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    • lislislis
    • By lislislis 9th May 17, 10:53 AM
    • 5Posts
    • 1Thanks
    Britania Parking PCN for free period
    • #1
    • 9th May 17, 10:53 AM
    Britania Parking PCN for free period 9th May 17 at 10:53 AM
    Please could anyone help with advise on this case?

    As keeper, I have a parking charge ticket from Britannia - for West Quay Southampton car park, for parking during the first free 30 minutes without printing a ticket. The fine was stuck to the car.

    I have read the newbie advice and used it to appeal to Britannia as Keeper using the template here (thank you).

    I have now received both a letter of rejection of my appeal as well as another letter by post which is headed Parking Charge Notice and includes photos of the car.

    My case is very similar to a recent one on this board from TonyB in thread titled "Britannia Parking PCN".

    Therefore I have copied and edited his successful appeal, but would ask your help in checking all is okay.

    As well as the letter below I will send POPLA a copy of the Parking Charge Notice (sent via post) and a photo of the car park signage (which has the fact you need a ticket for the free period in much smaller lettering).

    Wording of letter:

    Appeal re POPLA code: – xxxxxxx xxxxxxx v Britannia Parking Group Ltd

    Dear POPLA Adjudicator,

    I am writing to you to lodge a formal appeal against a parking charge notice sent to myself as registered keeper of the vehicle in question. I was NOT the driver.
    I contend that I am not liable for this parking charge on the basis of the below points:

    1). A compliant Notice to Keeper was never served - no Keeper Liability can apply.

    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.

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

    1) This Notice to Keeper (NTK) is not compliant with the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012 (POFA) due to the dates and the wording used.

    This operator has not fulfilled the 'second condition' for keeper liability as defined in Schedule 4 and as a result, they have no lawful authority to pursue any parking charge from myself, as a registered keeper appellant. There is no discretion on this matter. If Schedule 4 mandatory documents are not served at all, or in time (or if the document omits any prescribed wording) then keeper liability simply does not apply.

    The wording in the Protection of Freedoms Act (POFA) 2012 is as follows:

    ''Right to claim unpaid parking charges from keeper of vehicle:
    4(1) The creditor has the right to recover any unpaid parking charges from the keeper of the vehicle. (2) The right under this paragraph applies only if

    (a) the conditions specified in paragraphs 5, 6*, 11 and 12 (so far as applicable) are met;

    *Conditions that must be met for purposes of paragraph 4:
    6(1) ''The second condition is that the creditor (or a person acting for or on behalf of the creditor)— (a)has given a notice to driver in accordance with paragraph 7, followed by a notice to keeper in accordance with paragraph 8. This is re-iterated further ‘If a notice to driver has been given, any subsequent notice to keeper MUST be given in accordance with paragraph 8.’
    It is my understanding that for an operator to transfer liability for unpaid parking charges from the driver of the vehicle to the registered keeper of the vehicle, the regulations laid out in the Protection of Freedoms Act (PoFA) 2012 must be adhered to. The Driver of the vehicle has not been identified (as confirmed in the operator’s rejection of my appeal, dated**********) and the Notice to Keeper fails to comply with section 9 of PoFA 2012 (no windscreen ticket was issued), specifically the following passage:

    “2) The notice must – f) warn the keeper that if, after the period of 28 days beginning with the day after that on which the notice is given – (i) the amount of the unpaid parking charges specified under paragraph (d) has not been paid in full, and (ii) the creditor does not know both the name of the driver and a current address for service for the driver, the creditor will (if all the applicable conditions under this Schedule are met) have the right to recover from the keeper so much of that amount as remains unpaid;”

    The Notice to Keeper that was received (Parking Charge Number ------------, dated ------------ of 2017) omits such information. I have included in my POPLA submission the two pages of the notice which confirms that such text is absent. The only instruction in this regard is as follows:

    “Please be advised that the driver of the motor vehicle is required to pay the parking charge in full. As we do not know the drivers name or current address, and if you were not the driver of the vehicle at the time, you should tell us the name and current postal address of the driver and pass this notice to them for payment.”

