back to article Dodgy parking firms to be denied access to Brit driver database

Rogue private parking firms are to be stripped of the ability to access the UK government's driver database. Private parking firms can buy vehicle-keeper records from the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) for £2.50 a pop, which they use to slap tickets on car owners for parking violations on private land. The number …

  1. djstardust Silver badge

    Whatever ....

    So they get denied access, fold the company, start up a new one with the same address, staff etc. then get access again.

    Another waste of time.

    1. Aitor 1 Silver badge

      Re: Whatever ....

      Better still, there is a company that provides services to the actual parking firms.. and when one of those gets banned, no problem, they use another one and open a new one, in reserve...

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. Smooth Newt Silver badge
      FAIL

      Re: Whatever ....

      So they get denied access, fold the company, start up a new one with the same address, staff etc. then get access again.

      Another waste of time.

      Yeah, they should have linked the ban to the company directors (and connected persons), not the company. But I guess this meets the usual Government criteria of generating favourable press coverage without actually changing anything. I wonder what bad news it was used to cover up.

      1. wowfood

        Re: Whatever ....

        Then we'll just have companies controlled by Canary M Burns.

  2. collinsl

    > Greg Knight

    He's the Conservative MP who had the odd election video, isn't he?

    To Whit:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rl6NnfiYrwQ

    1. wolfetone Silver badge

      If Alan Partridge was ever an MP...

    2. Alister Silver badge

      To Whit:

      To Whoo?

      1. m0rt Silver badge
  3. Gerry 3
    Thumb Down

    It won't work, just like all efforts by so-called watchdogs to regulate dodgy companies, cold callers etc.

    In particular, the British Parking Association is a complete waste of space. It doesn't even bother to wag a finger at Marks and Spencer about their use of an 0845 car park helpline that's been banned for years, and that they're also breaching Ofcom regulations by failing to warn of the rip-off charges.

  4. tiggity Silver badge

    dodgy parking companies

    So, that would be most of them then.

    Had a classic one a few years ago.

    A town centre.

    In the morning I parked in car park of shop A, did some general grocery shopping at shop A.

    In the afternoon, had to make an "emergency purchase" (i.e. unplanned) of some hardware and parked at shop B and did hardware shoping at shop B

    ... later

    Attempt to charge me for overstaying parking time at car park A.

    Turned out same parking company patrolled car park A and B.

    However, car park warning / restrictions signage in each car park made no mention of car park company, separately badged with name and logo of the shops themselves i.e. distinct car parking and not related.

    This was not in a big retail park, it was in a town, each shop (and car park) was separate

    When attendant was recording car reg plates they were not specifying which of the 2 car parks the car was located in.

    So 2 distinct visits to different car parks were falsely recorded by them as car being in same car park at 2 different times

    1. Lee D Silver badge

      Re: dodgy parking companies

      For all the fuss people make about parking, I have literally never had a problem.

      Mainly because, if they have stupid rules or payment systems, I just don't park there. I'll literally park miles away and walk instead, or just not bother.

      I'm sure that this attitude achieves only one of two things a) the landowner gets what they intended and I don't park there, b) the landowner loses out on potential revenue because they're overbearing and I don't park there.

      Neither of which I really want to change.

      For instance, in any of the towns I go to, I have a nominated car park that I always park in because they are the one that don't have stupid junk. Ticket-in, ticket-out ones are normally the best, because then I have a timed, dated, stamped, paid receipt (and now that the TITO ones also auto-recognise your number plate you get to keep the receipt more often than not). Pay-and-display are open to interpretation, abuse, etc. but with a TITO one you can't argue about when I arrived, when I left, and you can't go around sniffing every car to see if you can pull it for being a second over because the ticket isn't even on the car anyway. There's almost no point patrolling a TITO car park, except to find abandoned cars (which will flag immediately on your database anyway after 24 hours, so you know exactly what you're looking for).

      Plus, I have a dashcam for this purpose too. I even like to park near the signs if I'm forced to use a pay-and-display so that I can get those on camera too.

      To be honest, though I don't doubt there are unscrupulous people, those are easily combated by the vaguest use of a personal record of any kind. Everything else, like speeding fines, is an idiot tax on people who park where they know they aren't supposed to. I still chuckle every time I see someone arguing with a traffic warden despite clearly being in the bus lane / on the double-yellows / etc.

      1. Blotto

        Re: dodgy parking companies

        @Lee D

        the thing is, if every behaved like you do the parking companies will come up with ever greater ways to entrap you. i say parking companies, but its more likely the enforcement businesses they employ encouraging the parking companies to be wankers in order to ensure they can make some profit of enforcing the parking rules they have dreamt up and had the parking owners agree to.

        If the company exists purely to earn out of fines, then they will find ways of fining more and more people every year in order to keep their revenue up.

        The other example here is smart meters & green policies. Utilities need to keep their profits up. If smart meters and green initiatives are to be successful, then utilities need to charge us all more to maintain their profits. Even if they are not being greedy, they have fixed costs that won't go down if we use less so our cost of electric rises per unit to maintain revenue to pay for stuff like maintenance etc.

    2. Brewster's Angle Grinder Silver badge

      Re: dodgy parking companies

      I take it you won the appeal?

    3. This post has been deleted by its author

      1. ravenviz Silver badge

        Re: dodgy parking companies

        I love (not) the ones that accept payments via their app (RingGo, etc.) even when it's during the free period but the signs are hard to find or confusing.

        Brilliant whoever thought that one up!

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: dodgy parking companies

        "It's 5.30 pm. I want to park for 1 hour. No change given.

