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ParkingEye PCN Lee Valley Ice Rink confusing 'free period'

As a newbie I'd like some pointers on what I think is a new scam development in signage from PE regarding both advertised 'free' or grace periods and the inclusion of this 'free period' in the parking time hourly/sessional rates. Has this become a common practice and I've just not noticed. 
My 'free' parking grace period of 20mins was nearly up as we negotiated with the Ice Rink to find our tickets to skate (free parking would then have been available). The online sale hadn't actually gone through from previous week and we'd ended up without tickets for a sold out session. As spectators now I rushed out and bought an hours parking through the App (phone).

I have the online guidance for customers from Lee Valley Centre re 20 mins free parking for pick up etc. This guidance is reflected in the signage on site attached.

I was in the car park for 1 hour 17 mins.
There is 20 mins grace/free.
I bought a ticket for 1 hr.
And when I appealled (not naming driver) was just told I'd not paid enough to cover the period.

I honestly was confused. In trying to unpick this I took further pictures of the signage on site.

The part in smaller writing about the 'free' period being part of the chargeable period is so perverse, confusing and contrary to the idea of 'free' that I feel it must be the basis of their rejection of my appeal.

I have been notified 'Time in Car park 1 hour 17 mins'. The paid parking session ended a few minutes after I exited the park.

Is this a new trend? Don't free periods have to work as standalone periods of time? And not force drivers to calculate back in time the exact moment they entered the carpark? 
Help very much appreciated before I submit POPLA!

(I'm complaining again to Lee Valley - was told they couldn't do anything first time I did so)

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Comments

  • troublemaker22
    troublemaker22 Posts: 404
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    Please show us the sign you’re talking about and also the front and back of the PCN (redacting your name, address, vehicle number and PCN reference but leaving all dates showing). There could be other grounds of appeal available at this location so come back for more advice before finalising your POPLA appeal.
  • Cyclemore24
    Cyclemore24 Posts: 8
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    Many thanks for the reply and help!!  - apologies, I forgot to attach the picture before rushing off to work.
    Signage. (I was not charging an EV, not my car in shots) Here are the images - I hope I have done this correctly.

    The initial PCN from Parkingeye.


    There was a subsequent 'Reminder' similar to the above on the front but rear is here

    Refusal of Appeal by PE 19th Jan


    Any help gratefully received. All the best
  • Fruitcake
    Fruitcake Posts: 57,985
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    edited 8 February at 9:25PM
    Nothing is new in the world of unregulated private parking companies referred to as rogues, scammers, and bloodsuckers by UK MPs across all parties.

    The signs are confusing and I believe on the balance of probabilities, a motorist would believe the paid for parking period began after the free 20 minute parking period.
    This is reinforced by the Consumer Rights Act 2015.

    Consumer Rights Act 2015 (legislation.gov.uk)

    69 Contract terms that may have different meanings

    (1)If a term in a consumer contract, or a consumer notice, could have different meanings, the meaning that is most favourable to the consumer is to prevail.

    (2)Subsection (1) does not apply to the construction of a term or a notice in proceedings on an application for an injunction or interdict under paragraph 3 of Schedule 3.


    Plan A is always a complaint from the keeper to the landowner and the keeper's MP, and it is never too late to do so.

    Plan B is an initial appeal, that you have already done.

    Plan C is either to appeal to PoPLA, or ignore and let a judge decide what the "man on the Clapham omnibus" would make of the signage.
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  • troublemaker22
    troublemaker22 Posts: 404
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    There’s a real possibility that this venue is on land where parking enforcement is governed by the Lee Valley Byelaws. If that’s the case, Parkingeye can’t hold the keeper liable because land on which parking enforcement is controlled by byelaws is excluded from the definition of ‘relevant land’ in the statute known as POFA. 

    I’ve raised this issue with the Lee Valley Park Authority and hope to get their response in time for your POPLA appeal deadline which you can treat as 20 February because POPLA keeps the appeal window open for at least 32 days after the date of the rejection letter rather than the advertised 28 days. 

