You only get a CCJ if you lose a court case, and still refuse to pay after a court has demanded you to. Speaking of which…

2. Wrongly mess up peoples’ credit rating

Do you know if you have a CCJ? Are you sure you don’t? Because some parking companies have been filing for them against unsuspecting people who never even knew they had got a parking ‘fine’ to begin with.

 

Meet John. A parking company sent the original parking ‘fine’ to the wrong address, and all debt collection letters to the wrong address, and their court claim form…to the wrong address. John then lost and ‘disobeyed’ a court judgment that he never knew existed, for a parking ‘fine’ he had never heard of. For him, one day he simply discovered he had a CCJ.

This seems to happen a lot when people move house, because the parking firm gets an outdated address from the DVLA. The DVLA takes a while to update their database of addresses after people move.

What is outrageous in these situations is that the parking firms do not double check they have the correct address before issuing a court claim form. It would cost them an extra £2.50, which is apparently not worth the cost when weighed against the risk of annihilating someone’s ability to get credit.

As you can expect, the parking firms put the responsibility on the obviously careless and stupid motorist (who apparently is always at fault):

 


As said, this problem is common where people get a parking ‘fine’ just before moving house. I have seen two situations where this has happened however where no-one has moved house, which is even more concerning.

The parking firms issuing court documents are playing with peoples’ lives here, and innocent people should not get totally screwed over just so the parking firms can save £2.50 (which would be the cost of verifying the correct address).

 

3. Copy official police and local authority documents

 

Penalty Charge Notices are parking tickets from local authorities, and Fixed Penalty Notices are from the police. Both are lawful. Parking Charge Notices are from private parking operators who want to deceive people into thinking they’re likewise official charges, but they’re not. The point of the ChallengeTheFine legal battle is to confirm, once and for all, that all of these private charges are unlawful and must be refunded.

 

4. Compromise peoples’ safety

Did you know that 20% of motorway network accidents are caused by fatigue?

Parking companies do not care! If you follow government policy and take a nap at a motorway service station, be prepared to pay the price:

 


As you might expect, the reoccurring theme in private parking debates is to shift the blame onto the driver:

I’ve had quite a few emails of people experiencing this scenario: people doing the right thing – what the Government tells them to do – and getting penalised for it.

 

5. Mislead Parliament

In 2012 the Protection of Freedoms Act was passed. In return for banning clamping, the parking industry lobbied MPs to introduce a new way to charge people. Since 2012 the parking firms can sue the ‘registered keeper’ of the vehicle, rather than whoever was actually driving it when it was parked, in certain situations. Wondering how Parliament were convinced to introduce such an odd law?

This has all been said before: the figures were exaggerated big-time, and this formed part of Parliament’s decision to introduce the ‘registered keeper liability’ mentioned above. A lot more people are being taken to court now, because of this change in the law, which is ironically the problem the parking industry had made up to get the law changed.

 

6. Manipulate public debate

What really keeps the ‘bad’ parking firms alive is the power of myth generation, which the the private parking industry has done a pretty good job at. This is the reason there has not (yet) been a full public backlash against the industry.

Myth 1: they’re tackling the “bad” motorists. “good” motorists do not get a ticket to begin with:

Myth 2: if they’re shut down (ie held to legal account), everyone will suffer:

Myth 3: since 2012 there is an appeals system so everything is OK

To keep up to date with the legal challenge, and to be added to the mailing list, click here. If you have paid a private parking ‘fine’, or even been issued with a charge you did not pay, you should definitely register so we can contact you when it is ready.