Car park operators have been told by the British Parking Association not to penalise motorists who make a mistake when typing vehicle details.
It has published a revised code of practice for parking on private land, which includes guidance on grace periods, self-ticketing as well as motorist keying errors.
The enhancements, it says, will ensure Approved Operator Scheme (AOS) members are delivering a high standard of service for motorists.
A minor keying in error is categorised as one letter or number incorrect or letters and numbers in the wrong order.
A major keying in error is one that has multiple number and letter keying errors, the first three digits only have been recorded or a completely incorrect registration number is used.
Steve Clark, BPA head of business operations, said: “Following consultation with key stakeholders, including consumer groups and Government, we are delighted to release the latest version of our leading AOS Code of Practice.
“We recognise that genuine mistakes can occur, which may result in a parking charge being issued even when a motorist can demonstrate they paid for their parking. In recognition of this we have further clarified the situation for all parties.”
He added: “Motorists will still need to appeal, but we expect our members to deal with them appropriately at the first appeal stage.”
The BPA continues to work closely with Government on The Parking (Code of Practice) Act. The Act, it says, supports its call for a standard setting body, a single code of practice, and a single independent appeals service.
John Gallagher, lead adjudicator at Parking on Private Land Appeals (POPLA), welcomed the publication of the revised code.
He said: “The revised code will bring greater clarity for motorists and parking operators alike on issues such as simple keying errors and grace periods.
“The introduction of a section on keying errors, requiring parking operators to cancel Parking Charge Notices in certain circumstances and reduce the amount to only administration costs in others, is particularly welcome.
“This addition to the code means that, for the first time, POPLA will be able to make decisions on keying errors without referral back to the operator.
“We would like to thank the BPA for listening to our feedback on this and other issues – and involving us in ongoing discussions on the best way to ensure a fair system that protects motorists.”
Managing fines related to parking offences can prove to be a legal, financial and HR administration nightmare for fleet decision-makers and company car and van drivers alike.
To find out how to navigate the Penalty Charge Notice (PCN) nightmare, click here.