    But this point will only help you if you haven’t given the game away in your initial appeal by revealing who was driving. 

    So please show us exactly what you wrote in your first appeal (suitably anonymised) and tell us whether you appealed as keeper or as driver or keeper and driver. 
  • Update - I found the Byelaws onlinehttps://www.leevalleypark.org.uk/byelaws

    The Lee Valley Ice Centre is named in Schedule 1 as one of the grounds to which the Byelaws apply generally by virtue of Byelaw 2.  As Byelaw 18 prohibits overnight parking in any such ground and Byelaw 57 imposes penalties for breaching any of the Byelaws, the Lee Valley Ice Centre is excluded from the definition of 'relevant land' in POFA.  Which means that Parkingeye cannot hold a keeper liable for any parking contravention and is limited to pursuing the driver if they can find out who was driving.

    The relevant provision in POFA is paragraph 3 which you can read here https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2012/9/schedule/4.

    Provided you haven't identified yourself as the driver in your initial appeal you have a strong argument for your POPLA appeal.

    Some of the POPLA assessors are not too bright when it comes to understanding POFA, so you will need to spoon feed them.  I'll be happy to offer some wording on the point if you haven't already given the game away by self-identifying as driving in the initial appeal.
  • Many thanks indeed for all your help Troublermaker22 and Fruitcake!

    I'm writing in much stronger terms to the Landowner and MP, and following your advice.

    I am struggling to find a copy of the exact wording I sent in. I had read about not identifying myself personally as the driver, but would have said 'we drove' etc, rather than 'The driver'. I hope that this is not seen in the eyes of the law as self-identifying as the driver, but merely as a participant in the story... given how I have recently read how appeals seem to be decided on semantics I am unclear now.( Unless I can demand the 'online paperwork' back from ParkingEye?)

    Would I have anything to lose by lodging an appeal on both grounds:
    a) that the Driver hasn't been identified with the Byelaw 3(4) - (even if I used 'we drove')
    (b) that the signage contravenes the Consumer Rights Act 2015 as being misleading and confusing. Particularly when the Landowner/IceRink's own website advises motorists as to a free period of 20mins- and including free periods in a chargable session is a confusing scam.
    (c) I used the initial 20 mins to establish that we had a void transaction for the iceskating and then came out to book an hours parking which we then correctly 'used'.


  • Coupon-mad
    Coupon-mad Posts: 129,267
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    Yes but c) should read: 'the occupants of the car used...' not "I".
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  • Troublemaker22 Thank you for your help above.
    " Update - I found the Byelaws online
    Some of the POPLA assessors are not too bright when it comes to understanding POFA, so you will need to spoon feed them.  I'll be happy to offer some wording on the point if you haven't already given the game away by self-identifying as driving in the initial appeal."

    If I upload an anonymised version perhaps you can scan over it? Or if you have some wording that would be a suitable framework, I'd be very grateful.
  • This is what I have pieced together from your excellent advice so far. Any thoughts very welcome please! 
    Some lines aren't indented/justified in the copy below, and I can't repost links you provided. 
    Since I'd refered to 'We drove' in the first appeal I continued in the 3rd person below. Even if this negates the keeper non-liability, I'm hoping that the points below (B) will be convincing re Consumer Rights.

    ---------------------------------

    (A) The driver not the keeper is liable.

    The keeper has received and initially appealed the PCN for Alleged contravention of the parking rules. Whilst being the keeper of X there is no acknowledgment that the keeper was the driver, whilst being parked in order to use the Lee Valley Ice Centre with his family. ‘We’ drove to the venue.  Parking enforcement at the Ice Centre is governed by the Lee Valley Byelaws. Parkingeye can’t hold the keeper liable because land on which parking enforcement is controlled by byelaws is excluded from the definition of ‘relevant land’ in the statute known as POFA.

    (All links added). Byelaws online. The LeeValley Ice Centre is named in Schedule 1 as one of the grounds to which the Byelaws apply generally by virtue of Byelaw 2.  As Byelaw 18 prohibits overnight parking in any such ground and Byelaw 57 imposes penalties for breaching any of the Byelaws, the Lee Valley Ice Centre is excluded from the definition of 'relevant land' in POFA.  Which means that Parkingeye cannot hold a keeper liable for any parking contravention.

