Readers’ emails: Double dipped in a company car

From: Clare
Subject: Advice needed

Hi There,

I have recieved a parivate parking charge stating that i didnt buy a ticket and was in stated car park for over 50 minutes. What actually happened is that I entered, dropped by husband off, left, came back and then left agqain. each time spending nomore than 15 minutes in the car park. they are saying they have no evidence to support this (convenient!) and I cant prove it…i appealed but because I couldnt get the evidence to them they have now put fine up from £60 to £100. To make it worse it’s a company car and my employer is pressuring me to pay up- can you advise what the next step is? Thanks! Clare

Hi Clare.

There are several things to cover here. Firstly you have been caught by the ‘double dip’ issue; this is where the Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) camera captures the first entry and second exit. The flaw in the system is that ANPR cameras can miss cars entering and exiting if the number plate is obscured (as per picture below). Further, ANPR cameras are only about 95% reliable, or in other words 1 un 20 cars passing by the camera are not captured. Parking Prankster has some interesting information on the flaws of ANPR.

ANPR blocked
Picture from Parking Prankster

At Parking Cowboys we’ve heard of may people in your situation get caught out like this. Unfortunately, the parking companies aren’t very sympathetic to it. But then again, these companies revenue depends on people paying, it’s not in their interests to admit this flaw and cancel tickets. As a result, the first stage appeal to the parking company will likely be rejected. However, you should then file an independent appeal to the independent appeals service (assuming it’s a BPA member company such as ParkingEye).

On the evidence side, the cases are decided at independent appeal on the balance of probabilities. Now, it is for the parking company to prove their case, rather than you to disprove their claim. Their evidence is that they have timed entry and exit shots that support their claim. Do you have any evidence that you were somewhere else during that time? A receipt, a bank statement showing you were shopping elsewhere? You could also possibly get a witness statement of someone stating you were elsewhere.

However, when you appeal, you should appeal on multiple points. Irrespective of whether you broke the rules of their car park or not, there are appeal points you can use to get the charge canceled. You don’t state what parking company this was, but I can quite easily imagine it is ParkingEye. If so, have a look at our guide to appealing, and in particular at the genuine pre-estimate of loss argument. That argument almost always results in the appeal being upheld.

Lastly, we should touch on the company car aspect. Simply, this sort of parking ticket is based on contract law, and is not a statutory penalty as issued by the council or police. Since it’s based on contract law, it is between the motorist  (you) and the parking company. Your company or the lease company are not party to that contract and need not have any interest in the matter. This contrasts with statutory penalties in that they can be held liable if you don’t pay.

The Protection of Freedoms Act in 2012 mudied the water a little, by introducing the concept of keeper liability. This means that should the parking company follow a procedure defined in law, then they could hold the keeper (e.g. your company or the lease company) liable for the ticket. However, all your company needs to do is to name you as the driver, relieving them of any liability. Once they have done that, the parking company may only pursue you. I’ve written a detailed piece on this here. You should show that to the relevant person in your company so that they are informed for future cases. I personally did this at my company, resulting in the policy changing.

So, I would recommend the following:

  • Read my site and get clued up on private parking
  • Complain to the shop your husband was using – they will be able to get the ticket cancelled
  • Find similar cases on the forums and see how they fought back
  • Educate your company on the difference between private and statutory penalties
  • Appeal to the independent appeals service (e.g. POPLA for BPA member companies, such as ParkingEye)

Best of luck – don’t be bullied into paying an unfair parking ticket.

1 Comment on “Readers’ emails: Double dipped in a company car

  1. I would like to share my recent experience with you, following receipt of a parking charge notice back in October 2013 from Civil Enforcement. My partner had been driving at the time, and did obtain a ticket but made a slight error inputting the reg number: this error was advised to the store adjacent to the car park and he was told to keep the ticket as the cctv cameras and ticket receipts would provide adequate verification.
    As a total novice in these matters I responded to the notice by advising the drivers details (at his request!), advising them of the above information, and saying I presumed no further action would be taken. No reply was received but in January I received from them advising notice of assignment to Debt Enforcement & Action to whom future correspondence should be sent.
    Again I responded, to DE&A, sending a copy of my earlier letter & again stating I assumed no further action would be taken.
    Then in June I received a County Court claim form.
    I thought I was in the right so filled in the form as directed and followed subsequent instructions. I also undertook research and realised that most of the advice given to people in similar situations was that the car park companies rarely pursue action through the courts. Unfortunately they were doing in my case – even though from the information I had obtained it seemed I could not legally be pursued as registered keeper as I had provided the driver details.
    The claimant did not respond to the court (nor a copy to me as they should have done). But the case was then transferred to a court local to me,and when the claimant did not pay the hearing fee within the timescale, they were given an extension and paid on the last day. I duly submitted my evidence to the local court with a copy to the claimant as was required of me, prior to 14 days before the hearing date (the court deadline). Again the claimant missed the deadline – their claim arrived 3 days before the hearing.
    At 4.20 pm the day before the hearing I received a phone call from the claimant telling me they were withdrawing the claim and had emailed the court to notify them. They sent me an email to confirm.
    I attended the court anyway in case this was a ruse and just as well as they had heard nothing from the claimant: they took copies of the email sent to me by the claimant. Then, some 20 minutes after the hearing should have started the claimant’s letter actually arrived.
    I saw the judge and asked if I could apply for costs against the claimant. The judge advised it is not usual in the small claims court but asked if I could be specific as to costs incurred. Though I was unable ti otemise