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  • FIRST POST
    • StrengthOfWill
    • By StrengthOfWill 21st Feb 18, 5:33 PM
    • 6Posts
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    StrengthOfWill
    APCOA Parking Oaklands College POPLA
    • #1
    • 21st Feb 18, 5:33 PM
    APCOA Parking Oaklands College POPLA 21st Feb 18 at 5:33 PM
    Hi all,

    I have been lurking these forums for about a month now, gathering evidence and data on APCOA, PPCs and how they operate.

    A few months ago, the driver of my vehicle parked in a space in Oaklands College, situated in St Albans. This is a frequent visit for them, as they study there. Usually they pay the charge without issue, but on this day they must have forgotten or otherwise not had enough money to pay.

    25 days later, I received an ANPR NTK through the post. After doing research, I found that the ticket was issued unfairly, and used an online template to draft a letter back to them. This was all before I found the moneysavingexpert forums, so this letter was rather personalised. (don't worry, i checked the template I used and it doesn't name the driver.)

    1 month ago, I received word from APCOA. They stated that they wouldn't drop the charge but that they would discount the price (thanks to one of my points). They also gave me a POPLA appeals code so I can further appeal the charge.

    After this I found this website, and used it to form my POPLA appeal. The text is finished - all that needs to be done to it is to add the images. I don't want to send it off yet as I am unsure how it will fare in POPLA, so I have made this account to ask anyone here to look over it.

    The appeal follows:

    Dear Sir/Madam,
    My name is [name] and I am the registered keeper of the [car] designated [numberplate]. On the 5th of December 2017 I received a parking contravention charge notice [Fig. 1, 2] from APCOA Parking (UK) LTD regarding an incident occurring on the [date]. According to them, I, as keeper, was liable for a £80 charge as their ANPR system detected my vehicle enter and leave the premises of Oaklands College without sufficiently paying the £1.10 charge under the signage in the car parks.
    Upon appealing the charge with a letter [Fig. 3, 4], I received a rejection of my appeal [Fig. 5-7] which insufficiently explained my liability to pay the charge.
    I am writing to appeal this charge on the following grounds:
    1.The Notice to Keeper was insufficient under the Protection of Freedoms Act (POFA) 2012, therefore I, as keeper, am not liable for this charge. Proof of this is below.
    2.The signage in the car parks is both insufficient and incorrect; proof of this is below.
    3.The ANPR system contains faults from a logistical standpoint, providing no evidence that car parks managed by APCOA Parking (UK) LTD were used.
    4.There is no evidence of landowner authority provided in the documentation provided to me by APCOA Parking (UK) LTD.

    1.APCOA Parking (UK) LTD’s Parking Contravention Charge Notice is not compliant with the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012 (POFA) due to the dates and the wording used.
    Under schedule 4, paragraph 4 of the POFA, an operator can only establish the right to recover any unpaid parking charges from the keeper of a vehicle if certain conditions must be met as stated in paragraphs 5, 6, 11, and 12. APCOA Parking (UK) LTD have failed to fulfil the conditions which state that an operator must have provided the keeper with a Notice to Keeper (NTK) in accordance with paragraph 9, which stipulates as mandatory, a set timeline and wording:-

    The notice must be given by—
    (a) handing it to the keeper, or leaving it at a current address for service for the keeper, within the relevant period; or
    (b) sending it by post to a current address for service for the keeper so that it is delivered to that address within the relevant period.

    The applicable section here is (b) because the Parking Charge Notice/NTK that I have received was delivered by post. Furthermore, paragraph 9(5) states:

    ’’The relevant period for the purposes of sub-paragraph (4) is the period of 14 days beginning with the day after that on which the specified period of parking ended’’

    The Parking Charge Notice sent to myself as Registered Keeper was produced in their offices showing a purported ‘date issued’ which was already past the 14 days by which, under statute, it had to be in my hands/served. Even if they had posted it that day, it would be impossible for the notice to have been delivered within the 'relevant period' as required under paragraph 9(4)(b).

    In fact, this NTK arrived twenty days after the alleged event. This means that APCOA Parking (UK) LTD have failed to act within the 14 day relevant period.