        Before 6pm it's a £1 per hour.

        From 6pm it's £2 for 12 hours.

        So, do I put in £1 or £3? (Already feeling ripped off)"

        It's 5:30pm and you don't know whether to pay the before 6pm rate or the after 6pm rate for 1 hour's parking?

        Am I missing something here?

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: dodgy parking companies

        In France if you park at 17:00, pay for four hours, then as its free at 18:00 until 08:00, you have until 11:00 to finish your petite-dejuner in a civilised fashion. In some cities you get a small amount of time free, say 30 minutes, enough time to grab lunch. Passing on unused tickets doesn't seem to be an issue, surprised someone in the UK has not take somebody to court re parking tickets not being transferable.

        1. Voyna i Mor Silver badge

          Re: dodgy parking companies

          "In France if you park at 17:00, pay for four hours, then as its free at 18:00 until 08:00, you have until 11:00 to finish your petite-dejuner in a civilised fashion."

          Also in exotic Bradford-upon-Avon where I once put in money late on a Saturday and a ticket came out for some time on Monday morning.

          1. Fred Dibnah

            Re: dodgy parking companies

            Durham too.

          2. Adrian 4 Silver badge

            Re: dodgy parking companies

            "In France if you park at 17:00, pay for four hours, then as its free at 18:00 until 08:00, you have until 11:00 to finish your petite-dejuner in a civilised fashion."

            Also in North Kensington.

            So where are the buggers that don't do it ?

      4. SeanC4S

        Re: dodgy parking companies

        Who would want to live in your country? You'll be charged for walking on the pavement next. And if you don't have a helmet on you'll be taken to court. The English speaking countries ought to take a step back and look at themselves. What are you doing, what life situation are you making for yourselves?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: dodgy parking companies

          at least we aren't fined for crossing a road, and unlike in some states, it's not illegal to capture rainwater that falls on your land (yep, some states have determined that private companies own rain)

          how's it going trying to buy alcohol 24/7? how many civilians have your cops murdered today?

          1. Jtom Bronze badge

            Re: dodgy parking companies

            There's no fine for crossing the road where I am, it's legal to capture rainwater falling on my land, and no cops have murdered civilians. People get the government they elect.

    4. M_W

      Re: dodgy parking companies

      Had something similar.

      Needed to pick up something from John Lewis at the new out of town shopping centre in York so went at 9:00am one Saturday morning. Picked up what I needed and left within 10 minutes, stopping off at a couple of different places on the way home.

      Later same day, visited same out of town shopping centre and visited a couple of shops and then had some dinner with my wife. Was there less than an hour in total during the day. Parked in a completely different spot to the morning.

      Came back to the car to find a PCN stuck on my windscreen for £75 because they thought I'd been there for more than 6 hours. Went over to the management hut to find knuckle dragging security guard. Showed him the ticket. He went 'Yeah, I put that on. You've been here since 9:00am - you even parked in the same parking space'. After asking him whether said restaurant and John Lewis were at the same side of the park 'No - they're at opposite ends' - I explained that he'd cocked up, I parked in 2 spots, was there less than 1 hour in total, and that I had plenty of evidence to back me up (I use Waze, so my google maps tracking showed movements all day, along with a dashcam with GPS tracking) but he said 'It's been done now'. I didn't get shirty as I knew this guy was a bit dim, so I asked for the site manager's details but he wouldn't tell me. I think he knew he was in the shit.

      A bit of googling got me the complaints department for the parking company, the site manager, the john lewis manager for that site and the manager of the restaurant we'd been in. I sent a very matter of fact email to all of them with a PDF showing tracks of where I'd been and pretty much cast iron evidence to show where I'd come in/gone out and screenshots from cameras etc - obviously CC'ing them all in.

      On the Monday afternoon I got a very apologetic email from the embarrassed site manager telling me that the security guard for the parking company had been doing this 'quite a bit' and had lots of complaints, and that they are putting in ANPR to combat the issue, and then CC'd me in on an email to the parking company explaining how they'd cocked up and requesting my parking charge be reversed (they confirmed that was the case and cancelled the PCN). I also got a phone call from the John Lewis manager and the restaurant manager apologising. I'm not sure if the same parking company still runs it (I don't think they do) and there's massive signs up now when you drive in that shows you your reg number and how long you have parking for.

      Still makes me think twice about going shopping there though as I plainly don't trust they're not going to try it on again.

      1. Inventor of the Marmite Laser Silver badge

        @M_W - ANPR is not an answer

        Have a rummage around on the Pepipoo forums for ANPR related threads. As well as plenty of systemic failures, you may also find things from parking companie's boneheaded belief their systems are infallible all the way to doctored photos and evidential pictures of signs (but taken in different car parks). You really couldn't make some of it up.

      2. Mark 65 Silver badge

        Re: dodgy parking companies

        Do you seriously have to pay any fine a private parking company gives you? I mean, as long as you can leave the car park without paying is it actually enforceable? I can see how a car park owned by a municipal authority may be able to do so through by-laws as they possess law making authority, but a private company on private land?

        If it is enforceable then the UK must be one of the most utterly fucked societies on the planet.

        1. Gerry 3
          Alert

          Yes, parking debts ARE enforceable !

          If it's a private company it's not a fine, it's a debt.

          But it's enforceable as this lady found out when she was hit with £24,500 for having parked outside her mother's garage (where no-one else could pay to park because it would have blocked access to said garage). So the parking company suffered no loss of income, and no-one else was inconvenienced. There was no victim.

          She may have been more than a tad unwise not to challenge the notices, but the outrageous charge seems contrary to natural justice.

