Parking Charge Notices.
Contracts agreement and barriers
It is the responsibility of the park park operator to have proof that the driver of the vehicle had agreed of the terms and conditions of the car park in case the car park operator wants to levy charges tot eh car park users.
It is imperative to ensure that the driver is aware he/she entering a private car park where a charge is applicable. Additionally the driver needs to agree to the charges before entering the car park so that in case the driver disagrees to the charges can drive off to a different car park. It is important to understand that not everyone has the same level of awareness of signage. Therefore if the driver is unaware of the fact that he/.she is entering a private car park it is difficult to prove the driver was aware of those charges. This is the reason for having barriers at the entrance and exit of the car park. This ensures that the driver is aware that he is entering a private car park and he/she agrees to the terms
This will avoid any misunderstanding and it is clearly the responsibility of the private car park operator to make sure that he has proof that the driver had agreed to the trams and conditions of use of the car park before making the decision to entering it. Hence Cameras monitoring the entrance and exit of the car park are not reliable ways to ensure the driver was aware and has agreed to the charges of the car park.
It is clearly unfair to the public to have members of the public using a private car park and allow them not to be aware of the terms and condition of use of the private car park, hence it is essential that the car park operators makes sure the entrance has barriers to ensure the understanding that the car park use is subject to a charge and the driver has the opt out choice not to use it. The pricing has to be displayed prior to approaching the barrier so that the driver has the option not to enter the premises. If barriers were not necessary for appropriate charging why do most private car park have barriers at the entrance and at the exit?
Unfairness of some parking contracts
Legislation states that contracts. especially consumer contract, must be fair.Contracts must be fair especially when these are contracts enforced to ordinary consumers and where the driver might not be aware of the terms of condition of the car park due to lack of barriers, inappropriate signage etc..
The types of terms and conditions where there are no barriers at entry and /or exit of the car parks are sometimes clearly unfair. This is because sometimes the terms and conditions of use state that if payment is not made within 24 hours then the payment goes up to 60 or 100 pound from the 4 to 10 pound that would otherwise be due on the day. This of course incurs in incredible increases of up to 20000% within the space of 24 hours.
Let us clarify this point again, some terms and conditions state that if payment is not made withing 24 hours then the charge is 60 pound or even 100 pound, this seem to be unfair practice to be able to increase the price for a service 6 folds within the space of just 24 hours. If the price for something is 10 pond for instance how can it be that delaying the payment for 24 hours would incur such interest rates of 1000% in one day?
It seems to be unfair that a charge of 5 to 10 pound can amount to 6 times as much in the space of 24 hours. Unless there is clear legislation that allows this type of contracts this, in our opinion should be a void contract in the consumer market. This term of service seems to be in breach of the Late payment interest debt recovery where the maximum allwable interestes applicable on commercial debt is an annual 8% above the bank of England bese rate.
It is clear that any driver, having the choice, would prefer to use a car park with barriers were this types of increases are not in place. The payment on the day may not be made for several legitimate reasons and the driver should not be charged 20000 percent increase (two hundred fold) in charges for just not paying on one day. Anyone reading this knows that if this were the risks you would avoid these types of carparks and chose ones with barriers were these terms and conditions do not apply, you read the terms at the entrance enter the car park and you know how much you are paying and cannot exit without paying. Barriers avoid incurring in these types of unfair contracts. Once again the test of the unfairness of this type of contracts is the fact that any driver would opt for a barrier car park rather than entering into such a contract were if for some reason the payment is not shown byt the car park company the charge increases 200 fold (from 5 pound for example to 100 pound).
Proving the signage is adequate to establish contract agreement,
It is important to understand that if is is not clear to the driver the pricing structure of the car park or even that the premises are a car park subject to a charge this invalidates any possible claim.
First of all the pricing structure of the car park have to be agreed upon and this is the reason for pricing to be displayed prior to barriers at the entrance of a car park.
Secondly and most importantly it has to be
Please bear in mind that despite the prominence of any signage this is not proof that the driver had seen the signage of the terms and condition of the private car park. In order to prove the signage of the car park without barriers was adequate the context of the signage t the time of the parking. Therefore pictures submitted to prove that the signage was adequate has to show the pictures in context of the par-park itself, So for example picture of isolated signage are not sufficient to establish the adequacy of the signage in the car park the picture has to show the signage in context. It has to show the signage prior to the entry of the carpark or within the area in so that the driver can clearly recognize and read the signage and mere his /her decision to opt out. The context of the signage of its location will help determiner whether it was large enough and placed appropriately.
Additionally there need to be proof that the pictures submitted as of the date when the driver used the carpark and of no any other date and time. It is not simply the case of submitting number of pictures and either place a date on them or allege these are of the time the parking took place there needs to be clear irrefutable evidence that the pictures are true of the time when the parking took place.
Stopping to pick up or drop off passengers is not to be considered parking.
At major airports there are free drop off and pick up area, This is usually free of charge because dropping off and picking up passengers while the driver is still in the car waiting or in the vicinity of the car to pick up or dropping off languages is not to be considered parking. As a proof of that when a traffic warden finds a vehicle stopped on a single yellow line with the driver in it does not normappy issue any parking fine because the vehicle has only stopped and the car is not parked as the driver is in it.
This is the case of drop off and pick up points at airports where there is not even a single yellow line and this indicates that the car can stop there for passenger pick up.
Responsibility of the car park operator to make adequate payment options available prior to leaving the site.
