharma and ParkingEye v Gardam will apply, and a close scrutiny of the contract should show ParkingEye do not have the right to pursue the claim in their own name. Take a copy of their standard contact with you in case they chose to redact the contract as they have done in the past.

The judge then hears the rest of Mr Beeby's case.

After that the judge hears the defendant's evidence.

Mrs Lemon correctly points out that the landowner witness statement contains untruths in regards to signage but could have perhaps at the start of the hearing explained that she did not accept either of ParkingEye's witness statements because they contained large numbers of errors, that this was a regular occurrence on the part of ParkingEye and an abuse of the court process because they never show up at court for questioning.

ParkingEye always trot out the template phrase that their signage is 'clear and ample' but this is essentially meaningless. They make these statements not from personal observation at the site, but from inaccurate maps and photographs stored on computers back at Chorley Towers. In the past they have send in pictures of the wrong car park to the court, signs they said were there in winter when the photographs showed people wearing summer clothing and signs with wrong values. They cannot therefore be trusted and their past performance can be highlighted to judges if you disagree with their evidence.

Mrs Lemon does an excellent job of explaining how the signage is deficient, using photographic evidence to back up her point. In the end the judge rules against her on this point but signage is always slightly subjective and so with another judge on another day this could have gone the other way. She also makes the point that, (as usual), the ParkingEye witness statements are not really statements of truth.

To improve the evidence The Prankster has a couple of suggestions. You can take in a video showing the vehicle's path from entry to parking. If this clearly shows a lack of visible signs then this will be very beneficial. You can also use Google maps to create an aerial view of the site, highlighting the vehicle path and also showing the entrapment zones that are so common in ParkingEye car parks.

Mrs Lemon does score a point with the signage contents. If there is any ambiguity then this should be resolved in the favour of the consumer, and that is what the judge does here. Mrs Lemon also points out that, as usual, Jonathan Langham was economical with the truth and his description of the sign wording is untrue.

Mrs Lemon and Miss Harris deal well with the standard questions LPC Law are always instructed to ask. You should prepare you own answers to these questions.

Mrs Lemon then brings up the subject of ParkingEye charges. She makes several excellent points, but again the judge finally rules against her. To strengthen the arguments, The Prankster recommends pointing out that in ParkingEye v Heggie, Clarke and Pearce the judge correctly considers the loss to the landowner, not to ParkingEye. The Prankster also recommends pointing out that ParkingEye use untrue figures. They quote a cost per ticket issued of £53 (or sometimes £55) per ticket issued. However, the DVLA have released figures showing ParkingEye issued over 500,000 tickets in 2011/12 and ParkingEye's 2011/12 accounts show costs to the whole business were £9.3 million. This gives a true maximum average cost per ticket of £18.60. However, not all costs will be allowable as a pre-estimate of loss, so the true figure will be much lower; say £9-£10. The Prankster recommends pointing out that the BPA code of practice requires any charge for breach of contract is a true pre-estimate of loss; the landowner contract (if in force) requires ParkingEye to keep to the code of practice, as does the landowner witness statement, and therefore ParkingEye's argument of 'commercial justification is not valid. There are a large number of other untruths and misleading statements in ParkingEye's justification of charge document. Feel free to download the evidence to rebut these from The Prankster's web site, but the judge may lose the will to live if you point them all out. Finally, ParkingEye's charges have been disallowed every time by POPLA on pre-estimate of loss grounds, so you could round off by giving the judge the list of known POPLA losses together with a few sample judgements.

Lastly, remember that when you win it will be best if you hand the judge a schedule of costs to reclaim your lost earnings.

Congratulations once more to Mrs Lemon and Miss Harris.

Happy Parking

The Parking Prankster

British Parking Association Limited issues clarification on code of practice breaches

The Parking Prankster's attention was pointed to this post on moneysavingexpert.

The British Parking Association Limited have issued the following guidelines to all members.

