In recent years, motorists have been complaining about the unscrupulous practices of some private parking firms, such as those who manage supermarkets, retail centres and independent car parks. The Scottish trading standards has launched an investigation into allegations made by drivers claiming they have fell foul of the private parking firms and their questionable practices.
The investigation revealed that one third of car park operators in Scotland are breaching consumer protection laws because of lack of appropriate signs and malfunctioning ticket machines, yet drivers are issued with hefty fines.
Peter Adamson, chairman of the Society of Chief Officers of Trading Standards in Scotland (SCOTSS), believes that there is a high demand of parking spaces in towns and cities. This then leaves all customers with no choice but to pay parking fees within busy urban areas. However, private firms must also treat consumers justly by providing enough information on the car park rules and must avoid unfair practices at all cost.
To address this issue of unfair charges, the government, trade and consumer bodies are working together to improve the standards of private car parks in the country. One such initiative comes from Tory MSP Murdo Fraser who has published a proposal for new legislation, the Privately Operated Car Parks Bill, which aims to control the provision and charges of privately owned car parks in Scotland.
Fraser’s proposals include a set maximum penalty, which is likely to be set at £60, and the creation of an independent body to resolve appeals in Scotland. The legislation also proposes creating a uniform signage in car parks and the removal of misleading terms on fines. Failure to carry out these rules will result in the operator to be blocked from accessing DVLA records. The bill received the approval from statutory bodies, trade organisations, consumer groups and individuals.
During the Second Reading of the bill in the House of Commons last February, Andrew Pester was present to support the proposal. The Chief Executive of the British Parking Association said that a mandatory code of practice across the whole sector should be observed to ensure that providers would not take advantage of the drivers. As the leading authority in the sector, Pester promises to work closely with the government and stakeholders to create a positive outcome for all.
Secretary of State for Communities Sajid Javid is also backing the bill. He believes that creating a clearer, fairer and more consistent system will benefit the consumers. Drivers have suffered long enough at the hands of rogue private parking companies so it’s about time to put an end to this bad practice.
Harnessed with our fundamental beliefs to provide a range of ethical parking enforcement solutions, we believe that car park operators should lead with integrity and must treat people fairly.
In doing our part to provide reliable and fair service, we put adequate signage and we deploy patrol staff in our car parks to ensure that all issues will be properly resolved. We also see to it that our pay-and-display machines and other on-site payments are working efficiently.
As we strive to be fair when enforcing parking regulations, our vision is to disrupt the common stereotypes in the private parking industry by leading a good example we’re hoping that other private parking firms will follow suit.