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POPLA Appeal - Athena ANPR

Hi guys,

I was looking for a little bit of help on putting my POPLA appeal through. I appealed to ANPR on the grounds that we were 21 mins over on the parking time and that the charge was just over the top.
I've looked at the pre written appeal letter links for ANPR but I'm confused as to which sections to use. Do I appeal on all grounds or just the one I raised in my initial appeal to ANPR?

Any help you could provide I'd appreciate it

Replies

  • da_ruleda_rule Forumite
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    You should use them all, as long as you cover 'no genuine pre-estimate of loss', 'no contract with land owner', 'no standing' etc then you will win at POPLA.
  • ColliesCarerColliesCarer Forumite
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    I think Athena might not be a breach of contract PPC but use contractual terms - so you may need help extra help with your draft POPLA appeal Flossy.
    Do you have photos of the signs you could post up and a picture of both sides of the parking charge notice you were sent that you could post up the links to - make sure you blank out any personal details.
    As you are a NEWBie you won't be able to include the full links but just leave off the http:// bit
  • edited 2 April 2014 at 12:38PM
    Coupon-madCoupon-mad
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    edited 2 April 2014 at 12:38PM
    You can show us your draft POPLA appeal wording here first if you want feedback. Athena ANPR sometimes use signs that don't suggest the charge is for breach of contract, so make sure you go heavily on the 'no landowner contract' point as well (a site agreement or witness statement from a random person at Lidl who has never seen the contract terms, is not enough).

    Why not search this forum for 'Athena' or 'Lidl' as a keyword, to see how others have worded their Athena POPLA appeals? There are lots of threads.
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  • edited 29 April 2014 at 8:11PM
    Flossy1208Flossy1208 Forumite
    4 Posts
    edited 29 April 2014 at 8:11PM
    Hi guys,

    Really sorry for the delay in responding to your kind responses. Had a hectic month with a new arrival and various other things. Unfortunately this meant I went with the stock POPLA appeal for Athena.
    They've today sent me all the evidence they have regarding the fine and I've drafted a response for POPLA to consider.
    Now I'm having trouble uploading the pictures etc the sent to any help with how to do that is welcome however I've pasted below their letter correspondence and my draft response. Can you give me any feedback please?

