PLEASE NOTE: The purpose of my blogging/videoing my experience with UKPC trying to fine me is to show my readers and the public both sides of this story; from both a customer and company perspective. I feel that I have been treated unfairly by UKPC and therefore wish to leave it to you to decide who is right or wrong in this instance. I have used audio and video recording evidence to show the development of my case, capturing the responses from the staff and myself; in discreetly recording my communications with UKPC staff I can be sure that I am given an honest answer to my questions that I would not have achieved if I had informed them beforehand. When I am happy that this matter has been dealt with accordingly I hope to speak to and inform an authoritative member of UKPC of my actions and give them a fair chance to respond. Should this matter be brought to court I will use all contents that I have collected as evidence of UKPC’s customer service.
Well on the 27th January 2013 I had a fandabbydosey little day off when I parked in the Aylesbury Shopping Park in Cambridge Close at 11:04am with Luca, and we mosied around the stores whilst my two-hours-free-parking ticket nestled sweetly in my car windscreen ready for our return. And a whole forty-two minutes into my parking duration at 11:46am I received a lovely bright yellow fine under my window wiper because my parking ticket had unknowingly blown over when I closed the car door and my ticket had been unreadable.
After returning to my car ten minutes later at 11:56am with my parking ticket still one hour and eight minutes within it’s cover I was horrified to see the fine on my car. So I scoured the car park for the UKPC attendant on duty who had been sat inside his lovely little warm car in the far corner of the car park because he was cold. I explained that I had my ticket still in the vehicle but he had issued the fine only minutes ago. He walked back over to the car with Luca and I and said he had issued it because he couldn’t see the time on my ticket. So I took the ticket out, turned it over and showed him it was in date and in time still. He apologised for issuing the ticket, but informed us that we should complete the form attached to the fine and post it in the envelope provided along with the ticket as proof of parking and the staff would consult the CCTV cameras to see that I had gone to the machine for a ticket and match up the reference numbers to see that I was innocent and remove the fine against my vehicle.
So I pulled out my book of first class stamps and a pen from my handbag, filled out the paperwork and posted it with my ticket as proof in the post box on the corner of the car park before leaving the facility and thought nothing more of it until on the 20th March 2013 a £90.00 fine arrived on my doorstep from UKPC.
What. The. Fuzzyduck? A whole seven and a half weeks after I sent off my parking proof I suddenly end up with a fine and photographic ‘evidence’ of my car with a parking ticket displayed on the dashboard. Riiiight? So I called the contact number on the letter for ‘Customer Services’ on 0870 174 0074 and a lady advised me that after checking my reference number no post had ever been received, and so the valid parking ticket I provided was no more! Luckily I had taken a photo of the parking ticket and the fine which threw her, and I requested another form of contact to provide my evidence.
I was told to visit UKPC Appeals to submit my details online and upload a file containing my proof, which I did and I expected that to be the end of it as I had provided sufficient evidence that I indeed had a valid ticket.
Fast forward to the 5th April 2013, two and a half weeks after providing my evidence for the second time and ten weeks since the fine was issued and I receive ANOTHER letter from UKPC regarding my evidence. It seems despite providing them with proof of valid parking, and the actual parking attendant telling me the ticket was proof enough and they would remove the fine, they have now decided as a goodwill gesture that they will reduce my fine from £90.00 to £15.00 if I pay within thirty-five days. After providing them with the valid parking proof I’d always had!? And if I didn’t pay the reduced parking charge within the allotted time then it would go back up to £90.00 again, with the additional charge of £60.00 added for the services of a debt recovery agent (which I’ve researched and discovered that a debt recovery agent can’t even peel a banana against you based on a parking fine unless a debt is proven through court but no company will take you to court for the damages of £1.00 for the cost of a ticket instead of their inflated £90.00 scare tactic invoices they send) taking the ridiculous total to £150.00 of empty threats for having a valid ticket. Hmmm. This smells fishy.
The jargon behind my not paying UKPC’s Parking Charge Notice:
CONTRACT: UKPC has no ownership of the private land in question and so they are not legally entitled to form a contract between myself and themselves for the purposes of charging for incorrect parking. Legal precedent is set here in the case of Vehicle control services limited vs the commissioners for her majesties revenue and customs.
NO LOSS OF BUSINESS SUFFERED IN A FIRST-TWO-HOURS-FREE CAR PARK: If the above point is considered invalid, and a contract exists, the charge levied represents a fine and not a valid charge for loss of business or damage caused. In this case no claim is made for damage caused so perhaps a loss of business is being claimed, as the car park does not charge for the first two hours of parking for customers of the shopping park, the only possible charge that could be levied is £0.00 for my occupying a single space.
Therefore I have a basket of fruitful wonder-nuggets for fighting my case should I want to; although I can also choose to ignore all correspondence and they will continue to send several threatening letters before giving up and chasing other unsuspecting members of the public for money:
1. I dispute there is a contract. Inadequate, poorly located and unclear signage mean a reasonable motorist could not be expected to see the terms prior to parking – as such the requirements of forming a contract (a meeting of minds, agreement, certainty of terms etc) and the matter of defining an offer with subsequent acceptance and consideration, have not been satisfied and thus no contract exists.
1.1 As there is no contract, I would be at most guilty of the tort of trespass. Were this the case, my sole liability would be damages in favour of the landowner. As the car park was not in full occupation throughout the alleged trespass, I dispute that the landowner incurred any losses.