          Welcome to rip-off Britain.

          1. Mark 65 Silver badge

            Re: Yes, parking debts ARE enforceable !

            From the images in that article the double yellow lines are a bit of a giveaway that you cannot park there and her general arrogance (ignore rather than refute the penalties) was likely to have coloured the outcome as mentioned. I think her case was wafer thin at best, especially when she could have parked issue free for £40/mth.

    5. VinceH Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: dodgy parking companies

      "So 2 distinct visits to different car parks were falsely recorded by them as car being in same car park at 2 different times"

      I suspect that's more down to incompetence / stupidity than anything else. They simply hadn't considered the possibility of someone using one shop/car park, going away, then coming back and using the other shop/car park.

      (Icon for them, not you.)

      1. Jamie Jones Silver badge

        Re: dodgy parking companies

        I suspect that's more down to incompetence / stupidity than anything else. They simply hadn't considered the possibility of someone using one shop/car park, going away, then coming back and using the other shop/car park.

        And even if they had considered that.... what about if you visit the same shop/carpark more than once a day? Perfectly possible if you forget something important!

  5. stefbishop

    Of course if you are a repeat 'offender' they already know who you are

    1. Inventor of the Marmite Laser Silver badge

      Nope

      Thay know a car with a given registration number exists but not to to whom it belongs at any given moment. That is why the parking companies are obliged to ask the DVLA for the keeper's details for each and every single ticket.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    60 uk pounds fine for hovering in a UK car park for 11 mins with abundant spaces while my partner picked up something from the post office and met a queue. Parking was free for two hours (big words). But only with ticket (small words). Other small type on cameras suggested anti theft protection - why else have cameras? Ok now I know. The law of contract runs much more of a corporate hegemony than is realised.

    As people have already noted, this will have little effect on curbing intent to disproportionate penalty as a revenue stream. Whereas a market can establish a sense of fair pricing, a penalty scheme offers no service excepting in support of providing a parking service.

    As always buyer beware - and beware entering legally binding contracts regardless of what may appear to be public space - because there are signs saying so.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Next time switch from hovering to cruising?

    2. To Mars in Man Bras!
      Headmaster

      >60 uk pounds fine for hovering in a UK car park for 11 mins with abundant spaces

      Pfft! Just don't pay it.

      You only need to pay up if you get a ticket from the police, traffic warden or local council parking official for parking on public land [ie streets, bus lanes, etc] when you shouldn't have. You've committed a [civil] offence.

      Parking on private land [as is the case with all these supermarket, retail park carparks, etc] the worst you *may* have done [and even then it depends on specifics like signage, etc] is commit a breach of contract, which is a private affair between you and the owner of the land the carpark is on. If they want you to pay up, they'll have to bring a private court case against you and no-one is going to be daft enough do that for the sake of £50 or £60.

      So, damn their eyes to Putney Bridge and laugh in their stupid faces. There's bugger all they can do,

      1. Mark Exclamation

        Finally, someone with some knowledge on this issue. A private company cannot, under the constitution, issue a "Fine"; only a court of law can, after being found guilty of an offence. DO NOT pay the "fine". See what happens. Nothing will happen. If everyone does this, they'll have no choice but to go away.

        1. Dodgy Geezer Silver badge

          Um...

          If I were the parking company, I would simply keep my evidence of your parking and my claim of 'breach of contract', and then sell it to a debt collecting agency at half-price. The debt-collecting agency has the experience and admin systems to generate court cases swiftly and efficiently, and will add a charge to the claim to reimburse themselves.

          So you will be looking at a court case plus costs....

          1. Mark 65 Silver badge

            Re: Um...

            You need to be able to prove your case of breach of contract. I doubt many debt collectors would pay anything for such debts as the probability of success makes the NPV pretty close to zero.

  7. RegGuy1
    Coat

    Is this why our town centres are dying?

    Stay at home, keep the car on the drive, fire up Amazon.

    Save fuel, save a parking fine, get it cheaper.

    1. TRT Silver badge

      Re: Is this why our town centres are dying?

      Have you SEEN how Amazon delivery drivers park?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Is this why our town centres are dying?

      "Stay at home, keep the car on the drive, fire up Amazon.

      Save fuel, save a parking fine, get it cheaper."

      Except the time it takes trying to track down WHERE they delivered your parcel to, then arrange collection...

      Had that happen end of last year - parcels were being delivered to different addresses - seemingly at random. At a guess: They were rushing to make deliveries and didn't care who they delivered to.

      1. Gene Cash Silver badge

        Re: Is this why our town centres are dying?

        > Except the time it takes trying to track down WHERE they delivered your parcel to, then arrange collection...

        That's Amazon's problem, not mine. I just complain I didn't get my package, and they have to sort out their delivery subcontractor. I notice when UPS got shitty on this side of the pond that Amazon switched to FedEx for a while. This was when UPS started insisting on signatures for the hell of it and leaving "person not there" stickers if you took more than 30 seconds to get to the door.

        When FedEx started getting lazy, they switched back to UPS who's been pretty good ever since.

        Heck, UPS has even started delivering on Saturdays.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Heck, UPS has even started delivering on Saturdays.

          We get Sunday deliveries ... (not sure who from)

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Heck, UPS has even started delivering on Saturdays.

            > We get Sunday deliveries ... (not sure who from)

            Who cares from whom? I want to order six Sundays for next week.