“the following practices may be considered as Code breaches and must not be continued:
• Asking the motorist to enter into additional correspondence to obtain a POPLA code
• Failing to include a correct and/or valid POPLA Code within the Rejection correspondence
• Issuing a POPLA Code with a date identifier which is significantly different from the date of rejection
• Appearing to indicate that the issue of a POPLA Code is conditional on driver details being supplied “

The Prankster welcomes this move by the BPA Ltd; he hopes their bite is as good as their bark, and that these code breaches will be strictly enforced from now on. Operators have had over a year to get used to the new regime and slippery attempts to avoid POPLA simply cannot be allowed to continue.

Happy Parking

The Parking Prankster

Saturday, 18 January 2014

Judges wising up to ParkingEye

The Parking Prankster heard today that ParkingEye have had all cases stayed in Cambridge, Essex, Suffolk and Norfolk.
By 4pm on 31 January 2014 the Claimant's 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.
During the case which resulted in the judgement the judge was suitably unimpressed with the LPC Law advocate's attempts to get help with the case:
LPC: [bumbling on about new evidence given in trial bundle] blah blah blah.
Judge: "Is that what you're going to rely on?"
LPC: "Well if there's guidance you could give........"
Judge: "It's not for me to fight your case!"
LPC: "No, no, no. But if your suggesting we should ....."
Judge: (cutting across) "Look - I am not going to prepare your defence for you. It's a yes or no. Is this what you will be relying on as a defence?"
LPC "Um. Yes. I think so." 
The hearing was cut short due to lack of time. This is a common occurrence in well defended cases. If you have properly prepared your defence The Prankster recommends you contact the court to advise them that similar cases have taken 3 hours or more.

A pattern is now emerging. In cases where the Pepipoo defence team turn up to help, no cases have been lost. In poorly defended cases ParkingEye often win. In the middle ground, more and more cases are being won with well researched defences, sometimes with help and other times without. Once judges have been made aware in one case that ParkingEye often operate without contracts in place or contracts that do not allow them to bring the claim in their own name, they are then also applying that to other cases, meaning that even a poor defence can sometimes win if you are lucky enough to get the right judge.

In Barrow-in-Furness in December, ParkingEye v Clarke (a Bargepole-helped case) was followed on the same day by ParkingEye v Pearce. Mr Pearce reported that the judge almost led him through the defence, resulting in a one-two sucker punch defeat.

The lesson is clear. A well-researched defence has every chance of winning. Going on past record, ParkingEye tell many untruths in their claim pack, and use many misleading statements. If you can bring these to the attention of the judge this will have every chance of turning the hearing your way.

The Parking Prankster website has many resources you can freely use to prepare your case and counter any factual inaccuracies ParkingEye try and get away with.

Happy Parking

The Parking Prankster

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Prankster guides fund first court transcript

The sales of The Prankster guide have now been able to fund the first court transcript, which will be made freely available as soon as it has been received by The Prankster.

The current status is: the court sent the wrong tape to the transcript company.

Oops! Hopefully this can be sorted out in the near future!

Meanwhile, for a brief moment in time, the guide hit the number #1 spot on Amazon for its category, even outselling J K Rowling*.

The Prankster's grandmother was suitably impressed and phoned all her friends to tell them. Unfortunately the book has now been knocked off its giddy heights by Gordon Anthony's 'Textbook on Administrative Law'.

Happy Parking

The Parking Prankster

* Mainly because she has no books in that category. J K Rowling outsells The Prankster in all other categories.

Saturday, 11 January 2014

Pictures of the week - UKPC crisp break

The Parking Prankster picture of the week is of this UKPC operative taking a well-earned crisp break at Vastern Court Retail Park in Reading.

In order to maximise revenue for his employer he has generously parked across two bays.

No doubt he will be ticketing himself just as soon as he finished the crisps.

Happy Parking

The Parking Prankster

Friday, 10 January 2014

ParkingEye send Hill Dickinson after The Prankster

Hill Dickinson are perhaps more famous for acting on behalf of professional footballers, but currently it is the turn of the parking company. No doubt Rachel Ledson is far too busy issuing 1800 parking charges a week to do this herself.

