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POPLA Decisions

edited 28 October 2016 at 9:29AM in Parking Tickets, Fines & Parking
4.2K replies 906.7K views
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  • AffywaffyAffywaffy Forumite
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    Hi. I made an appeal to POPLA for a parking charge notice which I believe to have been unfairly issued. I don’t remember seeing any signage to say the car park is now a pay&display. The last time I had visited was in August 2021. And my most recent visit was March 2022. Had I known o would have paid for parking which is £1.80. The parking charge notice is a charge for £100. My appeal has been rejected as the parking company have provided a contract between the landlord and themselves from January and photographs of the car park dating to Feb 2022. My argument regarding the disproportionate charge has also been denied and the assessor has stated £85 or in the region of is proportionate. Can you please advise what I can do with this now? Do I have to pay this charge or can I take other action? 
    Below is the response from POPLA.
    Decision
    Unsuccessful
    Assessor Name
    Natalie Matthews
    Assessor summary of operator case
    The operator has issued the parking charge notice (PCN) as unpaid tariff time.
    Assessor summary of your case
    The appellant’s case is that there was no signage on the date in question. There was no relevant parking terms and conditions anywhere which means a parking contract can’t be formed with the landowner and all tickets are issued illegally. The appellant added that there weren’t any payment machines on site and nor did any other vehicle have tickets displayed. The appellant states from conversations they had with the local business, they advised that the parking restrictions only came into force a week or two ago. The appellant calculates that this was around the 7th or 8th or March, which means this would be after the appellant's visit to the site. The appellant also added that they returned to the site and sure the signage wasn’t there as the signs are unmissable. The appellant added that their passenger could also confirm this. The appellant also feels that the charge is disproportionate and not a genuine pre-estimate of loss as well as being excessive. The appellant visited in August 2021 and there were no parking restrictions then. Had there have been signage they would have seen it and would have paid the fee as they have no issue with paying a fee. The appellant included photographic evidence of the car park and images over conversations with local businesses in relation to when the parking restrictions came into force.
    Assessor supporting rational for decision
    The appellant has identified as the driver of the vehicle on the day of the parking event. As such, I am considering the appellant’s liability for the PCN, as the driver. The operator has provided photographic evidence of the signage in place in the car park, which states: “This is a pay and display car park...All car park customers must pay for parking...Parking Tariffs Apply...Up to 2 hours £1.80...Failure to comply with the terms & conditions may result in a Parking Charge of: £100...” The operator has provided photographic evidence of the appellant’s vehicle entering the
     
     car park at 11:01 and exiting at 13:01 staying a total of 2 hours. The operator included photographic evidence of the car park site and where signs are located on site. The operator included a data sheet confirming no parking was purchased for the vehicle registration in question. I will now examine all the information provided to me by both the appellant and the operator to determine if it makes a material difference to the validity of the PCN. The appellant’s case is that there was no signage on the date in question. There was no relevant parking terms and conditions anywhere which means a parking contract can’t be formed with the landowner and all tickets are issued illegally. The appellant added that there weren’t any payment machines on site and nor did any other vehicle have tickets displayed. The appellant states from conversations they had with the local business, they advised that the parking restrictions only came into force a week or two ago. The appellant calculates that this was around the 7th or 8th or March, which means this would be after the appellant's visit to the site. The appellant also added that they returned to the site and sure the signage wasn’t there as the signs are unmissable. The appellant added that their passenger could also confirm this. The appellant visited in August 2021 and there were no parking restrictions then. Had there have been signage they would have seen it and would have paid the fee as they have no issue with paying a fee. I fully appreciate and empathise with the appellant. The British Parking Association (BPA) Code of Practice section 19.3 states “Specific parking-terms signage tells drivers what your terms and conditions are, including your parking charges. You must place signs containing the specific parking terms throughout the site, so that drivers are given the chance to read them at the time of parking or leaving their vehicle. Keep a record of where all the signs are. Signs must be conspicuous and legible, and written in intelligible language, so that they are easy to see, read and understand”. I am satisfied from the evidence provided that the signage at the site meets the requirements of the BPA Code of Practice and that the driver of the vehicle had sufficient opportunity to familiarise themselves with the terms and conditions. The signage clearly states, “This is a pay and display car park...All car park customers must pay for parking...Parking Tariffs Apply...Up to 2 hours £1.80...Failure to comply with the terms & conditions may result in a Parking Charge of: £100...”. Whilst I acknowledge the appellant feels the signs were not at the site on the date in question, I can see from the operator's photographic evidence that the signage was clearly there on 2 February 2022, which is a month before the date in question. This means that the local business are correct in their comments that the parking restrictions are very new, maybe a few weeks, however the photographic evidence from the operator proves that the signage was there from 2nd February 2022. The appellant provided photographic evidence of the Sangam Sign which is stated 02/03/22, but as there is no date on the actual image to support this, I am unable to determine what date this photographic evidence was taken. Furthermore, that image is only of a small part of the car park, the appellant hasn’t included any other images of the car park without signage in support of their appeal. The appellant also feels that the charge is disproportionate and not a genuine pre-estimate of loss as well as being excessive. The appellant has told us in their response that they consider the charge does not reflect the loss to the landowner and is therefore not a genuine pre-estimate of loss. This matter was considered at length by the Supreme Court in the case of ParkingEye v Beavis [2015] UKSC 67. In this case, the Court recognised that parking charges have all the characteristics of a penalty, but nevertheless were enforceable because there were legitimate interests in the charging of overstaying motorists. This “legitimate interests” approach moved away from a loss-based analysis of parking charges: “In our opinion, while the penalty rule is plainly engaged, the £85 charge is not a penalty. The motorists, it had a legitimate interest in charging them which extended beyond the recovery of any loss... deterrence is not penal
     
