Parking Charge Notice

Sorry this is rather long. I recently got two PCNs at my local hospital in Colchester for 13 & 19 September. There is a massive amount of building work going on and main entrance temporarily moved to a different location and large white hoardings. It is mayhem!! Car park pay machines and signage obscured by hoardings and at that point no signage to pay machines whatsoever. Either Parking Eye unaware or just too lazy to try and redirect people to the machines (or perhaps saw an opportunity to make a great deal of money). On arrival car park entrance barriers broken and lying on ground, ticket machine not issuing tickets and also exit barrier broken off. Ticket machine has broken in the past and so along with many other people I did not see how I could pay if I had no ticket and also could not see any pay machines and couldn’t work out where they were so assumed car park was free. Conditions were exactly the same on both visits. I appealed both PCNs and Parking Eye let me off the first one (13 September) but decided that the 17 Sept one I had to pay. Total mystery as I had two friends visiting with me on 17 Sept and had arrived in their own cars and were faced with the same problems I encountered and couldn’t pay so also received PCNs. However, Parking Eye has dropped their PCNs but for some reason is continuing with mine? In my opinion this is totally unfair and inconsistent. So I appealed that one to POPLA. But POPLA found against me. Their Assessor has made 3 blatantly incorrect and untrue statements in her summing up. They say they won’t review their rulings, but surely if I complain that the Assessor has made untrue statements they would have to look into that? The way things are looking I have a feeling Parking Eye will take me to court if I don’t pay the £70, does anybody know whether the fact that they have let other people off for exactly the same mitigating circumstances - one of them being for exactly the same time I was there and the other an hour or so later - would be helpful for my case if I decided to fight it? Also one of my friends had a PCN for 19 Sept as well and they dropped that one too when she appealed. I am also going to see if the hospital will intervene.

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  • edited 1 December 2019 at 10:08AM
    MistyZMistyZ Forumite
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    edited 1 December 2019 at 10:08AM
    POPLA outcomes are inconsistent. All we can do at the POPLA stage is to produce the best appeal possible.

    The obvious thing to do is to complain to POPLA's lead adjudicator John Gallagher. Unfortunately I don't recall many instances (any?) in which he has helped one iota. However please do this. This thread may help (but also do a search for 'POPLA complaint John Gallagher' in case there are some particularly fitting examples to use and adapt):

    https://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/showthread.php?t=6027099&highlight=complaining+to+popla&page=6#topofpage

    Do you have photographs of the car park chaos? If not, and assuming things are still the same, get them ASAP for future reference / use. I would also embed photos illustrating the problems in a very strong complaint to PALS at the hospital. They do of course know what it's like there but ensure that they can't ignore the bleeding obvious.

    I don't know if the inconsistency would help at the court stage. What will help is building the best case possible. And writing a very clear complaint to John Gallagher will prepare for that in part, at the very least.
  • The_DeepThe_Deep Forumite
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    Have you read this?

    https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/nhs-patient-visitor-and-staff-car-parking-principles/nhs-patient-visitor-and-staff-car-parking-principles

    Have they fully complied? If not they are likely to struggle if this gets to court.

    [FONT=Times New Roman, serif][FONT=Times New Roman, serif]Nine times out of ten these tickets are scams, so consider complaining to your MP after the election, as it can cause the scammer extra costs and work, and has been known to get the charge cancelled.

    Parliament is well aware of the MO of these private parking companies, many of whom are former clampers, and on 15th March 2019 a Bill was enacted to curb the excesses of these shysters. Codes of Practice are being drawn up, an independent appeals service will be set up, and access to the DVLA's date base more rigorously policed, persistent offenders denied access to the DVLA database and unable to operate.

    Hopefully life will become impossible for the worst of these scammers, but until this is done you should still complain to your MP, citing the new legislation.

    [/FONT][FONT=Times New Roman, serif]http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2019/8/contents/enacted[/FONT][FONT=Times New Roman, serif]

    Just as the clampers were finally closed down, so hopefully will many of these Private Parking Companies.[/FONT][/FONT]
    You never know how far you can go until you go too far.
  • Thank you all. I have been up to the hospital concerned and taken photos as the building chaos definitely continues! I have written to the Head of Facilities at the Hospital as their name was published in the local paper this week because there was an article about the "disgraceful" confusion currently being experienced at this car park!!! I will take your advice and do some research and then complain to POPLA concerning the assessor's untrue statements. I don't hold out much hope they will alter their decision but like you say I can collate it all as evidence if I have to go to court. I have picked up that sometimes the court may deem the fact that POPLA has reviewed it as enough to not hear your side of the story? I keep wavering between just paying the charge and forgetting it, or fighting it. But the injustice and the fact that they are taking advantage of vulnerable people just infuriates me!!!! One day this total ripping off of motorists - and in particular visitors to a hospital who are only there because they have absolutely no choice - has got to be stopped. I will also write to my MP.
  • edited 1 December 2019 at 5:05PM
    FruitcakeFruitcake Forumite
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    edited 1 December 2019 at 5:05PM
    Please go back and hit enter a few times to break up the walls of text you have posted. I am having problems reading it and I'm sure others will have the same problem.

    Please tell us what the PoPLA assessor's untruths were. We see a lot of errors by the assessors, many of whom cannot count or do not understand the difference between days and working days.

    You won't be able to complain to your MP until after the election. If you get stopped by a prospective candidate you could bend their ears over this and even suggest your vote and that of your friends and family might depend on their answer.
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  • KeithPKeithP Forumite
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    Tess1000 wrote: »
    I have picked up that sometimes the court may deem the fact that POPLA has reviewed it as enough to not hear your side of the story?
    I can't recall anyone reporting that a Judge has said anything like "if PoPLA said it's so, it must be right".

    I may be wrong, but I cannot recall any court report on here where the Judge has commented at all on a PoPLA decision.
  • The_DeepThe_Deep Forumite
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    Neither can I.
    You never know how far you can go until you go too far.
  • Under the MSE advice on parking charges item titled “What are my options if my appeal is rejected” it says in final paragraph “It is worth noting that the court may take your previous appeal rejection into account, so a win may be harder”. That is what worried me a bit.
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