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  • FIRST POST
    • Pix71
    • By Pix71 6th Jan 18, 6:30 PM
    • 3Posts
    • 7Thanks
    Pix71
    Aldershot Centre for Health Smart Parking Ltd PCN
    • #1
    • 6th Jan 18, 6:30 PM
    Aldershot Centre for Health Smart Parking Ltd PCN 6th Jan 18 at 6:30 PM
    Sorry for posting a new thread, I'm new here and have read "**NEWBIES!! PRIVATE PARKING TICKET? OLD OR NEW? **READ THESE FAQS FIRST!**" but it's a bit of a case of information overload and I'm finding it very confusing. I cannot tell if it's worth appealing to POPLA because we've already challenged the PCN with Smart Parking and they have upheld the PCN.

    On 05/12/17 we received a PCN for £100, (£60 if paid within 14 days), in the post from Smart Parking. It was dated 01/12/17 and it alleges that we breached the advertised T's and C's within Aldershot Centre for Health on 23/11/2017. It states "By either not purchasing the appropriate parking time or by remaining at the car park for longer than permitted, in accordance with the terms and conditions set out in signage, the Parking Charge is now payable to Smart Parking Ltd (as the Creditor)."

    My wife parked the car when taking our son to an orthodontist appointment and she definitely paid to park. She remembers paying £1.20 for two hours parking, as does our son, unfortunately she paid cash and we don’t have the ticket longer, (who keeps parking tickets?!?). Therefore on 06/12/17 I challenged the PCN online via Smart Parking's website, stating that my wife clearly remembered paying £1.20 for two hours parking.

    We heard nothing for a month and then today a letter arrived dated 03/01/2018. It's very long but in a nutshell is says that they've considered the appeal in detail and decided to uphold the PCN as they believe it was correctly issued in accordance with the displayed T's and C's. It says;

    “We note the comments in your appeal on behalf of the driver, advising that when visiting the site in question on the day of contravention, you had purchased a ticket for your vehicles stay. Please be advised that having thoroughly checked our payment system we can confirm that there was no payment for the full and correct Vehicle Registration Mark (VRM) of ‘<OurCarReg>’ for the 74 minutes that the vehicle was on site, which subsequently resulted in no payment being assigned for the correct VRM. As a result, we can only determine that you entered the incorrect VRM into the payment machine.”
    (Please note I have deliberately not included our actual VRM above although it was on the letter.)

    I believe the problem probably was that we have recently purchased a new car and my wife could not remember the VRM. She could not see the car from the ticket machine so she asked our 8 year old son to walk to where he could see the vehicle and call out the VRM so she could enter it into the machine. Even Smart Parking’s letter admits an incorrectly entered VRM is the most reason for this problem.

    My issues are;

    • If Smart Parking have thoroughly checked their records then they must be able to see a similar VRM for a car that has not entered the car park.
    • Technology is such that their machines should not allow anyone to enter the VRM of a vehicle that has not entered the car park. For example other car parks that I’ve visited bring up an image of your car and ask if it is correct before you proceed.
    This being the case Smart Parking is clearly profiteering from a genuine mistake!

    The letter we received today offers to extend the ‘discounted’ period until 18/01/2017 meaning we still ‘only have to pay’ £60 if we pay up quickly. The trouble is I really don’t feel the PCN is justified, if we had deliberately contravened the T’s and C’s I would happily pay however my wife did everything she could to comply and made a simple, genuine mistake that anyone could make and probably lots of people do. I don’t want to bow down to Smart Parking’s bully boy tactics however I’d rather not pay £100 if we can pay just £60. The letter we received today says we can appeal to the Independent Appeals Service POPLA but is it worth it? Do we have grounds for or any chance of winning an appeal?

