Parking companies regularly issue tickets for such minor transgressions as parking on a white line or overstaying by as little as one minute.
They also issue huge numbers of tickets when no transgression has taken place at all. The Prankster has reported on large numbers of incidents where motorists have visited car parks twice, but been issued tickets for one long stay. The prankster has over 10 such tickets himself. Usually it is very difficult for the motorist to prove their innocence; The Prankster takes photographs of his vehicle elsewhere if he is visiting a car park twice in one day. One motorist was lucky because they had a tracking device in their car. ParkingEye did not back down at first, but did once they learned of the tracker. The Pranksters brother got accused when a camera was partially obscured by a leaf.
The scale of the problem is huge. ParkingEye admit in court documents that 60% of their tickets are not valid and have to be cancelled on appeal. Of the remaining 40% POPLA cancel 47% of those appealed according to their latest annual report. Of the charges where POPLA dismiss the appeal a further percentage are still not valid - POPLA can only rule on issues which the motorist raised. ParkingEye have cancelled a number of tickets when The Prankster got involved, despite having won at POPLA.
Of course, the parking companies are hoping motorists will just pay up and will not appeal. By issuing tickets like confetti they scare large numbers of people into paying up. The 40% discount for early payment is especially designed to do this. Large numbers of people who contact the Prankster say they want to appeal but are scared to because if they lose the price will increase.
The 40% discount was decided in a meeting of the parking companies in June 2012. The meeting minutes record that the purpose was to 'discourage frivolous appeals' but The Prankster considers a more proper description is to discourage appeals full-stop.
Given the trivial nature of the transgressions which get penalised for up to £120, how much should parking companies be charged for issuing false tickets? The Prankster proposes that a fair amount would be the amount they are asking for.
If the parking company cancels a charge on first appeal, they pay the motorist nothing.
If the motorist then appeals to POPLA with the same reasons and POPLA uphold the appeal, they pay the motorist the full charge.
If the motorist appeals to POPLA and the parking company withdraw the charge then they pay discounted by 40%
This would discourage parking companies from issuing frivolous tickets in the hopes that motorists will not appeal.
This thread on pepipoo documents a motorist victimised by Meteor Parking. He has received 5 tickets in 4 weeks for not displaying a ticket - all invalid because he pays by phone. Some are further invalid because the warden is so incompetent they cannot even get the registration correct.
Given the huge number of invalid tickets issued, the Prankster calls on the BPA to redress the balance and put some kind of deterrent in place to curb the tide. Making the parking companies liable for their own mistakes seems like the obvious solution.
The Parking Prankster