Sunday, 15 January 2017

Why do judges do this?

Here is a typical email The Prankster receives.

Hi, I was up at court on Monday. Case got adjourned. BW only sent me their defence 9 days before hearing anyway. They asked me to name driver. Judge said she isn't going to do that. After a bit of arguing the judge adjourned it so VCS have to submit another file to say if they are pursuing me as driver or registered keeper and I have to submit a new defence as to why I think I shouldn't pay the invoice.

The Prankster has heard of dozens of cases where the hearing has been adjourned for the parking company to get their act together and file proper paperwork. Never the other way round.

Given the case is only over £100, that the parking company are spending £200 to send along a solicitor, and that BW's entire business revolves around the court process, it would seem entirely proportional behaviour to the size of the claim to dismiss it, rather than make the defendant come back another day.

Happy Parking

The Parking Prankster

Lowther Street Carlisle car park - Smart Parking

Guest Blog

This car park has an interesting problem...or is it a deliberate tactic?

The ticket machine requires you to put in your registration number. The ticket then prints the correct registration number you input on the ticket it delivers, but back at Smart Parking HQ their IT shows a slightly different registration number. Well Smart say it does. Smart then pursue the driver for not putting the correct vehicle registration number into the machine - even if you pay for the amount of parking you use.

Don't use the car park if your reg number include 01; 02; 03; 04; 05; 06; 07; 08 ;09. Smart Parking IT at their HQ reveals that you input O1;O2; O3; O4: etc. Yes, the zero becomes a capital "O".

Having improperly obtained your personal data from the DVLA - because when they apply for your data they somehow manage to give the DVLA your 04; or 06 or whatever number correctly rather than O4/O6 or whatever, they then demand money. If you don't pay then they process your data on to Debt Recovery Plus who just add about £60 on to the alleged debt.

If you use a Smart Parking managed car park keep your parking ticket so that you can show the court that you inputted the correct registration number. Smart Parking seem to blame the motorist for the failure of their IT.

This has been sent out so that the powers that be may take action over this conduct

DVLA Letter

Dear Sir,

Re Smart Parking limited (CC to Hannah Johnson at Debt Recovery Plus)

I would advise that the above company obtained my personal data from your office on or about the 25th May 2016. It was alleged by this company that
1. I did not pay for the time I parked, and/or
2. That I inputted the incorrect registration number of my vehicle

The claim was wholly without foundation such that under the terms of your KADOE contract with Smart Parking it was not entitled to my personal data. 

Smart Parking subsequently further processed my personal data, unlawfully, by passing those details to Debt Recovery Plus. I have since had about half a dozen letters demanding money and making unwarranted demands for payment.

I am forwarding a copy of the Notice to Keeper and my response to the claim. You will observe that the correct registration number was inputted into their machine as evidenced from the ticket that their machine issued. You will also observe that I paid for my parking and left before my time was up.

Smart Parking are clearly in breach of your contract and you were tricked into processing my data without just cause. I trust that you will take appropriate action against the Company  - preferably their suspension from any further access to keeper data until it has learnt to comply with the rules

To DRP /Smart Parking

Having unlawfully obtained my personal data and then unlawfully processed it you are in breach of the provisions of the Data Protection Act. You are also misusing this data by claiming that I am indebted to you when you have no lawful reason to do so.  

S13 of the Data Protection Act 1998 states that
(1) An individual who suffers damage by reason of any contravention by a data controller of any of the requirements of this Act is entitled to compensation from the data controller for that damage 
(2) An individual who suffers distress by reason of any contravention by a data controller of any of the requirements of this Act is entitled to compensation from the data controller for that distress if –
(a) the individual also suffers damage by reason of the contravention,, or
(b) the contravention relates to the processing of personal data for the special purposes.

The regular unwarranted demands from you and DRP are clearly distressing and for which I am entitled to compensation. I am sure that you will have had the case of VCS v Phillip, in the Liverpool County Court drawn to your attention. The motorist there also had an invalid claim against him. The judge awarded £250 for a breach of the Data Protection Act. 

Please therefore remit the sum of £250 to myself within the next 14 days. I will accept this sum in full and final settlement of my claim under the DPA. My claim under the Protection from Harassment Act remains outstanding. I reserve the right to take legal action without further notice if this amount is not paid.

TO the ICO

Please note that both Smart Parking and DRP process data unlawfully and unfairly. Can you please take appropriate action against both companies. I refer you to my letter to the DVLA (attached) which sets out the situation).

TO the BPA

Your Member Smart Parking is in breach of the terms and conditions of its membership of the BPA and I trust that you will take appropriate action rather than support this wholly unlawful conduct. Preferably to terminate their membership unless this is the kind of standard you support. I refer you to my letter to the DVLA (attached) which sets out the situation).

Happy Parking

The Parking Prankster

Minster Baywatch - you've been Gladstoned

Minster Baywatch v Ms S C9GF3H7A York 13/1/2017

Minster Baywatch were claiming Ms S stayed a minute over the grace period. However in their Gladstones evidence pack, they disclosed that the timings between the Terminal (P&D) and the ANPR were out by the minute they were claiming Ms S was over.

