The RAC finally wake up to the private parking industry

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.

The Patrick Troys out in force
Patrick Troy out in force

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.

3 Comments on “The RAC finally wake up to the private parking industry

  1. I will never visit a Macdonalds or UK service station ever again. Macdonalds/MET (They are one and the same really) ripped me for £50 even though I only slightly overstayed my welcome and spent close to £30 in their Aylesbury dive. Signage was unlit, nothing inside the restaurant to say you were being timed, it was late sunday afternoon (their argument was that they had to charge to stop shoppers using their car park unfairly – shops were all closed when we arrived at 16:20 pm). They are nothing more than thieving scum. As for service stations what a complete rip off they are – Petrol so much more expensive than off motorway. They justify petrol prices according to how easy it is to get to the Petrol stations for replenishment of fuel. So Motorway services are more difficult to get to than middle of countryside petrol stations. The greed and legal theft in this country by the corporates is beyond a joke. Nasty, greedy, they need to be stopped.

  2. The Burton Hospital NHS Foundation Trust uses ParkingEye in the car parks of the trust’s 3 hospitals [The Queen’s Hospital, Burton upon Trent; the Sir Robert Peel Community Hospital, Tamworth, and the Samuel Johnson Hospital, Lichfield].

    ParkingEye says that by entering the hospital car park, a contract has been made with them, which results in a parking charge of £70 if time is over-stayed. When patients or service users feel that PE have been unfair, which is far too many times to quote here, the hospital administration insist that PE is informed of the full circumstances, so that they can be investigate by PE. Why should anyone give confidential details of their hospital visit to PE? Is patient confidentiality now a thing of the past.

    Having read the The NHS Constitution for England 26 March 2013 – the National Health Service belongs to us all, I can find no reference within it where the NHS requires Patients, or persons entitled to use its services, to enter into contracts with outside contractors, or organisations.

    On page 3, ‘1. Principles that guide the NHS’ we are told, at paragraph 2, that ‘Access to NHS services is based on clinical need, not an individual’s ability to pay. NHS services are free of charge . . .’

    So if there is clinical need such as taking a sick or injured person to hospital in a private car, is part of that clini-cal need the use of the car park? And are the services of the car park more or less the same as the clinical need for using the hospital catering service, and possibly also using the chaplaincy services provided there?

    I would be interested to hear comments on these points.