2. If a contract does exist, and that contract is between myself and UKPC, for such a contract to have been created UKPC must have (and prove):
an ownership interest in the land; or,
authority (probably in the form of a lease or licence) from the landowner granting the PPC the rights of occupation or possession of the land [per VCS -v- HMRC 2012]
3. Absent the above, any contract would in fact be between myself and the landowner. UKPC may be able to create this contract as the landowner’s agent, but they would not be able to represent the landowner in court, nor bring action in their own name to re-coup damages or monies owing to the landowner.
4. If a contract exists, and that contract is between myself and UKPC, the terms are unfair because the charge does not represent a genuine pre-estimate of UKPC losses, and is thus a penalty.
The law covers this situation adequately with the Unfair Contract Terms Act 1977 which clearly provides under group 5 para 1(e)** that “Terms may be unfair if they have the object or effect requiring any consumer who fails to fulfil his obligation to pay a disproportionate high sum in compensation“. In other words, the company owning or managing the parking space can only charge a penalty which accurately reflects the loss of income they suffered arising from that breach. If the driver arrived 11 minutes late the penalty, if any, should be the cost of an 11 minute ticket. If there were several other parking spaces available, then no loss was suffered.
I think for the purpose of concluding this blog post that I would like to confront and address this matter with UKPC directly and share with you all my journey into the belly of the cowardly beast that is UK Parking Control. So here starts my battle and I hope that you’ll join me and share your experiences with me as I refuse to be bullied by such cowboys. I will keep you up to date with all correspondence received and record my call to them in the morning to read them their rights.
After shaming the UKPC staff who were very unhelpful, had no managers or senior staff available for discussion and could only advise me to pay my fine – funnily enough – I declared that I would not pay the fine until I had first spoken to a manager as they had the power to remove it along with my proof of parking, and asked the call centre staff ‘BeffaKnee’ in no uncertain terms where she would like me to stick this fine and discovered that she takes it up the proverbial! How very interesting.
As was expected I could not get through to a UKPC manager any of the many times that I called, no matter how politely I asked or how insistent I was to speak to higher staff; so by default on their part I have now received a letter from Debt Recovery Ltd. demanding I now pay £150.00 because of UKPC. I telephoned UKPC who advised it was out of their hands now and Debt Recovery can deal with it all.
I telephoned Debt Recovery Plus Ltd. and surprise surprise, they couldn’t do anything, only take payment! Wow, that smells just like BS/catch22 to me. I offered to provide my proof of parking to Debt Recovery Ltd. so that they could see it was a falsely issued fine and therefore not a valid debt in my name, but they advised they can only act on the instructions of UKPC which is to fine me £150.00. Needless to say I informed them that I would not be paying the fine, debt recovery or no debt recovery, to which they retorted with the information that I would be taken to court. And my response to such a threat? So long as I don’t have to drive! Maybe then somebody will bloody listen to me because every member of staff I have spoken to have been as helpful as a chocolate teapot on a wilting summers day, and the ticket inspectors have told me twice now to ignore them and they’ll go away. How very professional and utterly disgusting.
And so begins my investigation into the legalities of UKPC’s actions with the help of one of my beloved blog readers from Pepipoo who made contact and kindly offered me some advice along with Parking Cowboys. I will fight this case to the very end, seek justice and challenge UKPC for every godforsaken penny that they demand from my hard earned purse. I would rather stick pins in my eyes than hand over the money that I use to put food on the table for my children. And if that means going to court over this then pass me my lipstick and high heels because I am ready for war! UKPC you don’t scare me!
UPDATE: 18/06/13 Parking Attendant Youtube Video
Today I was asked to remove the video-footage of me speaking to a UKPC parking inspector in the car park where my fine was issued which I was happy to comply with, editing my Youtube video description accordingly:
I have been asked to protect the identity of the UKPC ticket inspector in the car park for which I have hidden-camera video footage of them talking to me that I have now removed from the end of this video. However, even though you are unable to see the footage (as of today) of us speaking I will now summarise the UKPC ticket inspectors advice to me:
-Tell Debt Recovery Plus Ltd. that I do not accept the debt and to pass the case back to UKPC.
-Speak to UKPC again and ask for a cancellation notice for my fine.
-Continue to fight my side.
-Ignore the letters that are sent out demanding money as these are computer generated.
-Even though my ticket blew over I should not be fined by UKPC.
I shall retain the video evidence of the UKPC inspector for legal use, but I cannot share it with you on Youtube. The reason I used a hidden-camera device to capture this evidence was for honest and unbiased staff advice from the actual company that issued the parking fine. If I had informed the parking inspector of my recording they would possibly not have answered me as honestly or being as open to give me further advice.
I am compliant with the law in removing this footage from the end of my video, and am not looking to get the member of UKPC staff into trouble; I respect and appreciate their help and advice during this stressful and unjust time, I simply seek polite and patient justice for the parking fine that was issued to me by UKPC and I do this by proving that I have a valid parking ticket and that the staff have confirmed my authenticity on camera. As of yet UKPC management (who are completely unreachable) have failed to acknowledge my proof of valid parking or close my case, they continue to aggressively threaten me with escalating debt collectors and court proceedings which I refuse to be bullied into paying.