    Section B: Case Summary and Conditions
    POPLA Appeal:
    Registered Keeper:
    1. This appeal relates to the Lidl supermarket car park at;
    Peel Street, Barnsley, South Yorkshire S70 2RE
    2. Parking at this site is charged for at a rate of £90 for all periods exceeding 90 minutes.
    3. According to our records a vehicle with the registration xxxxxxxx used this car park for a period
    of 1 hour 51 minutes and 37 seconds, thereby entering the charging period.
    4. There are signs which clearly display these conditions as shown in Section F Images, plans etc.
    5. The sequence of events is as follows:
    • xxxxxxx Entered Car Park 27/02/14 11:46:53
    • xxxxxxx Exited Car Park 27/02/2014 13:38:30
    • Parking Charged at £90 following: 01:30:00 stay
    • Duration of Stay: 01:51:37
    • Application to DVLA for registered keeper details: 28/02/14
    • DVLA Response to us: 03/03/14
    • Parking Charge Notice xxxxxx Issued to Registered Keeper: 04/03/14
    6. The Appellant appealed to us, (Section E) and following our rejection of this appeal, to POPLA. In
    doing so;
    • The Appellant has not denied being the registered keeper.
    • The Appellant has not denied being the driver at the time in question, although this has not
    been admitted either.
    • The Appellant has not denied the length of stay.
    • The Appellant has not claimed to be unaware of any signage illustrating the contractual terms
    of usage of this private land.
    • The Appellant has made no claims as to the visibility of the signage on this site.
    • The Appellant has, however, made a claim that Athena is attempting to impose an unlawful
    penalty, which we dispute.
    • The Appellant does not claim to have not understood the clearly signed rules which apply on
    this private land
    7. There are very many signs positioned throughout this site and we try to make our signs as visible
    as possible. The terms and conditions signage measure out at 80cm x 60cm, whilst our Entrance
    Signage exceeds the standards of Appendix B Entrance Signs of the BPA Code of Practice and
    measures at 60cm x 45cm.
    8. Parking restrictions apply 24 hours per day and this is clearly stipulated on the 16 signs around the
    car park. These signs refer to all areas of the car park and we have attached a plan showing their
    location.
    9. The Appellant had a full 90 minutes to read and consider the parking terms displayed on the 16
    signs that are prominently displayed throughout the site, giving notice to an area of 130 parking
    spaces, which gives a ratio onsite of roughly 1 sign to every 8.1 spaces. There are very clear
    entrance signs in place, directly in the view of the driver as they drive onto the site. It is impossible
    to enter or exit the car park and/or use the shopping facilities on-site without seeing the signage in
    place. The Appellant had a full 90 minutes to decide whether to stay in the car park and continue
    to use it during the charging period or whether to leave it before the charging period began and
    not incur a charge. The Appellant had every opportunity to make a reasoned and carefully
    considered decision whether to leave this private property, avoid the clearly signed charge and to
    park elsewhere, thereby preventing the issuing of the charges arising in the first place.
    10. Athena ANPR Ltd have a contract with Lidl UK Gmbh (who are the owner of the land in question),
    which authorises us to issue parking charges, to enforce those charges and to pursue any nonpayment
    of those charges. This arrangement is specifically allowed under the Protection of
    Freedoms Act 2012. Our contract is commercially confidential but we have attached a letter
    (Section G Other Evidence) from Lidl UK Gmbh to confirm it is in place and that we are authorised
    to issue parking charges.
    11.We maintain that the Appellant entered into a contract with Athena ANPR Ltd by virtue of the very
    clearly displayed car park signage and consequently is liable for the parking charge. Our contract
    with the landowner allows us to act as their agent. The landowner is offering the option to park on
    their private land, subject to a charge of £90 for parking periods which exceed 90 minutes and
    they employ us to collect those charges.
    12. Athena ANPR are not seeking damages as a result of breach of contract. We are in fact seeking
    to enforce that contract. We are seeking payment of a charge which the Appellant incurred as a
    result of parking a vehicle on this private land, which is clearly signed and in which they had 90
    minutes to leave before the charging period commenced, but which the Appellant then chose not
    to do. We believe that the Appellant has in fact created this situation, at the very least by acting
    without reasonable due care.
    13.We also maintain that the charge is not excessive, particularly when the Appellant could have paid
    the clearly signed discounted rate of £45 for early payment, or could have made representations
    to us at any point outlining any mitigating circumstances in their favour, which we would have
    sympathetically and reasonably considered. Regardless, an offer was clearly made of parking for
    a period of longer than 90 minutes which would incur the charge we issued. The Appellant parked
    a vehicle in the car park, thereby agreeing to the contractual terms and conditions displayed on
    the signs, which include the specific wording: “Anyone entering with or using a vehicle and
    remaining in this car park hereby agrees in full the terms and conditions of use and is contractually
    agreeing to abide by them and to pay the charges as described below”. This included the
    condition that parking for longer than 90 minutes incurred an agreed charge of £90.
    14. Information as to who the creditor is can be clearly found on the reverse of the Parking Charge
    Notice and the appellant has also entered into communication/correspondence with the creditor.
    The appellant freely admits that the “operator requires a payment to Athena ANPR”. To suggest
    that this is or was not clear, would intimate that the appellant was merely looking at another option
    to avoid the payment of the charge.
    15. Our systems are networked and are checked internally as regards of general operations, accuracy
    and image quality daily. Each individual event is also verified by two separate members of staff
    prior to any charges being raised. There were no issues as regards this event. The ANPR system
    that we use is rated to the BOF2 standard and is also in use with many UK Police forces. Our
    systems are also subject to normal planned and reactive maintenance inspections and our
    equipment is maintained to BS EN ISO 9001:2008 (Monitoring and measurement of processes
    8.2.3 and Monitoring and measurement of product 8.2.4) – please see attached our most recent
    ISO 9001 Certificate of Registration (Section G – Other evidence).
    16. We have attached a copy of our fully compliant ICO Registration for the sake of completeness
    although this has no bearing whatsoever on the facts of this event. (Section G – Other evidence).
    17. Finally if the Appellant was not the driver then, because they have not confirmed who the driver
    was within 28 of the service of Notice to Keeper, under schedule 4 of The Protection of Freedoms
    Act 2012 they must be responsible for payment.
    To summarise:
    • We are enforcing agreed charges rather than seeking a breach of contract.
    • We have identified ourselves as the creditor in all correspondence to and from the
    appellant.
    • Our contract allows us to act as an agent of the landowner and we have provided evidence
    to that effect.
    • The Appellant has not disputed any of the facts of this case concerning the actual
    circumstances of being on this private land for longer than the allowed time, as per our
    paragraph 6 above.
    • We have exceeded the requirements set out in the BPA Code of Practice in ensuring that
    our equipment is in working order and have


    In response I've written....



    Dear Popla

    In response to the recent ‘Evidence’ issued by Athena ANPR to you regarding the appeal submitted for the unlawful parking charge issued against my vehicle I would like to draw your attention to a couple of issues with their ‘evidence’

    In my appeal to you, I raised the point that Athena ANPR have No authority to levy charges. I contest the evidence they’ve supplied to you on the below grounds...
    • The letter which Athena hold on file giving ‘authority’ to issue parking fine on property owned by Lidl is signed by a member of staff who is not a named signatory for the business (opencorporates.com/companies/gb/FC017929[) and therefore has no right to issue Athena with any form of authority to issue charges.
    • The letter itself states that Athena has the authority to ‘manage parking arrangements at some of our properties’. It does not specifically state they have authority (however irrelevant in the case of Mr Rendells non director status within the business) to issue ‘fines’ at the branch located on Peel Street in Barnsley.
    • The letter is also dated March 2013, almost a year older than their claim.
    • I do not accept this as satisfactory evidence to confirm they have the right to issue these charges on behalf of the landowner, they have created a supposed contractual barrier in an attempt to hide their unlawful claim. The reality is, the landowner is the only person who can authorise this type of activity and I see nothing in the evidence supplied to prove they have the right to act as agent to the landowner.

