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Does a local authority providing a pay and display car park, have to abide by consumer law with regard to signs displaying conditions and regulations ?..A car park in Chester has no sign at entrance, The pay and display machine lists 6 contraventions that "may" incurr a penalty, then states ring 0300.......... for a full list of terms and conditions.

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I would imagine that the signs have to be clear; state the restriction clearly, the time and the penalty if it is violated. There normally has to be a number to phone if you need more help or if the restriction cannot be enforced for some reason; if the machine is out and if you have a complaint or need to pay over the phone. I have had the great pleasure of poor signing in Chester and had to appeal but won the decision as the sign was not up and the markings had faded. In a car park the regulations should be clear and should be easy to see and find. If the notice has information missing then you may also have a genuine complaint. All markings and all signs have to be complete and clear and all restrictions have to be laid out correctly. You are not a mind reader: you have a right to know clearly if you are able to park, for how long you are able to park, how much if you have to pay, any exceptions and any time restrictions as well as anywhere you cannot park. You also have a right to know if a parking restriction is suspended, meaning that if you are not able to park at all as the police have closed the area to all parking and for how long. If any information is missing from a parking notice, then if you are given a ticket, it may be considered a reason for you to appeal. This is because as you point out they have to comply with consumer and all other laws to do with what should be displayed. If there is a disabled bay for example: it has to be clearly marked out. If there are yellow lines, they have to be completely clear and fully drawn and not broken. The same is on the notice: it must also be present and it must not be defaced or broken or have information missing. Even if only the penalty is missing, and this is only a guess, I would be certain that you are also correct that they have to display it correctly to fully enforce the penalty. As for a long list of terms and conditions: I am not sure that they have to display these: just ensure that they are available. Do not know if any of this helps: would really love to know the definitive answer to this myself. Cheers

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Does a local authority providing a pay and display car park, have to abide by consumer law with regard to signs displaying conditions and regulations ?..A car park in Chester has no sign at entrance, The pay and display machine lists 6 contraventions that "may" incurr a penalty, then states ring 0300.......... for a full list of terms and conditions.

 

The full list probably includes such items as no repairing vehicles, washing vehicles, camping, trading etc etc that are enforceable by other means than a penalty charge.

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Can you get down to the details here. Have you had a PCN? What for? What did the sign say about it?

 

If it's just a general question then yes, the signs to have to stipulate certain conditions. If they do not, and someone received a PCN they can appeal through to the adjudication service. Consumer law may also come into play, but it would be a slightly unusual way to approach the matter.

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The folowing are extracts from the consumer protection from unfair trading leaflet issued by the OFT

 

A trader operates a car park. If he fails to clearly display the

price(s) of parking at a point before the consumer enters the

car park and incurs a charge, this would be failing to provide

material information.

Misleading Omissions (regulation 6)

Giving insufficient information about the product

7.12 Practices may also mislead by failing to give consumers the

information they need to make an informed choice (in relation

to a product). This occurs when practices:

• omit or hide material information, or provide it in an

unclear, unintelligible, ambiguous or untimely manner,

and

• the average consumer takes, or is likely to take,

a different decision as a result.

 

With the first item, the consumer would have to incur a charge for it to qualify, given that "going for change" is not a valid defence for appeal, if you were to go to phone box to phone for a list of contraventions then you are likely to incur a penalty,

with the second point, the consumer would have to prove that they would have taken an alternative action, now if a motorist was in possession of all the facts and it become obvious that the manner in which he had parked was going to cost him an extra £70 then surely he would have taken an alternative action to prevent this extra cost,

 

My point is that, if consumer law applies to a local authority providing a service of a pay and display car park Then CW&C are guilty of unfair trading as stated by the aforesaid law. They are not likely to admit this so i was trying to find out the facts

 

Their reply to my letter of complaint by CW&C stated that as there weren't many PCN's issued on this car park, that is evidence that the signage was adequate. however they did not quantify "many"

if you are local to chester please support my facebook page "chester parking fines,

any further clarification would be grateful

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I would say yes, signs are required at the entrance, if, having entered you are then subject to a minimum fee. They would have to advise you of the cost prior to you entering.

