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  • FIRST POST
    • Giraffe1345
    • By Giraffe1345 15th Apr 17, 12:25 PM
    • 5Posts
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    Giraffe1345
    BPA member parking fine
    • #1
    • 15th Apr 17, 12:25 PM
    BPA member parking fine 15th Apr 17 at 12:25 PM
    Hello, I've read the newbies advice but I'm a bit lost by all the great info on the site.

    We park every weekday in a station car park managed by a BPA member but pay via Ringo app.
    We've just changed our car But forgot to amend the registration plate of the car - paid for car parking via the Ringo app for a week and came back to find a ticket on the windscreen (as reg plate different to registered car).

    we contacted the BPA member but they've written back saying that the appeal was reviewed with all evidence, prominently displayed signage and that the car was not clearly displaying a valid ticket or had an active RingGo session when this Charge was issued and that it is the drivers responsibility to ensure a valid session is in place so unable to cancel the charge.

    It is a genuine mistake as soon as we realised we changed both our accounts to the new car and set up new payment (so the car park got paid extra as we couldn't amend the current session - landowner got extra payment on three days). We were just expecting a little bit of leeway as we supplied proof of payment from Ringo to them.

    They have said that we have have two options pay £60 fine within 14 days or appeal to popla and if lose have to pay £100 They have provided a verification code.

    SO they they know where we live and our new car reg as we appealed to them.

    Basically just want to know where we stand - do we pay as they now have all our info and put it down as a lesson to be learnt?
    Your advice would be welcomed.
Page 2
    • Giraffe1345
    • By Giraffe1345 18th Apr 17, 8:56 PM
    • 5 Posts
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    Giraffe1345
    Update - draft letter
    Thanks for all your advice and help. I've used all of the template information that is relevant relating to signage and no standing to bring charges. I've had a good look around the car park and also the next door one which is the official station car park - no signs make any reference to railway bylaws in either car park - only signs are for "private car park".

    Here is the draft letter together with references to the actual signage within the car park where I stood and measured the size of font on the car parking signs (I must have looked a little strange with my measure against the signage). I have photos but I'm unable to upload or add links as restricted on this forum.


    POPLA Appeal Letter
    Dear POPLA Adjudicator,
    Poppa reference:
    I am the registered keeper of vehicle xxxxxx and am appealing a parking charge from Minster Baywatch on the following points:
    1. No evidence of Landowner Authority - the operator is put to strict proof of full compliance with the BPA Code of Practice
    2. The signs in this car park are not prominent, clear or legible from all parking spaces and there is insufficient notice of the sum of the parking charge itself

    1. No evidence of Landowner Authority - the operator is put to strict proof of full compliance with the BPA Code of Practice

    As this operator does not have proprietary interest in the land then I require that they produce an unredacted copy of the contract with the landowner. The contract and any 'site agreement' or 'User Manual' setting out details including exemptions - such as any 'genuine customer' or 'genuine resident' exemptions or any site occupier's 'right of veto' charge cancellation rights - is key evidence to define what this operator is authorised to do and any circumstances where the landowner/firms on site in fact have a right to cancellation of a charge.

    It cannot be assumed, just because an agent is contracted to merely put some signs up and issue Parking Charge Notices, that the agent is also authorised to make contracts with all or any category of visiting drivers and/or to enforce the charge in court in their own name (legal action regarding land use disputes generally being a matter for a landowner only).

    Witness statements are not sound evidence of the above, often being pre-signed, generic documents not even identifying the case in hand or even the site rules. A witness statement might in some cases be accepted by POPLA but in this case I suggest it is unlikely to sufficiently evidence the definition of the services provided by each party to the agreement.

    Nor would it define vital information such as charging days/times, any exemption clauses, grace periods (which I believe may be longer than the bare minimum times set out in the BPA CoP) and basic information such as the land boundary and bays where enforcement applies/does not apply. Not forgetting evidence of the various restrictions which the landowner has authorised can give rise to a charge and of course, how much the landowner authorises this agent to charge (which cannot be assumed to be the sum in small print on a sign because template private parking terms and sums have been known not to match the actual landowner agreement).