     if there is a legitimate interest in influencing the conduct of the contracting party which is not satisfied by the mere right to recover damages for breach of contract.” (paragraph 99) The Court did however make it clear that the parking charge must be proportionate: “None of this means that ParkingEye could charge overstayers whatever it liked. It could not charge a sum which would be out of all proportion to its interest or that of the landowner for whom it is providing the service.” (paragraph 100) It concluded that a charge in the region of £85 was proportionate, and it attached importance to the fact that the charge was prominently displayed in large lettering on the signage. While the specific facts of the case concerned a free-stay car park where the motorist had overstayed, I consider the principles that lie behind the decision remain the same. Taking these principles into account, I am not going to consider whether the loss is a genuine pre-estimate of loss or whether it reflects a correct loss to the landowner. Rather, I am going to consider the charge amount in the appellant’s case, as well as the signage. On this, I conclude the charge is appropriately prominent and in the region of £85 and is therefore allowable. Ultimately, it is the motorist’s responsibility to comply with the terms and conditions of the car park and on this occasion the appellant never paid for their parking on the date in question, they therefore did not comply with the terms and conditions. As noted within my report above, I have refused this appeal.
  • FruitcakeFruitcake Forumite
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    Which PPC?

    PoPLA decisions are not binding on the motorist, so no, you are not required to pay the charge unless a judge says so.

    You are now in ignore mode unless you get a court claim in the next six years. Come back to this forum if that happens.
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  • edited 29 April at 1:18AM
    Coupon-madCoupon-mad
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    edited 29 April at 1:18AM
    There is no argument that a parking charge is disproportionate to the loss, so that was bound to fail and should never be used in POPLA appeals or court defences. 

    You might have won it if you'd been able to evidence that the regulations and signs shown in their pics only changed in Feb 2022, merely 3 weeks or so before you parked, and the PPC breached the BPA CoP by failing to place additional very conspicuous and prominent signs at the entrance, clearly drawing the changes and fee for parking to the attention of local drivers who knew it was a free car park and would not expect to look for a contractual sign to read.

    Luckily, Initial Parking are not known for litigation and the industry will have their work cut out to adapt to the new statutory Code of Practice in the next year or three. 

    That - plus the fact the fake debt recovery 'fees' are banned in future under the Government's Code and declared to be 'designed to extort money from motorists' - should hopefully make court claims more of a last resort than the roboclaim intimidation and litigation 'first resort' rip off bully boy approach.

    Don't pay, of course!

    Read the NEWBIES FAQS thread and if you get a court claim, come back to your own thread:

    https://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/discussion/comment/79166622#Comment_79166622
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  • glengormsglengorms Forumite
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    Premier Park at Lamorna Cove car park decision May 2022 - thank you all

    Decision - Successful
    Assessor Name - Andy Prescott
    Assessor summary of operator case

    The operator has issued the parking charge notice (PCN) for whole period of parking not paid for.

    Assessor summary of your case

    The appellant’s case is that the PCN has not been issued in accordance with schedule 4 of the Protection of Freedoms Act (POFA), so keeper liability has not been established. They state loading and unloading is not representative of parking, and make reference to Jopson vs Homeguard. They state the payment machine card facility was not working resulting in frustration of contract. The appellant states there is inadequate signage, and that entrance 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 appellant states there is no evidence of landowner authority to issue PCN’s at this car park. They state there is no evidence of the period parked. The appellant states that the vehicle images in the PCN are not compliant with the BPA code of practice. The appellant has provided a document with full expansions to their appeal grounds including images of signage and the PCN.