  8. Wolfclaw Silver badge

    Those that don't will be blocked from accessing driver data and issuing fines, the government said, "effectively forcing them out of the industry" .. as if DVLA will kill off a cash cow or control dodgy companies that will close on a Friday and reopen on Monday under a different name, but same owners and staff. Companies should be forced to put up a big bond and if they break the rules, lose it and then get banned.

  9. zaax

    Put the price up to £20 a time, and give the money to nurses and doctors

    1. AndyS

      £350 million a week!!?!11!

  10. ukgnome Silver badge

    With these heavy handed idiots you just have to ignore the PCN. Or better still send then a completed template from one of the many sites such as

    https://www.moneysavingexpert.com/reclaim/private-parking-tickets

    Never pay these arse clowns

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      DO NOT IGNORE THE TICKET!

      The advice to ignore it was old advice which is no longer relevant. There are still many ways to fight them and I haven't had to pay the last two tickets which were issued. However do not ignore.

      1. ukgnome Silver badge

        Depends on the type of ticket dear fellow.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        > The advice to ignore it was old advice which is no longer relevant.

        And pray tell, *what* would be the new advice then?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          The is no one size fits all new advice. You need to do some research, however a good one is the date of offence compared to when it was actioned. More than a couple of weeks - see relevant legislation for the exact timings - and you can just write back saying it wasn't valid.

    2. Inventor of the Marmite Laser Silver badge

      Ignore is a big risk nowadays

      Check out the many comments on Pepipoo regarding cases lost simply because the tickets and followup letters were ignored. Cases robustly refuted and, if necessary, robustly defended, usually succeed.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This all started because the Tory government introduced the POFA 2012.

    This allowed private parking companies to hold the keeper liable for parking charges if they couldn't determine the driver.

    If you want to scrap dodgey parking companies just scrap the relevant sections POFA 2012.

    Scotland has no keeper liability and yet the country has not descended into anarchy

    1. lglethal Silver badge
      Joke

      "... yet the country has not descended into anarchy"

      I've been in Edinburgh on a friday night. Would you like to rethink that statement?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        > I've been in Edinburgh on a friday night.

        It's not anarchy. It's carefully planned chaos.

    2. Adam 52 Silver badge

      Scotland has completely different trespass law so it was impossible for the dodgy parking firms to operate in the first place, hence no need for the botched Cameron era regulation.

      1. regprentice

        They do though. I'm Scotland the best advice is to simply ignore the letters.

        It's a speculative punt on the dodgy firms part, a reasonable proportion of punters must pay up,probably when they get the letter that looks like it's from a legal firm (but isn't).

        What enrages me is the advice given by the CAB, MSE, Which and so on is to pay the fines. Absolutely nuts and a clear indication of how spineless these organisations are.

  12. adam payne Silver badge

    The British Parking Association welcomed the move. Chief exec Andrew Pester said that a "single, mandatory code of practice across the whole sector is important to ensure that unscrupulous providers don't undermine the parking sector with bad practice"

    A mandatory code of practice that unscrupulous companies will ignore as much as possible.

    I'm sure quite a few people would say they are all unscrupulous.

    1. big_D Silver badge

      Bring in standard pricing for fines. No suddenly slapping on a couple of hundred quid, just for the giggles.

      I remember coming to Germany and finding that the local parking fine for no ticket was less than that for 1 hour of parking in Shaftsbury Avenue, London...

      So far, I have been "lucky", in over 30 years of driving, I have never had a parking fine.

      1. Wensleydale Cheese Silver badge
        Happy

        "I remember coming to Germany and finding that the local parking fine for no ticket was less than that for 1 hour of parking in Shaftsbury Avenue, London..."

        There's a psychological effect at work here. When the initial charges for parking are high and the fines are punitive, you end up resenting getting caught.

        Where the initial charges and fines for not paying them are reasonable, you are more likely to accept the responsibility yourself and say "My fault, I mustn't do that again".

        Ditto with speeding fines. Affordable fines without threats to your driving licence in the form of points don't create resentment, and you are more likely to accept responsibility yourself. It becomes a matter of pride rather than what you can get away with.

        "So far, I have been "lucky", in over 30 years of driving, I have never had a parking fine."

        There we go. Something you can be proud of.

      2. Inventor of the Marmite Laser Silver badge

        @big_D

        Private tickets ain't fines

    2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      "A mandatory code of practice that unscrupulous companies will ignore as much as possible."

      IIRC, the BPA came into existence with it's voluntary code of conduct because a mandatory was was the only other option. They have failed, hence the new Bill.

  13. Lysenko Silver badge

    GDPR

    As title. I don't recall giving the DVLA permission to share data with "Arthur Daley Parking Ltd." This may be a pre-emptive attempt to grab credit for simply obeying incoming law.

    1. TRT Silver badge

      Re: GDPR

      DVLA are a GDPR exempted authority, I'm afraid.

      1. Lysenko Silver badge

        Re: GDPR

        DVLA are a GDPR exempted authority, I'm afraid.

        They're not exempt, they just rely on the Road Vehicles (Registration and Licensing) Regulations 2002, R.27 for authority to share such data. How that will shake down in respect of GDPR and potential implicit repeal/amendment will take case law to resolve.

        The following quote from the DVLA Head of Data Sharing illustrates this:

        "[I] can confirm that appropriate procedures to ensure the same level of assurance [as with the preceding DPA] will be in place to meet the requirements of the new General Data Protection Regulation in May 2018."

        ...if he was asserting absolute exemption this would be pointlessly mendacious. Given that cash from parking cowboys is fairly trivial compared to overall licensing revenue, they may be calculating that getting some good PR, avoiding tiresome court wrangles and bankrupting parasitic scum is a pretty good overall strategy.

