Driver will pay thousands to beat £100 Kent car park fine over ’22-hour’ stay which was half an hour
Lawrence Carnie, 58, has been on a nine-month crusade after getting a parking ticket last June for spending ’22 hours’ in a car park in Dartford, Kent
An irate driver says he is willing to pay thousands to fight a £100 parking fine he was slapped with after spending ‘only half an hour’ in a retail park.
Lawrence Carnie, 58, has been on a nine-month crusade after being fined last June for spending ’22 hours’ in a car park in Dartford, Kent.
Mr Carnie said he visited the retail park for half an hour on two consecutive days but was penalized due to a malfunction in the cameras’ number plate recognition.
The car park is free for three hours, but he claims he never logged in when leaving the first time, so he was charged with overstaying, according to the system, it looks like he arrived at 3:20 p.m. on June 10 and arrived at 1:30 p.m. hour left. next day.
He appealed to the parking enforcement authorities, Group Nexus, and the independent arbitrator, Parking On Private Land Appeals (POPLA), but was rejected both times.
The Tower Retail Park car park (pictured) is free for three hours, but Mr Carnie claims he never logged in the first time and was therefore fined for overstaying
Mr Carnie, from Dartford, contacted the British Parking Association, which represents Nexus, about the alleged problems, but they denied any problems with the system.
Undeterred, he continues his fight and has sought legal help to challenge the fine for staying in the Tower Retail Park car park.
He said: ‘If I bumped into you in the street and said ‘give me £100’ you wouldn’t do it.
‘That’s what happened here, they charge £100 for not being there. It’s just so wrong what this company is doing.’
The motorist is advised by CCJ Removals Services, who help people remove court rulings from their credit reports.
Paralegal Luke Memory specializes in challenging parking fines and oversees the case.
He said: ‘These types of cases usually don’t make it to court because the legal costs far exceed the fine, but Mr Carnie is an exception to the rule.
Does it pay to fight unfair parking fines down to the last detail?
About 35,000 disputes are registered with the Traffic Penalty Tribunal each year – and crucially, two-thirds of those challenging parking fines win their cases.
We spent a day watching virtual hearings take place via video calls, allowing motorists to experience their day in court from the comfort of their living rooms.
> READ MORE: In the traffic courts where TWO OUT OF THREE motorists win their appeal
‘Once a claim has been made against Mr Carnie we would instruct a solicitor to prepare a defense which would cost £500 and would lead to a court hearing where Mr Carnie would instruct a solicitor and this would cost around £500. 1,000 charges.
“It’s unpleasant to the common man, but Mr. Carnie likes to fight it in court.”
He added: ‘They are very smart of these companies as the cost of defending a case is much higher than the fine, so people usually just pay.
“I think he has a good case. What they claim is that he stayed in the parking lot too long, but their own evidence does not prove this and is riddled with omissions and errors and clearly shows that their records are inaccurate and unreliable.”
Mr Carnie added: ‘I’m doing this purely because the data they provided was so bad.
“They’re supposed to show it’s flawless, but as I’ve noticed, it doesn’t show that.”
Mr. Carnie plans to have all his costs paid by Group Nexus if he wins his case.
After appealing the fine through the independent jurors, POPLA, Group Nexus released a 356-page document detailing all activity in the parking lot during that 24-hour period.
Mr. Carnie used his knowledge of analytics and put all the logs into a spreadsheet.
He deduced that the Group Nexus data seemed to be missing a number of entries.
According to the document, Mr. Carnie was seen entering the mall’s car park at 3:20 p.m. on June 10.
He was then seen leaving at 1:30 pm the next day with no other records for his car.
After going through all 9,920 entries, he claims there are even more anomalies.
According to Mr. Carnie, 135 cars entered or left the parking lot twice, and while 67 entered twice, 68 left twice.
There was also a single entrance where a car left the parking lot three times without even entering.