Court report

I won!!!! Yeah!

I'm not sure on what I won it on though!

I believe it was on contract and implementation of contract. Inconsistency of signs and timings.

Happy Parking

The Parking Prankster

Is Brian Cook of Armtrac using staged photos?

Some of the more unscrupulous parking companies have found that by using staged photographs they can issue a parking charge even when no contravention has occurred.

Here are the photographs taken by Brian Cook's warden at Lusty Glaze in Cornwall. They are apparently staged to imply that the details on the parking ticket are not visible.

 Here is a photo taken by the motorist on return to the vehicle, apparently showing that you can read the expiry time.

Here is another photograph taken by the motorist from a different position. As you can see, the angle from which the photo is taken can either make the expiry date visible or non-visible.

Here is yet another view.

Sadly Armtrac are not the only parking company wise to this game. In Link v M in Bristol this week, the motorist argued that their permit was properly on display and stated the photographs supplies as evidence did not support Link's case.  The judge agreed that the photos were of a poor quality and commented that there was glare but went on to say that he was satisfied that the Link employee had gone to a lot of trouble which he would not have done had the parking permit been on clear display.

Prankster Notes

The lesson to be learned from this is that if you find a windscreen ticket on your car and believe your permit was correctly displayed you should immediately take a number of photographs from several angles and distances to support your case.

It appears judges are not yet fully clued up to the nefarious tricks that the dodgier parking companies get up to.

Happy Parking

The Parking Prankster

Saturday, 14 January 2017

Gladstones shambolic legal department file claims against both driver and keeper

Drivers are liable for parking charges they incur.

The Protection of Freedoms Act 2012, sch 4 also makes the keeper liable if all applicable conditions are fulfilled. Once of these conditions is that the parking company do not know the name and address of the driver. If they do, then the keeper is not liable.

Some of the more incompetent parking companies try and pretend that the keeper has only 28 days to divulge the driver name. This is not correct. The Act states that if the parking company know of the keeper name and address (by whatever means) any time before proceedings begin then the keeper is no longer liable.

5 (1) The first condition is that the creditor—
(a) has the right to enforce against the driver of the vehicle the requirement to pay the unpaid parking charges; but
(b) is unable to take steps to enforce that requirement against the driver because the creditor does not know both the name of the driver and a current address for service for the driver.
(2) Sub-paragraph (1)(b) ceases to apply if (at any time after the end of the period of 28 days beginning with the day on which the notice to keeper is given) the creditor begins proceedings to recover the unpaid parking charges from the keeper.
Therefore, if the keeper gets a letter before claim stating that proceedings will begin in 14 days if no action is taken, this is probably the keeper's last chance to discharge their responsibility by naming the driver.

This happened in the case of Pace Security v Mr K. Gladstones sent a letter before claim to Mr K on 14 September 2016. Mr K responded to that letter on 15 September, naming GV as driver and giving their address. Mr K was from the point the letter was received no longer liable.

GV received a letter before claim on 28 September, proving that Gladstones had received and fully understood the response.

Surprisingly (or perhaps not, for those readers familiar with Gladstones) Mr K also received a claim form. He filed a defence stating he had provided the driver name and address and was therefore not liable.

The case then dragged on until January 2017, at which point Gladstones finally gave up.

Prankster Notes

Gladstones continue to find new and creative ways to demonstrate their legal incompetence. Amazingly, the same people who run Gladstones are allowed to run the IAS and the "Independent" Appeals Service.

It really does make a mockery of the whole "Alternative Dispute Resolution" process that such a bunch of inept bunglers are allowed to be in charge of an appeals system.

Mr K should consider whether he has a valid data protection claim against Pace Security, who have apparently used his name and address in an unlawful way. The going rate seems to be between £250 and £750.

The case against GV drags on.

It is interesting to note that a number of parking companies who used to use Gladstones in the past, no longer appear to be issuing claims.

Given Mr Charman's history of losing court claims The Prankster wonders how long he will stick with Gladstones.

Happy Parking

The Parking Prankster

Gladstones fail. Unreadable evidence is not evidence

Horizon Parking v Mr R. Portsmouth C5GF20X9 12/1/2017

Mr R parked at his residence as allowed according to his lease and was issued a parking charge by Horizon. Mr R disputed he should pay as he was a resident. Gladstones failed to do any due diligence and advised Horizon they should sue Mr R. They felt the case was a simple matter and wrote to the court stating that they would not be sending a representative and their side could be dealt with on the papers.

The Hearing

Horizon changed their mind and sent a solicitor from London. Mr R represented himself.

The judge politely explained how the hearing would work, and that the onus was on Gladstones to prove the case. He then turned straight to the Gladstones’ rep.

Judge: It says that the signs on display quite clearly read that the permit must be valid. But in this evidence, with the photos of these signs included, I can’t see that.

[cue faffing with Horizon’s evidence pack from rep]

Rep: Yes but sir it actually says it on this photo here, it says if ’no valid permit displayed’ then-

Judge: Well no it doesn’t, I’m looking at it here and I can’t see that. Where does it say that? 