    Assessor supporting rational for decision

    It is the parking operator’s responsibility to demonstrate to POPLA that it has issued a PCN correctly. In this case the appellant has stated the operator has not provided adequate notice of the sum of the PCN in their signage. The have challenged if the signage meets the expectations of ParkingEye Ltd vs Beavis, and have provided a direct comparison of the signage applicable to this case and that considered in ParkingEye Ltd vs Beavis. I note the signage they have shown is consistent with signage the operator has evidenced, placed near their payment machines on site. I reviewed these signs and must note the reference to a: “£100” PCN is written in a smaller font than the conditions that precede it, and is significantly smaller than the signage related to ParkingEye Ltd vs Beavis. This matter was considered at length by the Supreme Court. In this case, the Court recognised that parking charges have all the characteristics of a penalty, but nevertheless were enforceable because there were legitimate interests in the charging of overstaying motorists. This “legitimate interests” approach moved away from a loss-based analysis of parking charges: “In our opinion, while the penalty rule is plainly engaged, the £85 charge is not a penalty. The reason is that although ParkingEye was not liable to suffer loss as a result of overstaying motorists, it had a legitimate interest in charging them which extended beyond the recovery of any loss… deterrence is not penal if there is a legitimate interest in influencing the conduct of the contracting party which is not satisfied by the mere right to recover damages for breach of contract.” (paragraph 99) The Court did however make it clear that the parking charge must be proportionate: “None of this means that ParkingEye could charge overstayers whatever it liked. It could not charge a sum which would be out of all proportion to its interest or that of the landowner for whom it is providing the service.” (paragraph 100) It concluded that a charge in the region of £85 was proportionate, and it attached importance to the fact that the charge was prominently displayed in large lettering on the signage. While the specific facts of the case concerned a free-stay car park where the motorist had overstayed, I consider the principles that lie behind the decision remain the same. Taking these principles into account, I am going to consider the charge amount in the appellant’s case, as well as the signage. On this, I conclude the charge is not sufficiently brought to the attention of motorists on the signs and therefore it does not meet the expectations of ParkingEye v Beavis. As such, I cannot consider the evidence has rebutted the appellant’s grounds in relation to adequate notice, particularly as they have provided a direct comparison of the signage applicable to both cases. Therefore, I must allow this appeal. Whilst I note the appellant has raised other grounds in this case, as I have allowed the appeal for the reasons above, I will not be considering them.

  • UmkomaasUmkomaas Forumite
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    Well done. That's another POPLA decision that finds for the motorist because of the parking charge not being prominent a la PE v Beavis.  Others recently have been in relation to Euro Car Parks. 

    With the right wording of the POPLA appeal, and if, as is likely, these are their standard signs, this should see PP stuffed!

    New signs please! 😊
    Please note, we are not a legal advice forum. I personally don't get involved in critiquing court case Defences/Witness Statements, so unable to help on that front. Please don't ask. .
    I provide only my personal opinion, it is not a legal opinion, it is simply a personal one. I am not a lawyer.
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  • edited 1 June at 10:47AM
    dan37_dandan37_dan Forumite
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    edited 1 June at 10:47AM
    Parking at Orpington Station, APCOA Parking (UK) Ltd - Decision May 2022. 

    https://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/discussion/6340750/apcoa-keeper-driver-query/p1

    Decision
    Unsuccessful
    Assessor Name
    Richard Beaden
    Assessor summary of operator case

    The operator issued the penalty charge as the driver was parked in a permit holders area before the designated time without purchasing and or displaying a valid permit.

    Assessor summary of your case

    The appellant disputes that a compliant notice to keeper was served and has failed to show that it is pursuing the driver. The appellant dispute that the operator has the relevant authority from the landowner. The appellant disputes that the signage at the site is adequate. In their comments they advise that the signage does not comply with Appendix B. They also question which byelaws was breached in their comments they have raised queries regarding Section 24 (4). The appellant has provided two documents detailing their appeal which also contain images of the site. In their comments the appellant has also raised new grounds of appeal.

    Assessor supporting rational for decision

    Having reviewed this case, I can see that a penalty has been issued for a breach of the Railway Byelaws. The byelaws make the owner of a vehicle responsible for the charge, who the operator can assume is the registered keeper. I have seen no evidence that would lead me to conclude that the appellant is not the owner, and I am therefore going to be considering their responsibility as the vehicle owner under the Railway Byelaws. As the operator is not looking to transfer liability of the penalty charge it does not consider the provisions of PoFA 2012. 

