Car parking fiasco: Vindication as woman battles 22 fines for parking outside her own home | United Kingdom | News
It has become clear that the government crackdown on private parking companies is duly welcome as they repeatedly leave innocent and unsuspecting people out of pocket. The new measures were announced on Monday as part of the leveling program across the UK. The new code of practice aims to punish cowboy parking companies that trick people into paying fines.
Karen Niven, from Aldershot, has gone to court 10 times so far to challenge repeated parking charge notices she was wrongly given and is awaiting a response after appealing another 12 fines.
Each time, Ms Niven won the case against the parking company which fined her for parking in front of her house.
Mrs Niven’s plot is shared between the owners and a housing association, and the parking problems arose when the owners decided to employ a private parking company.
Like private landlords, housing association tenants have the right to park wherever they want, but the private parking company handed out permits to landlords that tenants never received.
Ms Niven welcomed the government crackdown on private parking companies and said: ‘They were just putting parking fee notices on our cars, literally everywhere we parked.
Unlike Ms. Niven, some of her neighbors received threatening legal letters from the parking company’s lawyers and opted to pay instead of appealing to court.
Ms Niven said: ‘When you first go to court it’s a scary place but I was so determined because I knew I was right.
Ms Niven and her neighbors tried to contact the parking company to change its parking policy but had ‘no commitment at all’.
A press release from the government’s Department for Leveling, Housing and Communities said “the new package will protect drivers from unfair and exorbitant charges”.
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The measures “will reduce fines and create a clearer and fairer appeals system”.
In most cases in England, Wales and Scotland, private parking fines will be reduced by up to 50% and capped at £50.
However, higher charges will remain in place for serious parking infractions such as wrongful parking in a disabled bay, but motorists will get a 50% discount if they pay within 14 days.
The new recourse charter will facilitate the recourse of motorists who commit genuine errors or who present extenuating circumstances.
Rogue parking operators who refuse to follow the new code could be barred from accessing Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) data.
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Excessive debt collection charges of up to £70 for late tickets will also be banned under the new policy.
Granville Henderson from Staffordshire also welcomes the ‘long overdue’ changes as he was forced to pay £155 in parking fees in October after his wife entered the wrong letter as part of the car registration when buying a ticket.
Mr Henderson said: ‘By the time we received the fine notice it was almost 14 days and they then deducted that the cost would increase if we lost the case. It was just a shame.
“We didn’t have time to appeal so we just paid the £155. I don’t mind paying a fine, but we should have had the opportunity to make our case.
Mr Henderson and his wife could appeal under the new code of practice put in place by the government which covers appeals for serious errors.