Nick Smith, MP for Blaenau Gwent, is calling for action to defend the motorist against predatory private parking operators, who milk motorists through business practices, which the British Parking Association (BPA) has failed to curb.
Nick Smith MP says the business model of some operators is based on motorists ‘making mistakes’ so they can be fleeced for an alleged breach of car park ‘rules’.
Nick Smith MP said: “Figures just released from the DVLA are staggering.
Requests for data from private parking companies have sky rocketed every year since 2010/11(see figures below). They have now blasted through the 2 million barrier with a total of 2,430,130 requests in 2013/14. An increase of 28% on 2012/13.”
(These requests are made so the private car park operator can issue a Parking Charge Notice (PCN) to the vehicle keeper for an alleged infringement of parking rules.)
Nick Smith MP said: “There is a veil of secrecy about the business practices of private car park operators that needs to be lifted.
“When I commented on a media report that Vehicle Control Services (VCS) pays an annual £25,000 fee in return for the 24-hour patrol and management of an approach road at Liverpool John Lennon Airport – and then hits the motorist with a £100 PCN if they stop to drop off a relative – I was surprised how many people contacted me with similar stories.
“No wonder the DVLA’s own Consumer Forum is exploring what action can be taken to curb ‘over-zealous’ parking enforcement practices.
“Ministers tell me that there is now a new body operated independently, POPLA (established by the self – regulatory trade body, the British Parking Association, and funded by the private parking industry) which will hear motorists’ appeals if they think they’ve got a PCN they don’t deserve. Of the 16,317 appeals POPLA heard up to 8th December, 7,074 or 43% found in favour of the motorist.∞
“But this ‘protection’ for the motorist falls woefully short of what’s needed.
“Still the government sits on its hands. What’s needed is independent and effective regulation of the private car parking industry, which puts the consumer interest first.”
Electronic Vehicle Record Enquires by parking companies
2013/14 - Annual total – 2,430,130 - annual increase of 28.0%
2012/13 - Annual Total - 1,897, 572 - annual increase of 20.5%
2011/12 - Annual Total - 1, 574,397 - annual increase of 33.6%
2010/11 - Annual Total - 1,178,034