    Paragraph 7 of the BPA CoP defines the mandatory requirements and I put this operator to strict proof of full compliance:
    7.2 If the operator wishes to take legal action on any outstanding parking charges, they must ensure that they have the written authority of the landowner (or their appointed agent) prior to legal action being taken.
    7.3 The written authorisation must also set out:
    a. the definition of the land on which you may operate, so that the boundaries of the land can be clearly defined
    b. any conditions or restrictions on parking control and enforcement operations, including any restrictions on hours of operation
    c. any conditions or restrictions on the types of vehicles that may, or may not, be subject to parking control and enforcement
    d. who has the responsibility for putting up and maintaining signs
    e. he definition of the services provided by each party to the agreement

    2. The signs in this car park are not prominent, clear or legible from all parking spaces and there is insufficient notice of the sum of the parking charge itself.
    There was no contract or agreement on the 'parking charge' at all. It is submitted that the driver did not have a fair opportunity to read about any terms involving this huge charge, which is out of all proportion and not saved by the dissimilar 'ParkingEye Ltd v Beavis' case.

    In the Beavis case, which turned on specific facts relating only to the signs at that site and the unique interests and intentions of the landowners, the signs were unusually clear and not a typical example for this notorious industry. The Supreme Court were keen to point out the decision related to that car park and those facts only - (link). In the Beavis case, the £85 charge itself was in the largest font size with a contrasting colour background and the terms were legible, fairly concise and unambiguous. There were 'large lettering' signs at the entrance and all around the car park, according to the Judges.

    Here is the 'Beavis case' sign as a comparison to the signs under dispute in this case: [link)]

    This case, by comparison, does not demonstrate an example of the 'large lettering' and 'prominent signage' that impressed the Supreme Court Judges and swayed them into deciding that in the specific car park in the Beavis case alone, a contract and 'agreement on the charge' existed.

    Here, the signs are sporadically placed, indeed obscured and hidden in some areas. They are dark and unremarkable, not immediately obvious as parking terms and the wording is mostly illegible, being crowded and cluttered with a lack of white space as a background. It is indisputable that placing letters too close together in order to fit more information into a smaller space can drastically reduce the legibility of a sign, especially one which must be read BEFORE the action of parking and leaving the car.

    It is vital to observe, since 'adequate notice of the parking charge' is mandatory under the POFA Schedule 4 and the BPA Code of Practice, these signs do not clearly mention the parking charge which is hidden in small print (and does not feature at all on some of the signs). Areas of this site are unsigned and there are no full terms displayed - i.e. with the sum of the parking charge itself in large lettering - at the entrance either, so it cannot be assumed that a driver drove past and could read a legible sign, nor parked near one.

    This case is more similar to the signage in POPLA decision 5960956830 on 02.06.16, where the Assessor Rochelle Merritt found as fact that signs in a similar size font in a busy car park where other unrelated signs were far larger, was inadequate:
    ''the signage is not of a good enough size to afford motorists the chance to read and understand the terms and conditions before deciding to remain in the car park. [...] In addition the operators signs would not be clearly visible from a parking space [...]. The appellant has raised other grounds for appeal but I have not dealt with these as I have allowed the appeal.''

    From the evidence I have seen so far, the terms appear to be displayed inadequately, in letters no more than about half an inch high, approximately. I put the operator to strict proof as to the size of the wording on their signs and the size of lettering for the most onerous term, the parking charge itself.

    The letters seem to be less than 40 font size going by this guide: (link)
    As further evidence that this is inadequate notice, Letter Height Visibility is discussed here:
    (link)
    ''When designing your sign, consider how you will be using it, as well as how far away the readers you want to impact will be. For example, if you are placing a sales advertisement inside your retail store, your text only needs to be visible to the people in the store. 1-2” letters (or smaller) would work just fine. However, if you are hanging banners and want drivers on a nearby highway to be able to see them, design your letters at 3” or even larger.''

    ...and the same chart is reproduced here - (link)
    ''When designing an outdoor sign for your business keep in mind the readability of the letters. Letters always look smaller when mounted high onto an outdoor wall''.
    ''...a guideline for selecting sign letters. Multiply the letter height by 10 and that is the best viewing distance in feet. Multiply the best viewing distance by 4 and that is the max viewing distance.''

