COWBOY CLAMPERS could turn into unscrupulous and heavy handed issuers of parking ‘tickets’.
The warning comes from the AA which says that in the wake of the ban on clampers, they may well issue these tickets personally with the same threats and intimidating manner they used when they were wheel clampers.
“We strongly advise drivers not to pay cash to anyone issuing a parking charge notice (ticket); any bona fide parking control company will allow payment by post/credit card after the event.” say the AA.
“Rogue ticketers will not be able to obtain the ‘vehicle keepers’ address from DVLA in order to pursue the debt, and may therefore resort to threatening behaviour to scare drivers into paying up there and then, possibly demanding extortionate sums.
“In extreme cases unscrupulous tickers may be guilty of criminal offences like ‘demanding money’ and the police should be called.”
After a long running AA campaign, wheel clamping on private land is now a criminal offence as set out in the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012.
The only exceptions will be where wheel clamping is carried out lawfully, for example at some railway stations, airports, or local authority housing under local by-laws. The DVLA, police and some other government agencies will continue to clamp in some circumstances too.
The AA say: “Clampers always aimed to maximise profits from each individual clamping because of manpower, time and hardware costs. “In contrast, tickets can often be issued remotely using CCTV cameras, or by parking attendants on foot who can issue tickets to a large number of vehicles in a relatively short time.
“There has been a surge in the number of parking charge notices (tickets) issued by private parking enforcers and the AA has campaigned for the creation of an independent parking appeal service since AA members began falling victim to poor practices by these companies. “This problem is likely to increase with the ban on wheel clamping.”
The AA says there is clearly a need for landowners and private car park operators to have some control over those who park but enforcement must be fair and reasonable.
The new law means that along with wheel clamping being banned, parking control companies can pursue vehicle keepers for any unpaid parking charge notices – with an independent appeal service (POPLA) allowing drivers to challenge a parking charge notice
The AA, British Parking Association, private parking enforcement companies and other groups all wanted private parking enforcement to be fully regulated by government but this has not happened.
Only parking enforcement companies who are members of the British Parking Association’s (BPA) approved operator scheme (AOS) are allowed to obtain vehicle keepers’ details from the DVLA.
THE AA’S ADVICE ABOUT PARKING ON PRIVATE LAND:
Always look for signs setting out parking rules
Read and note the parking rules.
Stick to the rules e.g. don’t park in bays reserved for disabled badge holders.
Just because you don’t see enforcement taking place it doesn’t mean it isn’t; cameras may be in use.
If you have a parking charge notice put on your car don’t ignore it.
If you feel a parking charge notice is wrong or has been applied unfairly, gather evidence before you leave; take a careful note of signage and take photos if you can.
If your car is wheel clamped in a car park where no by-law is displayed call the police.
If heavy-handed ticketers demand money on the spot and threaten you to pay in cash, drive away or consider calling the police.
But be warned: The AA refers to ‘two different regimes’:
BPA members will be operating within the AOS code meaning a common standard and, importantly, motorists’ right for an independent appeal.
Non-BPA private enforcers may continue to issue tickets under contract/trespass law.
Parking conditions must be clearly signed and any disputes resolved through the civil court. And the appeal service is NOT available for tickets issued by non BPA members.
Even though BPA member companies have established a right of independent appeal, a disputed case can still be taken to civil court if the independent appeal decision is disputed by either party.
Since October 1st 2012 the normal maximum sum a BPA (AOS) member will demand for a breach of parking conditions is £100 which must be discounted by up to 40 per cent for prompt payment. In the unlikely event a BPA member demands more it must be fully justified for example, by setting out the consequential losses caused by the breach of terms and conditions.