    When entering a private car park, motorists are expected to comply with the rules and regulations. The operator has provided images of the signage laid out at the site. The rules and regulations of the site state: “Vehicles parked without authorisation or in breach of any of the following conditions may receive a Penalty Notice, which may be issued either manually or by post… Failure to park within a marked parking bay or causing an obstruction to other users… Charges for breach of these parking conditions: £100”. Further signage and road markings also warn drivers that they cannot parking in season permit bays before 9.30am Mon-Fri. 

    The operator has provided date and time stamped photographic evidence of the vehicle parked at the site. The vehicle was observed parked in a permit holders bay before 9.30am and as such the attendant issued the penalty charge as the vehicle was in breach of the rules and regulations The operator maintains a list of vehicles that have made a permit. The operator has provided a copy of this list that shows that when searching for the appellant’s vehicle it was not registered against a permit. But had purchased a normal ticket which was not valid when the driver parked. The operator issued the penalty charge as the driver was parked in a permit holders area before the designated time without purchasing and or displaying a valid permit. 

    The Railway Byelaws state in section 14, (3): “No person in charge of any motor vehicle, bicycle or other conveyance shall park it on any part of the railway where charges are made for parking by an Operator or an authorised person without paying the appropriate charge at the appropriate time in accordance with instructions given by an Operator or an authorised person at that place.” 

    The appellant disputes that a compliant notice to keeper was served and has failed to show that it is pursuing the driver. This Penalty Notice has been issued under the railway byelaws and as such the operator is holding the owner of the vehicle liable so has not used any of the provisions contained with The Protection of Freedoms Act 2012. 

    The appellant dispute that the operator has the relevant authority from the landowner. Section 7 of the British Parking Association code of practice requires the operator to hold a valid contract for the management of a site which it does not own. In this case the operator has provided an extract of a copy of a contract held with SE Trains Limited and confirms that this site is covered by this agreement. I am satisfied based on this information that the operator hold a valid contract to mange parking under byelaws in this location as an agent of the operator. 

    The appellant disputes that the signage at the site is adequate. In their comments they advise that the signage does not comply with Appendix B. Section 19 of the British Parking Association code of practice sets out the requirements for signage. Further requirements are contained within appendix B. Section 19.2 explains that the operator must have an entrance sign and Appendix B explains that the size of this sign must take into account the speed the driver is traveling. The operator and appellant have provided photograph evidence of the site and site maps. This shows that there is a clear entrance sign in the standard format. Section 19.3 explains that the signage at the site must be clear, easy to see and read. The evidence shows that there is signage placed throughout the site which is white with dark blue text. Further to this the amount of the penalty is clearly displayed. Railway Byelaws Section 14 (4) (i) explains that a driver may be liable to pay any penalty which is displayed in that area. In this case I am satisfied that the signage across the site meets the requirements of both the British Parking Association code of practice and the railway byelaws. 

    They also question which byelaws was breached in their comments they have raised queries regarding Section 24 (4). The operator has provided an examples of the penalty notice which was issued. This notice states that it was issued under Section 14 if the Railway Byelaws. Section 24 (4) explains that this must be recorded on the penalty and not on the signage at the site. Further to this it explains that the driver has the right to challenge the validity of the penalty in a court of law. This right is unaffected by the appellants appeal to POPLA. The appellant has provided two documents detailing their appeal which also contain images of the site. 

    I have considered the evidence and grounds of appeal above. In their comments the appellant has also raised new grounds of appeal. I cannot consider new grounds of appeal raised at the comment stage of the process. Ultimately, it is the motorist’s responsibility to ensure that they park in accordance with the rules and regulations on a privately operated car park. The evidence shows that the driver was parked in a permit holders bay without a valid permit before the time when this was permitted. POPLA’s remit is to determine whether the penalty charge has been issued correctly. On this occasion I conclude that the operator has correctly issued the penalty charge. Accordingly, I must refuse this appeal.

  • edited 1 June at 1:55PM
    Coupon-madCoupon-mad
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    edited 1 June at 1:55PM
    No worries.

    As it was a PENALTY charge they can't pursue this in small claims, unlike parking charge notices.

    It will time out 6 months from the incident unless SE Trains lay it before magistrates and fancy taking it further.  APCOA can't.
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  • edited 10 June at 1:40AM
    Chris4Chris4 Forumite
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    edited 10 June at 1:40AM
    Successfully appealed with POPLA

    Harlow Exchange - Short Stay Car Park

    ParkingEye

    Grounds for appeal: No signage from Station Approach entrance
  • jsmrtnjsmrtn Forumite
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    Successfully appealed with POPLA

    CP Plus / Group Nexus

    Operator withdrew parking charge

    https://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/discussion/6359863/cp-plus-pcn-ntk/p1
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