Rep: [flipping round iPad] Sir I have a zoomed in image here that shows the writing clearly -

Judge: That’s not the evidence in front of me, is it? In this document, which has been submitted to the court and the defendant, it says no such thing. And so I’m dismissing this case.

Rep: [panicking] Sir before you dismiss, can I point out that in his defence here, Mr Reay himself admits that he knew he had to place a valid permit in the window but had failed to do so-

Judge: But nowhere in there does Mr Reay state ‘I knew I was liable for a £70 fine if I didn’t place the latest permit on display’, does he? And within Horizon’s evidence, I see nothing that sufficiently warned him that that should be the case . This case is dismissed. 

Prankster Notes

The only evidence the court should consider is the evidence properly submitted to the court and the other party.

If Gladstones try and ambush you on the day, then hopefully the judge will not allow it anyway. If not you should object on the grounds that Gladstones are a professional organisation (no sniggering in the back; try and keep a straight face when saying this to the judge) and should know and respect the proper court process. To give you time to examine the evidence the hearing should either be be adjourned with a wasted costs order against Gladstones, or the evidence should not be allowed. 

Happy Parking 

The Parking Prankster

No doubt Horizon will be regretting funding a solicitor to travel down to Portsmouth from London. Still, he had a nice day out, with plenty of time to enjoy the sights of the town.

Horizon've been Gladstoned.

Friday, 13 January 2017

AS Parking and Gladstones scam exposed

AS Parking  v Ms W Claim xxxxx xx/12/2016 Worcester

A motorist has just won an 18 month case against what The Prankster would like to describe as unconscionable parasitic weasels, except that might be defamatory to weasels.

Just when you think AS Parking and Gladstones solicitors can sink no lower, this happens.

The motorist parked at Perranporth car park in August 2015. AS Parking has just taken over the car park, and the signs looked distinctly shoddy, being made up of sticky numbers and letters. The motorist checked the signage, such as it was, purchased a ticket and displayed it on their windscreen. They then took their kids to the bathroom and returned to the car to get items for the beach.

An attendant was there writing a charge notice

The motorist pointed out their ticket which although slightly under the dash was still fully visible. The motorist pointed out the ticket and asked the warden to stop, He refused and said they must go through the appeals process.

The motorist decided to fight this all the way, which turned out to be court in Worcester.

The judge to 10 minutes to decide there was no evidence that any contravention occurred, and dismissed the claim with costs against AS Parking.

Although this was due to be paid by the 30th Dec Gladstones forgot to post it and the cheque finally arrived on the 6th Jan.

Prankster Note

Bottom feeding parking companies like to pretend a ticket has not been displayed when it has, and so take specially angled photographs to try and fool the courts. If your car has been ticketed in this type of circumstance you should take photographs of your own to prove the ticket was visible.

You should then complaint to the regulatory body that the parking company is using predatory practices. The BPA is usually very good at investigating. However the IPC is likely to fob you off as The Prankster has never known Will Hurley or John Davies to investigate properly any complaint. You should therefore escalate this to the DVLA and query whether the IPC should retain ATA status as there is a clear conflict of interest with the same directors running Gladstones Solicitors, a known disreputable firm who file claims with no due diligence whatsoever.

Thursday, 12 January 2017

Planning permission 17A/0037 - Signage at John Lennon Airport

Advertising permission has been applied for 4 'No Stopping' signs at John Lennon Airport.

In what seems to be an attempt to prolong the farce for as long as possible, the plans applied for do not match the signs just erected in December 2016.

To ensure as many motorists as possible miss seeing the signs, the Airport are planning on cutting the current 7 signs down to 4. To further increase motorists chances of missing the signage, they plan to hide the first sign behind giant Welcome signs.

Any parties who wish to comment on the signs have until 2/3/2017 and can do so on the Liverpool Planning Portal.

Application: 17A/0037

Wednesday, 11 January 2017

Gladstones discontinue Heath Parade case

Heath Parade is the notorious site where Ms Sunglasses lies in wait for any vehicle briefly stopping. Gladstones Solicitors then issue a vastly inflated claim to the vehicle keeper.

Gladstones have now issued a notice of discontinuance for one of these claims. In this case the driver pulled into the lay-by for 16 seconds for a person with a mobility problem to alight. That person briefly saw signage 9-10ft up the wall and told the driver to leave, which they did.

This seems to be a pragmatic view taken to reduce their costs when the British Motorists Protection Association gets involved. They are still actively issuing more claims for this site.

A sample defence for this site is on a previous blog entry.

Data Protection

The keeper appears to have a valid claim for a data protection breach, as there was no legitimate reason to request keeper details from the DVLA. A typical amount claimed would be £250.

Parking Cowboys has written about this here.

Happy Parking

The Parking Prankster

Brian Hargreaves to claim back costs from Gladstones for incompetence. Another Spinningfields case

ES Parking Enforcement v Mr T 10/1/2017 C5GF6G9N 

This case concerns a motorist who stopped briefly in the Spinningfields Estate in Manchester to set his sat nav after leaving a car park. The motorist had his hazards on and was stopped for a few seconds on the road with no nearby signage stating this was not allowed.

ES Parking issued a ticket which Mr T considered not to be valid and so did not pay. Eventually ES Parking got Gladstones to take the matter further.

