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Hannay100

CPP/PE ANPR PCN - University Hospital Car Park Coventry **CANC'D After MP Got involved**

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I would appreciate any further thoughts regarding:

 

3 weeks ago my 96 year old mother was rushed in to University Hospital Coventry from her residential care home shortly after midnight, I was notified and arrived there a little after 2 a.m.

 

Not long ago parking control and payment there switched from ticket-issue to ANPR-based terminals and no barriers,

when I went to pay and leave just after 5:00 a.m. the system did not recognise my registration number and display the usual proof-photo and charge.

 

I retried assuming I'd entered it wrong, but with the same result. 

I tried 3 or 4 more times in case of a momentary system-blip, but still with no change.

 

I even walked back to my car to check my own number (!) but I had not somehow switched anything around in some unseen wee-hours fuzz.

 

I tried a couple more times and then made my way to the main foyer to find someone to deal with this, however at that time of the morning there was no administrative staff present yet.

 

I went back to the Emergency department to ask if anyone had already reported a glitch, and told the reception staff what had happened.

 

I asked what alternative payment method the hospital had in place for when the automatic system developed a fault or was down for maintenance. I was told there was none, also that they couldn't accept cash payment when I then offered.

 

I asked how they would suggest dealing with this before just driving off, which I was entirely sure would raise a penalty alert despite the system apparently not at that moment recognising that I had previously arrived.

 

They said I should try paying at terminals on other levels and also at the exit if still needed, and if after all that the car still wasn't recognised then I could leave with no penalty as the system seemed to have missed my arrival plus I had tried a number of times to make payment one way or another anyway but the Hospital was unable to accept it.

 

I took those steps, nothing was any different, and so shortly afterward I departed though In reality there was nothing I could have done further anyway.

 

As a precaution I put a letter in the post later that same day to both the Chief Administrative Officer and to the Car Park office, registering what had happened. I stressed that in the event of a penalty charge being raised nevertheless I would require their intervention to cancel it in light of my numerous attempts to pay at the time, and also what I was told by their staff.

 

I also advised that I would have no intention of paying such a charge, and would challenge it in the most robust manner.

 

Setting aside the questionable morality of levying parking charges at Hospitals in general, costs at UHC are stupidly high, and because not everyone can, wants, or is able to use the 'Bus, hospital visitors are being treated as a substantial income-stream, which is quite obscene.

 

And yes you guessed correctly ... this morning I received a PCN for £100 ... from Car Parking Partnership, the trading name of ParkingEye Ltd., Chorley. 

 

So ...

 

I will now be notifying the Hospital, referencing my earlier letter on the matter, and requiring that they take prompt steps to have the charge cancelled.

 

Given the shabby behaviour of third-party car parking operators however, who appear to display all the courtesy and charm of President Trump and just as much concern for anything other than their own best interests, is there something more that I should sensibly do pro-actively at this point?  ...  Write to them also? Ignore them completely? Use a particular form of words to the Hospital? Copy-in any other bodies?

 

Any useful guidance would be appreciated, thanks. 

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please complete this:

 

 

 

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Posted (edited)

put simply, you tried to pay but the parking c rejected your paymet at the time so they cant demand monies for breach of the conditions now as it is they who failed to complete the contract.

 

Do not respond to the parking co but up your efforts with the hospital by throwing your stones higher up the tree and copy your letters to the patient liason service there as well. let the hospital bosses be aware that yoyu arent going to just rollover and what you did to try to pay and make sure they understand that the advice given by the staff member at reception is binding becasue they have vicarious authority to sort such things out without phoning the Chief Exec at 4am so you have no uncertainty that the hospital is culpable in the parking co's unlawful behaviour ( breach of GDPR in accessing your keeper details).

 

If they dont tell the parking co to wind their necks in let the local paper know what has happened with copy of that letter to your MP so hopefully you can be photographed with MP next to the offending equipment looking distraught and get the paper to invite them to have someone present to comment on your accusations of wrongdoing.

Also get an FOI request ging regarding the number of times people have reported problems to the hospital trust in any way about the malfunctioning of the parking equipment. no point asking about the contract, that is commercially confidential information but you could ask when the contract started and when it expires, you are entitled to know that.

 

In short you start being awkward and do things that cost them money to respond to. The more effort they have to put in to keep their CV's spotless so they can move on to the next Trust after screwing up at this one the better as they are then likely to make good just to get you to shut up

 

This works quite well for public bodies, not so good for supermarkets etc. with them you take to social media and call them out

Edited by ericsbrother
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Hi. I really disagree with parking charges for hospitals when people are ill or visiting someone who's ill.

 

This isn't quite on topic, but I've been to a couple of hositals in recent years that will give you a token for the car park if it's an emergency or a long stay like chemo, etc. I had to ask on the wards.

