Motoring organisations are concerned about parking tickets being handed out by private parking companies, according to a Tonight investigation.
Millions of parking tickets are being handed out to motorists each year by private parking firms, the programme hears.
It’s spawned a lucrative industry worth an estimated £1.5billion.
But President of the AA Edmund King tells Tonight:
And the RAC Foundation is questioning the quantity of drivers' details being legally handed over by the DVLA to private parking firms.
Director Steve Gooding says:
There are now a record 30 million cars on Britain’s roads.
The services of the private parking industry have spread far and wide - shopping centres, supermarkets, railway stations and NHS hospitals.
That’s meant healthy profits for private parking management companies.
And if motorists don’t pay the ticket, the parking company can often go to the Driver Vehicle and Licensing Agency to access the car owner’s name and address before chasing them up.
Bob Close got a ticket while on holiday celebrating his dad’s 60th birthday. He’d parked touching a white line.
He was chased for a year by the parking company and two debt collection agencies.
He was eventually sent court papers. The penalty had gone up to £170. But Bob still refused to back down and the case was withdrawn before it got to court.
“As far as I’m concerned these kind of parking companies are there to threaten people and to try and squeeze money out of them by using scare tactics,” he tells reporter Fiona Foster.
But Will Hurley, speaking for one of the associations representing private parking companies, disagrees.
James Walker who runs consumer website Resolver, stresses that if motorists ignore parking tickets they could end up in court.
He says a wronged motorist should gather as much evidence as possible.
“So do you have some photos that you could take? Gather the information, make sure that you put your feelings in writing to the organisation and make sure that you focus on whether it was fair and reasonable.”
See more at 7:30pm on ITV as Fiona Foster investigates True Cost of Parking.
Websites that may be of interest: