Friday was an interesting day on planet parking; ahead of next week’s case at the Court of Appeal, the RAC Foundation released a report on the private parking industry. The report, Private Parking, Public Concern contains an assessment of the industry. The headline finding was that in the views of John de Waal QC, the parking charges issued to date have been illegal and the parking companies and land holders issuing such charges may have opened themselves up to compensation claims. PPI all over again?
Importantly it’s brought the industry to public attention again, being the leading story on BBC News, Sky News, ITN… even Rock FM. One might ask why the RAC Foundation has only just picked up on this issue? Jo Abbott, one of the authors of the report, has sat on various boards overseeing the private parking industry for years whilst this industry has grown into the monster it is today. Clearly the report has been timed to coincide with the Beavis Vs ParkingEye case at the Court of Appeal next week. A cynical person might suspect they want to appear to be leading on the issue, when in fact they’ve not done anything to force the issue being heard at the Court of Appeal. No doubt the Daily Mail will claim victory too, should it be upheld.
Over in Haywards Heath, Patrick Troy and co were in full fire fighting mode. The BPA somewhat bizarrely tweeted that “Patrick Troy was out in force”. I’m not quite sure how one person can be out in force? Does the BPA employ several Patrick Troys? Perhaps we should call him Agent Smith?
As is typical, the BPA’s press release claimed parking is well managed, ignoring the actual points raised in the report. Patrick and co need to ask themselves that with the volume of reports and investigations by consumer organisations, can they keep that line and continue to be taken seriously?
Ironically, the BPA’s own independent appeals service, POPLA, would appear to agree with the legal opinion of John de Waal QC. As readers of this site know, if you appeal that the parking charge does not represent the amount of loss suffered (the genuine pre-estimate of loss), then the charge is not enforceable.
So now it’s a matter of waiting until Tuesday at the Court of Appeal. Irrespective of the result, the face of private parking will be changed permanently.