The IAS fails ADR Reporting requirements – again

Last year, the Parking Prankster reported on the failure by the Independent International Parking Committee Community’s so-called “Independent Appeals Service” to abide by the requirements of The Alternative Dispute Resolution for Consumer Disputes (Competent Authorities and Information) Regulations 2015.

Given that the IAS is closely watched by people like Parking Prankster, the Online forums and ourselves, you would have thought that Will Hurley, the sole director of United Trade and industry Ltd, T/As the International Parking Community T/As the Independent Appeals Service would have ensured this year that the report was out on time, and actually complete when published.

Quoting the Parking Prankster:

Ongoing information obligations of an ADR entity

11(2) An ADR entity must, within a month of the first anniversary of the approval date and within a month of each subsequent anniversary, publish on its website a report (“an annual activity report”) relating to the preceding year which contains the information in Schedule 5.

SCHEDULE 5 Regulation 11(2)
Information to be included in an ADR entity’s annual activity report

a) the number of domestic disputes and cross-border disputes the ADR entity has received;
b) the types of complaints to which the domestic disputes and cross-border disputes relate;
c) a description of any systematic or significant problems that occur frequently and lead to disputes between consumers and traders of which the ADR entity has become aware due to its operations as an ADR entity;
d) any recommendations the ADR entity may have as to how the problems referred to in paragraph (c) could be avoided or resolved in future, in order to raise traders’ standards and to facilitate the exchange of information and best practices;
e) the number of disputes which the ADR entity has refused to deal with, and percentage share of the grounds set out in paragraph 13 of Schedule 3 on which the ADR entity has declined to consider such disputes;
f) the percentage of alternative dispute resolution procedures which were discontinued for operational reasons and, if known, the reasons for the discontinuation;
g) the average time taken to resolve domestic disputes and cross-border disputes;
h) the rate of compliance, if known, with the outcomes of the alternative dispute resolution procedures;
i) the co-operation, if any, of the ADR entity within any network of ADR entities which facilitates the resolution of cross-border disputes.

The annual report was due on the IAS website on 1st November 2017.  As of the 2nd November 2017, the report was not available on the IAS website. Indeed, it is not available even now as the website only has a link to the 2015/16 report, unless you know exactly where to look.

The IAS is therefore in breach of its statutory requirements for the second year running. Not the conduct you expect from a business run by a Solicitor. As a result PPA will be complaining of this second failure, to the Chartered Trading Standards Institute.

But even better – do take a close look at the report, and especially at Section G: The average time taken to resolve domestic disputes and cross-border disputes.

The average time taken to settle disputes during the relevant period was 22 days (says 18 in Biannual report – might be worth restating the reason for the difference? e.g. no limit on number of representations?

Oh dear, looks like someone forgot to proofread before sending out the report. We’d like to see that Bi-Annual report too…

However, given the remaining content of the statutory report, you Dear Reader will be unsurprised to discover that Private Parking Appeals does not accept that the International Parking Community operates a fair and transparent appeals process, and that while the IPC continues to refuse to engage with us to resolve our concerns, we are supporting the BPA in their lobbying of Government for there to be a single, demonstrably independent and transparent appeals service for all private parking companies.

 

Our thanks to the BMPA and Bargepole for their hard work and research on this matter.

Happy Birthday to Us

How appropriate that the news of a Royal Engagement came as we celebrated our third birthday…

Private Parking Appeals was formed by six friends online – having seen the impact of the Protection of Freedoms Act on consumers, and having been involved in a number of forums, they collected together and formed a business intending initially to just deal with appeals at the first and second stage of the process, that is with BPA parking companies and POPLA.

Of the original six, only two remain with the business now, and honourable mention goes to Angus Gill, our founding Secretary, who now operates the BMPA website and David Carrod our founding chairman and CEO, who took the time to complete an Open University degree, win more than 75% of court cases he was involved in, and move onward to his own business, Small Claims Advisor.  Additionally, the business could not have got to where it is without the initial support of Bob Jameson, and his directorial replacement, Mark McAlear.

In it’s first year, having launched on a shoestring, the company achieved turnover of £48,000, increasing this to £56,000 in 2016. Invited to join the British Parking Association, we made this beneficial move last year. We have taken over a number of our competitors, expanded our staff and our services, and successfully navigated the seas of three years in business.

