P for Parking Rip-Off

Parking Sign

P for Parking Rip-Off.

Innocent until proven guilty? – Not if you get a parking ticket.

Mrs Aaaaargh recently made the mistake of using a Pay and Display machine but mis-reading the tariff list and paying £1.20 instead of £1.30.

Now on this particular machine, disabled parking costs £1.00, so it issued her a ticket for disabled parking (presumably the council often has disabled drivers pay an extra 20p to park) rather than simply waiting for more money.

So, of course, when the parking attendant with his camera came along and saw her with a disabled ticket but not in a disabled  parking bay, he issued a ticket – you wouldn’t expect them to look at the amount and realise what had happened would you?

Anyway, she contested the ticket and explained what had happened and that it was a genuine mistake but this was rejected and she received a letter saying she would be fined £50 … and here’s where the ‘guilty until proved innocent’ comes in – if you pay early the cost is only £25 but if you decide to appeal the decision, ie you are not admitting guilt, you have to pay the £25 anyway while the appeal goes through.

This wasn’t explained clearly in the letter which gave the impression you didn’t have to pay if you were appealing the decision so the next stage was getting the letter that said she hasn’t paid the £25 and it will now cost £50.

Let’s relate this to real crime – say you get arrested for something and the sentence will be 10 years, you can opt to serve 5 years while defending yourself  … there’s a reason this doesn’t happen!

Councils must love P & D machines – they don’t give change. How many times have you put in a 50p when you didn’t have the exact 20p or 30p needed? Multiply that by a few hundred thousand and and there’s a lot of extra money involved.

P & D machines should:

give change if overpaid or
not issue tickets unless the exact amount has been put in or
show a credit for overpayment that someone else can use (I’d rather someone use it than give it to the authorities)

The other matter is that if Mrs Aaaaargh is being fined for not paying for parking, sureley she is due back the money she put in the machine – we’ll see what reply we get to that letter.

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3 Responses to “P for Parking Rip-Off”

  1. aaaaargh Says:

    Thought you might like to see the outcome:

    https://aaaaargh.wordpress.com/2011/05/27/p-for-parking-rip-off-pt-2-justice/

  2. P for Parking Rip-Off Pt 2 – Justice! « Says:

    […] on from my original post we got some good news […]

  3. 6079SmithW Says:

    The local council admitted to fleecing motorists to the tune of £100,000 a year on overpaid parking tickets, but only to the extent that the excess did not amount to the fee for the next chargeable period.

    How many times did people overpay for a full chargeable period that they didn’t want and didn’t need?

    No way of knowing.

    Isn’t there an Office of Fair Trading or something?

    And you are right about guilty until proved innocent – if you appeal, you are the appellant and are heard first. This begs the question – where is the court of first instance? It would appear a ‘civil enforcement officer’ is now judge, jury and executioner and you can be tried in absentia, and if you are present you have no right of representation or to make your case before judgment is pronounced and executed.

    Happy days.

    Winston

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