        1. TRT Silver badge

          Re: GDPR

          Yes, yes, it's not an absolute and explicit exemption from the Act in its entirety - the Act has derogations which allow a nation to exempt e.g. the enforcement of civil law matters, etc, and yes, this hasn't yet been tested by case law. The RVR 2002 hasn't been amended as part of the bill. Though some law about HGVs was. Weirdly.

  14. 0laf Silver badge
    Trollface

    Lol. Try Perth. Now they're going to fine you if you park your car and cross the road to go for a piss.

    https://www.eveningtelegraph.co.uk/fp/motorists-hit-100-fines-tayside-car-park-due-bizarre-terms/

  15. TonyJ Silver badge

    Perhaps block the directors from having access too

    Eventually they'll run out of friends and relatives to act on their replacement companies.

    Funnily enough I've just responded to the courts about a parking fine issues in 2016. I parked at the same car park for weeks, paying on an app.

    One evening I was poorly and fell asleep missing the alert on my phone.

    As soon as I noticed the next morning, I paid again but by then I'd had a ticket.

    The car park was 99% empty at night.

    The best bits are that I have all the receipts up to and beyond the incident, I have the automated responses from the legal company showing I've tried to contact them and a copy of a their letter explicitly claiming I didn't.

    I also have a screen shot of their own site not actually allowing me to pay when I decided it might be easier in the long run in a moment of weakness.

    So all in all I am quite looking forward now to seeing them in court. Even if I lose at this point, it's only another 50 quid and some time so really worth having a go.

    1. David Nash Silver badge

      Re: Perhaps block the directors from having access too

      My story....I park at the station and pay monthly by phone.

      Once or twice they have given me a ticket "for not displaying a valid permit". Idiots, I paid by phone, there is no permit, they have a record of my reg. number.

      The previous time it happened I sent them a letter and they "let me off with a warning not to do it [what???] again".

      The most recent time it happened was in autumn 2016 and I appealed, they refused. I went through the process and sent all the paperwork (receipt, text message screenshot, photo of sign in car park) to POPLA, the "Parking On Private Land Appeals" body. They delayed, and delayed, and delayed, eventually said "we're putting this one on hold because of a doubt about whether it comes under POPLA jurisdiction". Or words to that effect.

      Still no news. They have no case though.

      1. channelswimmer

        Re: Perhaps block the directors from having access too

        > My story....I park at the station and pay monthly by phone.

        In which case POPLA aren't involved as it is a station and so covered by bylaws. All you have to do is not name the driver (unly the driver is liable under bylaws, there can be no keeper liability as PoFA 2012 doesn't apply), you then string them along for six months, at which point you don't have to pay anything.

        1. Adam 52 Silver badge

          Re: Perhaps block the directors from having access too

          What channelswimmer said.

          Although watch out for some station car parks that have been sold off into private (more private than National Rail) ownership.

          1. David Nash Silver badge

            Re: Perhaps block the directors from having access too

            Re. Station car parks. I don't know how to tell whether it's private or not. It's certainly administered by a private company, not the railway, but I assume that was a contract.

  16. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. John Robson Silver badge

      Re: Petty Speeding

      "Safety - I think not! Why's everyone breaking and changing lane. Oh a camera."

      Very easy - just don't do nearly 60 in a 50mph limit.

      Oh, and learn to spell... breaking is very different from braking.

      1. Ben Tasker Silver badge

        Re: Petty Speeding

        > Oh, and learn to spell... breaking is very different from braking.

        Perhaps he means they're breaking their concentration?

        Which, to be fair, camera's (especially surprise ones) do tend to do, because some people start paying more attention to the speedo than the road.

        Not that all camera's are bad, mind. There are a couple of places near me where the camera is very much needed because of poor (well, terrible) junction design and road layout. You'd hope, though, that sooner or later they'd spend some money to correct the layout....

        But, like you say, the easiest way is to avoid going (too much) over the speed limit. Doing 58 in a 50 is an example of too much, I'd be far more sympathetic if it was 51-54 given that speeds drift a bit and attention should really be on the road. If you can't tell the difference between 58 and 50 though, it's questionable how much attention you're actually paying.

        1. John Robson Silver badge

          Re: Petty Speeding

          > Perhaps he means they're breaking their concentration?

          He didn't...

          > Which, to be fair, camera's (especially surprise ones) do tend to do, because some people start paying more attention to the speedo than the road.

          This is why one of the non-negotiable features of cars I get is a speed limiter. It's a function of the cruise control.

          I do tend to find that when I haven't set it, I am still cruising along a road at exactly the speed limit...

          > Not that all camera's are bad, mind. There are a couple of places near me where the camera is very much needed because of poor (well, terrible) junction design and road layout. You'd hope, though, that sooner or later they'd spend some money to correct the layout....

          Yes - changing the layout is preferable...

          There is no real reason to be cross about any speed cameras, it's generally trivial to actually obey the law.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Petty Speeding

            People generally don't get speeding tickets for speeding. It's usually because they're not paying attention which is far, far worse than speeding. Of course, the combination of the two is worse still.

            Speed cameras are generally pretty obvious as they're painted yellow. And it still amazes me how many people speed through average speed zones just to gain 20 seconds. Why risk a ticket for that?

          2. Adrian 4 Silver badge

            Re: Petty Speeding

            A speed limiter ? Cruise control works as a MINIMUM speed limiter. The only MAXIMUM limiters I've seen (in my admittedly limited experience of current cars) is just a beeper. I can think of many good reasons why this is the case, but it's also somewhat inconvenient if you want to rely on it.

