Hello. Just getting in touch wondering if you have come across any similar issues regarding ParkingEye. I got a penalty charge on 3rd Jan relating to parking at Sunderland Royal Hospital on 22nd December. The parking fee had been paid in full and luckily I had held on the the receipt despite it being 14 days previous. I appealed immediately and supplied a copy of the receipt so can’t see how they could enforce the £70 fine, but I wonder how many people won’t have kept the ticket, doubt themselves and end up paying. This seems like a fraudulent activity to me. I await their response but I feel very upset as this isn’t even an issue of going slightly over time or not paying the right amount. How many vulnerable people have they abused in places like hospitals, when people have enough to deal with.
I’ve heard of many tickets issued by ParkingEye like this. ParkingEye use cameras to check cars in and out of the car park, and then reconcile that with the car registration data captured on the payment machine. This allows them to issue tickets if:
- A ticket isn’t recorded against that registration
- A car is in the car park for longer than the amount of time paid for
There are a number of flaws with this system. The cameras are not foolproof; they are reportedly of the order of 97% reliable. So for every 100 cars, 3 will not be captured correctly. We hear of cases where cars visit the same car park twice in one day (known as “double dipping”) where the ticket is issued based on the first entry and second exit since the first exit or second entry is not captured correctly. The volume of cars going through these car parks means that tickets being issued in this way is inevitable.
The other key flaw is the registration entry system. People aren’t perfect and it’s quite likely that they may accidentally enter the wrong registration (e.g. mistype, enter their other car’s reg). Again, these people will likely have a ticket issued since the data won’t reconcile.
Finally, it is absolutely ridiculous that a hospital should use a system such as this. Barrier exit car parks work perfectly well, and ensure exactly the right payment is taken upon exit. They don’t have the obvious flaws that ParkingEye’s system introduces. The flaws are bad enough anyway, but in a hospital environment, it is more likely that people will make mistakes. Over the past year I’ve spent a great deal of time at a hospital using barriers (30+ visits) and I’ve never had one issue.
The sad thing is that many people will just pay. Private parking companies send official looking letters using legal terminology that inevitably intimidate people into paying, particularly the vulnerable people in society; often those least able to pay. The law around private parking tickets is hotly debated as you will read about elsewhere on my site. The most important point being that right now you can get the ticket cancelled using the genuine pre-estimate of loss argument at POPLA. Read up on that here.
My advice would be:
- Complain to the hospital and make a fuss. The only way we will rid this hospital and others like it is to complain. If they ignore you, complain to your MP. There are numerous threads on the forums about this hospital, so find out how others got on.
- If ParkingEye don’t cancel it, then appeal using the our POPLA appeal guide.
Best of luck,