Private Parking firms are facing a government clampdown on rogue practices. Parking companies will be banned from issuing fines for minor misdemeanours such as entering registration plates wrong.
Parking companies will also be forced to implement new appeals systems and quash tickets that have been “unfairly” issued. This will include scenarios where paper tickets have slipped off the windscreen and suchlike.
Mitigating circumstances for lateness etc will also have to be considered in the new rules announced by the Government.
Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick said the changes would eliminate unfair tariffs.
‘These new measures are a victory for millions of motorists,’ he said. ‘They will put a stop once and for all to rogue parking firms using aggressive tactics and handing out unfair parking tickets with no right to appeal, while also boosting our high streets by making it easier for people to park near their local shops without being unfairly fined.
‘Our proposals will restore common sense to the way parking fines are issued, while cracking down on the worst offenders who put other people in danger and hinder our emergency services from carrying out their duties.’
The new rules will apply to car parks operated by private firms in the United Kingdom but not in Northern Ireland because of devolved powers.
Most UK hospital car parks are operated by private firms and the changes will apply to these.
The new proposals aim to tackle predatory firms that use overly aggressive or pseudo-legal language to coerce motorists into paying fines.
Among the proposals is the creation of a single appeals service and appeals charter for motorists to use if they feel they have been unfairly fined.
Under options set out in the charter, motorists could appeal against their fine and see it reduced to a maximum of £20, or cancelled entirely if they have a mitigating reason for overstaying the time on their parking ticket.
Mitigating circumstances could include their vehicle breaking down. Other innocent errors such as keying in a digit in their number plate incorrectly. This as well as well as having a valid ticket, permit or blue badge but failing to display it correctly.
The initiative also proposes a tiered approach to parking fines, with a cap for less serious offences of between £40 and £80, depending on the parking charge system chosen – but both lower than the current £100 cap.
Drivers who park wrongly in disabled spaces or ambulance bays would face an increased fine of £120.
The system would be mandatory, unlike existing voluntary ones set by the industry. It is being put out for public consultation, which will run until mid-October.
The cap on car parking fines will impact on certain sectors of the debt collection industry. Some debt collectors advertise themselves as specialising in collecting unpaid car park fines.