Thankfully I now have all of the evidence that I need to prove my parking legally in abundance and will continue to cover the details of this case through my Youtube channel and blog whilst protecting the identity of the staff. Once again, I appreciate and respect the staff members help in confirming my innocence and now look again to the management of UKPC to put into action these steps. I have been very patient with UKPC and completely reserved in all communications to peacefully deal with the matter at hand; it’s a shame that UKPC have failed to respond to me in the same manner, but it does not deter me in seeking justice.
Thank you to my viewers, contributors and the UKPC staff that I have spoken to, who have provided me with the evidence and following that I need, those of you whole have shared your thoughts online, your experience and opinions in dealing with UKPC.
UPDATE: 26/06/13 Press Coverage Of My UKPC Case
Earlier in the week I spoke to the Bucks Herald Newspaper about my UKPC parking fine saga and a few hours later it made front page news. I feel so strongly about seeking justice for not only my case but others too who have fallen victim to such an impossible company as UKPC. These parking companies MUST be regulated, they MUST answer to a higher governing body and be held accountable for their underhand and unfair bullying actions. Too many innocent people suffer in this day and age, fearful of a worser reprimand if they do not pay the initial extortionate fine without question. How ridiculous!
Well I’m making it my position to fight for justice and shed light on the severely flawed system that allows this kind of behaviour to happen, address the faults and demand change. Together we are stronger and I welcome you to share your experiences of UKPC, but rest assured I shall take them on single-handed if I have to! Here’s a nice moody-faced newspaper picture to demonstrate my frustration – oh look the signage has fallen in the parking machine! How embarrassing for UKPC!
I would like to say a huge thank you to the residents of Aylesbury, the Bucks Herald and all of their fabulous readers for their involvement with my UKPC case. Your comments (and hilarious/non-publishable private emails) about your dealings with UKPC are both heart-warming and horrific at the same time. I am so pleased to hear of your success stories, of telling UKPC where to go and refusing to give them money for their ill-appointed ‘invoices’. Your guts and determination drive me to see my case through and publish my findings for the world to see in a warts and all blog of my battle with UKPC. But at the same time, on the other side of it all, it breaks my heart to hear how so many good and honest people are bullied and ripped off by UKPC on a daily basis, worried and chased by their aggressively appointed debt collectors for an unjust and insane fine from a free to park (for the first two hours) car park. I feel sick for you and my heart goes out to those who have cruelly been made to suffer when they already have enough of a struggle on their hands without needing the added concern of parking fines. I will get justice for you, and I will stop this from happening to others.
Thank you all for sharing your experiences and I hope you will continue to do so. Now as UKPC have fallen silent surprisingly – perhaps as they reload the paper in their rented office printer in preparation for their next batch of automatically generated threats/increased fines/court summons – I shall keep one eye on their actions whilst now addressing the DVLA.
I have since the age of sixteen, and my first naive years of driving, bowed down to the almighty powers of the DVLA as a seemingly God-like motoring body and always returned paperwork and documents required by them with the utmost importance and enthusiasm so as not to break the law or impose any fines. But since my dealings with UKPC and their involvement with the DVLA – as is the case with all private land ticketing companies – my opinion and approach to the DVLA has greatly shifted and I now see them in an entirely new light.
The views I am about to express concerning the DVLA are strictly down to the way that my case has been handled by them and UKPC concerning the usage of my private data and personal details as a motorist and UK citizen and you are free to form your own judgements about each ‘company’ as you see fit from the correspondence that I am about to share with you. I am simply showing you my experience and welcome the DVLA to respond to and justify their actions here if they wish. I will not censor anything, other than my personal information of my full name, vehicle registration and address.
My first mission is to establish if UKPC received my proof of parking when I posted my valid ticket along with my fine BEFORE my ticket had expired as the inspector advised so that the staff could check the reference number on the ticket off against the fine and realise I had indeed parked legally. After I received a £90.00 fine from UKPC I telephoned them to query why they had issued it and they said they didn’t receive my ticket. Which would also mean they didn’t receive my contact details either, so how did they find me?
For the purpose of blogging my DVLA correspondence and sifting through their jargon, I will provide the emails/letters sent and received between myself and the DVLA followed by a red summary of what I interpret it to mean below. PLEASE NOTE: Quite clearly this is my light-hearted straight to the point take on the content and abbreviated in a round-about way as I obviously cannot speak on behalf of the DVLA but simply give my thoughts and feelings which are understandably quite aggravated after what UKPC and the DVLA have put me through so far.
My email to the DVLA:
Dear Mr Evans,
Your ref: FOI request
My Ref :Vehicle Reg No xxxxxxx
As your records will confirm, I was the registered keeper of the above vehicle at the date of the alleged parking contravention. Please find attached a Notice to Keeper that was recently sent to me by UKPC. You will note that UKPC are seeking to pursue the parking charge under Sch 4 of the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012 (PoFA)
PoFA imposes strict time limits against which registered keeper’s data may be requested. The Data Protection Act obliges the DVLA to process data lawfully. Accordingly I would be grateful if you could confirm the following in respect of the attached ‘Notice to Keeper’:-
(a) the date and time that the DVLA received a request for my personal data
b) The name of the requesting company
(b) the date and time that the DVLA made that data available.
Please note that I am not seeking personal data so my enquiry is not a subject access request. I merely seek details of actions taken by the DVLA. I would be grateful if you could reply asap as I have limited time in which to appeal against the parking charge.
