Crackdown on rogue parking firms who rip-off motorists
Rogue parking firms could be banned from hitting drivers with £100 penalties for the first time under new rules being drawn up by ministers.
It comes after a steep rise in the number of drivers being targeted by private firms over minor offenses.
The Department for Communities and Local Government is understood to be preparing to place new restrictions on access to a Government database of motorists’ details – which lets parking firms to chase vehicle owners for fines.
It comes as the number of motorists handed tickets of up to £100 by private parking companies has soared by almost two thirds in a year to 1.74 million.
Some dishonest operators use “ghost” ticketing in which they put a ticket on a car, photograph it and then remove it. This leads to drivers “failing” to pay, allowing the company to charge a higher fine.
Under the new rules, private operators will face being subject to regulations which ban the use of such predatory tactics to trap motorists into paying fines.
They could also be forced to make appeals easier and more transparent, with a limit on the sums of money charged, according to the Times.
There is also pressure for appeals to be regulated by an independent panel, such as the traffic penalty tribunal.
Soon companies that fall foul of the rules will be prevented from accessing the DVLA database, which holds around 40 million drivers’ records.
To screen out rogue firms, operators that want access to the database, which is run by the DVLA, must join one of two trade bodies capable of holding them to account over bad practice. They are the British Parking Association and the International Parking Community.
Sir Greg Knight, a Conservative MP, said: “Self-regulation hasn’t worked and we need to put this on a statutory footing to stop motorists being ripped off. We need to have a fairer, more transparent and consistent enforcement system.”
It is expected that the rules could be in place by October next year.
Earlier this year a family was hit with £10,000 worth of fines from a private parking firm for parking below their luxury apartment in their designated space. Alyssha Harriot and Konrad Koscinsci have been living in the gated community for almost two years, during which time they have been billed for nearly 100 parking tickets.