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POPLA rejected appeal, what do I do next?

Got a ticket from MET parking whilst charging car at an Instavolt charger in a macdonalds car park.
I left the premises for 10 mins to post a parcel whilst the car was charging, so it did not prevent anyone using that space and I did not overstay any time limits. Instavolt also wrote a letter confirming charging times on the car. And I did not linger about after charging.
Can I just add I've done the same thing 100s of times before and never got a fine.
There was inadequate signage, and the lettering was unreasonably small on any signs. Despite this POPLA have decided this was fair, which I am quite frankly shocked over.
What are my options?
I went bankrupt last March so I have no resources to take anyone to court, and also no resources for anyone to take off me either.
I would prefer not having a CCJ or anything like that on my file.
I'm just so angry that I could get fined whilst charging my car within a time frame allowed. So not fair!
Please help...

Comments

  • troublemaker22
    troublemaker22 Posts: 404
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    And you didn't get a "fine" this time either.  You got a letter from a private company. Private companies are not statutory authorities or courts and they have no powers to levy “fines”. They have sent you a demand for an alleged contractual charge that they have no way to enforce except by suing you for breach of contract in a civil court and winning the case.

    A loss at POPLA isn't binding on you.  You don't need to take them to court.  They might take you to court, in which case you can defeat them with paperwork by following the steps in the Newbies thread and the Template Defence thread.

    For us to advise in more detail you need to show us your POPLA appeal and outcome and both sides of the PCN (redact your name, address, vehicle number and Pall reference numbers but leave all dates showing).  It would be helpful also to see copies of the signage. 

    Apart from all that the most effective way to get a private PCN cancelled is to ask the business you were visiting to get it cancelled for you.  We call this "Plan A" .
  • I already asked Instavolt, so got the letter from them confirming my car charge and asking them not to charge me, didnt work obviously. I was not a customer of macdonalds, and the signs next to the charging were unreadable with the naked eye.
    Anyway, shall I just not pay them?
    Am I being unreasonable? Or is this just am appalling rip off?
  • And you didn't get a "fine" this time either.  You got a letter from a private company. Private companies are not statutory authorities or courts and they have no powers to levy “fines”. They have sent you a demand for an alleged contractual charge that they have no way to enforce except by suing you for breach of contract in a civil court and winning the case.

    A loss at POPLA isn't binding on you.  You don't need to take them to court.  They might take you to court, in which case you can defeat them with paperwork by following the steps in the Newbies thread and the Template Defence thread.

    For us to advise in more detail you need to show us your POPLA appeal and outcome and both sides of the PCN (redact your name, address, vehicle number and Pall reference numbers but leave all dates showing).  It would be helpful also to see copies of the signage. 

    Apart from all that the most effective way to get a private PCN cancelled is to ask the business you were visiting to get it cancelled for you.  We call this "Plan A" .
    Will upload popla appeal shortly
  • Let me give you some background first.

    On 24th August 2023 I was made homeless due to work drying up mid-July and not having enough money to pay my rent. I have been sofa surfing since, and the address where the car subscription has been registered is my sisters address, for the purpose of mail correspondence.

    I am a registered nurse on a few zero-hours contracts.

    I was in Feltham that day as I had to do an emergency house move to store my belongings at a friend’s house, and I had sold my roller boots to try and raise some money to eat.

    I went bankrupt in March 2023 due to a number of factors including repercussions of work availability during the pandemic and poor mental and physical health, along with some shocking side effects from medications that left me debilitated.

    The bankruptcy has prevented me from accessing any financial resources to buffer financial shocks.

    The car is a subscription which the official receiver has allowed me to maintain as I need it to access work, and it is free to charge at Instavolt charging stations. It allows me to be able to take any work offered and budget as everything is inclusive.

    As you can see from the cctv photos, I was carrying a large orange bag which contained the parcel of roller boots to be posted, and returned without it. Evidence of posting attached.

    I had no intention of being a McDonald’s customer, as a nurse I know how detrimental it is to physical and mental health, and would rather eat their tarmac than their food. I was solely an Instavolt customer, and I am already aware of their time restrictions in McDonald’s car parks. The last thing I was thinking about was searching for inadequate signage while I recharged the car and nipped off to post the parcel.

    I no longer have the car as of Nov 2nd due to the subscription company Onto going into administration. This will leave me in an impossible situation to take work, and my bankruptcy status prevents me getting another contract. It has also been pretty impossible getting any work as I’ve been sofa surfing across several different counties in the UK.

