Use the template if the car park had free parking.
You need to modify or change the parts in blue square brackets [ ].
[Enter the registered keeper’s address]
[Enter today’s date]
Parking on Private Land Appeals
PO Box 70748
Re: Parking Charge Reference number [xxxxxxx] Vehicle registration: [xxxxxxxx]
I am the registered keeper of the above vehicle and have received the above demand from Parking Eye.
My appeal to Parking Eye was rejected and they gave me POPLA code [xxxxxxxxx].
The basis of my appeal is:
1) The Charge is not a genuine pre-estimate of loss
Their sign states the charge is for ‘not fully complying with the conditions’ so Parking Eye must prove the charge to be a genuine pre-estimate of loss.
- As this car park had free parking, there can be no loss to the Parking Eye, and therefore no loss flowing from the parking event.
- Parking Eye cannot demonstrate any initial quantifiable loss. The parking charge must be an estimate of likely losses flowing from the alleged breach in order to be potentially enforceable. Where there is an initial loss directly caused by the presence of a vehicle in breach of the conditions (e.g. loss of revenue from failure to pay a tariff) this loss will be obvious. An initial loss is fundamental to a parking charge and, without it, costs incurred by issuing the parking charge notice cannot be said to have been caused by the driver’s alleged breach.
- There is no loss flowing from this parking event because the car park was no-where near full.
- Heads of cost such as normal operational costs and tax-deductible back office functions, debt collection, etc. cannot possibly flow as a direct consequence of this parking event. Parking Eye would have been in the same position had the parking charge notice not been issued, and would have had many of the same business overheads even if no vehicles breached any terms at all.
- Given that ParkingEye charge the same lump sum for a 30 minute overstay as they would for 3 hours, and the same fixed charge applies to any alleged contravention (whether serious/damaging or trifling), it is clear there has been no regard paid to establishing that this charge is a genuine pre-estimate of loss caused by this incident in this car park.
- ParkingEye cannot reasonably claim a broad percentage of their entire business running costs as they operate various different arrangements, some where they pay a landowner a huge amount akin to a ‘fishing licence’ to catch motorists and some arrangements where they have pay and display, and others which are free car parks.
- The DfT Guidance and the BPA Code of Practice require that a parking charge for an alleged breach must be an estimate of losses flowing from the incident. ParkingEye cannot change this requirement so they have no option but to show POPLA their genuine pre-estimate of loss for this charge, not some subsequently penned ‘commercial justification’ statement they may have devised afterwards (since this would not be a pre-estimate):
- The British Parking Association Code of Practice uses the word ‘MUST’:
“19.5 If the parking charge that the driver is being asked to pay is for a breach of contract or act of trespass, this charge must be based on the genuine pre-estimate of loss that you suffer.”
2) Lack of signage – no contract with driver
The signs were not visible from a distance and the words are unreadable. I put Parking Eye to strict proof otherwise; as well as a site map they must show photos of the signs as the driver would seem them on entering the car park. A Notice is not imported into the contract unless brought home so prominently that the party ‘must’ have known of it and agreed terms. The driver did not see any sign; there was no consideration/acceptance and no contract agreed between the parties.
The sign also breaches the BPA CoP Appendix B which effectively renders it unable to form a contract with a driver in the hours of darkness: ”Signs should be readable and understandable at all times, including during the hours of darkness…when parking enforcement activity takes place at those times. This can be achieved…by direct lighting or by using the lighting for the parking area. If the sign itself is not directly or indirectly lit…should be made of a retro-reflective material similar to that used on public roads”.
3) Lack of standing/authority from landowner
Parking Eye has no title in this land and no BPA compliant landowner contract assigning rights to charge and enforce in the courts in their own right.
BPA CoP paragraphs 7.1 & 7.2 dictate some of the required contract wording. I put Parking Eye to strict proof of the contract terms with the actual landowner (not a lessee or agent). Parking Eye have no legal status to enforce this charge because there is no assignment of rights to pursue PCNs in the courts in their own name nor standing to form contracts with drivers themselves. They do not own this car park and appear (at best) to have a bare licence to put signs up and ‘ticket’ vehicles on site, merely acting as agents. No evidence has been supplied lawfully showing that Parking Eye are entitled to pursue these charges in their own right.
I require Parking Eye to provide a full copy of the contemporaneous, signed & dated (unredacted) contract with the landowner. I say that any contract is not compliant with the requirements set out in the BPA Code of Practice and does not allow them to charge and issue proceedings for this sum for this alleged contravention in this car park. In order to refute this it will not be sufficient for Parking Eye merely to supply a site agreement or witness statement, as these do not show sufficient detail (such as the restrictions, charges and revenue sharing arrangements agreed with a landowner) and may well be signed by a non-landholder such as another agent. In order to comply with paragraph 7 of the BPA Code of Practice, a non-landowner private parking company must have a specifically-worded contract with the landowner – not merely an ‘agreement’ with a non-landholder managing agent – otherwise there is no authority.