    Furthermore, it is clear that APCOA Parking (UK) LTD know this because they have neglected to invoke keeper liability via POFA. In fact, in their own appeal rejection letter addressed to me, they have specifically denied invoking POFA, instead stating that they are adhering to the BPA codes of practice.

    The BPA states in paragraph 2 of its 2015 code of practice that it is “an independent body which represents, promotes and influences best practice in the parking sector throughout the UK and Europe.” It is a representative and regulatory body for its members, and grants its members no legal authority.
    Specifically, APCOA Parking (UK) LTD have stated that “According to British Parking Association (BPA) guidelines, the maximum permitted time to notify the registered keeper is no more than 28 days after receiving keeper data from DVLA which takes no more than 35 days.” After this, they state that they are working from the BPA code of practice from June 2013, which is at least 2 years out of date.

    The part of the code of practice that APCOA Parking (UK) LTD is referring to in the above sentence is paragraph 33 –
    33.2 - To give drivers early notice of your claim, you should apply to the DVLA for the keeper details promptly. The target time to apply to the DVLA for keeper details is no more than 14 days after the unauthorised parking event. You must apply no more than 28 days after the unauthorised parking event.
    33.3 - You must post the parking charge notice to the keeper as soon as possible. Your target is to send the parking charge notice to the keeper of the vehicle no more than 14 days after receiving the keeper data from the DVLA, and no more than 35 days after the unauthorised parking event.
    33.5 - It is the driver’s responsibility to pay the parking charge notice. If you receive information from the keeper which identifies the driver, and the driver is someone else, you have an extra 21 days after receiving the information to serve the parking charge notice by post on the driver.

    APCOA Parking (UK) LTD also refer to an unknown paragraph of the code of practice when they state “…we are able to work in accordance the BPA code of practise (June 2013) which states that we have up to 28 days to deliver a postal PCN from the date of contravention.”
    I ask APCOA Parking (UK) LTD to clarify which paragraph of the code of practice permits them to pursue payment from the keeper of the vehicle if the postal PCN is delivered within 28 days.

    Another relevant paragraph in the code of practice is 21.6-21.10 –
    21.6 - To give drivers early notice of your claim, you should apply to the DVLA for the keeper details promptly. Usually this would be applying to the DVLA no more than 28 days after the unauthorised parking event.
    21.7 - You must post the parking charge notice to the keeper as soon as possible. Your target is to send the parking charge notice to the keeper of the vehicle no more than 14 days after receiving the keeper data from the DVLA.
    21.8 - Your letter to the keeper should point out the details of the unauthorised parking event and ask for payment or request details of the driver. If you are not making use of the keeper liability provisions of POFA or you are unable to achieve the deadlines specified therein, your letter must not reference POFA or state that the keeper is liable.
    21.9 - It is the driver’s responsibility to pay the parking charge notice. If you receive information from the keeper which identifies the driver, and the driver is someone else, you must serve the parking charge notice by post on the driver.
    21.10 - Parking charge notices served by post must offer the same payment discount arrangements as tickets placed on vehicles, while allowing extra time for the postal service.

    APCOA Parking (UK) LTD have stated that they are not operating in accordance with POFA, which is the only legal method they have of pursuing this charge on a keeper. As keeper, I am therefore not liable for this charge and it should be dropped without condition.
    2.APCOA Parking (UK) LTD’s signage is not sufficiently visible and is incorrect, invalidating their use of the BPA code of practice.
    Signage in the location where the alleged contravention occurred is of an insufficient font size for the locations where it is mounted and is otherwise obscured in others. To understand the required font size for signage the BPA have provided a simple chart [Fig. 8] in their code of practice and have also provided a link to further guidance in the form of the Department of Transport.
    The department for transport goes further into detail regarding signage; rather than simply stating optimal letter sizes, their manual considers a variety of factors that dictate the usability of a sign. In the first chapter of the Traffic Signs Manual (2010), the department writes in paragraph 1 –
    1.3.2 - There are six aspects to be considered when positioning a sign:
    ·Its siting in relation to the junction, hazard or other feature to which it applies;
    ·Its placement in relation to the edge of the carriageway and other features of the road cross-section;
    ·Its height above the road;
    ·Its orientation;
    ·safety; and
    ·Its relationship with other signs and the environment in general.