AKA: Hello DVLA, who, what, when and how have you shared my private information without my consent?
The response I received from the DVLA:
Dear Miss Kiss,
Thank you for your recent correspondence regarding the release of information from the vehicle records held at DVLA Swansea. As Mr. Evans is currently on leave as his deputy this has been passed or my attention. Please be advised that the information you request does not fall under the Freedom of Information Act 2000, personal data continues to be protected under the Data Protection Act 1998 and your request has been dealt with as day to day business.
All request for this type of enquiry has to be applied for in writing containing a signature directly to the Driver Vehicle Record Enquiry section at DVLA, Longview Road Swansea SA99 1AJ. The administration fee for this type of enquiry is £5.00 per vehicle. All cheques or Postal orders should be made payable to DVLA Swansea. Please note the administration fee is to enable us to access your vehicle record.
If you wish you may mark your request for my personal attention and I will ensure it get immediate attention upon receipt.
Letitia Lloyd on behalf of Gregory Evans
AKA: Hello Miss Kiss, Gregory is on holiday so I’m not going to tell you, but you can pay me £5.00?
My response to the DVLA:
Thank you for your email of 7th June 2013 at 13.50. I would be grateful if you would review your decision and provide the information as requested. You will have noted that the ‘Notice to Keeper’ that accompanied my initial request does not comply with the statutory requirements of Sch 4 Protection of Freedoms Act 2012 and therefore UKPC cannot seek to hold the registered keeper liable.
Nevertheless, despite clear evidence of that non-compliance the DVLA has released my personal and private data to UKPC who have then sought to pursue the parking charge under Sch 4 PoFA – which legally they cannot. My reasons for asking you to review your decision are as follows:-
a) It is not reasonable to expect a registered keeper to have to pay £5 simply to ascertain whether or not the DVLA released my data within the PoFA statutory timescales.
b) I would refer you to an earlier enquiry of the same nature where your colleague, David Dunford did indeed provide the necessary information under the FOIA and I would therefore expect the DVLA to act consistently. Your reference in that case is Ref:- DVRE3_AO D7 and the data was supplied by return in an email at 9.34am on 3rd April 2013.
I would be grateful if you could reply within the next seven days as you will be aware that I have limited time in which to challenge the legality of this parking charge.
AKA: Hello Latitia, you realise there is a law against your actions and you have given the information I’m asking for to others previously so you have no reason to decline my request. Nice and quickly if you don’t mind!
12/06/13 Email Recieved From [email protected]
Dear Ms Kiss,
Thank you for your recent email regarding the release of data from the records held at DVLA.
It may help if I explain that previously, the DVLA has not enforced it’s ability to request the administrative fee for providing information from the vehicle record. Following internal discussions, the DVLA is now requesting this fee before undertaking any investigative work.
I note from your email that you state UKPC are trying to enforce keeper liability. For keeper liability to be applicable, certain provisions of Schedule 4 of the Protection of Freedoms Act must be met. If you can provide me with a copy of the Notice to Keeper which clearly states that UKPC are holding the keeper liable and also details of how the initial parking incident was identified (ANPR or a ticket placed on the vehicle), I will be able to investigate this matter further.
If you still require the information from the vehicle record, you must follow the instructions as given in my colleagues email dated 7th June 2013.
Vehicle Data Customer Assurance and Compliance Practitioner
AKA: Ms Kiss, we ask for money from the public who query us but we’re not allowed to enforce it. Please send me the UKPC ‘fine’ so that I can look for a reason to deny you again.
My response to the DVLA:
Dear David Dunford,
Formal Complaint Against The DVLA
Motor Vehicle registration number XXXXXX – Black Ford Fiesta TDCi Zetec
Further to your email of 12th June 2013 at 09.48am I now wish to lodge a formal complaint against the DVLA relating to the unlawful release of my personal data to UKPC sometime between the 27th January 2013 and 20th March 2013.
On the 27th January 2013 I found attached to my vehicle a ‘Notice to Driver’ issued under the terms of the Protection of Freedoms Act 2013. I have a photograph of this NtD (attached) which includes an accompanying image of the parking permit which was clearly displayed in my vehicle. In fact it is even visible in the evidential photograph that was taken by the parking warden to show his NtD affixed on my vehicle (image also attached).
I no longer have the original NtD because, acting on the advice of the parking warden (who had mistakenly issued the NtD), I immediately posted it off, along with the parking permit to UKPC appeals department. UKPC have since claimed that they never received my correspondence and accompanying documents and are now threatening me with debt collectors and further legal action.
My initial enquiry with the DVLA was simply to establish whether or not UKPC had requested my data, and if so when. If it was established that no such request had been made of the DVLA then that would tend to suggest that UKPC had received my letter and harvested my name and address to send out the subsequent ‘Notice to Keeper’.
I then asked the DVLA to review its decision on requesting a fee for this information; unfortunately it would appear that the ‘review’ has amounted to nothing more than a restatement of the DVLA’s original position. I rather suspect that this recent ‘policy’ decision that you refer to has taken no account or consideration of the statutory provisions of PoFA and the timescales therein.
Moving on, I will now set out the basis of my complaint against the DVLA
The initial NtD does not comply with the statutory requirements of PoFA, and being non-compliant is the same as it not having been served.