    Any help or advice would be very much appreciated!
Page 1
    • Redx
    • By Redx 6th Jan 18, 6:38 PM
    • 18,327 Posts
    • 23,212 Thanks
    Redx
    • #2
    • 6th Jan 18, 6:38 PM
    • #2
    • 6th Jan 18, 6:38 PM
    it is always worth appealing , especially as the sum was paid, but the chances are that an incorrect VRM was input into the payment machine and this triggered the original pcn

    as for "who keeps parking tickets ?" - read this blog by MSE on that very subject some 9 months ago

    https://www.moneysavingexpert.com/team-blog/2017/05/30/throwing-pay-display-ticket-away-use-cost-100/

    however , your best bet is to complain to the landowner and get a cancellation
    Newbies !!
    Private Parking ticket? check the 2 sticky threads by coupon-mad and crabman in the Parking Tickets, Fines & Parking Board forum for the latest advice or maybe try pepipoo or C.A.G. or legal beagles forums if you need legal advice as well because this parking forum is not about debt collectors or legal matters per se
    • Umkomaas
    • By Umkomaas 6th Jan 18, 7:27 PM
    • 17,986 Posts
    • 28,477 Thanks
    Umkomaas
    • #3
    • 6th Jan 18, 7:27 PM
    • #3
    • 6th Jan 18, 7:27 PM
    In parallel with complaining to the landowner, don!!!8217;t lose the opportunity to get this cancelled via an appeal to POPLA.

    If you!!!8217;ve tried to read the entire NEWBIES sticky it!!!8217;s small wonder you!!!8217;ve hit an information !!!8216;wall!!!8217;. For your POPLA appeal, you only need to concentrate on post #3 (and #5 if there!!!8217;s an acronym you don!!!8217;t understand). In post #3 there are ready written template appeal sections which are sufficiently generic for you to simply copy and paste to form the basis of a long, detailed POPLA appeal.

    In addition to the sticky templates, do some forum searches (see below) using the search term !!!8216;Smart POPLA!!!8217; and have a look at some recent examples, and use any additional sections from those (obviously have to be relevant to your parking event - don!!!8217;t blindly copy and paste) to add to your appeal. Only look at those appeals that have been written in the past 6 months.

    HOW TO USE SEARCH

    Use the Forum Jump button (one near the top and one near bottom of this page) to get back to the forum thread list. Just above the threads, on the right, is a heading along a line, next to forum tools, called 'Search this Forum'. Put your key word(s) in and change the default search from 'Show Threads' to 'Show Posts'.
    When Smart see a !!!8216;kitchen-sink!!!8217; appeal (long and detailed) they tend to cancel before they have to deal with it at POPLA. So there!!!8217;s every incentive to put the effort in at this crucial stage. If you don!!!8217;t get it killed off now, that!!!8217;s the end of the line and you could have Smart Parking nagging away and possibly instigating court action for 6 years. When I say !!!8216;end of the line!!!8217;, I mean in terms of appeals - it doesn!!!8217;t mean you pay the charge (even if you were to lose at POPLA).

    Let us see your POPLA draft for critique and fine tuning.
    Last edited by Umkomaas; 06-01-2018 at 9:02 PM.
    We cannot provide you with a silver bullet to get you out of this. You have to be in for the long run, and need to involve yourself in research and work for you to get rid of this. It is not simple. We will help, but can't do it for you.

    Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day; show him how to catch fish, and you feed him for a lifetime.
    • Pix71
    • By Pix71 28th Jan 18, 8:14 PM
    • 3 Posts
    • 7 Thanks
    Pix71
    • #4
    • 28th Jan 18, 8:14 PM
    Success!
    • #4
    • 28th Jan 18, 8:14 PM
    Hello Redx and Umkomass, first and foremost thank you both for your replies, they really were very helpful and I'm pleased to report SUCCESS! The PCN has been rescinded. What’s more I didn’t even get as far as doing the POPLA. I’ve been incredibly busy at work, often doing 50 or 60 hours a week therefore I decided to prioritise contacting the landowner.

    Here’s a brief outline of what I did, just in case it’s useful for anyone else in a similar situation;


    • Aldershot Centre for Health is operated by Frimley Health NHS Foundation Trust so I firstly contacted the Trust through the “Contact us” form under where it says “Compliments, complaints and anything else you want to tell us” on the “Get in touch” page of their website.
    • The next morning I received the following reply from the Trust’s PALS Co-ordinator.

      “As a Trust we rent space for clinics at the centre and do not have any control over the facilities there. The management of the car parking at Aldershot is covered by Smart Parking however the site itself is managed by NHS Property Services. The only email address I have is information@property.nhs.uk they may be able to help you further."