    These are factors to consider when simply properly positioning sign, and the Department for Transport details each of these factors in their text.

    APCOA Parking (UK) LTD have failed to adhere to both the BPA’s code of practice and the Department for Transport’s Traffic Signs Manual, and it should therefore be reasonable to say that the driver of the vehicle was both not made sufficiently aware of the terms of the car park and was misled by the signage that was decipherable.

    Figures 9-15 show photos of a particular car park in Oakland College managed by APCOA Parking (UK) LTD, as well as the entrance sign to the car park (phone camera quality). The aim of these photos is not to dispute the size of the lettering but to display the poor locations in which signs were erected.

    In particular, I draw attention to figure 9, which displays the entrance sign obscured by a tree. Also visible in this image is a zebra crossing directly adjacent to the sign distracting attention from it. Note that this photo was taken from an approach trajectory, slightly offset by being on the side of the road rather than in the centre.

    Further examples of poor signage are evident in the overflow car park. Figures 10 and 11 show the signs around this car park – figure 10 was taken from the western side of the car park around 1/3 of the way from the edge to the centre, and shows signs displayed facing away from half of the car park. The pay and display machine visible in this picture is also very inconspicuous, showing no immediate outer signs of being a machine for paying for parking. Figure 11 was taken from the northern side, showing the same problem as figure 10.

    Figures 12-14 show a sign on the NW corner of the car park. These photos show how easily the sign can be rotated by anyone to conceal the information displayed on it. As this location is a college, where many teenage students are studying, there is a lot of mischief abound. This is not a “proof” per se, but merely an observation – it is reasonable to suggest that on the day of the incident, the driver may have come to this particular car park where they may have missed the sign due to its rotation. Note that figures 13 and 14 were taken on a different day to figure 12.

    Figure 15 shows the sign featured in figures 12-13 in full detail. The text below the main body, where it explains the charges for parking contravention, pales in comparison to the size of the main body. I believe this text violates the required font size in figure 8. Much more importantly, the sign states that the charge for contravention is £60. This is £20 less than the amount charged in the initial NTK sent to me by APCOA Parking (UK) LTD. I brought up this issue with APCOA in my initial appeal letter, and they agreed to lower the charge if I sent the payment by cheque or postal order.
    However, upon checking the initial online method of payment [Fig. 16], I am still being charged the initial £80 (at a discounted price). I am being charged two different amounts for the same alleged contravention, and have no guarantee that upon paying one charge that the other will cease as well. Furthermore, if APCOA Parking (UK) LTD have a robust online payment method then why have they only offered a postal payment method for the revised charge?
    3.The ANPR system contains faults from a logistical standpoint, providing no evidence that car parks managed by APCOA Parking (UK) LTD were used.
    APCOA uses an ANPR system for Oaklands College. This system, in its current state, is insufficient to provide adequate evidence that vehicles have used the car parks managed by APCOA Parking (UK) LTD.
    APCOA have installed only one ANPR camera at Oaklands College – the one located on the main college building overlooking the “South Drive”. From this location, there are multiple directions where a driver could go, and not every one is under the “jurisdiction” of APCOA Parking (UK) LTD. Notably, if a driver heads east after passing the camera, they will enter a residential area frequently used for parking by both residents and students who have temporary accommodation. This area is not managed by APCOA, but if a driver parks in this area (as they have every right to), they will still be picked up on the ANPR camera and flagged as a non-payer.
    APCOA Parking (UK) LTD have failed to establish the exact location where the parking contravention took place. As the existence of the above-mentioned residential area is noted, they have insufficient proof that the contravention took place in one of their car parks.
    4.No evidence of Landowner Authority - the operator is put to strict proof of full compliance with the BPA Code of Practice

    As this operator does not have proprietary interest in the land then I require that they produce an un-redacted copy of the contract with the landowner. The contract and any 'site agreement' or 'User Manual' setting out details including exemptions - such as any 'genuine customer' or 'genuine resident' exemptions or any site occupier's 'right of veto' charge cancellation rights - is key evidence to define what this operator is authorised to do and any circumstances where the landowner/firms on site in fact have a right to cancellation of a charge. It cannot be assumed, just because an agent is contracted to merely put some signs up and issue Parking Charge Notices, that the agent is also authorised to make contracts with all or any category of visiting drivers and/or to enforce the charge in court in their own name (legal action regarding land use disputes generally being a matter for a landowner only).