The Protection of Freedoms Act, which the DVLA obliges UKPC to adhere to (under the BPA AOS Code of Practice), indicates that to exercise the “right” in the Act, UKPC must comply with paragraph 6 which indicates an “either or” scenario. Either the service of a Notice to Driver which meets the requirements of paragraph 7 or the service of a Notice to Keeper in accordance with paragraph 9.
The non compliant NtD means that UKPC has not met the first or “either” option. Accordingly, if UKPC were to serve a NtK it can only do so provided that it has applied to the DVLA for my data within 14 days of the date of the alleged contravention. The date of the subsequent NtK shows that it was served out of the relevant period in contravention of paragraph 11(b).
Furthermore, you will note that the NtK also fails to meet the strict conditions set out in Schedule 4 of the Protection of Freedoms Act 2013, namely.
1. It fails to indicate the identity of the “Creditor” as required by para (9)(2)(h)
2. It fails to provide sufficient evidence to enable me to know whether the claim was valid
3. The notice reads “Your vehicle was recorded on our client’s property”. It then reads “UK Parking Control Ltd do not know the name and current address of the driver”. Paragraph (9)(2)(e) of Schedule 4 of the Act requires a Notice to Keeper to indicate that the Creditor “does not know both the name of the driver and a current address for service for the driver” . It appears from the content of this Notice that the “client” owner of the land may be the Creditor. Under the strict conditions in paragraph 9 of Schedule 4 to the Act, it matters not what may or may not be in the knowledge of a management company.
4. Paragraph (9)(2)(f) indicates that the warning to be given must be that the Creditor will have the right to recover any unpaid parking charges. In this Notice to Keeper UKPC states that “you, the Registered Keeper…..will be liable to pay the unpaid parking charge”.
5. The notice clearly indicates that UKPC is pursuing a contractual parking charge under para 19.6 of the BPA CoP (rather than ‘damages’ under para 19.5). If a contractual parking charge is properly due then that charge has to include VAT. Thus the actual “parking charge” is £108.00. Paragraph (9)(2)(d) requires a Notice to Keeper to “specify the total amount of those parking charges”. Thus this Notice does not specify the total amount of the parking charge.
It is clear that therefore that the NtK fails to meet the strict conditions set out in the Act.
According to the information supplied by the DVLA at https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/dvla_releasing_driver_details#incoming-331590
The DVLA checks, what you called in that response, the “tickets” issued by Private Parking Companies (PPCs) in order for it to be accepted onto the British Parking Associations ‘Approved Operator Scheme’.
This is emphasised again at https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/checks_made_on_ppc?post_redirect=1#describe_state_form_1 where it mentions that the DVLA checks the parking charge notices issued by PPCs.
As part of the “robust arrangements”, the DVLA claims to have in place for the Approved Operator Scheme, an examination of the parking charge notices issued by PPCs cannot simply be a cursory examination.
Where a PPC seeks to enforce a parking charge under Sch 4 PoFA the DVLA examination of the PPCs parking charge notices must be to the standards of due diligence expected of a public body to ensure that they comply with the strict conditions in the Act. To say otherwise would be perverse.
1. The DVLA has not checked the UKPC Notices to Keeper being issued under Sch 4 PoFA, or
2. It has checked those notices but failed to identify the extent to which they do not comply with the Act
In either case the DVLA has failed in its duty to the data subject and conducted itself in a manner which amounts to maladministration.
Further, I would submit that the DVLA has unlawfully exercised the discretionary power to make data available. UKPC is only entitled to registered keeper data if it can show reasonable cause. Where UKPC fail to comply with the Act it follows that it cannot exercise the rights in the Act against a registered keeper. The DVLA knew or should have known of the defects in the Notice to Keeper.
If the DVLA requires UKPC to comply with the Act, and, if it knows or should have known that UKPC fails to do so, then the DVLA has to recognise that that UKPC has no need, or reasonable cause, for registered keeper data to pursue the parking charge under Sch 4 of PoFA.
The DVLA cannot undertake its business in isolation of the statutory requirements of the Act and any failure on the part of the DVLA to conduct its business in accordance with the requirements of that Act would be irrational and perverse.
Accordingly, I expect the DVLA to undertake the following
1. To provide me with an apology
2. To prohibit UKPC from access to the DVLA database for PoFA purposes until such time as it can satisfy the DVLA, (that is the DVLA acting with due diligence), that it can meet the strict conditions in Schedule 4 of the Act
AKA: David, you’re not helping me at all and I’m now making a formal complaint against the DVLA for giving out my personal details to a company that is wrongly trying to rob me of my hard earned money. The UKPC ‘invoice’ does not meet legal standards yet you’ve given them my private information so that they can pursue me for money. Now say sorry and stop handing out the publics personal details so that these cowboy companies will no longer be able to operate.
The response from the DVLA:
Dear Miss Kiss,
Thank you for your further email regarding this matter.
I will provide a full response to the points raised in due course, however, to fully investigate this matter, I will need to involve the British Parking Association as the issues raised relate to potential breaches of their Code of Practice. Can you confirm whether you are happy for the information you have provided to be shown to the British Parking Association?
Thank you for bringing this matter to the attention of the DVLA.
Vehicle Data Customer Assurance and Compliance Practitioner
AKA: Miss Kiss, I’ll tell you something if I can share all of your information again with a PRIVATE LIMITED COMPANY that has nothing to do with the government and knows about as much as Tesco’s about car parking. These are my ‘friends’ with an official sounding name and we’re all in cahoots.