We have also been supported throughout by both Parking Cowboys and the Parking Prankster, and have plans to grow and develop our business both into consultancy for landowners to extricate themselves from abusive and restrictive parking contracts, and also to seek to “write off” older tickets to prevent customer being pursued for 6 years (or more) over tickets that may never have been valid in any case. News on this in the New Year.

So, happy birthday to us, and may there be many more.

A Royal Engagement

All of us at Private Parking Appeals would like to join with the rest of the country in congratulating HRH Prince Henry of Wales on his engagement to Ms Meghan Markle.

We would like to wish them every happiness in the future.

Who is the Parking Pundit?

Private Parking Appeals has been made aware of a “new” blog, parkingpundit.co.uk but is curious as to who is behind this blog.

This domain was registered on 10 July 2017, using a Privacy Service, which is a breach of Nominet rules in the UK.

Parking Pundit’s apparent Author is DA1 Ltd, a company which went into voluntary liquidation on 3 September 2013, so it is unlikely to be anything to do with Kulasinam Niranjan.

The HTML behind the page doesn’t identify the authors or business behind the blog either. And the page itself doesn’t include any information required by the Company (Trading Disclosure) Regulations 2008

So lets do some more detective work.

The website is linked from ZZPS’s website, as is Know Your Parking Right, a BPA site. This is the same ZZPS who claim to be a BPA member yet act on the very edge of legality, and do not accept service of documents to their registered address. The same ZZPS who present witnesses to court  who lie about their identity and their workplace. The same ZZPS who only exist because their sister company, Roxburghe, was considered to be not “fit and proper” to act as a regulated debt collector.

ZZPS claims that Parking Pundit and Know Your Parking rights are “independent” yet we know this is also a lie. ZZPS, as a BPA Member, has an interest in promoting Know Your Parking Rights – we, as BPA members, have complained of this site.

So now, coming back to Parking Pundit, we find an introduction page where our author says “I’ll try to give you the full facts, so that you don’t make the same mistake many have done and end up in court for an unpaid ticket paying out more than just paying the ticket would have cost.” and then goes on to list a number of infringements, many of which has been argued and won by our team in court. Misrepresentation by the Pundit, we say.

So it is clear, even from the intro page, that the Pundit is associated with the Parking Companies. But this is even clearer when you review the posts.

Three post were made on 17 July 2017 – one about appealing, one about why Private Parking is regulated (even though it isn’t), and one about Barry Beavis, which we will come to later

The first posts are both precis of Know Your Parking Rights, all of which is BPA copyright. So it looks like the Parking Pundit is either stealing their content or passing off. The third option is too unpleasant to contemplate.

The Barry Beavis case being blogged here is interesting. The wording used is identical to that we have seen from BPA members – that the Beavis case decided that parking charges and fair and enforceable. However, this isn’t what the Supreme Court said, and the Beavis Case judgment extends to many pages. But, and more importantly, the Pundit posts this as News – this case was dealt with over two years ago, with the original ticket having been issued in 2013. Not news, by any stretch of the imagination. Misrepresentation, we say.

Two more posts, both about Scotland, follow. Scotland is an interesting place, and it is noted that the Pundit wasn’t present at either of those cases, and seems to be relying on hearsay. Misrepresentation, we say.

Finally, a post that the Pundit claims is about the Parking Prankster. He states that our John Wilkie was present at the hearing. That’s interesting, because according to our diary, John Wilkie was not working that day, so even if he was at the hearing, he certainly wasn’t there as our representative – another example of misrepresentation by the pundit.

So, what is obvious is that the Pundit is, at the least, associated with parking companies, and posting on their behalf, not independently. This could be dangerous for the Parking Companies, whether BPA or IPC. Under the Consumer Rights Act, an oral or written statement by a company, or a person associated with a company, can be incorporated into contractual terms, if it leads the consumer to make a transactional decision. It can also be an offence to make such statements without declaring your relationship with the trader – think of fake reviews on websites.

As a result Private Parking Appeals invites the Parking Pundit to reveal his/her identity, and stop hiding behind a Privacy Service. If the pundit is prepared to operate a fair and transparent blog, Private Parking Appeals will be more than happy to provide guest reports and information to provide balanced, independent information to the public.