The Prankster is bemused that ParkingEye consider their job titles confidential, especially as Shona Hegarty has this on her linkedin profile
Operations Coordinator, ParkingEye
I manage ongoing projects. I produce civil documents for the works that need carried out. I manage one surveyor and his work. I organise materials and equipment that need to be on site to get the work carried out.
As criminal investigations take precedence over civil action, currently The Prankster and ParkingEye are waiting for the result of the police investigation to complete. The Prankster has asked ParkingEye to provide him with the name of the police officer any crime was reported to, the crime reference number and the nature of any crime reported, so that he can take legal advice and make himself available to the police for interview, but so far they have not responded.

Happy Parking

The Parking Prankster


Prankster Guides to Fighting ParkingEye Court Cases now published

The Parking Prankster has been a bit quiet for the last few weeks - this was because he was putting the finishing touches to two guides to help motorists fight ParkingEye court cases.

With ParkingEye regularly filing over 1,000 court cases a week - and approaching 2,000 in one week, The Prankster does not have enough time to personally help everybody, and so wrote these two guides.

The first guide explains the processes that go on while fighting a court case, explains the forms you get and explains why both ParkingEye and the courts would much rather you negotiate than go to a hearing. It gives tips and ideas which have in the past helped motorists to settle for as low as £20. If you prefer to go to a hearing, the guide tells you what to expect, how to research your case and how to gather the evidence you need.It also describes some of the success stories that have occurred over the last year.

The second guide explains the legal arguments which have won in the past and explains which arguments to use depending on your given situation.

The first guide is priced at the level of a cup of coffee. The money received from this book helps The Prankster with fees such as transcript costs, travel costs to help out at court hearings and other associated costs. The second guide is free.

Both guides are available from The Prankster's website in various e-book formats.

The Prankster hopes that anyone faced with a ParkingEye court claim finds the guides a wise investment for the price of a cup of coffee.

Happy Parking

The Parking Prankster

Thursday, 9 January 2014

A PCN the motorist will be relieved to get

The Parking Prankster tips his hat at the parking warden who left this PCN on the side window of a car he spotted.

Now, at first glance, you might be wondering why the motorist will be more than happy to get this notice.

The reason becomes clear when you peek under the car. Something is not right!

Inside the notice you can just make out the warning; 'problem under front of your car.' Hopefully the driver will spot it and fix the problem before moving off.

This wasn't Geoffrey, by the way - The Prankster does not know the identity of the public spirited warden who did this.

Happy Parking

The Parking Prankster

Monday, 6 January 2014

ParkingEye Feeding Frenzy

The Prankster has seen new freedom of information figures showing an increase in the number of court cases filed by ParkingEye, followed by a dramatic drop off.

30/09/2013 1000
07/10/2013 1000
14/10/2013 1844
21/10/2013 0
28/10/2013 0
04/11/2013 500
11/11/2013 0
18/11/2013 0
25/11/2013 0

The figure of 1844 cases filed in a week is a new record for ParkingEye, easily beating their old record of 1074.

Exhausted by their efforts they then appeared to take a few weeks off, only filing cases in one week of the next six. The figure of no cases filed for three weeks is also a new ParkingEye record.

The Prankster will continue to monitor the situation to see if this is a true change of direction for ParkingEye or whether they just took an early Christmas break and will be back filing regularly in the New Year.

Happy Parking

The Parking Prankster

Sunday, 5 January 2014

POPLA Code Checker

The ParkingCowboy web site now has a useful POPLA code checker which can be used to validate your POPLA code and to find out when it expires. The site also advises you if the parking company tried to pull a fast one and created the code on a different date to the date they sent it out.

Click here to try it out.

If you don't have a POPLA code to hand, here is a valid one to try out.


If the parking company generated the code more than one or two days before you received it, then the email addresses to complain to are:

Simply email in a copy of your dated rejection letter containing the POPLA code and point out that the parking company is sending you POPLA codes which are not valid for the required 28 days.