As usual Gladstones failed to file a claim which complied with practice directions and refused to answer any questions about the claim. Had they done a proper job, the following debacle may have been avoided. However, Helen Cook, a solicitor from Gladstones explained that they don't have enough time or charge enough money to be able to comply with practice directions.
We issue on a vast majority of claims, majority of which are not defended and therefore it is time consuming and not financially viable to send further particulars of claim. 
Also as usual Gladstones tried to ambush the defendant by attempting to file new particulars in their witness statement. The defendant got in touch with The Prankster who helped file a comprehensive skeleton argument which was served on Gladstones on Tuesday 3rd January.

On Friday 6th, Helen Cook got in touch with the defendant to say their client had take a commercial decision to attempt to settle. The Prankster informed Mr T that Gladstones only did this as a last resort when they are going to bail out of the case.

On Monday 9th, Mr T decided to offer to settle if Gladstones would pay his costs to date. However, Gladstones explained they meant they wanted him to pay money, not the other way round.

Mr T declined to pay anything. Gladstones then offered to drop the case if he did not claim costs.

Mr T explained he had already spent substantial time on the case and would therefore require his costs.

At 17:06 Gladstones notified Mr T the claim was discontinued.

The Hearing

The Prankster advised Mr T to turn up anyway as the claim was still listed according to the court.
He went to court, booked in and asked the usher if the case was still listed to which the usher confirmed it was. Mr T told him of the discontinuance notification and he looked very confused as the court had not received a copy.

He was told to take a seat. Whilst waiting he kept on hearing people booking in for hearings relating to ES Parking much to his amusement. He also heard the name Mr Hargreaves being called which he recognised from the claim as the owner of ES Parking. As it turns out he was sat directly opposite. He was constantly asking the booking in desk about numerous hearings he had that day.

Eventually after waiting for an hour the clerk approached asking if Mr Hargreaves could speak with him to which Mr T obliged. Mr Hargreaves explained that he had now properly filed the discontinuance and that Mr T was unlikely to get any costs awarded so could we shake hands and call it a day. Mr T told him what he thought of his operation and reminded him of the disruption this whole thing had caused and declined his offer. He also pointed out that because Gladstones had not filed with the court the discontinuance and also that because it was only filed with me at 17:06 the previous day there was no way of him being able to contact either the court or Gladstones for further directions and that he had no choice but to attend court resulting in losing a days wage.

Mr Hargreaves was then called in to his first hearing of the day.

Mr T was called in to see the judge alone 15 mins later and she questioned why he still wanted to see a judge. Mr T said it was to request costs. She said because he was not self employed he could not recover costs. Mr T informed her of the time when the discontinuance was sent to which she said she would have to see both him and Mr Hargreaves together. She also said he would need to provide something from his employer to state his days pay and confirm that they had incurred costs to fill his position.

After another 15 mins they were both called back in. The judge informed Mr Hargreaves of what had been discussed and that fortunately for him according to CPR 38.6(3) it states that on the small claims track the discontinuing party does not have to pay the other side's costs when discontinuing the claim.

However she then went on to inform him that due to the discontinuance being filed with the defendant at such a late time of day meant it was impossible for the defendant to contact the relevant parties to confirm he would not need to attend the court. She then asked Mr T if he had been able to obtain something from his employer to which he asked her permission to turn on his phone to retrieve an email from his employer.

The email confirmed his pay and the judge ordered that Mr Hargreaves paid Mr T's employer is day's pay.

After the hearing Mr Hargraves explained that he had ordered Gladstones to discontinue the claim a week ago and that he would be making them pay all the costs for their incompetence.

Prankster Note

The Prankster considers the  judge was wrong in stating she could not award costs to Mr T for having to take a day's holiday. PD 27.14(2) (e) states:
 a sum not exceeding the amount specified in Practice Direction 27 for any loss of earnings or loss of leave by a party or witness due to attending a hearing or to staying away from home for the purposes of attending a hearing;

Most likely the costs to his employer were awarded under the unreasonableness rule:

27.14(2)(g) such further costs as the court may assess by the summary procedure and order to be paid by a party who has behaved unreasonably

The Prankster notes that it seems like Mr Hargraves will go to court if the defendant has not done their homework and files a useless defence. However, if a strong defence is filed Mr Hargreaves will take the prudent option and discontinue.

To assist defendants, The Prankster will publish a defence based on Mr T's skeleton argument in the near future.

New Signage

Mr T also reported that new signage is now in place in Spinningfields.

Sadly for the person who forked out for these, it is still forbidding and so cannot form a contract.

Happy Parking

The Parking Prankster

Skipton judge rubbishes Elliot v Loake

BW Legal, Gladstones and other dodgy solicitors are fond of quoting Elliott v Loake as authority that the keeper of a car must be the driver.

Here is a pithy exchange that occurred in Skipton yesterday.

Parking company Rep asserts that Claimant relies on E v L as establishing that keeper was driver on Balance Of Probabilities.

Judge: “So, if I let someone drive my car, and they went to a petrol station and filled up, then drove off, or if they ran someone over, would I be liable?"

Rep: “No, because that would be different. That's criminal”.