Private Parking Appeals also invites ZZPS and the BPA to confirm that neither company is associated with, or operating, the Pundit’s website, and in the BPA’s case, to ask the Pundit to stop using its copyright web content from Know Your Parking Rights.

It will be interesting to see which companies respond to this invitation, which has also been emailed to all three organisations.

 

UPDATE – the BPA has confirmed that the site is not associated with them, and that they do no object to the Parking Pundit using their copyright material from Know Your Parking Rights.

Private Parking Appeals is recruiting.

As a result of a huge increase in demand for our services, and the recent acquisition of one of our competitors, we are recruiting at all levels of the business.

Administrative staff

We are looking for Administrative staff to act as the first point of contact for our customers. You will deal with new applications, allocating work to the appropriate appeals or claims handlers, and dealing with general telephone enquiries. You may have the opportunity for “warm lead” recovery at a later date. Experience in general admin, computer literacy and document control will be of benefit, though full training can be provided. While this position is a “remote worker” role, you will need to visit either Bristol or Glasgow at least once before starting work, and for reviews during your time with us. This role is paid on an Hourly basis which meets National Living Wage requirements before deductions, and additional performance bonuses.

Appeal Handler

Our Appeal Handlers are the heart of our business. You will normally be involved with the customer from the first contact, right through until we receive a successful result from the Parking Company or POPLA. You will have access to the corporate database of car parks, signage and documents, which will guide you as to the thousands of successful appeals we have already completed. The majority of this work can be done by email and/or online interfaces, though you may need to write to Parking Companies on occasion.  Experience in general admin, computer literacy and document control will be of benefit, as well as a grounding in Parking Law. This role is paid on a “piece-work” basis, with a regular performance bonus.

 Claim Handler

Inevitably, some customers only contact us as their case reaches the County Court. Our Claim Handlers are the people who make a difference at this stage. With your calm attitude and scrupulous attention to detail, you will assist the customer in preparing a defence, and later a Witness Statement and Skeleton Argument for the court, to ensure that the customer has the best chance of winning the case, with or without representation. As well s the experience needed for our other staff,  you will either hold, or be studying for a relevant qualification in Law which can also be demonstrated by prior experience as a Solicitors Agent, Accredited Union Representative or similar. This role is also paid on a Piece-Work basis, with both regular bonuses, and also the opportunity to use your advocacy skills as a Lay Representative, should you choose to take this route.

Lay Representative

Private Parking Appeals is strongly of the view that a Lay Representative should not be entitled to charge fees, or rewards for attending court other than reasonable expenses, and our view is supported by the majority of District Judges. As such, we do not engage Lay Representatives, though we are always open to new Lay Rep’s joining our pool and being supported by our back-office team. Lay Representatives introduced by Private Parking Appeals are engaged directly by customers, and we do not seek any fee or reward for referral.

 

All of our roles are on a non-exclusive self-employed contract basis, and you will need reliable internet access and your own desktop/laptop computer with Remote Desktop software, such as Microsoft RDP or the Apple/Linux equivalent. You may also need a printer, and a physical network connection for a company desktop phone to be supplied. As a self-employed contractor you must be over 18, and will be responsible for your own tax and NI contributions, and we will pay you either an hourly rate or a “piece work” price, as well as expenses incurred for the business on a monthly basis in response to your submitted invoice.

As part of our commitment to our contractors, we are always willing to discuss and assist with negotiating the minefield that is the DWP – We can assist with Universal Credit issues, to ensure that you lose the minimum amount of benefit (normally 65p in the pound) for the work you do for us.

If you are interested in any of these roles, then please send a CV to info@privateparkingappeals.co.uk using the subject line “Employment Application” – followed by your name. Please include a CV in MS Word, Open Document or PDF format, and a daytime telephone number. If you are unable to use email, please send a CV and Covering Letter to our Glasgow Office, marked “Human Resources – Confidential”.

All applications will be considered on their merits, and we will acknowledge all applications. However, any applications without the requested information will be declined. We may seek references before calling any individual for interview.