The British Parking Association Limited do not pro-actively monitor parking company letters and so are reliant on motorists to report transgression like this. They always look forward to new ways of driving up parking standards and so such information is especially welcome. Parking companies have had over a year to get used to the new regime so any behaviour like this can only be described as an attempt to cheat the motorist out of the appeal time they are legitimately allowed.

Happy Parking

The Parking 

Saturday, 4 January 2014

VCS spanked in court as motorist and judge show commonsense approach to breakdown

The Parking Prankster's attention was caught by this thread on the moneysavingexpert site which tells the tale of a pensioner who broke down at Liverpool Airport.

Liverpool Airport do not like motorists stopping to let passengers on or off on their roads, and Vehicle Control Systems have the contract to enforce this. In this case the motorist's car briefly broke down. The motorist reported it like this.
"the car coasted to a halt after engine stopped responding to accelerator peddle so we had no control of what was happening and then having to pull over to side of road but after a 30 second stop a time of stop given by VCS we managed to get car to respond and moved off."
VCS have a mobile car and operative who photograph stopped vehicles so the registered keeper duly received a charge notice in the post. The keeper appealed to VCS, explaining the car was broken down. VCS rejected the appeal. The keeper appealed to POPLA, explaining the car was broken down. POPLA strangely rejected this appeal; being broken down is a legitimate reason for appealing council parking tickets, and of course it is an event completely out of the motorists control.

The keeper felt strongly about the rights of wrongs of the situation and refused to pay without a court ruling. VCS duly took the keeper to court, and the keepers sole defence was that the vehicle was broken down.

At the hearing the judge asked the VCS representative what he would do if he accepted the vehicle had broken down. The VCS representative said that he would drop the case.

"Well I do accept the motorist broke down," said the Judge. "Case dismissed!"

This case is interesting for several reasons.

Firstly, it establishes that in some circumstances, breaking down is a valid legal reason for not having to pay a charge.

Secondly, it shows that the small claims court is not always about knowing legal arguments and case law. No doubt there are valid legal reasons for the decision, but the keeper did not need to know what they were and quote the appropriate case law. The keeper just laid out the facts in a believable fashion and let the judge apply the law. No doubt this was risky; but on the other hand other cases have shown there is not necessarily consistency over legal arguments in the small claims court either.

Happy Parking

Thursday, 2 January 2014

UKPC "Do we really take people to court and win?"

The Parking Prankster has been reading UKPC's website, which is full of scary talk advising people to pay up or they will get a CCJ.

Do we really take people to court and win?
Each month people receive CCJ’s from the civil courts after trying to avoid paying private parking charges. Here are a few examples from UKPC:

The interesting thing about these references is that they were issued in 2009 in Maidstone County Court.

The Prankster has no idea where UKCP is actually based but their registered address is 2 hours drive away in Coventry.

Do UKPC take people to court and win? It seems they don't - not in the last 5 years anyway!

Happy Parking

The Parking Prankster

Prankster Operator guide to winning at POPLA. Lie, and don't send the motorist your evidence pack.

The Parking Prankster has seen a worrying new trend emerging from Parking Operators; telling deliberate lies to POPLA, and not sending the motorist their evidence pack.

The latest occurrence is reported here on pepipoo. However the Prankster knows that this is not an isolated incident and will no doubt be reporting on the others when the time is right.

To summarise the incident. Doncaster Airport (Robin Hood) do not want motorists stopping on the airport roads to let passengers in or out of vehicles. They have signs to this effect, but they leave something to be desired.

This is one of the entrance signs (picture taken June 2013), hidden behind flags and another sign. Although signs elsewhere are not obscured, the fonts are too small and there is too much text to be read from a moving vehicle.

The Prankster does not have any panoramic photographs from Robin Hood airport to show the signs in context, but here is one from John Lennon airport, also managed by VCS, and the signs are similar.

Here is a close-up picture of the actual signage at the entrance to Robin Hood Airport. As you can see, the writing is far too small and there is far too much of it to read from a moving vehicle.

The driver, unable to read the signs from a moving vehicle, safely stopped in a closed off exit on a roundabout and got out to read the signs. The driver then discussed what to do with the passengers, decided not to accept any implied contract, and left.

