Approved Operator Scheme

Cowboy parking enforcers try to get round DVLA controls

24 february 2010

Car parking enforcement companies not associated with the only recognised parking trade body are conning drivers into paying parking tickets by threatening to source their addresses from the DVLA.

Since Monday (22 Feb), only legitimate parking enforcers have been able to ask the DVLA for vehicle keeper details.

We hope that cowboy firms will be pressured into giving up New rules dictate that car parking ticketing companies must be full members of the approved operator scheme, administered by the British Parking Association, to trace vehicle owners via the DVLA.

A new scam has emerged where cowboy enforcers threaten to source owner details from the DVLA unless they receive prompt payment for an alleged parking infringement – even though they are banned from doing this because they are not members of the trade association.

AA advice

The AA advises anyone who receives a private parking ticket to check the company's details against the register. Any company that is not compliant cannot pursue a driver through the DVLA and should be reported to Trading Standards. The decision as to whether the ticket is paid rests with the driver, depending on the circumstances, for example, adequacy of signing, size of penalty and reasonableness of infringement.

Even approved operator scheme members don't necessarily toe the line and the AA wants an independent adjudicator to settle any disputes.

Comment

"These companies depend on drivers paying the ticket quickly to avoid fuss and because they are intimidated by the threat of being chased by debt collectors who have been given the owner's home address by the DVLA," said Paul Watters, the AA's head of Public Affairs.

"Drivers will have to make their own decisions whether they admit breaking parking rules and paying fines. However, they should check the veracity of the parking enforcer's threat and, if a con, report the incident to Trading Standards. We hope that cowboy firms will either be pressured into giving up or signing up to and complying with the approved operator scheme."

Download a pdf document showing current members of the approved operator scheme »

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23 February 2010