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Michael Browne

Forum to advise DVLA on preventing private-parking rip-offs

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Forum to advise on preventing private-parking rip-offs

 

 

[5 November 2012]

 

Dodgy practices in the private-parking industry have led the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) to create an advisory committee of consumer and motoring bodies to help sort out the mess, much of which stems from unclear signs and documents.

 

The new ‘DVLA Consumer Forum on Private Parking Management’ will include people from the AA, the RAC, Which?, Trading Standards, the Office of Fair Trading and Citizens Advice, as well as Martin Cutts of Plain Language Commission and Nev Metson, the former police officer who has exposed many of the worst private-parking rip-offs.

 

As we’ve reported, the industry chases drivers for around £160million a year in phoney (ie, non-official) fines for supposedly breaching car-park rules.

 

The forum will meet twice a year.

 

http://www.clearest.co.uk/news/2012/11/5/forum_to_advise_on_preventing_private_parking_rip_offs

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This is something that is long overdue and of particular interest to those of us in Scotland as it only a matter of time before the BPA arrive at Holyrood with their begging bowl trying to jusify their existance. What I can say is that there are a number of MSP's and local authorities already aware of the highly questionable tactics used by these companies and a great deal of collated information on this particular subject.

 

I note with further interest that the voluntary advice agencies have finally become involved, although I can say that that the CAB in this area is particularly active and helpful when dealing with people who have been victims of this industry, however I understand that they do have difficulty in as much as these companies point blank refuse to engage with appointed agencies even when the issue reaches the debt collection stage. It would appear that they are even prepared to ignore the Office of Fair trading Debt Collection Guidance section 2.7 C which clearly states that refusing to deal with with appointed or authorised third parties such as Citizens Advice or independant advice centres is deemed to be a deceptive or unfair practice.

 

Furthermore, I am sure that you are aware of the statement issued by the Department for Transport relating to the level of charges, which reads as follows

 

Charges for breaking a parking contract must be reasonable and a genuine pre-estimate of loss. This means charges must compensate the landholder only for the loss they are likely to suffer because the parking contract has been broken. For example, to cover the unpaid charges and the administrative costs associated with issuing the ticket to recover the charges. Charges may not be set at higher levels than necessary to recover business losses and the intention should not be to penalise the driver

 

On this point it is my understanding that private parking companies refuse to provide a breakdown or indeed the equation used to calculate the charge claimed even when confronted by representative organisations.

Edited by Crocdoc

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I am afraid that many CAB offices give very bad advice regarding private parking tickets. Their standard line is "pay the ticket and then appeal"

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I am afraid that many CAB offices give very bad advice regarding private parking tickets. Their standard line is "pay the ticket and then appeal"

 

I agree that the advice varies from area to area , however I understand that they are now getting to grips with this issue, I know that the office in my area has been dealing with these for a number of years and nobody has ever paid or been taken to court. I can also confirm that the person involved from CAB has gone to great lengths in terms of research and has highlighted the issue on radio and made press announcements with the support of a member of the Scottish Parliament.

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