    • I therefore emailed my complaint to the email address provided and I copied the PALS Co-ordinator on this email as I felt it was important they were aware of my issues. This email actually bounced back with instructions to re-send the email to customer.service@property.nhs.uk which I did, once again copying the PALS Co-ordinator on the communication.
    • This is the email text I sent to customer.service@property.nhs.uk


    “To whom it may concern;

    I wish to complain in the strongest terms possible about a PCN issued by Smart Parking Ltd at Aldershot Centre for Health, Hospital Hill, Aldershot GU11 1AY. I have tried challenging this decision via Smart Parking Ltd’s website however they have upheld the PCN. I am therefore requesting that you instruct Smart Parking Ltd to cancel the PCN because, as Smart Parking Ltd’s client and the landowner, you have the ability to do this.


    The PCN number is xxxxxxxxxx, it was dated 01/12/17 and we received it on 05/12/17. It alleges that we breached the advertised T's and C's within Aldershot Centre for Health on 23/11/2017. It states "By either not purchasing the appropriate parking time or by remaining at the car park for longer than permitted, in accordance with the terms and conditions set out in signage, the Parking Charge is now payable to Smart Parking Ltd (as the Creditor)."


    My wife parked the car when taking our son to an orthodontist appointment and she definitely paid to park. She remembers paying £1.20 for two hours parking, as does our son, unfortunately she paid cash and we no longer have the ticket, (who keeps parking tickets?!?). Therefore, on 06/12/17 I challenged the PCN online via Smart Parking's website, stating that my wife clearly remembered paying £1.20 for two hours parking.


    We heard nothing for a month and then earlier this week a letter arrived dated 03/01/2018. It's very long but in a nutshell is says that they've considered the appeal and decided to uphold the PCN as they believe it was correctly issued in accordance with the displayed T's and C's. It says;


    “We note the comments in your appeal on behalf of the driver, advising that when visiting the site in question on the day of contravention, you had purchased a ticket for your vehicles stay. Please be advised that having thoroughly checked our payment system we can confirm that there was no payment made for the full and correct Vehicle Registration Mark (VRM) of ‘xxxxxxx’ for the 74 minutes that the vehicle was on site, which subsequently resulted in no payment being assigned for the correct VRM. As a result, we can only determine that you entered the incorrect VRM into the payment machine.”


    I believe the problem probably is that we have recently purchased a new car and my wife could not remember the VRM. She could not see the car from the ticket machine so she asked our 8 year old son to walk to where he could see the vehicle and call out the VRM so she could enter it into the machine. Even Smart Parking’s letter admits an incorrectly entered VRM is the most likely reason for this problem.


    My complaints are as follows;
    1. If Smart Parking have thoroughly checked their records then they must be able to see a similar VRM for a car that has not entered the car park.
    2. Technology is such that Smart Parking Ltd’s machines should not allow anyone to enter the VRM of a vehicle that has not entered the car park. For example other car parks in Aldershot that we visit bring up an image of your car, sometimes even if you only enter a partial VRM, and ask if it is correct before you proceed.
    3. The machines are not user friendly, they’re difficult to operate and the keys are set at an awkward low height, furthermore the instructions are not clear or easy to follow meaning mistakes are easily made.
    4. It is simply not acceptable to have a system such as this at a health centre where sick, elderly, infirm and vulnerable people are expected to operate it.

    Considering all of the above it is clear that Smart Parking Ltd is profiteering from a genuine mistake which anyone could have made and numerous people probably do make!

    This PCN is not justified, if we had deliberately contravened the T’s and C’s and parked without paying I would pay the PCN without quibbling however my wife did everything she could to comply and we are being heavily penalised through a genuine mistake. Moreover, it is within Smart Parking Ltd’s powers to identify this mistake by looking for a similar VRM entered into their system at about the time our car entered the car park and overturn the PCN but they are refusing to do so. This then is why I am appealing to you, the client and the land owner to instruct Smart Parking Ltd to cancel this PCN.


    Please accept my thanks in anticipation of your assistance in this matter. I look forward to hearing from you in due course.”


    • Four days later I received an email from an NHS Property Services Ltd Case Handler acknowledging my email and assigning me a case number. Importantly, this email also provided a named contact and a telephone number.
    • I heard nothing more for two weeks therefore I started trying to telephone the case handler. To begin with he wasn’t available so I left messages and after a couple of days he called back with the news that he had contacted Smart Parking Ltd and that the PCN was going to be cancelled. He also promised to email to confirm this in writing and I received the confirmation email the very same afternoon.
    • Apologies for the lengthy post, hopefully some of the info above may help someone else in the same situation and thanks so much once again to Redx and Umkomass for your advice!
    • Coupon-mad
    • By Coupon-mad 28th Jan 18, 8:23 PM
    • 58,388 Posts
    • 71,916 Thanks
    Coupon-mad
    • #5
    • 28th Jan 18, 8:23 PM
    • #5
    • 28th Jan 18, 8:23 PM
    Good stuff!