My response to the DVLA:
Dear David Dunford,
Thank you for your email reply of 13th June at 8.01am. Unfortunately your statement of “as the issues raised relate to potential breaches of their Code of Practice” is too vague and coded for me to act upon in the manner that you suggest.
The DVLA therefore does not have my authorisation to pass my private and personal details to the BPA or any other third party (at this stage) – other than the office of the ICO.
My complaint is case specific against the DVLA and I would draw your attention to the DVLA’s public commitment given here http://www.dft.gov.uk/dvla/data/complaints.aspx and in particular the following statement “Be assured, we will investigate all complaints”.
Furthermore, the various items of correspondence used by UKPC are generic in nature and both the BPA and the DVLA will already hold copies of identical versions of the NtD and the NtK that UKPC used in my case.
I would have thought that an obvious first line of enquiry would be a re examination of UKPC’s generic NtDs and NtKs in any event by the BPA and the DVLA against the PoFA compliance failures that I have highlighted and the ‘appropriate action’ taken.
Please note that as from the date and time of my initial complaint (12th June 17.28) the DVLA are now on notice that the UKPC NtDs and Ntks are not compliant with the statutory provisions of PoFA. Therefore if the DVLA continues to service UKPC requests for data without regard to the fact that UKPC cannot enforce under Sch 4 PoFA then that would amount to maladministration on your part.
In summary, there is no reason why my complaint cannot be fully investigated by the DVLA in accordance with the DVLA’s public commitment on it’s website.
AKA: David you do not have my permission to tell your friends anything about me. Now please investigate my complaint because the DVLA have stated they do so on their website which is free for the world to see.
The response from the DVLA:
Dear Miss Kiss,
Thank you for your response. The DVLA will investigate this matter, however, to investigate this, I will need to make the British Parking Association aware that an issue has been raised. The British Parking Association will then need to investigate this matter with UKPC directly to determine whether the documentation in use by UKPC complies with the British Parking Associations Code of Practice and where relevant Schedule 4 of the Protection of Freedoms Act.
A full reply to your complaint will be issued once a response is received from the British Parking Association.
Vehicle Data Customer Assurance and Compliance Practitioner
AKA: Miss Kiss, if my friends aren’t allowed to play then I’m not going to talk to you. You’re not really going to tell the teachers on me, you’re bluffing!
My response to the DVLA:
Dear David Dunford
Thank you for your email reply of 13th June at 10.29am.
Like yourself no doubt, I am extremely busy and this matter is starting to take up a disproportionate amount of my time.
Furthermore, I shall shortly be undergoing medical treatment and having to repeatedly clarify what my complaint is about and my reasonable level of expectation from the DVLA in response to that complaint is starting to wear me down.
In your latest response you have indicated that the DVLA is abdicating the interpretation of UKPC’s compliance or otherwise with Sch 4 of PoFA to the BPA Ltd.
From my own position this is not acceptable. Whilst the BPA Ltd may be responsible for having oversight of the AOS Code of Practice (currently) they are certainly neither suitable or appropriate arbitrators in matters concerning apparent breaches of PoFA.
It is a public expectation that the DVLA (acting reasonably) will decide whether or not NtDs and NtKs are PoFA compliant not least because that is an absolute prerequisite in determining which method of enforcement a parking company can lawfully undertake when the registered keeper data is requested and made available by the DVLA.
My complaint (at this stage) is solely against the DVLA and therefore those are matters that either the DVLA should investigate or forward to the Office of the Information Commissioner in accordance with the public assurance on the DVLA’s own website.
If the DVLA chooses to disregard and act contrary to it’s own publicly stated policy then that would be acting unreasonably and amount to maladministration.
I hope that I have finally now made my position abundantly clear and I look forward to receiving the DVLA’s full reply to my complaint in due course.
However, please take note that I do however hold a reasonable expectation that the DVLA will afford me the opportunity to challenge or respond to any issues raised or otherwise seek clarification on such matters from myself before concluding the investigation.
AKA: David man up and just answer my question already, you’re acting just like UKPC!
The postal response I received from the DVLA:
AKA: Tracy we’re not going to get our ‘friends’ into trouble but the DVLA gave them all your information on the 25th February 2013. I don’t want to talk about this anymore. Boo hoo.
So after receiving a PCN (parking charge notice) on my car from UKPC, the issuing inspector directly told me to post my ticket as proof and I wouldn’t be fined, which I did instantly before leaving the car park at the post box on site with a first class stamp. I have never had mail go missing, nor has the Royal Mail ever failed to deliver any documents I have ever sent in my existence of twenty-five years on this earth. Despite this UKPC still contacted the DVLA to request my details, in my eyes this was to deny that they had ever received any proof of my parking by post in the hope that it was my only evidence so that they could fine me £90.00 in a win win situation for them.
Well I’m sorry to say UKPC but you underestimated me. I kept photographic proof of my parking when I sent you my pay and display ticket, I wrote a blog about your underhand actions and the public and parking experts are assisting me in bringing you to justice. Now what do YOU have to say about it? Or would you like your debt collectors to say it for you? I’ll give you 50p as a gesture of goodwill if you can guess what my next response to you will be.