    So, a letter height of just quarter of an inch (1.5cm) for the white text on the external sign to the car park) and half an inch (1.4cm for the orange text on the exit sign to the car park) showing the terms and the 'charge' and placed high on a pole with the terms buried in far too crowded small print, is woefully inadequate in an outdoor car park. Given that letters look smaller when higher up on pole, as the angle renders the words less readable due to the perspective and height, you would have to stand right in front of it (and perhaps a torch and/or magnifying glass) to be able to read the terms.

    Under Lord Denning's Red Hand Rule, the charge (being 'out of all proportion' with expectations of drivers in this car park and which is the most onerous of terms) should have been effectively: 'in red letters with a red hand pointing to it' - i.e. VERY clear and prominent with the terms in large lettering, as was found to be the case in the car park in 'Beavis'. A reasonable interpretation of the 'red hand rule' and the 'signage visibility distance' tables above and the BPA Code of Practice, taking all information into account, would require a parking charge and the terms to be displayed far more transparently, on a lower sign and in far larger lettering, with fewer words and more 'white space' as background contrast.

    Indeed in the Consumer Rights Act 2015 there is a 'Requirement for transparency':
    (1) A trader must ensure that a written term of a consumer contract, or a consumer notice in writing, is transparent.
    (2) A consumer notice is transparent for the purposes of subsection (1) if it is expressed in plain and intelligible language and it is legible.

    The Beavis case signs not being similar to the signs in this appeal at all, I submit that the persuasive case law is in fact 'Vine v London Borough of Waltham Forest [2000] EWCA Civ 106' about a driver not seeing the terms and consequently, she was NOT deemed bound by them. This judgment is binding case law from the Court of Appeal and supports my argument, not the operator's case: (link(

    This was a victory for the motorist and found that, where terms on a sign are not seen and the area is not clearly marked/signed with prominent terms, the driver has not consented to - and cannot have 'breached' - an unknown contract because there is no contract capable of being established. The driver in that case (who had not seen any signs/lines) had NOT entered into a contract. The recorder made a clear finding of fact that the plaintiff, Miss Vine, did not see a sign because the area was not clearly marked as 'private land' and the signs were obscured/not adjacent to the car and could not have been seen and read from a driver's seat before parking.

    So, for this appeal, I put this operator to strict proof of where the car was parked and (from photos taken in the same lighting conditions) how their signs appeared on that date, at that time, from the angle of the driver's perspective. Equally, I require this operator to show how the entrance signs appear from a driver's seat, not stock examples of 'the sign' in isolation/close-up. I submit that full terms simply cannot be read from a car before parking and mere 'stock examples' of close-ups of the (alleged) signage terms will not be sufficient to disprove this.

    Adequate notice of the parking charge' is mandatory under the POFA Schedule 4 and the BPA Code of Practice, however these signs do not clearly mention the parking charge which is hidden in small white print (and does not feature at all on some of the signs).

    Areas of this site are unsigned and there are no full terms displayed - i.e. with the sum of the parking charge itself in large lettering - at the entrance either, so it cannot be assumed that a driver drove past and could read or realise the £100 fixed fee charge detail in the smaller text.

    I would argue that the operator needs to rework all of their current signage to make them clearer and easier to read as the current signage at the entrance/exit of the car park shows the £100 charge is too small and cluttered with many messages that it is trying to get across, as such a person can easily miss the important aspect of the £100 fine as this is much smaller than the key facts shown on the sign.

    The Consumer Rights Act 2015 provides various challenges to this parking charge notice including transparency already raised. There must be fair contractual terms where a consumer is not bound by a term in a contract if that term is deemed unfair. I would argue that the excessive fee by charged by the operator is unfair.

    --------------------

    Thank you for all your help.
    • Umkomaas
    • By Umkomaas 18th Apr 17, 9:10 PM
    • 13,142 Posts
    • 20,525 Thanks
    Umkomaas
    There are more template appeal points in the NEWBIES sticky, post #3. You need at least 4.
    We cannot provide you with a silver bullet to get you out of this. You have to be in for the long run, and need to involve yourself in research and work for you to get rid of this. It is not simple. We will help, but can't do it for you.

    Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day; show him how to catch fish, and you feed him for a lifetime.
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