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Panic at the BPA as two parking companies are suspended over bad signs

[14 October 2012] Two private parking companies have had their income stream wiped out for three months after the Government's Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency suspended them from having lucrative electronic access to its database of the names and addresses of motorists they claim have broken car-park rules.

It’s rare for the DVLA to show its teeth like this. But it’s happened after pressure from campaigners against misleading signs and payment demands that purport to require registered keepers to pay the phony (ie, non-official) fines of up to £150. If anyone is responsible for paying the phony fines, it’s the drivers. (See our previous news items on this.)

The British Parking Association (BPA), the members’ club that looks after the private parking firms and is supposed to check their signs every year, has now demanded that every firm submits copies of its signs and documents to a consultant, who will complete an emergency compliance review within two weeks.

The BPA’s Kelvin Reynolds, director of policy and public affairs, pressed the panic button in an email to member firms on 21 September headed ‘Misrepresentation of authority and liabilities to pay unpaid parking charges – urgent response required’.

He wrote: ‘It has been drawn to our attention that there is much public concern about some operators who continue to indicate on signage, parking charge notices and similar correspondence that the keeper is liable for the payment of parking charges due as a result of a breach of contract. This is not the legal situation now nor will it be after 1 October 2012. 

‘As a matter of urgency, and to protect the reputation of the Accredited Trade Association and, ultimately, your business, I am instigating a thorough audit of these elements for all AOS members with immediate effect. [cont]

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