Tag Archive | "fines"

The Regulation of Signage and Ticketing Technology

That sounds important, doesn’t it? Well, it is. A Labour MP and all round superhero has put his pants on outside his trousers and plans to take on the rip-off rogues in our car parks. He is, like the general public, heartily sick of the tactics of dastardly parking operators and intends to do something about it.

His name is Nick Smith and he has introduced the above mentioned bill into Parliament. He believes that operators are making car park signs and systems and instructions as confusing as possible to mislead folk into making mistakes and getting their cars clamped.

This modern day avenger states that it is an easy matter to simplify these things and make the business of using a car park a straightforward and honest experience. It goes deeper than this. There has been a lot of fuss in the past about the size and clarity of signage and the subject’s been a mainstay of consumer broadcasting. Now though – and this is why Mr Smith is getting involved – this underhand behaviour appears to be rapidly developing into some form of industry-wide standard.

It seems that the landowner can trouser the hourly rate whilst the operator scoops up all the extras charges; so it stands to reason that the unscrupulous are likely to work towards increasing those extra charges to the max. Basically, the more confusing the signs, the more money will be raked in from unsuspecting drivers. Like a lot of things in modern day Britain, it is all a bit sickening. Everybody is fair game for everybody else. The person behind this new daylight robbery might well be your next door neighbour.

This private members bill was given an unopposed first reading but, and this is what usually happens, it will not make it into law because there will not be enough parliamentary time to debate and vote on it. Such is the fate of private members bills. The Commons spends so much time chewing over all the stuff put forward by HM Government – most of which will affect you about as much as the price of hamburgers in Tokyo – that it has no time to deal with easy to establish, sensible legislation which will actually aid the voters. This is how we carry on in this country and is why cheats always prosper. This too is a bit sickening.

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The Appeal of Parking Tickets

You know the feeling. You’re walking back to your car in your usual nonchalant, happy fashion – possibly reciting a recently discovered poem or saying good day to the flowers – when you espy something stuck on the windscreen of your car. Suddenly, the poetry has gone from your life as you realise you are not quite as wealthy as you used to be. You’ve been ticketed.

It doesn’t have to be like that. First off and obviously, don’t park where you are not wanted. There are many unscrupulous parking scams on dubious looking car parks but let’s just deal with officialdom for now.

In 2011, town halls issued an increasing number of parking tickets with a total of 6.8 million by year end. That’s an awful lot of revenue. Nevertheless 39% of these tickets were successfully appealed, albeit down from 47% the previous year. What does this tell you? It means you have rights and you should exercise them. The sad fact is that many people just shrug, feel vaguely aggrieved and cough up without realising that they may have grounds to have the ticket rescinded. Regional success rates vary with a bulging 72% being successful in Chichester against a scrawny 11% in Bradford. What does that tell you about parking attendants in Sussex?

It is not unreasonable to expect councils and indeed anyone trying to enforce parking restrictions to ensure that their signage and lines are clear, obvious and unambiguous. Date and timing should be absolutely correct on the pay and display ticket. For example, in Yorkshire there is a private car park attendant who will hover over your car in the minutes before the ticket expires and clamp on the instant it does. No second chances. He will even laugh in your face. This is what the public has to deal with. The good news is that clamping is now illegal on private land. That news must have wiped the smile off his face!

Fortunately, there are many sources of information available to you in the form of reputable online advice. Have a browse. There are formal avenues you can go down depending on the type of ticket (PCN’s, ECN’s and SCN’s) and the issuing body, but you can’t delay. If you feel you have been wrongly penalised for whatever reason, don’t give up. It’s aggravating to have to chase up these things when you’ve got better things to do but how much money has been collected illegally or incorrectly from drivers who didn’t bother?

Finally – this will make you laugh. Here’s a direct quote from Mr Bob Neill, a local government minister. He said: “There is no excuse for town halls using parking fines and motorists as cash cows. There are plenty of other ways for councils to raise extra income or make savings like better procurement and sharing back-office services”.

Funny guy – not! This is the government that is squeezing the life out of drivers at the pumps and on the road with various tax increases whilst trying to lay the blame on petrol companies. There’s not much we can do about that but at least you know that with a parking ticket there is something you can do.

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