Know Your Parking Rights
KnowYourParkingRights.org is a website that puports to be a source of information on parking for consumers. However, this site is not as innocent as it may seem. The site is run by the British Parking Association Ltd – the members association for parking companies. i.e. the companies that directly profit from compliant motorists following their rules and paying their fake private parking ‘fines’.
The site gives an overview of some of the concepts and issues with regards to both private and public parking. However it is the information that is missing, the untruths, and the ambiguity on the site that should concern consumers. Examples include:
- Not separating out the information on public and private parking – This blurs the lines between these two totally different systems creating ambiguity and confusion. The industry has a track record of doing this, for example by using the same abbreviations (PCN) and using yellow chequered tickets.
- “Private off-street parking is generally governed by the law of contract” – Or trespass. Perhaps they don’t mention trespass since it isn’t profitable business model?
- “If you stay then you will have legally agreed to abide by [the terms and conditions communicated by the signs]” – Unusually for the BPA they don’t use weasel words such as ‘may’ or ‘could’ which this time would have been appropriate. Only a court can decide whether a legal contract is formed, and then whether those terms and conditions are lawful. Parking companies have lost in court many times on both those issues. For example, charges that amount to penalties aren’t lawful in contract law.
- “Appealing a ticket is possible only if the private operator is registered with an ATA and the car park is in England or Wales” – No, an independent appeal is only available for ATA members. A non-member could offer an appeals service, although it would be unlikely to be unbiased. This just smacks of sloppiness.
- “Most drivers issued with a parking ticket have the right to contest it” – Most? Which drivers don’t have the right to contest it? Anyone issued a ticket can contest it.
- “You MUST follow the process as outlined in the ticket received” – Now this one is a very serious misrepresentation, particularly as the author has gone out of their way to say “MUST”. Actually, a motorist can do what they want. There is no law that compels them to follow instructions issued by a private organisation. Our advice would be to do some independent research before you do anything.
- “To help with your decision on whether to appeal your ticket, all the information you need is printed on the ticket” – No it is not. It won’t tell you that most BPA-member tickets are unenforceable since they’re not a genuine pre-estimate of loss. It won’t tell you that charges that amount to penalties are unenforceable in consumer law. It won’t tell you that the registered keeper is only liable in certain conditions.
The above examples are from about 10 minutes browsing the site. Having said that, you can more or less read the site in about 10 minutes because it has very little content. This site has over 100 pages, and I’ve still got a list of subjects the length of my arm to cover.
So there you go, if you truly want to know your parking rights, then don’t trust the parking companies members association to tell you.