    The relevant provision in POFA is paragraph 3 etc...3(1)In this Schedule “relevant land” means any land (including land above or below ground level) other than—

    (a)a highway maintainable at the public expense (within the meaning of section 329(1) of the Highways Act 1980);

    (b)a parking place which is provided or controlled by a traffic authority;

    (c)any land (not falling within paragraph (a) or (b)) on which the parking of a vehicle is subject to statutory control.


    (3)For the purposes of sub-paragraph (1)(c) the parking of a vehicle on land is “subject to statutory control” if any statutory provision imposes a liability (whether criminal or civil, and whether in the form of a fee or charge or a penalty of any kind) in respect of the parking on that land of vehicles generally or of vehicles of a description that includes the vehicle in question.

    (4)In sub-paragraph (3) “statutory provision” means any provision (apart from this Schedule) contained in—

    (a)any Act (including a local or private Act), whenever passed; or

    (b)any subordinate legislation, whenever made,and for this purpose “subordinate legislation” means an Order in Council or any order, regulations, byelaws or other legislative instrument.


    (B) Confusing signages and information displayed by both Operator (LeeValley Ice rink) and ParkingEye regarding the Free Anytime Drop off/pick up (up to 20 mins) period.

    The information provided on signages and online contravenes the Consumer Rights Act 2015 as being misleading and confusing. 

    The occupants of the car used the initial 20 mins to establish that we had a void transaction for the ice skating and then came out to book parking which was then correctly 'used'.

    • Confusion and lacking clarity given ParkingEye’s interpretation. This is true both when combining the sources of ‘advice’ as a potential user of the facility , and true when considering just the ParkingEye signage in the car park itself. 

    • As a motorist Landowner/IceRink's own website advises motorists as to a free period of 20mins. This makes no mention of the ‘inclusion of free minutes’ in the longer payable park sessions. 

    Image of Website

    • The ParkingEye signage is confusing, densely worded, located high up on lamposts and lists the FREE period of 20 mins at the top of the sign.

    • This is not designed to aid clear easy payment given the ‘clock’ starts the second the ANPR senses one. 

    Image of Carpark

    • We fully intended to adhere to the parking charges we’d researched online before attending the rebuilt site. Hence the purchase of a parking fee to cover the time from the purchase of the parking ticket. 

    • We bought a parking ticket once it had been established that we’d not got the skating session tickets as expected, due to an online purchasing error on our part. (We understood that only with valid skate-tickets there is free parking for 4 hours when a registration number is put into a terminal in the venue)

    • Since we were now nearly 20 mins into the drop off period, having been picked up by APNR at 14:26 and we had now become spectators, we hurried out to use the ‘paybyphone’ app. We left at 15:43, which with 3 mins left on the parking paid session we reasonably assumed was compliant. 

    IMAGE OF Paybyphone session

    • Reasonably interpreted the 20mins as a grace period allowing for drop off/pick up functions as the grace period normally given allowing for payment. A parking ticket was purchased on the paybyphone app to cover the rest of the time. The chargeable periods are listed - as is usual -in increasing hour blocks.

    • A free period is no longer free if it's part of a chargeable session. 

    • Backdating chunks of parking time is not normal practice for consumers. 

    • There is no clear way of knowing the time ParkingEye are constituting the beginning of the parking experience.

    • We believe this doesn’t constitute reasonable signage, we believe on the balance of probabilities, a motorist would believe the paid for parking period began after the free 20 minute parking period.

    • This is reinforced by the Consumer Rights Act 2015. (with subsection

  • Coupon-mad
    Coupon-mad Posts: 129,267
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    edited 14 February at 2:57PM
    Don't put 'we' in inverted commas!  Who is this to be sent to?  I'm unclear what this is.

    Never have a heading that says a party IS liable. This reads like an admission:

    "(A) The driver not the keeper is liable."

    Nonono!
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