Judge: “Well so is Elliot v Loake"

Prankster Note

Of course in 'real life' it is common for the driver of a car not to be the keeper. The Prankster has let many people drive his cars and in turn has driven plenty of other people's cars. Only in the warped minds of people like failed solicitor William Hurley would it be considered that the keeper was bound to be the driver.

Parliament considered this when it banned clamping, and for the protection of landowners brought in the Protection of freedoms Act 2012, schedule 4. Parliament enacted this specifically because there can be no assumption the keeper is the driver. If parking companies are not capable of a simple cut and paste job from the legislation then that is their failure and they cannot now go crying to the courts looking for backdoor keeper liability.

If someones lend you their pen and you sign a contract with it, are they liable for that contract? Of course not.

Happy Parking

The Parking Prankster

Excel serial abusers of court process

Excel Parking Services Ltd are serial abusers of the court process. They file deficient particulars of claim and continue to do so despite sanctions imposed by judges.

Simon Renshaw Smith does not like losing. In the Excel v Cutts case where the judge ruled the signage at the Peel Centre was deficient, he described the court ruling as " embarrassment to the judicial system" and he made some pretty rude remarks about the judge too, describing her as "not fit to serve the civil courts".

Simon has a similar unhealthy attitude to not paying his debts, and the Prankster is aware of a number of court judgments which Excel and/or VCS have not paid.

If you have a court judgment which Excel has not paid, please contact The Prankster so a list can be compiled.

Happy Parking

The Parking Prankster

Monday, 9 January 2017

MIL Collections claim to have won 7 cases

In a new tactic MIL Collections claim to have won 7 cases against people being assisted by online users claiming to be experts.

No further details are available, and The Prankster has been unable to trace any of these cases online.

Here are a sample of cases where information is available, and the outcome of the hearing threw up a surprise to MIL.

MIL Collections website does not have any information about these cases, but does offer this advice.

Why has MIL not responded to the numerous negative comments made on the Internet?
Most comments we have reviewed, are either dishonest or trolling. For reasons of privacy and fairness, we do not routinely comment publicly about live cases or judgments granted by Court. The MIL website has links to free advice services allowing people with a genuine grievance or dispute to obtain free independent advice and support. Fee charging legal service providers can be checked on the SRA website to ensure they are regulated and indemnified to offer legal services to the public.

The Prankster has not been  able to identify comments which are dishonest or trolling, so wonders if MIL are using a different internet to everyone else.

However, here is an up to date comment from the internet most people use.

This comment appeared on 10/01/2016.

It appears in the real world, as opposed to the parallel universe Mr G Watson seems to inhabit, MIL are very much aware that they have little chance of succeeding in court.

Although MIL claim to have been told by the BPA and IPC that thousands of claims are won in court hearings, this appears to be made up data. The BMPA data suggests that only around 2,000 parking hearing occurred in 2016. Of course, MIL will have their own statistics apart from the data they claim the BPA and IPC provide. The Prankster suggests that they are not publishing that due to their embarrassing lack of success.

According to the BMPA, 232 MIL cases made it to a hearing in 2016.

As a side note, MIL Collections appear to have obtained data from the parking company in breach of data protection laws and The Prankster advises considering investigating this and filing a claim against them and the parking company if this is true.

Parking Cowboys have an article on claiming for a data protection breach.

Happy Parking

The Parking Prankster

BW Legal lax approach to court deadlines sees claim fail

BW Legal are one of the 'roboclaim' firms.

The typical method of operation of these firms is to file thousands of claims without doing any due diligence in the hope that the majority of the British public are so scared of court that they will pay up regardless of the merit of the claim.

To save costs they will do absolutely no work until the deadline for filing approaches, in the belief that the motorist may chicken out due to the stress of an impending hearing and pay up.

Sometimes they leave it too late, as this case on pepipoo shows.

BW Legal failed to file paperwork on time back in August so the case was stayed. They then paid £100 to get the stay lifted.

The court directed both parties file witness statements and evidence before a hearing was set, apparently due to the fact they had a massive back-log of paperwork to get through (probably thanks to all the predatory parking cases clogging up the system) so they didn't want to allocate a date until they were sure of the validity of the case.

The motorist submitted their evidence pack to the court and the claimant on time (end of September). However BW Legal did not send their evidence pack until October (several days after the deadline). Not only that, the photocopies of the supporting evidence they sent was of was of such poor quality that is was indecipherable.

Therefore the motorist wrote a letter to the court pointing out to the judge that that the claimant had not followed the court directions and requested that the case was struck out. They included a photo of the envelope and the cover letter that BW legal sent their pack in that had a date stamp, as proof that they hadn't even posted it until well after the deadline

After many phone calls to the court for an update, they finally got a confirmation letter from the court early/mid December (almost 2 months later thanks to the massive back-log they were dealing with) saying the Judge had read their letter along with supporting evidence and agreed the claimant had failed to comply with the court directions and had decided to strike out the claim as requested. The claimant however still had 7 days to apply to have the order set-aside, varied or stayed.

BW Legal have apparently decided not to spend another £100 to contest this order. However given the huge backlog in the court, they may have sent an appeal which is still awaiting to be processed.

