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Crackdown on unfair private parking tickets and rogue firms

Crackdown on unfair private parking tickets and rogue firms

Motorists will get a fairer deal when using private car parks under new government proposals being discussed to crack down on rogue firms.

Unfair private parking tickets will be eliminated through the introduction of new rules, including a maximum cap for parking fines, a 10-minute grace period before a late fine can be issued and a requirement for parking firms to clearly display pricing and terms and conditions

The government hopes that the new measures will be a major boost to millions of motorists in England, Scotland and Wales and will help to draw people back to their local high streets by eliminating the fear of being penalised with an unfair parking ticket.

Currently there are two parking trade associations, the British Parking Association and the International Parking Community. Each has a Code of Practice that their members are required to abide by, but there is no single set of rules, so motorists are vulnerable to bad private parking practices such as deliberately poor signage and unfair parking fines.

Communities Secretary Rt Hon Robert Jenrick MP said: “These new measures are a victory for the millions of motorists across the country. They will put a stop once and for all to rogue parking firms using aggressive tactics and handing out unfair parking tickets with no right to appeal, while also boosting our high streets by making it easier for people to park near their local shops without being unfairly fined.

“Our proposals will restore common sense to the way parking fines are issued, while cracking down on the worst offenders who put other people in danger and hinder our emergency services from carrying out their duties.”

Fresh measures proposed in the new Code and Framework include the creation of a mandatory single Appeals Service and Appeals Charter for motorists to turn to if they are unfairly fined.

Under options set out in the Appeals Charter, motorists could be able to appeal their fine and see it reduced to a maximum of £20, or cancelled entirely if:

  • They have a mitigating reason for overstaying their parking ticket such as their vehicle breaking down
  • They have made a genuine innocent error, like keying in a digit in their number plate incorrectly
  • They have a valid ticket, permit or Blue Badge but failed to display it correctly

The consultations also propose:

  • A new, tiered approach to parking fines with a cap for less serious offences between £40 and £80 depending on the parking charge system chosen (but both lower than the current £100 cap), and a new, increased fine of up to £120 for drivers who wrongly park in disabled bays or ambulance bays
  • A compulsory 10-minute grace periods before firms can issue a late fine
  • A compulsory 5-minute cooling-off period in which a motorist can consider the terms and conditions and change their mind about parking
  • A crackdown on parking firms using aggressive or pseudo-legal language to intimidate motorists into paying fines
  • A requirement for parking firms to clearly display pricing and terms and conditions of parking, contact details and how to appeal a charge

High Streets Minister Simon Clarke MP said: “Unlike existing voluntary codes set by industry, the new Code and Enforcement Framework will be mandatory and provide a single set of rules to follow. Rogue firms which break the Code could be barred from requesting Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) data, making them unable to pursue motorists for their charges through the post.”

The consultation will run until 12 October.

Added: 23 October 2020

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