    Athena state they are ‘clearly’ listed at the Creditor on the reverse of the Notice to Appellant
    • Athenas documentation needs to specifically state that they are the creditors for which payment is due. However looking at the document repeatedly I cannot find words to this effect, just a list of ways in which to provide them with money. As such I feel the point I raised that they are not correctly listed as the creditor is valid and should be upheld
    I also raised that no contract was formed
    • Athena have provided you with lots of photos of signage dotted about the car park however the BPA code of conduct states that there must be clear and accurate signage as you enter the car park to enforce implied contract.


    Looking at their evidence states that image 1 is the ‘appropriate signage as you enter the car park’. I would contest this on the basis that if you look at the location of the signage on the supplied map it is well within the confines of the car park. I would contest that a more appropriate location for contractual purposes would actually be at the entrance as shown in the pictures of the vehicle entering and exiting the car park. As you can see from those pictures there is no clear evidence of any signage in that position.
    Athena state that they gave myself as the registered keeper an opportunity to pay a reduced charge of £45.
    • As you can see from the letter they issued there was an option to pay a reduced charge however the amount still exceeds anything that can be deemed as a reasonable amount to pay for any additional time which may or may not have been spent in the car park.
    I question how much if any loss was suffered by Lidl. Athena ANPR have failed to provide you with any proof that the amount they have requested whether it be the reduced/full charge is ‘reasonable’ or that any loss was Infact incurred by the land owner.
    In addition to this, the letter Athena issued on 27/3/14 states that the reduced fee payment deadline was 27/3/14 yet in their original communication it states the reduced fee is only available for 14 days. They have listed this as the 18/3/14. Although the 27/3/14 is after the date listed on their demand it still means their paperwork is inconsistent and confusing on the payment time allowances. I feel further adding to the list of glaring errors in their attempt to impose fines against my vehicle.
  • Coupon-madCoupon-mad
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    Looks like a really good response from you to POPLA. I was about to post words to this effect but then saw you had spotted it:

    ''The letter itself states that Athena has the authority to ‘manage parking arrangements at some of our properties’. It does not specifically state they have authority (however irrelevant in the case of Mr Rendells non director status within the business) to issue ‘fines’ at the branch located on Peel Street in Barnsley.''

    I recall a POPLA appeal won by an appellant on the above basis - the Assessor pointed this out almost exactly as you've stated there.


    :)
    PRIVATE 'PCN'? DON'T PAY BUT DON'T IGNORE IT (except N.Ireland).
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    Forum Home»Motoring»Parking Tickets Fines & Parking - read the NEWBIES THREAD
  • edited 30 April 2014 at 12:56AM
    ColliesCarerColliesCarer Forumite
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    edited 30 April 2014 at 12:56AM
    Hi Flossy,

    Congratulations on the new arrival :)

    You can post links by leaving off the http:// part

    Very good letter to POPLA - obviously on the ball.

    If by the stock appeal you mean the one by OP Diva0804 then you may need to add extra in your letter to deal with their claim it is a contractual fee along the lines of:

    This charge is not a contractually agreed sum – it is a disguised breach of contract. If this charge was a contractually agreed fee the sign would been worded to offer various durations of parking at various costs. In addition a payment mechanism would have been provided on-site and a VAT invoice supplied. This is not the case here.

    Also check your rejection letter as another OP dealing with Athena/Lidl had the following statement "There are sufficient number of signs in the car park, which clearly state that if you fail to comply with the terms you will be liable to pay a parking charge" in theirs.

    If this is also in yours add this second paragraph to you letter too

    In their letter to me rejecting my appeal they state "There are sufficient number of signs in the car park, which clearly state that if you fail to comply with the terms you will be liable to pay a parking charge". The words "fail to comply" indicate the charge is in fact a sum sought as damages for an alleged breach of contract and therefore the charge must be a genuine pre estimate of loss.

    The thread for the OP mentioned above is linked below if you want to take a look at that recent Athena/Lidl POPLA along with links to photos of the signage

    http://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/showthread.php?t=4952698&highlight=minimii
  • Thanks so much for your feedback guys. I'll try an uploade the pics so you can take a little look at it but I'm confident that they're clutching at straws with their evidence here!
  • Pleasingly today I received a response from POPLA confirming I've won the appeal on the basis that the letter did not specify that Athena have authority to issue charges at the Lidl in question.
    Very pleased with this outcome, thanks for your feedback guys :)
  • ColliesCarerColliesCarer Forumite
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    Hi Flossy,
    Congratulations on your win. When you get a chance could you post up the wording of the full assessment and the name of the assessor on the POPLA decisions thread to help others dealing with Athena.

    http://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/showthread.php?t=4488337

    Many thanks
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