    Anyway, I have driven back to Feltham McDonald’s from the Northwest (400 mile trip to take this goddam photographic evidence) to go and check all the inadequate signage and send it in as evidence. Attached are the photos that show the signs next to the charging point and how the are not readable from the hedge. Pictures show other signs in the car park not located near the charging point. The clearer signs away from the charging point were not next to the charging point, and were for McDonalds customers only, and seeing as I was an Instavolt customer (evidence of charging also provided), why would I go round the whole car park hunting down signs that were not directly next to the instavolt charge?

    I am under XXXXX Council Homeless Team who are helping me find a home. I qualify for universal credit but sometimes don’t get anything if I get 1 shift per month, which happened last month and after paying for the car has left me with nothing for the month.

    I have suffered from generalised anxiety disorder and panic attacks all my adult life. This ridiculous fine is both unfair and detrimental to my health and wellbeing. I have no immediate way of paying it as I cant afford to eat. My next priority is transport to get to work if I can get any being ping-ponged across the UK from sofa to sofa, then finding a home. Everything is just impossible while I’m sofa surfing, so I will have to just keep appealing this until you lock me up, which will probably be a good thing as it will give me chance to have a proper breakdown under supervision.

    I’m no longer based at the last address due to my sister getting a divorce. I’ve had to cancel work that I set up as its way too far away from where I am now. This week I am at my mum’s house, XXXX, starting from scratch again.

    I have wasted 4 days of my life appealing this ridiculous charge, and I think you should start fining these criminal car parks for their insane restrictions, appalling signage that you can only read with superman laser eyes, what a waste of time and effort. Who in their right mind restricts a person leaving their car to charge whilst the nip and do an errand? What kind of world is this? Its not like I left the car for ages and it was wasting the charger space. God imagine if I started working like this as a nurse, weaving insane rules and charges on my patients. The Instavolt charge was paid for, no one died, god help you all, that’s all I can say.

    Signs next to the charging bay:

    Sign as read stood up against the hedge (cant read much of that):

    Sign with 10x zoom in on camera phone, no readable, but obviously not to the naked eye:

    Other signs across the car park from the charging bay, as taken from the charging bay so you can see they are not clear or differentiate from the one next to the charging bay:

    Close up of those signs:


  • Operator Name
    MET Parking Services - EW
    Operator Case Summary

    In the appeal to POPLA Miss XXX acknowledges leaving the premises whilst her vehicle remained on site. She states that she was not a customer of the restaurant and was solely on site to use the charging facilities. We are confident that there are sufficient signs in place in this car park and that the signs are prominently displayed and clearly state the terms and conditions. In Section E of our evidence pack we have included images of the signs in place and a site plan of the location. It remains the driver’s responsibility to check the signs where they park and comply with the stated terms and conditions. We are confident that our signage complies with all relevant legislation and regulations. The terms and conditions apply to all users of the site, including those using the charging bays. Though the charging facility is provided by InstaVolt, the land remains the property of the landowner and the terms and conditions of use of the car park still apply. Should POPLA not rule in Miss XXX favour, a payment plan can be arranged on the full balance of £100 by contacting our Customer Services team at [email protected] The terms and conditions of use of the car park are clearly stated on the signs prominently displayed at the entrance to and around the car park. These include that parking is for McDonald’s customers only and that drivers and passengers must remain on the premises while the vehicle remains in the car park. Please note that these terms and conditions apply to all users of the car park, which naturally includes customers of the restaurant. As the photographic evidence provided in Section E of our evidence pack demonstrates and the driver has acknowledged, the vehicle remained in the car park while the occupants left site on foot. It remains the driver’s responsibility to check the signs where they park and comply with the stated terms and conditions. In light of this we believe the charge notice was issued correctly and the appeal should be refused.

  • Decision
    Unsuccessful
    Assessor Name
    xxx
    Assessor summary of operator case

    The operator’s case is that the appellant’s vehicle was left in the car park whilst they left the premises.

    Assessor summary of your case

    For the purpose of my report I have summarised the appellant’s grounds into the following points, and have checked each point before coming to my conclusion. The appellant states that: • They were an Instavolt customer and left the site to post a parcel. • They were aware of the time restrictions in the car park so did not think about searching for further signage. • The terms and conditions signs next to the charging point are not readable. • There are clearer signs away from the charging point but were for McDonald’s customers only. • They did not see the need to go round checking other signs as they were an Instavolt customer. • They did not leave the car for a long time and waste a charger space. • They were declared bankrupt and are homeless. • The car has since been taken off them. • They suffer from generalised anxiety disorder and panic attacks. • POPLA should fine parking operators for insane restrictions and appalling signage. To support their appeal, the appellant has provided photographs of signs, a letter from Instavolt, a copy of their bankruptcy order, proof that they are homeless, and proof that they were selling rollerblades. This evidence has been considered in making my determination. After reviewing the operator’s evidence, the appellant has stated that they do not have any words for this insanity and that no one has any compassion.