Happy Parking

The Parking Prankster

DVLA audit report on UKCPS

The latest audit on UKCPS contains the following

I am writing to confirm my decision as Senior Information Responsible Owner (SIRO) at DVLA on your suspension from access to DVLA data.

I have reviewed all of the information from the audit site visit and can confirm we will reinstate access for UKCPS to request data from the DVLA. This is dependent on the points below:

Conditions of reinstating access to personal data held by DVLA:

Your ATA membership-must be fully reinstated immediately in order for us to commence any reconnection work.

A further audit will be carried out in 3 months time. Any breach of the conditions of the contract or further issues reported to the DVLA during the time you are reinstated and the next audit will lead to a further suspension of 6 months.

Any issues arising from the audit will lead to a further suspension or even termination of your contract with the DVLA.

Enquiries for alleged offences which took place during the period of suspension from 13 October to 19 December cannot be made.

Anyone who knows of any breaches by UKCPS should report these to the DVLA.
Complaints Team

Happy Parking

The Parking Prankster

UKPC lose residential case. Charge not a genuine pre-estimate of loss

UKPC v Mr Aziz Birmingham 9/1/2017 C2HW01A6. DJ Gibson

Mr Aziz visited a residential block and parked with full permission of the tenant. He received 2 parking charges of £100 each, which UKPC magically inflated into a £400 claim.

Mr Aziz contested the claim on the basis that the charge was not a genuine pre-estimate of loss, and that UKPC did not have authority to issue charges as he was parked with the permission of the tenant.

First Hearing

The first hearing was before DJ Rich on 29/09/16. DJ Rich disagreed with the pre-estimate of loss point, but found that there was no chain of authority to prove UKPC could override the  lease. He adjourned the case on UKPC's request so that they could come up with some paperwork.

Second Hearing

Mr Aziz represented himself. UKPC engaged SCS law who contracted Simon Villae to appear as advocate. Before the hearing Mr Villae confided to Mr Aziz that he expected to get a tongue lashing from the judge due to the awfulness of the UKPC's bundle. DJ Gibson did not disappoint him, and laid into him as UKPC had failed to provide any evidence that they could override the lease, despite asking for an adjournment. They did provide a letter from the Management requesting them to put up a sign banning parking in the bin storage area, but as this was not where Mr Aziz parked, DJ Gibson ruled this was totally irrelevant. The photographs UKPC supplied were heavily pixelated and almost useless - Mr Aziz's vehicle appeared to have oval wheels.

DJ Gibson dismissed the claim on the basis UKPC did not have authority to override the lease and issue charges. She also followed the lead of HHJ Charles Harris QC in Jopson v Homeguard [2016] B9GF0A9E, and ruled that ParkingEye v Beavis [2015] UKSC 67 did not apply to residential cases. There was no way that residents or their visitors would agree to pay a charge of £100 to park in spaces they owned. The charge of £100 therefore had no commercial justification and as it was not a genuine pre-estimate of loss was therefore a penalty and not justified.

DJ Gibson asked Mr Aziz if he had got his defence from the internet. Mr Aziz said he had. DJ Gibson said there was nothing wrong with this but cautioned Mr Aziz to be wary as case law was forever changing and so he should always make sure any research was up to date.

Prankster Note

When a parking company request an adjournment this should always be resisted on the grounds that they have employed a professional solicitor to assist and should therefore be fully aware of the paperwork required, and it would be out of proportion to the value of the claim to have a second hearing. The advocate costs, which are not reclaimable in the small claims track, far outweigh the value of the claim.

If there must be an adjournment ask for a wasted costs order which would be the full value of a lost days pay under the unreasonableness rule 27.14(2)g

Take a copy of the rule

It should be noted that HHJ Charles Harris QC uses this rule to award £2,000 in costs against a parking company in a residential case.

Members of the British Motorists' Protection Association provided assistance to Mr Aziz, and he passes on his thanks.

Data Protection Act 1988 (DPA)

It would appear Mr Aziz has the possibility of two data protection claims against UKPC for obtaining his personal data from the DVLA and continuing to use it when no lawful reason existed. The going rate for these breaches is £250 each.

UKPC are already around £500 down on this hearing

If Mr Aziz decides to take action and successfully pursues a DPA breach this would leave them £1,000 out of pocket for issuing two bogus charges.

Happy Parking 

The Parking Prankster

Sunday, 8 January 2017

UKPC advertise job with bonus payments

UKPC are advertising for a parking warden job with a monthly bonus scheme.

The British Parking Association code of practice forbids certain kinds of bonus schemes

9.4 Effective from 1st October 2015, the practice of offering financial incentives to AOS parking attendants/wardens which relate to the quantity of PCNs issued by them, should be prohibited within all new employee contracts.

In The Prankster's opinion, there are no other viable bonus schemes for parking wardens and if UKPC pretend there are, they are dressing up the scheme in weasel words but the basics remain the same.

The scheme has been referred to the BPA, but they have refused to investigate.