 

If it's appropriate in your case, I've also seen people get help from the hospital PALS people.

 

HB

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Illegitimi non carborundum

 

 

 

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dx100uk

 

Thanks, and completed as requested.

 

I don't know if this is at all overwritten by ericsbrother's grand advice that came in as I was going through this list, but I have completed it anyway in case it is/becomes relevant/useful. Appreciate the input. 

 

 

For PCN's received through the post [ANPR camera capture]

 

1 Date of the infringement - 30 May 2019

 

2 Date on the NTK [this must have been received within 14 days from the 'offence' date] - Unfamiliar with the jargon, presume this means the Parking Charge Notice so 7 June 

 

3 Date received - 13 June

 

4 Does the NTK mention schedule 4 of The Protections of Freedoms Act 2012? [Y/N?] - Yes

 

5 Is there any photographic evidence of the event? - Yes, v grainy ANPR of front and rear 1 near black, plates legible on both

 

6 Have you appealed? [Y/N?] post up your appeal] - No

Have you had a response? [Y/N?] post it up - n/a

 

7 Who is the parking company? - Car Parking Partnership (ParkingEye Ltd., trading-as)

 

8. Where exactly [carpark name and town] - University Hospital Patients & Visitors Car Park 8&9, Coventry

 

For either option, does it say which appeals body they operate under. - Appeals initially to Car Parking Partnership, if unsuccessful then POPLA

 

There are two official bodies, the BPA and the IAS. If you are unsure, - Their stationery claims BPA membership ...  

please check HERE

 

If you have received any other correspondence, please mention it here - None

 

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1 hour ago, Hannay100 said:

 

 

As a precaution I put a letter in the post later that same day to both the Chief Administrative Officer and to the Car Park office, registering what had happened. I stressed that in the event of a penalty charge being raised nevertheless I would require their intervention to cancel it in light of my numerous attempts to pay at the time, and also what I was told by their staff.

 

 

 

Did you get a reply to either of those letters? Even if they only acknowledged receipt it's useful evidence should you ever need it. Generally speaking a written record of what happened that you make at the time carries more weight than one made later only when the PCN arrives.

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ericsbrother

 

Oh, I can do Awkward :)

 

Thanks, that sounds like an excellent approach and I will start those wheels turning - though it is annoying of course that it is even necessary.

 

Regarding the FOI request ...  I send that to the Hospital Trust, yes? No doubt there's a form/template for that? And notification to the same senior individuals as other hospital correspondence too, just to reinforce my stance? (Or is that a little OTT?)

 

Thanks again!

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honeybee 13

 

Yes I agree, it's a complete disgrace, a tax on being ill!

 

Mum's grand age, increasing physical frailty and horribly escalating dementia is increasingly seeing her hospitalised for emergencies ...  3 times in the past 7 weeks alone. inevitably it is many hours getting through assessments and more, and whilst the last thing on my mind is paying to be with her, almost £10 a pop for the Emergency-event parking and then a fiver-plus for subsequent days until she is stabilised and able to return, amounts to a penalty for loving! 

 

I'll bear PALS in mind, thanks!

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Hello Ethel Street, and thanks.

 

No, no reply ...  of course!

 

Yes a written record straight away has extra value, which is why I set it all down to them within a couple of hours of getting back home ...  useful in all kinds of situations!

 

Thanks for your kind interest.

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I would still suggest asking on the ward about parking tokens in case they're still being offered, Hannay.

 

I do sympathise about the dementia problem, which we had with my mother. 96 is a great age but I know the quality of life isn't always there. It isn't great for anyone.

 

HB

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Thank you HB, and I will certainly take up your suggestion on the next occasion - which regrettably I am sure will not be a long way off.

 

Kind regards

 

HH

 

 

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As this is parking Eye you are dealing with you might get a snotty letter stating charge is justified, and they will mention their victory in the beavis case which turns on its own facts and isn't applicable to you.  best way with PE is to stir up and keep stirring the hornets nest as suggested vy EB and Honeybee, the more negative publicity heaped on PE, who are owned by Capita, who also run TV Licensing for the BBC, the sooner they will wat to cancel yopur ticket to save face.

 

 In Wales they have banned parking charges in hospitals.  England should do the same.

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FOI to hospital trust, you are maintaining radio silence as far as PE/CPP are concerned.

You can only do FOI requests to Govt and public bodies anyway so asking PE for info will get no response.

PALS= patient liason service, they have an office in almost every hospital and these are manned by volunteers plus secretarial. They usually are underworked so get your wording right and they may well look forward to doing something useful

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An update

2 weeks further-on for the benefit of anyone coming along later in similar circumstances or currently following for a directly related reason.

 

No response to date from the Hospital, either to original correspondence or subsequent chase.

 

No response yet from PALS, written-to with all details/copies just a week ago after allowing a period for the Hospital to respond to a chase letter and step-up and have the penalty charge cancelled.

