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Green light for parking predators as appeal court rules against consumers
[24 April 2015] Parking firms will continue to milk millions of drivers for penalties in private car parks after judges in the court of appeal ruled that an £85 charge imposed on a Chelmsford man by ParkingEye Ltd for overstaying a two-hour free-parking limit was not 'excessively high' or 'extravagant or unconscionable'.
ParkingEye uses camera technology to watch the car parks it runs for supermarkets and hospitals, recording the exact time drivers enter and leave. It then demands charges of up to £100 for those who break its often complex payment rules. It buys drivers' details from the DVLA. ParkingEye hits around 850,000 drivers a year with its charges.
Barry Beavis, a fish-and-chip shop owner, refused to pay the £85 charge demanded after he overstayed at the Riverside Retail Park, Chelmsford. But the judges, who earn about £200,000 a year, decided that a charge like this was not unreasonably high. The judgment was condemned by the AA, the RAC Foundation and Which?, whose executive director Richard Lloyd told the Daily Mail: 'We are concerned that this decision waters down the law on penalty charges and may encourage excessive default charges.
The AA's president Edmund King said: 'This is a licence to print money for people who have now been handed an open cheque and invited to make up the figures as they like .'
Michael Green of ChallengeTheFine.com said: 'This issue is no longer about private parking tickets, but about whether it is OK for private entities to charge 'fines' or penalties in all areas of life. That includes ending your gym membership early, terminating your TV/mobile phone contract, and cancelling airline flights.'
Mr Beavis will appeal to the Supreme Court.
Click to dowload Daily Mail story.