 

Recruitment Agencies please note that we do not recognise speculative CV; should you submit a speculative CV we will assume the candidate as our own.

Rumours of our demise are premature

We have recently had brought to our attention a post on MoneySaving Expert.

This is not, in fact the case, and we continue to trade, supporting customers from their first PCN through to the courtroom door and sometimes beyond.

In the past few weeks, our staff have been involved in well-reported court cases in Blackwood, Clerkenwell, and elsewhere, and we continue to support the British Motorist Protection Association. We are about to submit our second year’s accounts, which will show an increase in turnover of more than 20% year on year, and this despite the judgment in ParkingEye and Beavis.

One of the comments in the thread listed is cogent:

I remain amazed at the number of so-called complainants who seem to believe that running to this forum to bleat is both a reasonable and measured way of solving a simple problem when the effort they expend in doing so would have written several letters to PPA direct.

One has to ask whether all of these individuals were genuinely motivated (in that they have actually suffered poor service) or for whatever reason are far more interested in simply discrediting PPA? Let’s face it, there are plenty of PPC’s who would be glad to see PPA losing business just for starters.

Private Parking Appeals continues to trade, and continues to win cases. Indeed, we have recently acquired the IP of a fourth appeals company, and will soon be rolling out additional services. As ever, however, we do not trade on Social Media or forums, and operators of such services permitting defamatory posts would be well advised to apply more stringent moderation.  Our complaints procedure is fully compliant with the requirements of law, and, although we do receive some complaints, we have never been in a position where a customer has had to refer a complaint to ADR.

We’d also like to thank the moderators of Pepipoo for their support in pointing out that online forums are not the appropriate place for customers to air their complaints, and hope the moderators of MSE will follow suit.

Private Parking Appeals – we do exactly what it says in the name.

Have you had a Debt Letter or a Claim from MIL Collections

The Parking Prankster has reported a massive Data Breach involving MIL Collections and a number of parking companies. The DVLA has known about this since at least October 2015.

Private Parking Appeals has an unrivalled success rate in dealing with MIL Claims, and in all but one case our staff and our Advocacy team has successfully had the case thrown out, often with costs against MIL; in some cases we have been able to get the case thrown out even before it reached a courtroom.

As a result, we can claim to be the experts in dealing with MIL Collections.

If you have had a claim made against you by MIL Collections since October 2015, even if you have paid their ridiculous demand, then you may well have a claim against them, and the parking company involved, for a DPA breach.

Please contact us using our Legal enquiry page, and we will be happy to assist you with your claim, not only for the sum you paid MIL but also for up to £750 for the Data Breach. Our charge for this – the same as if we assisting you with the defence of a claim, £49.

 

Private Parking Appeals – even when you’ve already paid, we are Just the Ticket ™

Bank Holidays? What are they?

As the Festive Season approaches again, I am reminded of our first year of business – we started trading just before Christmas 2014.

We made a decision, right back at the start of business, that we would be open every day of the year, able to handle customer issues and parking tickets on Christmas Day, Boxing Day, Good Friday, Easter Sunday, New Years Day and all of the lesser Bank Holidays. We chose to do this for a simple reason – we had already seen that the Parking Companies don’t take these holidays.

Last year, I manned the phoned on 25 December, before driving across the way to Dundee to see my family later that afternoon. Despite it being Christmas Day, I dealt with three phone calls from concerned customers. Later on, we received a number of applications from Customers who had either been parked on, or had been issued tickets with a date of, 25 December 2015, including ParkingEye, Smart Parking, Excel Parking, Vehicle Control Services, Highview, Horizon, Athena ANPR and others.

Some of these were windscreen tickets – can you imagine how much you would have to resemble Ebenezer Scrooge to issue a ticket at this time of year?

And so it is again this year – with the Christmas Break encompassing a weekend, there are only three “working days” in the next ten calendar days, and we are open for every calender day. However, unlike me, our case handlers may well be slightly slower to respond to emails, as they are entitled to time off for their families.

We would like to thank you all for your business over the last year, and your patience and co-operation during this season, and wish you all the greetings of the Season, and a happy, and PCN-free New Year.

Does UKPC have authority to ticket on its sites?

For the third time recently, John Wilkie (our Head of Legal) has come back from court astonished and astounded at the evidence which UK Parking Control has sought to bring before the court.

