You Can Claim Back Unfair Parking Ticket Costs

Tuesday, 24. February 2015

Hi, Graham Hill here, thank you so much for visiting my blog, I hope you learn a lot and as a result end up driving a great car. In order to do so you can get all the information you need by buying my book, An Insider Guide To Car Finance or use me to finance your next car. Happy driving.

We all know that crooked private car park and land owners got their come upance when the Protection of Freedom Act 2012 was introduced that banned the clamping of cars on private land.

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But drivers, as is often reported, now receive parking fines of up to £100 and more fore overstaying the period they have paid for or parking on vacant land owned by someone trying to make more from fines than building houses on the land and renting them out. Are you sitting comfortably, then let me enlighten you.
According to the RAC Foundation these private land and car park owners who have been dolling out exorbitant penalties to drivers, for overstaying their welcome, have been acting illegally. The foundation enlisted the services of John De Waal QC, barrister at Hardwicke, to prepare a paper on this practice and check its legal validity.
The results should send a ripple of fear up the spines of those dishing out the fines. Any regular readers of my newsletters and blogs will know that in English law you cannot charge a penalty, this can only be done by our law setters. You can recover your costs and be compensated for damages but you can’t charge a penalty.
So when you receive a ‘penalty’ from a car park owner, which could be a plot of land, a private car park in the town or a motorway service station car park, is the charge a ‘genuine pre-estimate of loss’? Not according to the findings of HRH John De Waal, it is a penalty and therefore unenforceable.
If the courts agree with these findings then many of the tickets would be considered ‘extravagant and unconscionable’ and result in drivers receiving tens, if not hundreds of millions of pounds in refunds. In addition his lordship De Waal also said that according to European consumer legislation contracts must be fair.
In consideration of this basic requirement he feels that the so-called ‘early payment discount’ that puts pressure on the driver to settle quickly, or face a higher charge, to be unlawful because this constitutes ‘a price escalation clause’. Unclear or difficult to see signs would also be regarded as unfair and could be legally challenged.
To give an idea of scale, in 2013 private parking companies made 2.2 million requests for driver information on the DVLA. Whilst the two main private parking bodies, the British Parking Association and The Independent Parking Committee, had advised members not to charge more than £100 for any breaches of displayed parking conditions, even this could now be considered unfair.
As the Foundation pointed out this is an opinion, it would need to be tested in a higher court. I can hear his Honour De Waal, preparing his notes as I type. What actually do you call a QC? So my advice is if you have received any of these charges in the past, dig them out, you could be in for some refunds. By Graham Hill
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