            Also, a useful speed limiter would not only have to communicate with the satnav (and somehow ensure it was up to date with local law changes) but also with variable speed limits on motorways, temporary speed limits at roadworks, etc. etc.

            1. John Robson Silver badge

              Re: Petty Speeding

              My car has a maximum limiter.

              It is one function of the cruise control, max speed - throttle control, but won’t exceed set speed unless I floor it (the kick down detector will override the speed limiter)

              It doesn’t need satnav, I have buttons on the wheel...

            2. d3vy Silver badge

              Re: Petty Speeding

              "A speed limiter ? Cruise control works as a MINIMUM speed limiter. The only MAXIMUM limiters I've seen (in my admittedly limited experience of current cars) is just a beeper."

              Mercedes have speed limiters which prevent you going over a predefined speed, pay a bit more and you can hook it up to a camera that attempts to read road signs to warn you if it's set too high.

              Press the accelerator to the floor and it disables the limiter so that you can set it for 70 (80) on the motorway but still overtake when you need to.

            3. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

              Re: Petty Speeding

              "A speed limiter ? Cruise control works as a MINIMUM speed limiter. The only MAXIMUM limiters I've seen (in my admittedly limited experience of current cars) is just a beeper."

              Every car I've driven in the last five years with cruise control also has a speed limiter. Even the crappy mid-range Kia Ceed I normally drive, which is a long way from being a high end or luxury brand/model. It's an either/or toggle setting and you manually set the upper speed limit, starting from whatever your current speed is. The standard seems to be a green speedo-like indicator lamp for cruise control and a similar but white one for speed limiter,

            4. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Petty Speeding

              > but also with variable speed limits on motorways, temporary speed limits at roadworks, etc. etc.

              That is called traffic sign recognition and is fairly standard these days. Mine can read time-dependent restrictions (e.g., "Max 120 zwischen 06.00 und 18.00 Uhr", pretty common in Germany) and gets an input from the rain sensor so it knows when to apply the wet limit. However, it is up to me (the driver) to adapt my actual speed to the conditions.

          3. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Petty Speeding

            > This is why one of the non-negotiable features of cars I get is a speed limiter. It's a function of the cruise control.

            Adaptive Cruise Control, mate. Best advancement in car technology since the wheel itself.

            It helps you to stay within safe speed *and* distance limits, and frees up brain power to concentrate on proper defensive driving. Plus you save fuel too.

            1. John Robson Silver badge

              Re: Petty Speeding

              >> This is why one of the non-negotiable features of cars I get is a speed limiter. It's a function of the cruise control.

              >Adaptive Cruise Control, mate. Best advancement in car technology since the wheel itself.

              and at the point when it becomes available in my price range it will be taken up - but the speed limiter is already available in my price bracket. And since I expect to be using this car for another 8 years or so... Maybe I'll not have to drive the next one ;)

              I'd at least like to be able to have a car drive itself down the motorway, which seems eminently reasonable to me...

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Petty Speeding

                > and at the point when it becomes available in my price range it will be taken up

                With autonomous emergency braking being made compulsory in Europe by 2020 or so, and since that and ACC are closely related systems, plus with the competition from self-driving cars, I very much expect it to be a standard feature by the time you get another car.

                Btw, I could almost swear that I already saw it as an option in cars like the VW Polo or similar type. Not 100% sure though--it might have been autonomous braking only.

                > I'd at least like to be able to have a car drive itself down the motorway, which seems eminently reasonable to me...

                Agreed. :-)

          4. Glenturret Single Malt

            Re: Petty Speeding

            Ah, the Illiterate Apostrophe. Do you mean cameras as the plural of camera?

        2. TonyJ Silver badge

          Re: Petty Speeding

          There's a stretch of road near my home that's had several fatal crashes in the last 18 months.

          Despite lowering the speed limit to 50, it continues to happen.

          So...for stretches like this, if the only way to save lives is to have cameras, so be it.

          But how about more box junction cameras? The number of stupid, unobservant or simply selfish drivers that sit blocking junctions and adding to traffic problems is ridiculous.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Petty Speeding

            >Despite lowering the speed limit to 50, it continues to happen.

            That's the old crying wolf syndrome. Councils across the country have lowered speed limits everywhere. Not just at the dangerous bits, but entire stretches of roads. Motorists wonder why the speed limit is so low, given that it was higher for many years without incident and the result is they tend to ignore the limits. Where limits are enforced by average speed cameras, they tend to speed up after the zone to make up time.

            Where there is an actual blackspot, the road needs to be fixed to remove the danger. Adding limits won't help. Adding cameras might slow people down, but they'll be looking at their speedos and not the road.

            1. ukgnome Silver badge

              Re: Petty Speeding

              Yes yes that's all well and good, but what has this got to do with dodgy parking firms?

            2. John Robson Silver badge

              Re: Petty Speeding

              > Where there is an actual blackspot, the road needs to be fixed to remove the danger. Adding limits won't help. Adding cameras might slow people down, but they'll be looking at their speedos and not the road.

              We could remove the danger from most roads pretty easily. The danger is basically entirely created by drivers of motor vehicles.

              Seriously though - engineering the risk out of junctions does seem to be beyond the UK:

              http://singletrackworld.com/2018/01/collision-course-why-this-type-of-road-junction-will-keep-killing-cyclists/

            3. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Petty Speeding

              > Motorists wonder why the speed limit is so low

              Cannot speak for any specific spots you may be thinking of, but reduction of speed limits in urban areas in the last two decades has, as a general rule, been primarily driven by air and/or noise pollution, and secondarily in order to increase traffic fluidity.