It is therefore extremely ironic that VCS issued an ANPR ticket for stopping briefly, because the only way you can read the signs is to stop.

The registered keeper appealed to VCS who rejected the appeal, and then to POPLA on the single appeal point that the airport roads are covered by bye-laws and are therefore not subject to POFA 2012. As the registered keeper is therefore not liable the charge should be cancelled as only the driver can be pursued.

POFA 2012 is quite clear on this:
3(1)In this Schedule “relevant land” means any land (including land above or below ground level) other than—
(a)a highway maintainable at the public expense (within the meaning of section 329(1) of the Highways Act 1980);
(b)a parking place which is provided or controlled by a traffic authority;
(c)any land (not falling within paragraph (a) or (b)) on which the parking of a vehicle is subject to statutory control.

Airport land covered by bye-laws (statutory control) falls under 3(c) and is therefore exempt from POFA 2012.

The next document the registered keeper received was a POPLA verdict. Surprisingly his appeal was turned down.
The appellant’s case is that the operator has failed to comply with the
Protection of Freedoms Act 2012 in that they have failed to show that the
land is relevant land. The appellant states that the airport is subject to byelaws
and is therefore outside of the definition of relevant land. The appellant
additionally puts the operator to proof of their right to invoke the Protection of
Freedoms Act where the bye-laws do not exclude the roads in the airport
which is where the incident occurred.
Considering carefully all the evidence before me, the appellant does not
dispute that the contravention occurred by states that the land in question is
not relevant land. The threshold for the operator to show that the land is
relevant land is not a high threshold and by stating that there are no byelaws,
I am satisfied that the operator has satisfied this threshold
. The appellant
does not reference the bye-laws that he is referring to and intending to rely
upon and therefore on a balance of probabilities, I am satisfied that the
operator has sufficiently shown that the land in question is relevant land. As a
result of stopping where stopping is prohibited, the appellant was stopped in
breach of the terms and conditions.
Even more surprisingly, the operator, VCS stated there are no byelaws. This is a blatant lie, as the byelaws are freely available here on the airport web site.

The bye-laws make it quite clear that parking controls apply to all private roads on the airport.
The following acts are prohibited on any part of the Airport to which the Road
Traffic Enactments do not apply:
5(3) Obstruction
except in an emergency, leave or park a Vehicle or cause it to wait for a period in
excess of the permitted time in an area where the period of waiting is restricted by
5(11) Failure to comply with a direction
when the driver of a Vehicle without reasonable excuse fail to comply with any
direction for the regulation of traffic given by a Constable, Airport Official or
5(12) Parking of Vehicles
without reasonable excuse park a Vehicle elsewhere than in a place provided for
that purpose.
The registered keeper could of course have pointed out that VCS were lying...if he had received their evidence pack. Evidence packs should be received 7 days before the hearing to give the appellant time to review them for accuracy. The Prankster notes that this is not the only time evidence packs have gone missing. POPLA do not have a robust system for handling evidence packs. They rely on the operator to send them out, causing obvious problems. The Prankster has received many evidence packs where the operator has lied regarding the date when the were sent out.

The keeper is now contacting POPLA to inform them that he has not received any evidence pack from VCS and therefore has not had the chance to contest their evidence. The Prankster notes that in the past where this has happened POPLA have re-opened the appeal, made sure the motorist has got the evidence pack, and then re-heard the appeal.

The Prankster suggests that the motorist also contacts VCS and informs them that he is contesting the POPLA verdict because he has not received their evidence pack yet. This will stop the clock on any action on their part until the appeal is re-heard.

The Prankster also notes that POPLA have been very slow in acting in situations like this in the past. The registered keeper and VCS could be in for a long wait as some of these cases have taken over 5 months for POPLA to finally make the decision to re-open the case. The Prankster wonders if the phone number of Richard Reeve (0207 520 7202), tribunal manager at POPLA, will soon become etched into the speed dial of the registered keeper's phone as he tries to hurry POPLA along.

POPLA are currently shut until 6th January.

Happy Parking

The Parking Prankster