Happy Parking

The Parking Prankster

Friday, 6 January 2017

POPLA to hear byelaw cases

POPLA have now made the following announcement

POPLA has taken the decision to consider the cases previously adjourned due to Byelaws. We initially placed these appeals on hold after receiving complaints that we did not have the remit to consider if a Byelaw had been breached. After considering our position, we feel it is important to offer an appeal service to motorists so that they can have an independent assessment made. As such, we will look at the appeals we have placed on hold since September 2016. As of 5 January 2017, we had approximately 1,300 appeals on hold. If you have an appeal on hold for this issue, we would ask for your patience while we work through these. We would remind you that while an appeal is with POPLA, the parking operator is unable to pursue payment.

In a byelaw case the authorities have 6 months from the parking date to bring a claim in the magistrate court. If the claim succeeds then the monies go to the state and not to the parking company.

Any cases put on hold since September 2016 will therefore almost certainly have timed out. The Prankster wonders whether POPLA or the BPA will be compensating parking companies if they rule the appeal is not valid but the parking company is already too late to ask the authorities to file a claim in the magistrates court.

However, in a byelaws case the Protection Of Freedoms Act schedule 4 states there is no keeper liability. The parking company will therefore have to prove who the driver is to have any chance of success.

Happy Parking

The Parking Prankster

Wednesday, 4 January 2017

POFA or not POFA, that is the question

Two hearings were reported today on MSE and Pepipoo.

Hearing One

In the first hearing Gladstones were acting on behalf of Horizon Parking, pursuing 3 parking charges of £70 each which creative accounting had inflated to £480.

The registered keeper was not the driver on each occasion. Horizon Parking are not known for their ability to issue a Notice to Keeper compliant with the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012 sch 4, and so the keeper cannot be held liable. Here is a sample (not from the court case)

The hearing was at Chichester in front of DJ Ellis.

The defendants wife was the driver, and ask to speak as lay representative, using the The Lay Representatives (Rights of Audience) Order 1999. It is surprising how many people do not know about this Order. Gladstones hadn't heard of it, despite it being used in hearings they have participated in many times and weren't entirely pleased about but they didn't object.

The judge threw out the first claim for 'obstructive parking' as the pictures didn't show how the parking was obstructive. She then dismissed the second claim for parking in a motorcycle bay as the sign didn't expressly say not to park in motorcycle bays (only disabled, out of marked bays, etc).

She allowed the 3rd claim for parking on cross hatching, but only awarded the £70 stated on the Notice to Keeper instead of the inflated £120 they wanted.

She refused to allow Gladstones costs so the defendant only had to pay £70.

The judge put the defendants at ease and did not appear very impressed with Gladstones representative who didn't seem very familiar with the case. She didn't allow the defendant's preliminary procedural matter to dismiss the witness statement as it was not filed in the timescale ordered by the court. She used her discretional case management ability to allow the witness statement even though it was filed 2 days late.

The one mystery is why the judge ruled keeper liability applied. She didn't accept Harry Greenslade's Popla comments regarding keeper liability applied in the case  and although the signs were not as clear as in ParkingEye v Beavis [2015] UKSC 67 she still deemed them to be sufficient.

She ruled the claimant did follow POFA (except for the inflated cost added since the NTK) and commented that The Parking Prankster often misinterprets POFA (this was was one of the articles the defendant used).The judge said she was familiar with the website and said it gets referred to a lot.

The Prankster is not sure which part of POFA he is believed to have misinterpreted, and of course it is possible Horizon have changed their NTKs and are now compliant. The Prankster's understanding of POFA is that if a parking charge is legitimate, and if the relevant parts of the Act are complied with, it allows liability to be transferred to keeper or hirer.

Of course, if the Act is not complied with, liability remains with the driver.

Hearing Two

The second hearing was regarding 5 parking charges inflated to £600 by Excel.

This took a full 2 hours of court time.

As soon as the parties sat the judge stated she intended to throw their case out because they were bringing it under contract law, and as she said, the defendant says he was not driving and the claimant admits they can't prove it.

Their representative disagreed and stated they were bringing the case under POFA. The judge pointed out the witness statement says explicitly 3 times that you are not relying on POFA.

The defendant argued they were changing their claim and he was not prepared for a POFA defense. The judge agreed, saying she did not want to allocate any more of the court's time to a small claim so we will carry on and see where it goes.

One by one the parties went through every sign. The judge stated even though there is only one photo of a sign she was happy to agree with the claimant that it could be used for each of the 5 PCN's. The defendant argued that the signage was not the same over the period and that Excel were in 2 different trade bodies during the span of PCN's so would have different codes of practice, and different signs, However the judge said she wasn't bothered about what trade association they were in. In fact the sign on offer was dated 3/3/15 and had the BPA logo on it, when they weren't in that club. (Excel switched to the IPC 1/1/2015)

The parties looked at all the photos of contraventions, NTK's, PCN's etc, The defendant picked holes in everything, but the judge appeared to think he was being pedantic.

She gave both parties a hard time, also picking up on Excel when they say that because they mention POFA in the first PCN it should then be assumed that all the subsequent PCN's are relying on it as well!