 

All corres. Special Delivery.

 

Parking charge reminder received from CPP dated 11 days after original (no contact intended with CPP, less than zero intention of making payment this side of eternity.)

 

FOI request sent Re. car parking equipment reported-faults - request received and acknowledged.

 

MP contacted, details/copies provided, moving toward meeting Re their involvement.

 

To contact press, local radio etc. accordingly.

 

Watch this space ... 

 

 

 

 

  

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its not a penalty charge.

hope you've not used that word or the word FINE in any comms else you'll be viewed as someone that hasn't a clue what they are talking about...

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Thanks dx100uk  ....  Thought not, but just checked to be sure and no neither one used ...  A parking/penalty slip, and in just the above post only.

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Get on to PALS by phone or call into their office and dont budge until they have been seen to at least try and do something.

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Thanks, ericsbrother

 

I got on to PALS who said they would look in to it. I also emailed them copies of the PCN & my letters to the Hosp so they would have the specifics to refer to.

 

They've now emailed their response which is bewildering in its confident incompetence. I have copy/pasted the body of it here so it is exactly as written:

 

“Unfortunately, our car parks are run by an external company and so therefore do not have the ability to override any fines that they issue.

 

The only thing that we can advise is to use the appeals process to contest the parking fine; the information should have been sent out along with the details of the fine.

 

I am sorry that we are not able to help with this matter any further.”

 

I think this is so full of holes it is simply one big one.

 

It reads as though the writer was just wanting to empty their in-tray as quickly as possible and be seen to have “dealt” with complaints, and either saw the PCN and assumed I was contesting it, or just skim-read the details but checked nothing at all and then knee-jerked the same uninformed response -  either way without bothering to look in to the facts or to speak to anyone.

 

Either that or they are being deliberately obstructive, though to me it comes across as laziness and incompetence.

 

I now gather they are laypeople/volunteers tasked to help patients/visitors in ways ranging from giving directions, to helping practically if they are unhappy with aspects of their medical attention.

 

So much in their response is wrong, even to my newly-knowledgeable eyes:

 

- They use “fine” and aren't aware of the distinction. I did NOT.

 

- They haven't considered (don't know?) the relevance of payment not being accepted because of a malfunctioning system and the lack of any alternative for such occasions.

 

- They haven't regarded the relevance of the hospital's requirement given to me at the time and  which I followed fully, and their guidance to then just leave without fault or consequence.

 

- They say wrongly that the Hosp can't have it cancelled, which I'm certain they can easily by lifting the phone. (I once had a hotel's parking Co. send a PCN when hotel guests should park free - I complained to the hotel with a copy of the PCN, 20 mins later they emailed back with an apology having called and had it cancelled.)

 

- No mention/explanation/apology AT ALL for my previous letters to both the Hosp and to themselves being completely ignored to this day.

 

- No defence/denial of the hospital's culpability in PCCs subsequent actions, as pointed out by you.

 

... and I'm sure that there's more by implication also, that direct awareness/expertise such as your own will see but that I am not able to appreciate just now.

 

I presently intend to snap-back a response to PALS that:

 

- they have entirely failed to understand the heads of my complaint and have therefore not responded to any of them in their short reply

 

- I now require them to approach the hospital on the specific points put initially to them and more recently to PALS

 

- I require them to now do their job, which is to act to help those dissatisfied with aspects of their hospital experience and particularly when the hospital has failed to deal reasonably with a direct approach.

 

- and anything further that your experience/knowledge wants to add, in which regard I would then appreciate suitable forms of words that display knowledge and ability that I should reflect.

 

Unless of course you are aware by experience that I would only be wasting my time and should now escalate to the NHS Ombudsman?

 

For your awareness: I am still going ahead with my MP etc, meeting at their surgery after this coming weekend. Also my FOI request for information about parking equipment malfunctions has been acknowledged and data is now awaited.

 

Annoyingly the lack of any response for over a month means that the end of the PCN's payment-period arrives in a couple of days, past which PCC will no doubt be escalating matters. Should I now advise them as a courtesy therefore of what is going forward, or continue to ignore them which presumably will trigger further processes should things still go on long enough?

 

If you would advise me on this point as well as regarding anything that might usefully be added to my own reply outlined above, I would be grateful.

 

Very many thanks for your valuable help.

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On ‎13‎/‎06‎/‎2019 at 20:13, Hannay100 said:

Thank you HB, and I will certainly take up your suggestion on the next occasion - which regrettably I am sure will not be a long way off.

 

Kind regards

 

HH

 

 

 

Just in case something similar happens again, I would suggest using a mobile 'phone to video the terminal as you try in vain to input your reg no., particularly the display "Not recognised" or whatever it says.

