The Prankster is currently helping a motorist who got caught in a queue at the car park one weekend. The car park is admittedly busy, but what it needs is actual car park management, rather than spy cameras raking it in for ParkingEye's benefit.
The motorist took 20 minutes to find a space on arriving and 20 minutes to queue up and leave the car park on exiting. A few days later they received an invoice for £85 for overstaying by 20 minutes. The motorist appealed, fully expecting the ticket to be cancelled but the ParkingEye appeals team had other ideas and refused to cancel. After all, they need to make £1,000 a week from motorists at that car park just to break even, so need to bend the rules.
The Prankster is now helping with a POPLA appeal and confidently expects to get the charge cancelled.
Other motorists who were caught in the same queue may not be so lucky. Retailers at the park were canvassed and are fed up with ParkingEye's antics which costs the retailers money and causes them problems. Things got even worse when, in order to make even more money from charges, ParkingEye reduced the parking time available.
Looking to the future, if the appeal is won by ParkingEye we can expect them to ramp up their dodgy practices and really make hay.
The Prankster has identified the following bad practices and dodgy tactics used by ParkingEye. Here is a reminder.
- Pursuing cases when motorists break down, are injured or suffer medical emergencies
- Pursuing cases against mothers who overstayed due to breastfeeding
- Pursuing cases against disabled motorists who need more time to shop
- Pursuing cases against elderly motorists who need more time to shop
- Pursuing cases against motorists who are unable to leave the site due to congestion
- Pursuing cases against motorists who were unable to appeal because they were in hospital and seriously ill
- Installing sites without cameras on all entrances and exits, and then pursuing motorists for overstays if they left via an unmonitored route
- Installing sites where the cameras do not record all entrances and exits of vehicles, and then pursuing motorists for overstays when two visits were made
- Pursuing motorists for very short overstays, well within an acceptable grace period
- Shortening parking periods to the detriment of retailers to increase their income
- Aggressively pursuing tickets against the wishes of retailers served by the car park
- Using inappropriate and hard to use technology coupled with confusing signage to target hospitals to generate vast income to the detriment of patient
- Failing to take reasonable steps to mitigate transgressions by motorists
- Providing false information to judges, including in the Beavis case
- Charging motorists for POPLA, which the government has stated must be free to motorists
- Using the Protection of Freedom Act to pursue keepers to court when they knew the land was not covered by the Act.
- Charging motorists over £1 million in solicitor fees which were not actually incurred, making their court filings one of the most profitable part of the business
- Providing landowner witness statements to court without the knowledge or permission of the witness by using photocopied witness statements
- Providing landowner witness statements to court and POPLA containing information ParkingEye knew was not within the knowledge of the witness
- Providing contracts to judges, including HHJ Moloney in the Beavis case, which had pertinent information redacted
- Sending motorists false information to make them think they have no chance in appealing the ticket to POPLA
- Providing outdated and misleading information on their web site
- Not even bothering to defend large numbers of POPLA cases, causing motorists time and expense for cases ParkingEye knew they would not win anyway
- Providing false information to POPLA in order to win cases
- Pursuing through the court system even though they knew the motorist was neither the keeper or driver and was therefore not liable
- Pursuing their own customers for huge penalty clauses when they try to get rid of them
- Filing thousands of court cases without sending a letter before claim compliant with practice directions, or in some cases, without sending any letter before claim at all
- Filing huge, complicated documents in court, in violation of the prime objectives of the courts in terms of proportionality to the sums involved. A typical filing will be over 50 pages with 30 or more case references.
- Filing large numbers of documents after the filing deadline and without paying a fee
- Complaining when motorists file after the filing deadline and asking the court to charge the motorists a fee
- Refusing to reply to reasonable requests for information from motorists to allow them to defend their case
- Filing false information in witness statements written by their employees including documents referred to by the witness statements
- Filing deliberately misleading information in court documents, which while factually correct are not relevant, or are couched in terms to deliberately mislead
- Ploughing on regardless with court cases, despite having lost all known similarly defended cases, causing defendants distress and expense.
- Providing false information to and deliberately deceiving their own customers
- Failing to properly quality check parking charge notices sent out
- Pursuing cases where the landowner stated by ParkingEye in documents provided to court, was not the actual landowner and did not have the right to allow parking
- Using signage to create entrapment zones in car parks, so that although coverage is sufficient in some areas, it is not in all
- Getting CCJs by sending all the paperwork to the wrong address, and only establishing the right address once the CCJ is in place
- Using dubious sales techniques such as over-estimating the value of equipment they are providing for free
- Breaking government guidelines at hospital car parks
Finally it is of course a matter of record that the second hearing in ParkingEye v Beavis was called off because of a hoax phone call to their counsel, David Altaras. This delay enabled ParkingEye to get the counsel they really wanted, Jonathan Kirk. HHJ Moloney stated that the hoax phone caller had intimate knowledge of the case and was able to fool David Altaras that he was ParkingEye's witness, Alex Cooke. We can only speculate who made the hoax phone call. Only a few people knew that Alex Cooke was a witness, and even fewer know what his voice sounds like. However it has been reported that police traced the phone used to make the call and arrested two people. These people were released without charge following sterling work by members of Jonathan Kirk's chambers.
The Parking Prankster