 

The rest doesn't make a lot of sense to me. Are you arguing that a motorist would not know how to park without making a phonecall, and while he was doing so, he might incur a PCN? It's a slender argument - but if you want to pursue it, I think you need to establish whether the un-signed terms and conditions include anything which might result in a PCN being unexpectedly issued - in other words, do these Ts & Cs describe any further contraventions.

 

If they do, I would agree that the sign probably is inadequate.

 

I have to say though, when issues like this are pursued for no real reason other than registering a technical protest in objection to the system, a lot of public money is at stake. Is it worth it?

 

The lack of price on entry does sounds inadequate though, and you could bring this to their attention.

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This issue is a small part of an ongoing complaint to CW&C about their lack of maintenance of highway signs, we have road warning signs that are so dirty they cant be read from 1 mtr distance. missing speed limit signs, over grown warning signs, There are variable signs showing the orange disabled badge that were subject to DFT direction that they must be replaced by 1st jan2010,, CW&C's senior engineer admitted just this week that their funding for road signs was very weak yet they have found money to erect no waiting on grass verge signs throughout the borough, i can only presume that they found funding for these signs as they can now issue PCN's for contraventions, this despite Chester having a bylaw prohibiting parking on verges, which a penalty of £5 would be payable,

even though they are aware of the issue of inadequate signage, they continue to issue PCN's, Most drivers are unaware and pay their penalties as iSsued,

If motorists are required to follow their regulations, then they must comply with their obligations as required by law.

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You really need to get out more if you have nothing better to moan about! If the signs are wrong let people appeal if they feel cheated but personally I'd rather see the Councils money spent on caring for the elderly and sick rather than pandering to people like you that have nothing better to do with their lives than moan about trivialities.

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Councils are struggling to cope with essential services for extremely vulnerable people - homeless, mentally ill, sick and infirm etc. You could spend your time more constructively by pressing for action on the real issues which matter - for example tax avoidance tactics by multinationals which deprives the public purse of billions of pounds. If they sorted that out, councils could afford to employ people to wipe down dirty road signs.

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Personally I think there are too signs and if thet get dirty so what ? if the basic ones are there we dont need signs to tell us every little detail, if we get caught doing somthing we shouldnt appeal, bue seriously signs a=have got to be way down on the list of the councils priorities

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Oh i am sorry, i thought this was a consumer forum where you could ask members for help, i didn't realise it was only for "more important" issues, Lets all pay our taxes then sit back and ignore issues of road safety and let motorists like myself just guess where the signs should be and what they should say, better still lets remove all the road signs that way we wouldn't have take time to read them and perhaps we could use the time to look for pot holes or police officers hiding behind hedges; all of our road tax could then be used help the sick and the elderly. What was i thinking of????

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I thought you were asking an important question as you had been fined! I agree with the previous person, this is not that important an issue. Councils have to display signs correctly and with the right information, but they do not have to list an entire retinue of terms and conditions: you can find those out later and appeal if you wish. The sign has to be at the entrance and state who can park, for how long and any exclusions and time periods and costs. They do not have to display an entire essay. That is covered under Consumer Law and is available on request. I suggest you moan about something more important.

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Good luck with the signs in chester. Been there and done that. While they do need updating, they are still compliant with regulation and law. Im sorry to say this is a non starter.

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Oh i am sorry, i thought this was a consumer forum where you could ask members for help, i didn't realise it was only for "more important" issues, Lets all pay our taxes then sit back and ignore issues of road safety and let motorists like myself just guess where the signs should be and what they should say, better still lets remove all the road signs that way we wouldn't have take time to read them and perhaps we could use the time to look for pot holes or police officers hiding behind hedges; all of our road tax could then be used help the sick and the elderly. What was i thinking of????

 

Help with what wasting council money? There is a sign which tells you its a car park, the tariff, what you can get fined for and a number to ring if you want every single bylaw relating to the car park, yet that is not enough for you?? The streets are full of signs that only cover the basic information that is what signs do

they convey a summary of the information required a 'permit holders only' sign for example does not tell you how much permits cost, who can apply for one, what vehicles are exempt etc maybe you should campaign to get the complete traffic order posted below every sign if you are that concerned about your taxes??

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