    The Health Centre is ignoring Government policy by allowing this punitive business model to operate:

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

    Nasty, and ignorant of the NHS to fall for a parking enforcement 'pitch' that disregards the intentions of Parliament and doesn't even tell you that you have a right to complain/appeal to the NHS Management themselves.

    It took our posters to tell you that. Smart hide the fact and try to channel people to POPLA, or to panic and pay them a stupid amount of money for no service!

    I think your MP should be told about this.

    Yes, the NHS cancelled, but who told you to do that complaint? Us!
    Last edited by Coupon-mad; 29-01-2018 at 11:57 PM.
    PRIVATE PCN? DON'T PAY BUT DO NOT IGNORE IT TWO Clicks needed for advice:
    Top of the page: Home>>Forums>Household & Travel>Motoring>Parking Tickets, Fines & Parking - read the 'NEWBIES' FAQS thread!
    Advice to ignore is WRONG, unless in Scotland/NI.

    • Umkomaas
    • By Umkomaas 28th Jan 18, 8:44 PM
    • 17,986 Posts
    • 28,477 Thanks
    Umkomaas
    • #6
    • 28th Jan 18, 8:44 PM
    • #6
    • 28th Jan 18, 8:44 PM
    Well done Pix71. Glad to have been able to help you!

    Oh dear, (not so) Smart Parking.
    We cannot provide you with a silver bullet to get you out of this. You have to be in for the long run, and need to involve yourself in research and work for you to get rid of this. It is not simple. We will help, but can't do it for you.

    Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day; show him how to catch fish, and you feed him for a lifetime.
    • Pix71
    • By Pix71 29th Jan 18, 5:48 PM
    • 3 Posts
    • 7 Thanks
    Pix71
    • #7
    • 29th Jan 18, 5:48 PM
    • #7
    • 29th Jan 18, 5:48 PM
    You're right you know!
    I shall draft a letter to both my MP & the MP for the constituency in which the health centre is located.
    Thanks again to everyone for all the help & advice available on this forum!
    • tommo_79
    • By tommo_79 7th Mar 18, 9:02 PM
    • 1 Posts
    • 3 Thanks
    tommo_79
    • #8
    • 7th Mar 18, 9:02 PM
    Smart Parking Ltd contract may be scrutinised
    • #8
    • 7th Mar 18, 9:02 PM
    As a new user I cant post site links in here, however if you open up the usual facepage website and paste this after the dot com bit it should take you to the page.
    HereForRushmoor/posts/1479175755542588

    I have spoken to the Councillor whom runs this page regarding the two PCNs raised as a result of visiting the Aldershot Centre for Health.
    • Umkomaas
    • By Umkomaas 8th Mar 18, 5:56 AM
    • 17,986 Posts
    • 28,477 Thanks
    Umkomaas
    • #9
    • 8th Mar 18, 5:56 AM
    • #9
    • 8th Mar 18, 5:56 AM
    https://web.facebook.com/HereForRushmoor/posts/1479175755542588?_rdc=1&_rdr
    We cannot provide you with a silver bullet to get you out of this. You have to be in for the long run, and need to involve yourself in research and work for you to get rid of this. It is not simple. We will help, but can't do it for you.

    Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day; show him how to catch fish, and you feed him for a lifetime.
    • fisherjim
    • By fisherjim 8th Mar 18, 7:55 AM
    • 2,999 Posts
    • 4,563 Thanks
    fisherjim
    I felt quite exhausted after trying to read all that, well done to that councillor!
    • mixedpickle
    • By mixedpickle 29th May 18, 10:18 PM
    • 9 Posts
    • 6 Thanks
    mixedpickle
    letter to MP wording
    Thank you for sharing - I am an NHS employee and still battling a PCN issued in Feb this year. Have just managed to find a contact for the landowner, but would like to write to my MP also - would you be willing to share the letter that you drafted?
    Thanks again
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