And to the DVLA, you are freely handing out the public’s private information that you hold, knowingly allowing these cowboy companies to ‘invoice’ innocent people with the threat of debt recovery agents and legal proceedings from parking on private land. You are aware of these underhand actions and you fob public queries off with unjustified investigation fees, jargon and correspondence filled with waffle. Have you no shame? Face up to your irresponsible actions and make your associated dealings transparent.
And I call on my wonderful readers once again now, the general public and my parking experts to please make your views about the DVLA known here. Regardless of how the DVLA have treated me and my case I ask you to give your own opinion: Do you think it is fair for the DVLA to give YOUR private information to parking cowboys who issue these shameful fines on private land? Do you feel that your personal details are safe in the hands of the DVLA? And do you think the private land ticket inspectors would have a job if the DVLA did not provide them with your vehicle details and address at the drop of a hat? Are the DVLA serving the best interests of the public or just lining the pockets of private limited companies which have absolutely nothing to do with the law, Council or Government? I welcome you all to leave your comments below.
And if you fancy some light reading about the facts behind cowboy parking companies and those who regulate them then this cleverly titled Phoney Fines And Dodgy Signs can teach you a lot!
I was delighted to come across this gem of a petition online targeted at changing the law on how the DVLA hand out our private details to private parking companies who in turn fine the public. Every signature makes a massive difference and as the numbers grow so does the attention caused in Government to address this issue. So please take thirty seconds to click on the link, with your name, email address and postcode and make a difference to the justice on our roads!
Here is the write up from the e-petition:
Stop DVLA selling our private information
Responsible department: Department for Transport
The government should stop the DVLA selling our vehicle information to private parking companies (PPC’s) like Civil Enforcement Ltd who fine motorists with extortionate fee’s (£75 fee within 14 days or £150 after) and threaten you with debt collectors and further fee’s.
Further to this, DVLA could be encouraging theft by selling the location of some rare and desirable vehicles.
UPDATE: 03/08/13 Filming With The NoToMob
I have had a fantastic couple of days with the NoToMob in London filming for a UK Documentary on parking fines and the law. It’s amazing that the Council and private companies fining motorists are so concerned about public road safety that they purposely wait for motorists to commit an offence and then fine them to generate millions of pounds rather than correct the inadequate signage or unclear markings to avoid any mishaps happening in the first place. Surely it’s only common sense that safety on the roads is paramount and these signage issues could be easily addressed at very little cost rather than ignored simply to generate income from the public?
The NoToMob patrol and assist the Council’s camera (cash)cars to advise the public on the correct route to take on unclear roads and motoring mishaps to avoid; as a result of their work thousands of pounds have been saved and returned in public fines and the Council incredibly receive 100% road safety compliance on the days when the NoToMob are on site. Thank you to the NoToMob for keeping our roads safer and public fining down, I salute you all!
The BBC are airing the start of their coverage on councils raking in millions of pounds from illegal parking tickets, a must see for every motorist!
I just wanted to post a little update on my progress with UKPC to let you all know how I’m getting on. They issued my ‘ticket’ on the 27th January 2013, which in two weeks from now will be a year ago. After the threats of the fee increasing if I didn’t pay, dropping the charge to £15 as a gesture of goodwill, and then increasing it to £150 through their sister company Debt Recovery Plus Ltd. They then sent me a couple of debt recovery letters informing me I could be taken to court for not paying. I didn’t pay and I wasn’t taken to court. Well that was the last correspondence I ever had from them both and I have to say I’m a little disappointed. I feel that I have been treated incredibly unfairly and passed from pillar to post with no explanation or justice, just an aggressive approach to hand over my hard earned my money before their complete silence when I refused to pay after asking them to justify their actions. I would still love to meet the owners of UKPC and to discuss their policies on camera, to give them a chance to defend their actions and answer the many questions that I, and no doubt you all, have about the way they deal with the public and their appeals process. If you have a parking ticket then drop me a line and I will endeavour to help out or put you in touch with some wonderful parking experts!
UPDATE: 16/01/14 UKPC STAFF
Today I was contacted by a previous employee of UKPC who kindly forwarded on this text message they received whilst working as a ticket inspector:
I am informed that Leroy is the team leader for the UKPC northwest area. This message was sent out to around twenty other wardens as well as the person who received it this Christmas just gone. He is seen here to pep the staff and keep them motivated in order to increase their KPI – Key Performance Indicators and earn themselves an extra special Christmas bonus. How nice!
Further information directly from UKPC insider staff includes the bonus structure for fines issued: “The UKPC warden bonus table is as follows. 1-20 = 0 20-30 = £2 per ticket. 30-40 = £3 per ticket. 40-50 = £4 per ticket. 50 upwards = £5 per ticket.”
They go on to say: “When I was a warden working for UKPC I would receive regular phone calls from our team leader. These call were called motivation calls. Basically they were pressure calls to make us reach our daily targets. All wardens working for UKPC must issue tickets by what ever means possible. We were told not to be to visible. When taking photos for double parking in bays we were told to take the photos at a certain angel to make the contravention look worse. We were told to issue ghost tickets. This is when you issue a ticket place it on the windscreen and take the photo then remove the ticket. The driver is then unaware of the ticket until he receives a letter demanding £90. by doing this the innocent member of the public does not have a chance to appeal and pay within fourteen days. Also if we seen a car not showing a blue badge but we could see the badge on the seat were the driver has forgotten to place it on the dashboard we were told to take a photo of the inside of the car but make sure the badge is not in the photo. The cowboys that own UKPC are only interested in targets. I could not take this deceitful work practice anymore and resigned last December. I cant stress enough. If you get a ticket from these cowboys of any other private parking firm. DONT PAY A PENNY and take no notice if you have a letter from there debt collector. Bin all letters and never reply back to them. The only parking tickets that must be paid are council and police.”