    Witness statements are not sound evidence of the above, often being pre-signed, generic documents not even identifying the case in hand or even the site rules. A witness statement might in some cases be accepted by POPLA but in this case I suggest it is unlikely to sufficiently evidence the definition of the services provided by each party to the agreement.

    Nor would it define vital information such as charging days/times, any exemption clauses, grace periods (which I believe may be longer than the bare minimum times set out in the BPA CoP) and basic information such as the land boundary and bays where enforcement applies/does not apply. Not forgetting evidence of the various restrictions which the landowner has authorised can give rise to a charge and of course, how much the landowner authorises this agent to charge (which cannot be assumed to be the sum in small print on a sign because template private parking terms and sums have been known not to match the actual landowner agreement).

    Paragraph 7 of the BPA CoP defines the mandatory requirements and I put this operator to strict proof of full compliance –

    7.2 - If the operator wishes to take legal action on any outstanding parking charges, they must ensure that they have the written authority of the landowner (or their appointed agent) prior to legal action being taken.

    7.3 - The written authorisation must also set out:

    a – the definition of the land on which you may operate, so that the boundaries of the land can be clearly defined

    b – any conditions or restrictions on parking control and enforcement operations, including any restrictions on hours of operation

    c – any conditions or restrictions on the types of vehicles that may, or may not, be subject to parking control and enforcement

    d – who has the responsibility for putting up and maintaining signs

    e – the definition of the services provided by each party to the agreement

    APCOA Parking (UK) LTD have thus far provided no documentation on their authority to issue parking contravention charges in Oaklands College. I reject their charge until they prove to me that they have the legal authority to operate within Oaklands College.
    This concludes the written section of my POPLA appeal. Below are images mentioned in the text for reference. Thank you for considering my argument.

    Thank you in advance to anyone who has advice for me.
Page 1
    • The Deep
    • By The Deep 21st Feb 18, 5:44 PM
    • 9,203 Posts
    • 8,968 Thanks
    The Deep
    • #2
    • 21st Feb 18, 5:44 PM
    • #2
    • 21st Feb 18, 5:44 PM
    This is an entirely unregulated industry which is scamming the public with inflated claims for minor breaches of contracts for alleged parking offences.

    Parking Eye, Smart and a smaller company have already been named and shamed, as has Gladstones Solicitors, and BW Legal, (who take hundreds of these cases to court, and nearly always lose), who have also been reported to the regulatory authority.

    The problem has become so rampant that MPs have agreed to enact a Bill to regulate these scammers. Watch the video of the Second Reading in the HofC recently.

    http://parliamentlive.tv/event/index/2f0384f2-eba5-4fff-ab07-cf24b6a22918?in=12:49:41

    and complain in the most robust terms to your MP. With a fair wind most of these companies may well be put out of business by Christmas.
    You never know how far you can go until you go too far.
    • KeithP
    • By KeithP 21st Feb 18, 6:32 PM
    • 7,148 Posts
    • 6,605 Thanks
    KeithP
    • #3
    • 21st Feb 18, 6:32 PM
    • #3
    • 21st Feb 18, 6:32 PM
    Whilst you have shown that the keeper is not liable, I think you need a section immediately following that stating that The operator has not shown that the individual who it is pursuing is in fact the driver who was liable for the charge.

