Tens of millions of pounds worth of 'illegal' parking fines to be repaid?
The RAC on the warpath over what they claim to be millions of pounds worth of "illegal" parking fines which were issued on private land. They say that "fines" of up to £100 for infringing conditions in private car parks might not be legal and they want the Government to put an end to it.
Professor Stephen Glaister, director of the RAC Foundation, said: "Millions of drivers could be in line for a refund. We estimate that in 2013 alone, drivers might have been overcharged by some £100m."
Glaister added that the Government should be determining what a reasonable charge is: "They allowed a system of ticketing to emerge which is barely regulated. In effect, drivers have been short-changed."
As you'll know, clamping cars on private land is not allowed thanks to the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012. However, charges for parking infringements have shot up.
The thing is that, while some private landowners have been charging motorists up to £100, the genuine loss suffered by said landowners is considerably less. Penalties that far exceed the loss are rendered unenforceable in court.
With more and more drivers appealing these fines, the penalties are looking increasingly shakier. Figures show that nearly half (49%) of these fines are overturned in favour of the driver. Not only that, the advent of 'early payment discounts', which are usually used to get drivers to cought up coins more quickly, are unlawful because they constitute a price escalation clause.
Add to this, signs being vague or not prominently displayed, there's more and more reasons for drivers to challenge these penalties.