    Assessor supporting rational for decision

    When assessing an appeal, POPLA considers whether the parking operator has issued the Parking Charge Notice (PCN) correctly and if the driver has complied with the terms and conditions for the use of the car park. In this case, the operator has issued the PCN as the appellant parked within the McDonald’s car park and left the site. Within their appeal, the appellant has explained that they were an Instavolt customer during their stay and left to go and post a parcel. To support this ground of appeal, the appellant has provided a letter from Instavolt and proof that they were selling rollerblades. Although it is appreciated that the appellant was a customer of Instavolt and I acknowledge their evidence to demonstrate this, they were still required to ensure that they had complied with the parking conditions. I note that the appellant left the site to post some rollerblades they were selling, but the terms and conditions state that parking is for customers whilst on site only. Further to this, the appellant has disputed the adequacy of the signage. They have explained that the signs near the charging point were not readable. They have stated that there were clearer signs away from the charging point but were for McDonald’s customers only and they did not see the need to check them as they were an Instavolt customer. Section 19 of the British Parking Association Code of Practice states that parking operators needs to have signs that clearly set out the terms of parking. Both the appellant and the operator have provided photographs of the signage at the site. In this specific car park, I can see that the terms and conditions state: “THIS CAR PARK IS FOR THE USE OF MCDONALD’S CUSTOMERS WHILE ON THE PREMISES ONLY….If you breach any of the above terms and conditions of use you will be charged: £100.” The operator has also provided a site map demonstrating the distribution of signs throughout the site. Having reviewed the evidence provided by both parties, I am satisfied that the signage is sufficient to bring the site’s terms and conditions to the attention of motorists. Irrespective of whether the appellant was a McDonald’s customer or not, the signs clearly state that motorists must not leave the site whilst their vehicle is parked there and I consider that there is adequate signage throughout the site, including near the chargers, to advise of this; the appellant’s own photographs demonstrate this. Additionally, the appellant has told POPLA that they were aware of the parking restrictions. Overall, I consider that the appellant was presented with a reasonable opportunity to review them before deciding whether to park. Additionally, I note that the appellant has also stated that POPLA should fine parking operators for insane restrictions and appalling signage. For the avoidance of doubt, POPLA’s role is solely to assess whether a PCN was issued correctly in accordance with the terms and conditions as stated on the signs; it is not within our remit to oversee the management of car parks or to punish parking operators. While I understand that the appellant believes that they did not waste a charger space and has questioned why the PCN was issued, the purpose of the restrictions is to ensure that parking is for McDonald’s customers only – it would appear that the chargers are for McDonald’s customers whilst dining in McDonald’s only. Furthermore, I note that the appellant has explained of their personal and financial circumstances in great detail. The appellant has provided a copy of their bankruptcy order and proof that they are homeless and explained that their car has recently been taken off them. The appellant has also stated that they suffer from generalised anxiety disorder and panic attacks. After reviewing the operator’s evidence, the appellant has stated that they do not have any words for this insanity and that no one has any compassion. I am sorry to hear of what the appellant is going through and I can fully appreciate that parking would not have been at the forefront of their mind. Although I sincerely empathise with the circumstances, these are not grounds in which I can allow this appeal. When looking at appeals, POPLA can only consider whether a PCN has been issued correctly in line with the terms and conditions of the site; POPLA simply cannot allow an appeal based on mitigating circumstances. After reviewing the appellant’s appeal, I have referred the case back to the parking operator, explaining the circumstances surrounding the parking event and to request that it considers cancelling the PCN. It is the parking operator’s decision whether to cancel a PCN or not. In this case, the parking operator has said that it wishes to pursue the charge. Therefore, I can only assess the appeal based on the evidence provided. Should the appellant require any financial advice or assistance with their circumstances, they can contact Citizens Advice at www.citizensadvice.org.uk or by phone on 08082231133. After considering the evidence from both parties, I can only be satisfied that the appellant parked within the McDonald’s car park and left the site and therefore did not comply with the terms and conditions of the site. As such, the parking charge has been issued correctly and I must refuse the appeal.

  • Coupon-mad
    Coupon-mad Posts: 129,269
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    edited 6 January at 10:00PM
    You just ignore MET.

    Do not do anything unless you move house.

    If you get a court claim come here and you'll win anyway.  No risk. Yes the industry is rotten.  Of course you don't pay.
    PRIVATE 'PCN'? DON'T PAY BUT DON'T IGNORE IT (except N.Ireland).
    CLICK at the top of this/any page where it says:
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