 

If this is a new parking regime it is more than possible that PALS have not had to deal with this sort of problem previously and don't understand that the trust ought to be able to override it.  I'd try to speak to them again, and explain tactfully, that the parking company are agents of the trust and the trust can tell them to cancel it.  (I used to work in the NHS and PALS can be good at what they know about - not so good at what they don't.)

 

Chase up any complaints you've already made.  Personally I wouldn't use registered/recorded, just first class with proof of postage from a post office.  This is legally presumed to be delivered two days later unless the recipient can prove otherwise - not easy for them to do.

 

I would also try to contact the trust's Estates & Facilities Dept. as they are probably the people who manage the parking company's activities and may already have dealt with similar problems.  See if you can find contact details on the trust's website.  (E&F depts. usually have well tried procedures for complaints and queries etc)

 

 

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In any follow up you make I might be inclined to point out indirectly how disappointing it is that the trust's reputation locally could be damaged by bad PR resulting from their failure to reasonably control the activities of their parking contractor.  When members of the public are affected by this sort of equipment failure, it's not the parking contractor that the public perceives as the problem, but the hospital for appointing that contractor.  The local press (and MP) always like a good human interest story to bash the local hospital with. 

 

Not sure how you'd word it but you get the gist - you just don't want to be seen to be threatening them!

 

As a sweetener, you could suggest to them that your predicament gives them an opportunity for improvement.  You won't be the first (or the last) person to be leaving the car park at 5am.  The trust should ensure that there are adequate procedures in place in the event of APNR failure to ensure that you don't have to leave the car park not knowing whether you are going to get an invoice or not.  Notices and 'phone numbers at the pay terminals, better staff training, telling the parking company what is, and is not, expected of them.

 

(PS - at my trust, action was always taken at the slightest hint of a complaint going to the local MP).

 

Not advice - just suggestions for your consideration.  I'm not qualified as to how you should approach the parking company.

 

BTW - similar system recently introduced at our local Sainsburys.  A couple of months ago I left without validating my reg no. (my error) but otherwise complied with the T&Cs.  Sainsburys wouldn't help (it was a new system and mine was one of the first queries and they didn't know what to do!).  I was prepared to receive and challenge any parking invoice but was pleasantly surprised to receive only a warning letter notifying me of the infraction and asking me not to do it again!

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and it disturbs me they continually use the word FINE in their reply

its not a fine and that needs pointing out!!

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dx100uk - Entirely agree, and my draft reply kicks off with exactly that correction even though I suspect that the writer didn't even think to check and probably thinks that they are interchangeable anyway.

 

Manxman in exile - Thank you for those excellent new-avenue suggestions and info! I will re-read and put something together when I am back later this afternoon as I have to head elsewhere for a while shortly.

 

Yes I thought about videoing the process/result too - a couple of hours after I had reached home! Iy came to me as I sat to write a letter to the Hosp registering all the fun I had just had over there!

 

But initially it wasn't even a thought that it might become necessary, and then I expected that they would naturally have a fall-back way to deal with such a malfunction,  and later it still didn't come to mind because I was advised by the Reception staff-member that having done my best to comply and pay, and with my Reg No not recognised suggesting the system hadn't seen my car arrive for whatever reason, I was able to depart perfectly safely!

 

Anyway thanks again for your first-class pointers, all are noted and I will start with some digging later to unearth the E&F Dept and rope them in too!

 

 

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Just looked at their website - not obvious where E&F is - may be contracted out. 

 

Also not obvious where you send complaints to - although it says you should get an acknowledgement within three days with a 'phone number to discuss it with if you want to - see Complaints FAQ.   (EDIT: Sorry there is an address:  https://www.uhcw.nhs.uk/contact-us/did-we-get-it-right/

 

I see their values include Compassion, Improve, Learn and Respect...   I don't think you can separate the experience of relatives from that of patients.  (It seems to be implied that you need to be a patient to complain).

 

Good luck

 

PS - there must be an admin dept that deals with parking.  Have you tried ringing the main switchboard and asking?  (Sorry if you've already covered that above).

 

 

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Do not be concerned about Parking Eye ratcheting up their demands. For whatever reason you left without paying which means that whatever the basic reason for not paying, it also means that you did not accept their Terms and Conditions. Thus you were trespassing and only the land owners can sue for that, not PE.  And unless the land owners can prove you damaged their car park [highly unlikely] you do not owe any money at all and certainly not to those robbers at PE.

They already know they have no chance of winning in Court against you but they still want money from you and will carry on pursuing you for some time with ever increasing threats and charges. Just ignore them and they often give up when it finally dawns on them that you are not going to pay [it does take a while as they are not very bright].

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They will send out multiple ThreatOgrams for a while and keep punting that Beavis is cast iron caselaw.  It isn't it turns on its own particular circumstances but PE don't want anyone to know that.

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