In addition, Mr. Carnie says that 96 cars were registered on June 10, but were not seen that day.
According to Mr. Carnie, on June 11, 100 different cars that had not arrived that day were seen leaving. That would mean that a maximum of 196 people could have been fined on that day.
Ticket Types: Know your parking fee from a PCN
How you deal with an unfair parking charge depends on the type of ticket.
Expert Barrie Segal runs consumer champion website appelnow.com.
He says: ‘Legally there is a huge difference between municipal parking cards and private parking cards.
Many local authorities seeking revenue from parking tickets act dishonestly in their dealings with motorists. The behavior of many private parking companies is even worse.’
Disputed: An official council PCN is different from a private parking fee, but the latter may appear to mimic the former
Check what is written on the ticket itself. It’s not official until it has the word “penalty” on it.
This means it is issued by a local authority and is an official fine notice, or PCN for short. If you believe your PCN is incorrect, first appeal to the local authority that issued it.
You have 14 days to do this, or 21 days if it was sent by post.
Include evidence such as photos and testimonials, as well as details such as your car registration number, PCN number, and your contact information.
If you fail at the end of the first stage, there is usually another option to pay a fine at a reduced rate of 50 percent.
But if you are adamant about moving forward, you have an additional 28 days to make a free formal appeal. If this too is rejected, there is one more step.
You can turn to an independent tribunal. In London this is the London Tribunals service, in England and Wales it is the Traffic Penalty Tribunal. In Scotland, motorists have 28 days to appeal to the General Regulatory Chamber.
> READ MORE: How to fight and win parking fines
Mr Carnie said: ‘That one night they had left 196 cars unchecked, meaning by 3am that parking lot should have been half full.
How can they hand out fines for this? Their data is so bad. What I really want is for Group Nexus to remove all their parking fines from this parking garage.”
Mr Carnie added: ‘I know they’ve lost two of my photos which I know I can’t prove separately, but there are so many entries that can’t be explained or have not been explained.
“They use this bad data to issue fines. There are people who can’t afford the fine, let alone the legal process for it, and so it is wrong to issue fines based on this data.
“There are some entries that start as 1322, which is essentially the area code for Dartford.
‘I think the ANPR system can record telephone numbers on the back of vans.
“Group Nexus data shows that cars arrive and depart undetected by their ANPR cameras, which can and will lead to tickets being issued in error.”
Despite this, their website acknowledges this problem.
The website states: ‘Returning users of a car park within a 24-hour period may find that their first entry is matched by their last exit, resulting in an “overstay.”
Mr Carnie has urged anyone appealing against a fine to properly analyze the evidence provided.
He said: “When a person makes a claim for their parking fee with POPLA, Nexus is allowed to provide evidence in the form of a PDF document detailing all arrivals and departures. This is especially true for these long “overruns”.
“People need to get the data properly analyzed because it’s probably very bad.”
Group Nexus previously said of the matter: ‘The PCN was upheld because the motorist had exceeded the time off allotment.
Problems with the cameras are extremely rare. If there is one, we almost always find evidence of it on the system.
“In this case, we investigated the claim and found no evidence that this vehicle had visited the site twice.”
The British Parking Association said an investigation has been carried out but the ticket was issued correctly.
A spokesman said: ‘The motorist appealed to POPLA against the charges against their vehicle, which were dismissed as they believed the charges were properly filed.
“The BPA has conducted a thorough investigation into the motorist’s complaint about the management of the car park by one of its members and has determined that there has been no breach of its code of conduct.”
Group Nexus also reiterated their claim that there is nothing wrong with their cameras.
A spokesperson said: ‘The original challenge was rejected and the PCN upheld because the motorist had exceeded the time off allotment.
Problems with the cameras are extremely rare. In this case, we investigated the claim and found no evidence that this vehicle had visited the site twice.
“The motorist then referred his challenge to POPLA, the independent arbitrator of the ombudsman services, who also rejected the appeal.”
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