4) Unreasonable/Unfair Terms
The charge that was levied is an unfair term (and therefore not binding) pursuant to the Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations 1999. The OFT on UTCCR 1999, in regard to Group 18(a): unfair financial burdens, states:
’18.1.3 Objections are less likely…if a term is specific and transparent as to what must be paid and in what circumstances.
An unlit sign of terms placed to high to read, is far from ‘transparent’.
Schedule 2 of those Regulations gives an indicative (and non-exhaustive) list of terms which may be regarded as unfair and includes at Schedule 2(1)(e) “Terms which have the object or effect of requiring any consumer who fails to fulfil his obligation to pay a disproportionately high sum in compensation.” Furthermore, Regulation 5(1) states that: “A contractual term which has not been individually negotiated shall be regarded as unfair if, contrary to the requirement of good faith, it causes a significant imbalance in the parties’ rights and obligations arising under the contract, to the detriment of the consumer”.
The charge that was levied is an unreasonable indemnity clause pursuant to section 4(1) of the Unfair Contract Terms Act 1977 which provides that: “A person cannot by reference to any contract term be made to indemnify another person (whether a party to the contract or not) in respect of liability that may be incurred by the other for negligence or breach of contract, except in so far as the contract term satisfies the requirement of reasonableness.”
[Include point 5 below if the car park was one where Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) was in use. If ANPR was in use, there would have been no ticket left on your windscreen, and you would have received a letter with photos of your care entering and leaving the car park]
5) The ANPR system is unreliable and neither synchronised nor accurate
ParkingEye’s ANPR records show no parking time, merely photos of a car driving in and out which does not discount the possibility of a double visit that evening. It is unreasonable for this operator to record the start of ‘parking time’ as the moment of arrival in moving traffic if they in fact offer a pay and display system which the driver can only access after parking and which is when the clock in fact starts. The exit photo is not evidence of ‘parking time’ at all and has not been shown to be synchronised to the pay and display machine clock nor even to relate to the same parking event that evening.
This Operator is obliged to ensure their ANPR equipment is maintained as described in paragraph 21.3 of the BPA Code of Practice and to have signs stating how the data will be stored/used. I say that Parking Eye have failed to clearly inform drivers about the cameras and what the data will be used for and how it will be used and stored. If there was such a sign at all then it was not prominent, since the driver did not see it. I have also seen no evidence that they have complied with the other requirements in that section of the code in terms of ANPR logs and maintenance and I put this Operator to strict proof of full ANPR compliance.
In addition I question the entire reliability of the system. I require that ParkingEye present records as to the dates and times of when the cameras at this car park were checked, adjusted, calibrated, synchronised with the timer which stamps the photos and generally maintained to ensure the accuracy of the dates and times of any ANPR images. This is important because the entirety of the charge is founded on two images purporting to show my vehicle entering and exiting at specific times. It is vital that this Operator must produce evidence in response and explain to POPLA how their system differs (if at all) from the flawed ANPR system which was wholly responsible for the court loss recently in ParkingEye v Fox-Jones on 8 Nov 2013. That case was dismissed when the judge said the evidence from ParkingEye was fundamentally flawed because the synchronisation of the camera pictures with the timer had been called into question and the operator could not rebut the point.
So, in addition to showing their maintenance records, I require ParkingEye to show evidence to rebut the following assertion. I suggest that in the case of my vehicle being in this car park, a local camera took the image but a remote server added the time stamp. As the two are disconnected by the internet and do not have a common “time synchronisation system”, there is no proof that the time stamp added is actually the exact time of the image. The operator appears to use WIFI which introduces a delay through buffering, so “live” is not really “live”. Hence without a synchronised time stamp there is no evidence that the image is ever time stamped with an accurate time. Therefore I contend that this ANPR “evidence” from the cameras in this car park is just as unreliable and unsynchronised as the evidence in the Fox-Jones case. As their whole charge rests upon two timed photos, I put ParkingEye to strict proof to the contrary and to show how these camera timings are synchronised with the pay and display machine.
[End of ANPR section to only be included if ANPR is in use]
I contend it is wholly unreasonable to rely on unlit signs in an attempt to profit by charging a disproportionate sum where no loss has been caused by a car in a free car park where the bays are not full. I put Parking Eye to strict proof to justify that their charge, under the circumstances described.
I therefore respectfully request that my appeal is upheld and the charge is dismissed.
[the registered keeper’s signature]
[the registered keeper’s name]