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Forum to advise on preventing private-parking rip-offs

[5 November 2012] Dodgy practices in the private-parking industry have led the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) to create an advisory committee of consumer and motoring bodies to help sort out the mess, much of which stems from unclear signs and documents.  

The new ‘DVLA Consumer Forum on Private Parking Management’ will include people from the AA, the RAC, Which?, Trading Standards, the Office of Fair Trading and Citizens Advice, as well as Martin Cutts of Plain Language Commission and Nev Metson, the former police officer who has exposed many of the worst private-parking rip-offs. As we’ve reported, the industry chases drivers for around £160million a year in phoney (ie, non-official) fines for supposedly breaching car-park rules. The forum will meet twice a year.

ExcelTapedSignEbbwValeMedia interest in the scandal has continued. BBC Wales X-Ray reported (29 October) that Excel Parking Services has been suspended from access to lucrative DVLA data for breaching the rules. The programme showed a misleading sign at its controversial car park at Ebbw Vale where Excel had plastered tape over some offending wording (see photo). It’s likely that Excel's signs nationwide have been similarly bodged. Given that Excel's managing director sits on the British Parking Association (BPA) committee overseeing private parking, it’s extraordinary that his company fell foul of the rules. All the signs are supposed to be rigorously checked by eagle-eyed BPA assessors before being erected. [cont]

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