I would like to thank this honest person for this invaluable information and for sharing it with us all.
Here I have for you a news report from the BBC featuring the fantastic NoToMob who I was fortunate enough to meet and shunt with at the end of last year. Here they bring to light the scandalous use of illegal ‘ticket targets’ by London borough councils sparking an investigation by the Minister for Local Government. These amazing people have made an incredible mark on the parking industry so far, saving and refunding the public millions of pounds worth of fines and I am so pleased for and proud of them. Our modern day super heros! You can watch the news report by clicking on the picture below or read the Daily Mail’s article on it here.
Following changes being made to the way that the parking companies handle their tickets, some companies are now taking members of the public to court in groups in order to make it more cost effective.
The ‘normal’ advice when you receive a parking charge notice is to appeal to the parking company and then to POPLA; but it’s not all clear cut as there are lots of special cases, such as if the person lives in Scotland or if it was a hire car where slightly different tactics apply.
If you think yours could be a special case then this thread is a good overview of the whole process at Money Saving Expert.
Parking Cowboys is also a very good website dealing with parking tickets. And the Parking Prankster is a website dedicated to helping with Parking Eye court cases, as is Pepipoo.
UPDATE: 01/05/14 BBC Parking Mad Documentary Airs!
So the Parking Mad documentary we filmed last summer aired tonight on BBC1, celebrating the incredible work of the NoToMob in fighting for justice and helping unsuspecting members of the public to avoid underhand fining tactics from the Council camera cars. I had such an amazing time with the NoToMob and am honoured to have joined them on a shunt. They are doing big things in the world of parking that will make a great difference to so many, keeping our roads safer and stopping companies from benefitting from poor signage and inadequate road markings. Check it out on BBC iplayer and share your thoughts below.
UPDATE 14/08/14 The Daily Mail Speak To A Former UKPC Employee
I am extremely proud of a former UKPC employee who contacted me via my blog post to expose the truth about the underhand tactics used within the private parking industry to bleed money out of the terrified public with threats of bailiffs and court. Since speaking to The Daily Mail newspaper to inform them, they have started a Daily Mail campaign against UKPC to show the parking pirates that the public won’t stand for it.
And if you’d like to send a message of defiance to the parking pirates then The Daily Mail is here to help with this fantastic sign which you can print out and place in a prominent position in your car windscreen or side window to show that you won’t be tricked or bullied into paying bogus fines. If you’d like a free glossy sticker version simply send your name and address to Parking Pirates, PO Box 5004, Department PCS, Alton, Hants, GU34 9DB and you will receive it within seven days by post.
Fear not, the saga does not end here… so watch this space…!
Howdy parking family, I thought I’d just pop a little update here as it’s been a while since I last caught up with my friends at UKPC. Although sadly I was never able to speak with or meet a manager I had really hoped that a friendship might develop between myself and BeffAKnee as we spent many an hour on the phone together chasing our tails like two plucky puppies. Oh well. Her loss! I had Maltesers and an entire DVD boxset of Friends season one ready and waiting to hit play.
It’s been two and a half years already since I received my parking charge from UKPC and after the several threats of upping my fine and instructing their debt recovery collectors, who I suspect was probably just the owners retired mother with an inkjet printer, UKPC left me well alone and nothing ever came of it. I’ve been amazed at the number of former and current employees and members of the public who have informed me of the underhand tactics of UKPC, and also anonymously gave me the company owners name which is the same as a famous bear, along with his home address which happens to be alarmingly close to me. I have it on good authority that he drives a rented car and his wife resembles a plastic doll with a potty mouth, with his neighbours frequently enjoying posting their parking fines through his letter box in distaste. I had him down as a positive thriving member of the local community, organising tea parties for the elderly and baking cakes for the village fete but my illusions have sadly been shattered.
I have no hard feelings towards UKPC, nor do I feel the need to visit or speak to the owner, unless a camera crew and TV station should like to accompany me of course. I will never share the private information I have received in confidence with others, unlike the DVLA who line their pockets and pay for their staff Christmas meal and bonuses by selling on our home addresses and vehicle information to illegal parking companies allowing them to operate. I simply do not agree with the way that I have been treated by UKPC concerning my case and the many others who have commented and contacted me with similar distressing experiences. My heart goes out to you all, but we can fight these cowboys silently with our feet by not rising to their threats. Let’s hope that customer service will one day be fair, and strict laws will be imposed to stamp out the private companies who mislead and bully the public into parting with their hard earned money. I’m all for public order and safely patrolled parking spaces in busy supermarkets and shopping parks, but there’s a right and wrong way to do business. Although I’m also capable of repeating the words “I don’t know, I don’t know” so I have every hope of securing future employment at UKPC so that I may positively influence the conscience of the invisible managers, all the way from the telephone table to the PO box in a cramped room with no windows. Stay strong my parkees, and if you need my help drop me a line: [email protected]