It is the responsibility of the car park operator to operate a number of payment options including cash so that the driver not only is made aware of the charges of the car-park but he is able to make payment with any of the most common payment methods including cash payments. Usually more than one ticket machine is required in case one is not operational.
Timing of the stay.
Given the premise that a private car park requires to have barriers to allow for appropriate and fair charging of customers, at least there needs to be a camera system recording the stay of the vehicle upon entrance and exit from the premises, however in many instances this is not very reliable either as sometimes the entry and exit from certain car pars are not clear, and hence the driver can enter from a designated exit and exit for a designated entrance.
The absence of a ticketing machine on a sight is a further evident sign that the area is a free parking zone. After all the driver, where a charge for parking is applicable expects the possibility of paying for the stay there and then, this is common established practice of some council parking areas. Additionally if there are no barriers and no ticketing machine it is safe to assume that the area is a free parking area, especially if the signage is not clear. Even if signage is clear the consumer needs to have means to pay for the parking there and then as this is common practice thanks to the use of ticketing making allowing payments there and then.
Online payment systems.
These are new form of payment option and rarely adopted, The paid for car parks almost all use ticketing machines that allow the car park park to make the payment on the spot, keep a receipt for future evidence too. In those places where there are not ticketing machines it is also more likely the customer assumes this is a free parking zone.
Additionally online payments alone are not sufficient for all members of the public because
1 not all members of the public although have a valid driving license can operate online payments easily
2 online payment methods go down from time to time and payment may not be possible at times. due to technical issues.
No single or double yellow lines.
The absence of single or double yellow lines in car parks where there are no ticketing mushiness no barriers and no clear signage also indicates to the customer this is a free parking area.
Identifying the driver.
It is up to the car park operator to prove the identity of the driver who parked the car and not the keeper of the car. Unless UK law clearly expresses otherwise it is up to the car park operator to identify the driver. Otherwise prove that the keeper of the car was the person who was driving the car at the time. See for example speeding fines cameras are capable of taking picutre of the face of the driver for identification purposes as the keeper is not responsible for the speeding fine.
The allowable increments to a parking charge notice.
The allowable increments on a legitimate parking charge notice is regulated by consumer legislation A Parching Charge is not a business to business invoice , it is a business to consumer invoice. Since there is no clear legislation regulation the interests or price increase on a consumer invoice, the only reference which could be taken in the law to allw a surcharge is the allowable interests on a business to business invoice. Note that in the UK the relationship between business and consumers is heavily regulated there fore it is safe to assume that in the absence of a specific legislation regulating the interests (increase in charges for unpaid invoices to consumer) any increase on unpaid invoices could be deemed discretionary therefore unlawful.
The following is directly form the government website form the link above.
“Interest on late commercial payments
The interest you can charge if another business is late paying for goods or a service is ‘statutory interest’ – this is 8% plus the Bank of England base rate for business to business transactions. You cannot claim statutory interest if there’s a different rate of interest in a contract.
If your business were owed £1,000 and the Bank of England base rate were 0.5%:
the annual statutory interest on this would be £85 (1,000 x 0.085 = £85)
divide £85 by 365 to get the daily interest: 23p a day (85 / 365 = 0.23)
after 50 days this would be £11.50 (50 x 0.23 = 11.50)”
Therefore a parking charge cannot legitimately be doubled or tripled in price within the space of a year. any increase that makes double or triple an invoice within the space of a year is clearly unlawful and cannot be justified by current uk law. Any surcharge or admin cost that would double such a small amount are clearly excessive and even regarded as exploitative. Any increase in price which ius not reasonable and could be regarded as loan sharking. The case for this has to be argued in court however a creditor must not increase the amount of the original invoice to amounts that are not conforming to clearly defined UK law. In most instances if a parking charge notices are doubled and tripled in prices by the parking agents within the space of a year this is clearly an unlawful conduct unless there is a specified law that allows it which seem not to be in place.
By all means assuming an agreed parking charge is 60 pound the price of an unpaid parking charge cannot justifiably double or triple within a year. Additionally a request for apyment cannot anywhere be 30 to 40% of the parking charge itseld. what some carpark operators do is sending letters increasing teh invoice for unpaid car parking charges and increasing it by 30 or 40 pound per remider , this is clearly not lawful, not justifiable by legislation and it results to have the impression that the charge has gone up legitimally by 40 pound per remider, This resuts several times in parking charges tripling in amount within one year. If that were possible at these rates a parking gharge doubling or tripling every year would amount to over 2000 pound if remained unpaid for the period of 5 years and over 60 thousand pounds if it remained unpid for 10 year! Ofcourse these rates are absyrd. Simply doubling the charhe witin a year suggests interest rates that are illegal and vould make thew charges absurdly high if they remained umpaifd for only 5 years ionce again there interest rates would prinmg the unpaid 60 pound parking charge to over 60k if not paid for 10 years! Absurd!
In many cases the charge is tripled within the course of 12 months. if for example For example if the original charge were 60 poound this would mean 60×3=180 year one, 180×2=540 year two, 540×3=1620 year three, 1620×3=4860 year four, 4860×3 =14580 year five, 14740×3=43740 year six, 43740×3=131220 year seven, 131220×3=393660 year eight, 1.180.980×3=3,542,940 year nine, 3,542,940×3=10,628,820 in year 10. Of course this is absurd.
It is clear that the the type of increases the car parning management firm attempt to apply on a failed payment over time acrues absurd interest rates which are of course not granted, however this is not the worse case because dome carking firm attempt to quatruple the charge in the space of 12 months.