              A lower speed limit increases road capacity (due to shorter distance between cars and more effective merging) and, paradoxically, can *increase* average traffic speeds by avoiding accordion effects at junctions.

          2. d3vy Silver badge

            Re: Petty Speeding

            "There's a stretch of road near my home that's had several fatal crashes in the last 18 months."

            There's a national speed limit road near me that has been reduced to a 40 because sphere was a fatal crash... on the face of it seems ok... except the crash in question was a drunk driver doing 80+ who slammed into a lamp post head on. Until then there hadn't been an accident that I'm aware of on that stretch of road.

            Sometimes you have to question the sanity of the people making decisions about the speed limits.

            1. Dodgy Geezer Silver badge

              Re: Petty Speeding

              Exactly!

              The key point about travelling on the road is that it ought to be safe. Making speed limits for road stretches is a very arbitary way of achieving this - sometimes a high speed is quite safe, sometimes even a low speed is dangerous.

              Speed limits are convenient for the authorities to administer, but we ought not to lose sight of the fact that they don't address the real problem. I suspect that driverless cars which are connected to a central monitor at all times might be the only way to really address it.

        3. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: Petty Speeding

          "Which, to be fair, camera's (especially surprise ones) do tend to do, because some people start paying more attention to the speedo than the road."

          Yep, that is a real thing. On one of my regular routes, about 500yds after a drop from 70mph to 50mph, just as you go over the brow of the hill is a 50mph speed camera. I regularly see people hitting the brakes when they see the "surprise" camera even though they are doing 50mph or less anyway. Lots of people have a moment of panic when they see a speed camera, especially just after a change to a lower speed limit.

    2. Gene Cash Silver badge

      Re: Petty Speeding

      > mobile stealth tax cameras

      You can do what we do... and steal them. Some of them are worth over $5K.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Petty Speeding

      How about getting a satnav thing bings when you go too fast?

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Petty Speeding

      > accusing people of driving at 58 in a 50 limit and charging them hundreds of pounds to do a drivers awareness course.

      If you are that important that you absolutely must do 58 when the limit is 50, surely you do not mind a little contribution to the public treasure? All the more so if you even get some extra training in exchange!

  17. snowball22
    FAIL

    Due diligence

    At least some of you guys actually parked in the area they patrol.

    I regularly receive fines and threats of legal action from NCP and their sister debt-collecting company for a large HGV truck that overstays its welcome in various motorway service stations across the UK. Their image recognition system which pulls the registration number from the plate is inaccurate and gives them the number for my Aprilia motorcycle.

    There is no human involved in the process. DVLA is simply a data-broker that hands over my details for a fee.

    1. Dodgy Geezer Silver badge

      Re: Due diligence

      I'm guessing that the HGV driver has altered his number plate to assist this mis-identification...

  18. ukaudiophile

    Usual lack of sincerity from DVLA when dealing with motorists

    If there was any actual desire on their part to deal with these dodgy private parking companies (aka. all of them) then there would be a simple rule, no one gets access to the DVLA database who is not working in the employment of a government agency. There, private parking cowboys dealt with in a single change of legislation, and 33 million motorists made a tiny bit happier by showing them a tiny bit of respect for their personal information.

    Of course the other option is they can go on as they are doing, and simply have motorists like me decide to not do business with retail shops and buy online.

    Those are the choices.

    1. Adrian 4 Silver badge

      Re: Usual lack of sincerity from DVLA when dealing with motorists

      And that should include local councils and TFL. They're just companies that provide services for a fee. No need for any special treatment.

      TFL could lose it's 'pay in one day for something you didn't even know you owed'or you get a fine' stupidity extortion too.

  19. Andy Taylor

    Not fines, invoices

    If you get a PCN in England/Wales, the most important thing to do is not to identify the driver.

    The recipient of the notice is the Keeper, the person that parked is the Driver. In law they are separate entities.

    Always complain to the store/landowner - many managers have the ability to cancel notices.

    Always appeal as Keeper and refuse to ID the driver, even if you were not driving.

    Ignore Debt Collector letters, even if they threaten further action - they are powerless.

    Do not ignore a Letter Before (County Court) Claim.

    Do not ignore a claim form.

    Parking Charge Notices are invoices for breaching the contractural terms of parking, they are not fines.

    It is no coincidence that Penalty Charge Notices (issued by councils/traffic wardens etc. have the same acronym.

    Companies deliberately set drivers up to fail - for example using a 0 instead of an O when entering a number plate into their ticket machines when the official number plate font does not distinguish between them.

    There used to be a single trade body, the British Parking Association. Their members sign up to use POPLA as an alternate dispute resolution body, which upholds around 50% of appeals.

    POPLA is recognised as being relatively fair, provided the appeal is made on contractural or legal points and not mitigating circumstances (which are pretty much always rejected).

    The good news is that a POPLA decision is not binding on the appellant.

    A couple of years ago, a firm of solicitors working with some parking companies decided to set up their own alternative trade body, the IPC (originally called Independent Parking Committee, now International Parking Community).

    They run the mis-named Independent Appeals Service in-house and guarantee their members that 80% of appeals will be rejected. The IAS fails as an alternative dispute resolution service for a number of reasons, not least the obvious conflict of interest.

    Unfortunately, the DVLA seems content to allow IPC members to request keeper details.

  20. fruitoftheloon
    Happy

    Is it just me?

    'Andrew Pester', that's a very appropriate name eh?

    1. Justin Case

      Re: Is it just me?

      My thoughts exactly. Nominative determinism in action!