Eventually she asked the parties to step outside so she can read up on POFA. 20 minutes later the parties are invited back in. The defendant felt from the off that she had found against him; she had found nowhere in POFA that says they have to mention POFA in the NTK, so she is willing to allow that the claimant had the right to chase the keeper for payment. The defendant had done himself no favours by ignoring the NTKs. She went through every ticket and says she would have allowed 4 of the 5. The defendant was sinking in his chair at this point.

Then she turned to Excels solicitor, and said "but your client shot themselves in the foot. Had they brought this claim using POFA I would have been mindful to allow it, but they didn't. They brought it under contract law, quite clearly stating that 3 times. So I am going to dismiss the case on those grounds"

Excel asked for leave to appeal but was refused. The defendant asked for his costs, showed her his cost schedule and was allowed £97.50

The Prankster feels this was slightly bizarre. Excel know full well their NTKs do not comply with POFA because they miss out the requirements detailed in 9.2.e and 9.2.f. They make no secret of this and bring all their claims on the basis that they hope the keeper was also the driver.

For some grubby lawyer to suddenly claim otherwise on the day of the hearing goes against all legal and moral principles. Obviously the lawyer thought he could get away with it because the judge was inexperienced with the requirements of the Act, and he hoped the defendant was not able to ge his points across fully. That he almost succeeded is very disconcerting. Luckily the judge eventually went with her first decision - which could have saved two hours of court time - and did not allow the claimant to alter their statement of case.

Prankster Notes

Always take a copy of everything you will be relying on - eg the Lay Representative Order 1999.

Be wary that firms like Excel, BW Legal and Gladstones have no morals and are willing to try and usurp the proper processes of the court to win at any cost. Even if Excel say they are not using POFA it is now clear they will grasp at any straw and try and change their mind in the courtroom if they think they can fool the judge and defendant.

Happy Parking

The Parking Prankster

Managment companies should beware of using Parking Ticketing Ltd run by Mario Ireland

This is a cautionary tale about contracting with a disreputable parking company to manage a residential car park.

Churchill Park is a small development in Hounslow TW4. Because of an ongoing parking problem with non-residents using residents bays on the estate the management company employed the services of  Parking Ticketing Ltd (PTL) of 83 Ducie Street  Manchester M1 2JQ.

This Company is run by Mario Ireland. The management company issued residents with permits supplied by them to display while parked on bays. The scheme worked well to start, but after a few months reports started to come to the management company about residents being ticketed. They directed Parking Ticketing to void these tickets as they could vouch for the resident having a permit; however, Parking Ticketing refused. Residents appealed via the ways as advised on the rear of tickets only to find the appeals rejected. It would also appear that the appeals company that they were informed to appeal to was run by the same person. Under BPA rules the management company were under the impression that even during an appeal the clock stopped ticking on the ticket. However, Parking Ticketing Ltd continued to add no payment time onto the ticket and so some residents were presented with bills for hundreds of pounds.

The management company contacted Parking Ticketing Ltd again, asking them to stop this practice of issuing residents with tickets, even when the management company could prove residents had a permit which they had issued.

Things quietened down for a while and then there were incidents of miss-ticketing involving the same person's car. The permit was clearly displayed on the dashboard and the resident showed the management company a photograph proving this. Because of past form the management company paid the ticket as they felt it was morally unjust to ticket a car that had a valid permit displayed on the dashboard. Also because of previous events with the company they wished the bill not to escalate into the hundreds of pounds.They paid the bill out of their funds as over the years they have had a good working relationship with the gentleman who had been ticketed and did not wish this relationship to be affected by the overzealous actions of Parking Ticketing Ltd. They reported Parking Ticketing Ltd to trading standards who felt that Parking Ticketing Ltd were acting in an immoral way.

Parking Ticketing Ltd has a very unusual clause in their contract. The management company wrote to them giving 30 days notice to cancel a contract as they had had the contract for over a year. However, within the contract, there is small print that states that if they do not give a cancellation notice within 30 days of the anniversary of, the contract it will run for a further 12 months.

The Churchill Park management company are now gathering evidence where Parking Ticketing Ltd have miss-ticketed and therefore are in breach of contract. They now have two cases of this where valid permits were on display, yet the resident was issued with a parking ticket. The management company noted that the resident who had been targeted was one who complained about the practices of Parking Ticketing Ltd.

The management company wrote to The Prankster so that more people could be be made aware of the practices of Mario Ireland's company as it would appear there are many examples of him doing this in the press over numerous years. He also had a previous company that was removed from the BPA.

The management company will be writing to him again saying the contract is terminated because he has breached his terms and conditions.

Prankster Note

The company Mario Ireland was previously running was notorious clamping firm Magnaco Limited which was expelled from the BPA for unpaid CCJs and entered voluntary liquidation.

This cautionary tale shows that management companies should take extreme care when contracting with a car parking company and that all terms and conditions should be carefully scrutinised.

If you don't like the contract, don't agree to sign it. Either get the contract changed, or find a different parking company. For a residential contract it is important to include a term stating that genuine residents and their visitors will not be charged and if a ticket is accidentally issued then it will be cancelled.

Paper permit schemes should be avoided as they are routinely abused by parking companies. In this day and age electronic schemes are common where residents can register their and their vistors vehicles via apps websites and telephone.

Happy Parking

The Parking Prankster