    Evidently, the operator has withheld from me (as the registered keeper) the required details of my liabilities in the event that the driver is not identified. This might be an omission on the part of the operator or a deliberate attempt to mislead, but regardless, the Notice to Keeper fails to comply with PoFA 2012 (section 9).
    As this operator has evidently failed to serve a compliant NTK, not only have they chosen to flout the strict requirements set out in PoFA 2012, but they have consequently failed to meet the second condition for keeper liability. Clearly I cannot be held liable to pay this charge as the mandatory series of parking charge documents were not properly elaborated.

    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

    The signs and the machine tariff board were contradictory and crowded with different terms, so this is not an example of ‘plain intelligible language’, contrary to the Consumer Rights Act 2015:
    68 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.
    It is submitted that the driver did not have a fair opportunity to read any terms involving this huge charge, which is out of all proportion and not saved by the dissimilar 'ParkingEye Ltd v Beavis' case where the terms were concise and far clearer with no tariff lists which is the primary prominent information on the board. In the Beavis case, the signs were unusually clear. The Supreme Court were keen to point out within hours of their decision that it related to that car park and those signs and facts only so it certainly does not supersede any other appeal/defence about a different car park:-


    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:


    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 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 2.6.16, 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 no larger than .40 font size going by this guide:


    As further evidence that this is inadequate notice, Letter Height Visibility is discussed here:


    ''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:


    ''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 half an inch, showing the terms and the 'charge' and placed high on a wall or pole or buried in far too crowded small print, is woefully inadequate in an outdoor car park. Given that letters look smaller when high up on a wall or 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 still need a stepladder (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:


    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.

    3) 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 the definition of the services provided by each party to the agreement

    Thank you in advance
    Last edited by lislislis; 10-05-2017 at 9:33 AM.
Page 1
    • lislislis
    • By lislislis 16th May 17, 6:35 PM
    • 5 Posts
    • 1 Thanks
    • #2
    • 16th May 17, 6:35 PM
    Any help please?
    • #2
    • 16th May 17, 6:35 PM
    Bumping this thread for request for help please?

    I have read the newbies thread and drafted this letter for popla, would be very grateful if anyone check it over for me please?

    I have looked in post no.3 of newbies, but cant see what is meant by 'No standing to bring charges in their own name'? Is this something I need?

    Thank you
    • Coupon-mad
    • By Coupon-mad 16th May 17, 7:44 PM
    • 45,809 Posts
    • 58,786 Thanks
    • #3
    • 16th May 17, 7:44 PM
    • #3
    • 16th May 17, 7:44 PM
    Yes that's fine because the appeal points he used are merely the templates you will have seen in post #3 of the NEWBIES thread, he copied them. That's why they are there. You should add the extra one about the appellant not being shown to be the individual liable (driver).

    Then upload your PDF appeal under 'OTHER' on the POPLA website and sit back and wait to win.

    Click on the trail, top of this page: Home>>Forums>Household & Travel>Motoring>Parking Tickets, Fines & Parking - read the 'NEWBIES' FAQS thread!
    DON'T read old advice to ignore, unless in Scotland/NI.

    • lislislis
    • By lislislis 17th May 17, 11:50 AM
    • 5 Posts
    • 1 Thanks
    • #4
    • 17th May 17, 11:50 AM
    • #4
    • 17th May 17, 11:50 AM
    Further point added and appeal submitted under 'other' as suggested.

    Many thanks! I will let the forum know of the response.
    • Fruitcake
    • By Fruitcake 17th May 17, 3:51 PM
    • 38,901 Posts
    • 77,629 Thanks
    • #5
    • 17th May 17, 3:51 PM
    • #5
    • 17th May 17, 3:51 PM
    Is the location covered by byelaws? It's a shame if it as and a byelaw appeal point was not used.

    However, it could be used to bolster point 3 at rebuttal stage if byelaws do apply, and it isn't cancelled by the scammers beforehand.
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