UKPC has a habit, in our experience, of only bringing multiple-ticket cases to court. Because of the nature of their business, these are invariably related to Residential Parking, where a management company bring UKPC in to stop non-residents parking. This works within 6-8 weeks, after which the Parking Company isn’t getting any money, so it has to start ticketing residents for the slightest infringement… such as, and these are all real examples:-

  • Not displaying a permit to park in your own bay. This is invidious, and UKPC has been taken to court for tresspass before where this has occurred
  •  Not parking completely in a marked bay – having a wheel on the line, for example, or being too long for the bay without touching the wall.
  • Not displaying a valid “Vehicle Excise Licence” – which hasn’t been possible for some time now.
  • Sticking the PCN OVER the permit, so that the permit cannot be seen in their evidence.
  • Not displaying a Blue Badge – the Blue Badge scheme does not apply to Private Land.
  • Faking Photographs to show a vehicle has been on site, for far longer than is the case. UKPC lost access to the DVLA database when caught doing this.
  • Changing the look of a permit for a scheme, without supplying the landowner with new permits to distribute.

UKPC will often issue many tickets to a vehicle, then sue the Keeper for up to 99 tickets at once. Inevitably, such cases arrive at our doorstep, and, as it’s a single claim we do only charge a single fee to deal with it, making our service very competitive.

And in many cases like this, UKPC will say that they are authorised by the landowner to operate on the land. And, again and again, our legal researchers find that this is not the case. And when we demonstrate this to the court, the UKPC advocate tries to argue that they would not have put up many signs, and issued many tickets without someone complaining if they were not allowed to be there. The counter to this argument is that “if I try to sell Buckingham Palace, it doesn’t need a District Judge to tell me that I can’t do that.”

Some of our more recent successes in this type of case have included Mr M in Worcester, another Mr M in Edmonton, Mr A in Bury (a doctor who was parked dealing with patients in extremis) and today’s case, Mr M (a different one) in Huddersfield, where the judge examined the contract and decided there was no evidence of a Chain of Authority from the Landowner to the Parking Company. In this case, the contract was with a non-existent Management Company, in other cases it has been entirely absent.

Without authority to operate on the land, a parking company doing so is committing fraud, breaching the BPA and IPC Code of Practice, and has no right to Keeper Details or to seek to invoke Keeper Liability. Indeed, without authority to operate, the company cannot even pursue the driver for a Parking Charge.

Private Parking Appeals is now very wise to claims like these, and have both experience and persuasive case law dealing with such circumstances. Unlike the Solicitors Firms who take these cases on and regularly lose for their clients, We have a record of wins against these claims, and are the real experts in dealing with such matters.

 

Making Friends and Influencing People

Private Parking Appeals has always considered itself to have the same aim as the British Parking Association – to improve standards in private parking.

While we do this in different ways, we do share the view that there must be one Code of Practice, one enforcing body, one consistent appeals process and a single Independent Appeals Service. We also feel that each time we are able to have a ticket cancelled, this demonstrates non-compliance by the company, and this needs to be resolved by the company, not simply brushed under the carpet.

Many parking companies have a good relationship with us – which is not to say that we are in their pocket or they in ours. Our correspondence about parking charges and appeals is often robust to the point of offence, but when it comes to the relationships between the people involved, we can sit and discuss things as professionals and without rancour, for the most part.

It is pleasing to confirm that this professional courtesy also extends, for the most part, to the Solicitors and Representatives our Lay Representatives meet at court. However, as with any industry, there are a few who are entirely unprofessional in their dealings with us. Private Parking Appeals does not intend to Name and Shame these companies, and individuals, however, if you were to follow the Parking Prankster blog, it would not be difficult for you to draw your own conclusions.

As a result both of the professionalism of the majority, and the conduct of the minority, Private Parking Appeals has therefore decided to apply for membership of the BPA. This will provide us with further respect within the industry, and essentially a louder voice – think of it as joining a union. To coin a phrase, it is better to be inside the tent…

On a final point, however, referring again to those who are less professional, please note that all telephone calls made to, from or by Private Parking Appeals may be recorded for audit and legal purposes and relied upon in court.