    Look through post #3 of the NEWBIES FAQ sticky thread for that bold text and you will find a link to some text to paste into your appeal.
    .
    • StrengthOfWill
    • By StrengthOfWill 21st Feb 18, 6:44 PM
    • 6 Posts
    • 10 Thanks
    StrengthOfWill
    • #4
    • 21st Feb 18, 6:44 PM
    • #4
    • 21st Feb 18, 6:44 PM
    I don't know how I missed that, thank you for pointing it out.
    • StrengthOfWill
    • By StrengthOfWill 21st Feb 18, 7:22 PM
    • 6 Posts
    • 10 Thanks
    StrengthOfWill
    • #5
    • 21st Feb 18, 7:22 PM
    • #5
    • 21st Feb 18, 7:22 PM
    In addition to pasting the text mentioned above, I have added:
    In APCOA Parking (UK) LTD’s first letter addressed to me, they explicitly state that they do not know who was driving during the alleged parking contravention. This story inexplicably changed during their second letter – after I explicitly announced my right as keeper not to name the driver, they simply assumed that we were one and the same person, using language such as "you" and "your" to infer that I was driving. This is an assumption. APCOA Parking (UK) LTD have deliberately ignored the above points in order to unfairly extract payment from me, the keeper of the vehicle, and for this reason the charge submitted against me should be dropped.
    • Coupon-mad
    • By Coupon-mad 21st Feb 18, 9:32 PM
    • 57,361 Posts
    • 70,957 Thanks
    Coupon-mad
    • #6
    • 21st Feb 18, 9:32 PM
    • #6
    • 21st Feb 18, 9:32 PM
    You will win, or APCOA will bail out by the Ides of March!
    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.

    • StrengthOfWill
    • By StrengthOfWill 21st Feb 18, 11:34 PM
    • 6 Posts
    • 10 Thanks
    StrengthOfWill
    • #7
    • 21st Feb 18, 11:34 PM
    • #7
    • 21st Feb 18, 11:34 PM
    I finished up the appeal and logged on to the POPLA website, only to find that the verification code APCOA sent me is "invalid". In hindsight I should have checked this code a while ago, but there isn't much I can do about it now.

    They printed this code twice in the letter, so it clearly isn't a typo. They also clearly printed the time limit of the POPLA appeal - within 28 days of the letter's issue, which is stated to be 26/1/18. By their reasoning this code should still be valid for two more days.

    Contacting APCOA about this will cause me to miss POPLA's timeframe - will they extend the time if I explain the problem?
    • Coupon-mad
    • By Coupon-mad 22nd Feb 18, 12:15 AM
    • 57,361 Posts
    • 70,957 Thanks
    Coupon-mad
    • #8
    • 22nd Feb 18, 12:15 AM
    • #8
    • 22nd Feb 18, 12:15 AM
    Email tonight, Steve Clark at the BPA, who will deal with the issue fairly:

    steve.c@britishparking.co.uk

    Complain about this and point out the urgency. Do not say who was driving. You are the keeper.

    He reads this forum sometimes, so make sure NO POSTS HERE say who was driving.
    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.

    • StrengthOfWill
    • By StrengthOfWill 14th Mar 18, 5:18 PM
    • 6 Posts
    • 10 Thanks
    StrengthOfWill
    • #9
    • 14th Mar 18, 5:18 PM
    • #9
    • 14th Mar 18, 5:18 PM
    "Thank you for submitting your parking charge Appeal to POPLA.

    An Appeal has been opened with the reference [Reference].

    APCOA Parking have told us they do not wish to contest the Appeal. This means that your Appeal is successful and you do not need to pay the parking charge.

    Yours sincerely

    POPLA Team"


    Thank you to everyone on this forum for your help. This resource has been instrumental in my successful appeal and I will be referring other people to here if they receive unfair tickets.


    Once again, thank you.
    • Coupon-mad
    • By Coupon-mad 14th Mar 18, 5:20 PM
    • 57,361 Posts
    • 70,957 Thanks
    Coupon-mad
    Yay well done!

    What happened about the dodgy POPLA code, did Steve Clark sort that out for you quickly?
    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.

    • StrengthOfWill
    • By StrengthOfWill 16th Mar 18, 6:19 PM
    • 6 Posts
    • 10 Thanks
    StrengthOfWill
    Sorry for the delay, been a bit busy.

    He forwarded my e-mail to APCOA, and they gave me a new code 12 hours after I sent it.
    • The Deep
    • By The Deep 16th Mar 18, 7:42 PM
    • 9,203 Posts
    • 8,968 Thanks
    The Deep
    They have wasted your time, now waste theirs.

    Send them a letter before action, there are plenty of examples on the internet, and you do not have to follow through if you do not want to. The very fact that you have sent one means that they have to devote resources to dealing with it.

    And do not forget that letter of complaint to your MP.
    Last edited by The Deep; 16-03-2018 at 7:49 PM.
    You never know how far you can go until you go too far.
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