  21. IsJustabloke Silver badge
    Meh

    TBH I don't park in places that look like they're run by dodgy twats and the only parking swindle I *really* want dealt with is the pay and display machines that fail to give change or extra time when people don't have the correct change and I don't care if it is only 5p a pop they all add up and we all know they have the technology to grant the exact number of minutes you've paid for.

  22. unwarranted triumphalism Bronze badge

    Funny how certain people seem to get away without any of this hassle isn't it?

  23. Jonathon Green

    Perhaps we could make a deal...

    ...where life is made more difficult for parking enforcement but I’m legally allowed to grab my trusty lump-hammer and beat the ever-loving crap out of every panel and/or window when somebody who’s got no entitlement leaves their car (or truck, or van, or unicycle, or whatever) in a space I, my employer, or someone who I’m paying for a service has paid good money for the use of.

    Honestly, in spite of signage you could pretty much read from space when the company I work for was located in a town centre near a couple of shopping centres it was rare to go a day without some ass-hole either tail-gating their way into our car park (and then complaining when the automatic gates wouldn’t let them out) or simply dumping it across the gateway. We’re now in an office on an out-of-town industrial park and people still seem to think it’s OK to use our (clearly signed) dedicated car park to either visit somebody else or I suspect in some cases to get the bus into town.

    There is in my view something badly wrong with a society when you’re not allowed to set fire to a vehicle parked without permission on your property and then charge the owner for disposal of the wreckage...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Perhaps we could make a deal...

      > There is in my view something badly wrong with a society when you’re not allowed to set fire to a vehicle parked without permission on your property

      What is it with the passive-aggressiveness? Why not just (politely) tell the other guy off?

      You may find that most of the time people are not actually aware that they are doing something they are not supposed to, and the rest of the time they will want to spare themselves the embarrassment of getting caught again. But for that you need to *talk* to people, not just plaster all sorts of random signs all over the place as one does in the UK.

  24. ecofeco Silver badge

    Good, private firms should not be doing government's work

    See title.

    This whole fashion mistake of allowing private companies to do government's business has been a bad idea from day one, thank you very much Thatcher/Reagan!

    I mean, how'd that work out for the East India Trading Co? It was good for while, right? And then? Yeah, not so good.

    1. JimmyPage Silver badge
      Mushroom

      Re: Good, private firms should not be doing government's work

      WTF should the *government* be policing *private* car parks ????????

      Let me guess. You didn't RTFA ?

  25. Ian Johnston Silver badge

    Last time I went there, St Ives in Cornwall sold one week car parking tickets for £32. Which you had to pay for with £1 coins, £2 not accepted. In machines which automatically terminated the transaction and returned your money if you put more than 25 coins in them.

    1. Aitor 1 Silver badge

      Subway tickets

      That Cornwall machine reminds me of the subway ticket machines in Madrid.. when the change to the euro happened, I was "smart" enough to put plenty of pesetas (the old currency) in the machine to buy a 10 ticket pass... well, the machine smartly hanged, put an "our of order" message and spit the coins.. to the floor.

      Couldnt complain much, as the machines were made by my employer...

    2. Wensleydale Cheese Silver badge

      "Which you had to pay for with £1 coins, £2 not accepted.

      20 years ago, Manchester Airport had a machine that wouldn't accept 20 pound notes, and the cost for the long term car park was ~28 quid for Sunday evening to Friday evening.

      It was quite tricky getting hold of enough fivers and tenners when you were working abroad all week, so you ended up in a long queue to pay at a kiosk.

      On a Friday night, when all you want to do is get home.

  26. Nolveys Silver badge
    Windows

    It's out of control

    I've been getting fines and letters in the mail every week for almost a month regarding a lot that I've never parked in. My only thought is that the company that monitors the parking lot isn't able to tell the difference between a parked car and an abandoned car.

    They really should be trained better.

  27. Peter Johnston 1

    The problem of course is that 99% of unscrupulous operators are giving the rest a bad name. Councils often being top of the list.

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Cheap

    What surprises me most is how little DVLA charges these parasites for ownership details -- since their business is totally dependent on this information one would expect DVLA to charge as much as possible, not a trivial sum.

  29. teebie

    "The proposed legislation is a private members' bill"

    These rarely pass, so surely the headline should be "Dodgy parking firms unlikely to be denied access to Brit driver database"

  30. Gerry 3
    Alert

    It's not just private operators...

    The world's worst private operator was TfL. One Saturday night about 8pm I parked here at the back of a long row of cars (roughly where the yellow cone is, but there were none at the time) noting that the nearest sign said 'No Stopping 8am - 7pm'.

    Came back at 1am to find the car was gone; nothing to say what had happened. Eventually found that TfL had towed it to a pound miles away in a desolate area without any public transport where there had recently been a series of murders. In the leafy darkness and with a car straddling the gap it was impossible to detect that what looked like one long bay was in fact two bays with VERY different rules: turned out that where I had parked was a 2-minute (sic) limit except for buses, even though it wasn't on a bus route.

    Other similarly restricted bays nearby were clearly marked, but not the 'honeytrap' bay I used.

    Worst of all although TfL towed 24/7 because it was so lucrative, their pound didn't release cars on a Sunday. Not much fun walking round London all night long in the wind and the rain when your coat's in the car, even less so if I'd been a young girl or had had a car ferry or flight booked for the Sunday.

    Had to wait until Monday morning to pay an eye watering £260 to get the car back. TfL ignored my appeal, and the so-called independent adjudicator refused to do anything without the input from TfL.

    Cowboy private operators seem paragons of virtue in comparison to Trouble for London.

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