Have you ever received a parking fine and paid when you needn’t have?
Half of motorists who disagree with and contest their fine actually win!
Huge car parking fines form part and parcel of the society we live in today. Every year, road users earn millions of pounds as a result of these hefty fines for councils and private firms across the country.
Even though the operators working the car parks use ever more dishonest tactics to make sure motorists pay the fines, drivers can and do fight back – around half of fines are successfully contested and overturned.
One sly and underhanded new trick being used by some of these firms is to pay the DVLA to hand over private address information which can then be traced from a vehicle registration plate.
Once in possession of such information, these firms who run restaurants, shopping centres and hospital car parks amongst others, then contact motorists using threatening tactics by way of a letter, asking for up to £100 in fines.
In 2016, a staggering 4.7million people had their addresses bought by car park operators, who paid a mere £2.50 for the information. As a result, nearly £12million was earned by the agency.
According to Philip Gomm from the RAC Foundation, fines that are sent to people through the post tend to be worded in such a way as to intimidate and severe charges are demanded for the smallest of infringements, such as overstaying a car park space by only a matter of minutes by accident.
It’s understood that private companies earn around £500million per year just from handing out car parking fines. Data is unavailable for councils but it’s believed they earn at least £750million from car parking charges and fines combined.
“They are the modern-day version of Dick Turpin, acting like outlaws by making outrageously unfair penalty demands. It is a huge money-spinner for them,” says parking campaigner Barrie Segal, who runs a website called AppealNow.
Many car park operators are getting away with it by using bullying tactics to ensure that people pay the fine. Some say that if the person pays within 14 days, the penalty amount will be halved – this tactic tends to work as motorists decide to pay up rather than fight the fine itself.
Some operators even send threatening letters saying that debt collectors will be sent if you don’t pay the fine but bailiffs can’t turn up at your door without it going to court first.
However, it’s now been revealed that actually half of motorists who decided to contest their fine win but before you decide to go into battle, you must be armed with the right information and be prepared for a fight.