Nearly 1 in 2 motorists who appeal to POPLA get parking charge cancelled

Nearly half of all motorists who contested parking charges last year by taking their case to the UK’s largest appeals service had their ticket cancelled, a new report shows.

Of the 58,522 appeals handled by POPLA, 23,771 (41%) resulted in the parking charge being cancelled.

John Gallagher from POPLA said the figures – contained in the appeal body’s 2020 Annual Report – showed how important it is for motorists to challenge parking charges they think are unfair.

He said: “POPLA is a free service and we are fully independent, providing a lifeline for motorists whose appeal has been rejected by the parking operator.

“We encourage any motorist who feels they have a strong case to appeal to us, providing as much information and evidence as possible to help their chances of success.”

POPLA, which is run by not-for-profit complaints handling body Ombudsman Services, continued to accept new appeals throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.

Before lockdown reduced the number of cars on the road, POPLA had been on course to see a year-on-year increase in appeals.

“It’s good to see that more people are aware they can turn to POPLA for help”, added Gallagher.

In the report, POPLA welcomes the idea of an Appeals Charter that forces parking operators to cancel charges for motorists who make genuine mistakes or can’t keep to car park rules for reasons beyond their control, such as a medical emergency.

The report says it’s “great news” that the proposed Appeals Charter moves appeal consideration away from a cold, hard focus on the law, towards a focus on what is fair and reasonable.

“Bringing fairness into appeal consideration would mean a greater sense of justice and fairness for many motorists. It would also help to build trust and confidence in the private parking sector”, the report states.

POPLA handles appeals involving private parking operators that are members of the British Parking Association (BPA).

Steve Clark, director of operations and business development at the BPA, welcomed the report.

He said: “The BPA has always strived to put the consumer at the heart of our thinking by calling for consistent standards across the parking sector, together with a truly independent appeals process that is transparent and fair.

“As the leading authority in the sector we will continue to push for a positive outcome for all.”