Secret cancellation clauses

When signing up with a private parking company to manage their land, often contracts include the right for the landowner to cancel tickets. So for example, if a genuine shopper complained to the store manager, the store manager could arrange for the ticket to be cancelled. Some contracts have a ‘genuine shopper clause’; in this case, if you are issued a ticket and can provide evidence you were a genuine shopper (e.g. a receipt) then the parking company will cancel the ticket. ParkingEye contracts with Morrisons supermarket are known to often include such clauses.

Whilst this is obviously good news for those that find out about it, it is clearly unfair. Nobody would know that such allowance exist if they complain to either the parking company or the store – and not everyone would complain. This is not because they’re not upset or angry, but some personality types cannot bear conflict or too introverted to speak up. This particularly affects the vulnerable people within our society – often those who such a ticket would affect the most.

Further it actually demonstrates the system put in place (typically using automatic number plate recognition, ANPR, to issue tickets for overstaying) is not fit for purpose. If the system was not designed to entrap motorists, why don’t the openly advertise the cancellation clause on the signage, and in letters sent to motorists requesting payment? It is simply a money making game.

From a legal perspective this practice may be considered unlawful. The Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 prohibits misleading omissions from consumer contracts (section 6(1)). It is arguable that by omiting or hiding material information from the signage about these clauses, it could fall foul of the law. Had the motorists known about this, they may have been able to avoid the parking charge by having it cancelled by the store.

So, if you receive a private parking ticket you should try and find out whether such clauses exist to get your ticket cancelled. Firstly contact the landowner (e.g. store manager if it is a supermarket) and ask them to cancel the ticket. Secondly, contact the parking company and tell them you were a genuine shopper. If these approaches fail, then you will need to appeal – have a look at our appeal guide.

6 Comments on “Secret cancellation clauses

  1. You would think this ‘common-sense’ approach would apply where high profile and customer-hungry stores would not wish to antagognise their customers. OH NO !

    I recently inadevertently overstayed the 3 hour limit by a few minutes aftera protracted expedition to B & Q.
    The manager said he was unable to intervene as “the car park was not managed by ourselves”.

    One might expect a national chain with a lot of clout to have more control over the parking atr its stores.

  2. Tesco have a Customer Service line specifically to help people who receive PCNs in their car parks. Best if you can prove you were a ‘genuine customer’ by having your shopping receipt or credit card statement.

    The number to call is 01382 227820 (confirmed February 2016).

  3. I demanded to see the contract of a firm that gave me a ticket for being unable to park in my own bay that is leased to me because someone parked a van in front of it. I got a PDF scan with a black box around the terms of the contract so I couldn’t see it. All I had to do was click the box, hit delete and there in it, turns out not only are there no terms that they are permitted to ticket for, but also the ‘genuinely issued ticket cancellation’ clause! Win!

  4. ASDA Wolverhampton, opposite the Football Ground: I prefer to shop late thereby avoiding the daytime mayhem I have witnessed. At 23:23 hrs 21/02/2017 my daughter and I went into the nearly empty carpark and parked. We left at 01:02 spending 1hr 38 hrs doing our shopping. I spent approx £86.00 during this visit. Today I received a PCN stating I must pay £70 fine or £40 if paid in 28 days for ‘Failure to validate parking session’ I am furious about this because as a family we shop at ASDA regularly and we spend a good proportion of our shopping budget with them. ASDA must have too many customers if they can afford to treat them in this manner.
    I could understand it if this happened on a football day and customers couldn’t get into the car park because of non shoppers parking there, BUT half past eleven at night?
    There are no shops or attractions locally so anyone parking at that time of night can only be using the store to buy goods.
    I think ASDA have little or no regard for their shoppers.

  5. A Sainsburys camera saw me going in at 7am to get petrol. I left to go to work for the day, came back at 5pm to do some shopping, spent over £100 now I’m being charged a parking fine! What the hell would I have to do in Sainsburys for all that time?

    I’ve spoken to 3 managers on the phone now. I have time stamps on both receipts and I can verify that I was at work, even picking the kids up from school, but nobody will do anything about it.
    If I had been parked there all that time, I’d be happy to pay it. But I wasn’t! I’ve seen the 2 hour stay signs up and I never spend more than 20 or 30 minutes there. But I didn’t spend all day at Sainsburys and never will be going there again!

    One manager wouldn’t give me her name but she said she’s had many complaints about this, they don’t even bother logging them anymore. Yeah as long as they get their fee from the unfair tickets, no one gives a crap about us. I’ve been shopping at Sainsburys for over 20 years now and this is how they treat me.