Keying error

Overview 

The parking operator issued the parking charge notice because the motorist parked without making a valid payment or having a valid permit.

Motorist’s case

The motorist explained that they did pay but entered incorrect vehicle registration details into the payment machine. The appellant provided evidence of the payment made.

Evidence

POPLA examined the evidence provided by the parking operator which included copies of the signs at the car park and a list of payments made on the day against the vehicle registration of the parked car. The signs confirmed a requirement to enter a full and correct vehicle registration into the payment machine.

Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) cameras recorded the appellants car entering and exiting the car park. The list of registration plates recorded against payments made, did not include the appellant’s car which is why the PCN was issued.

Analysis

Section 17 of the British Parking Association Code of Practice covers the steps a parking operator should take when a keying error occurs. If there has been a minor keying error, for example one digit entered incorrectly, the parking operator is expected to have identified this before issuing a Parking Charge Notice. If they failed to do this, they are expected to cancel the Parking Charge Notice when the motorist appeals.

In situations where a major keying error has occurred, for example the motorist entered an entirely different registration, the parking operator is not expected to have identified this before issuing a Parking Charge Notice. it is recognised that the operator will have incurred charges in issuing a Parking Charge Notice and the Code of Practice permits that they can they seek to recover these by way of applying a modest charge of no more that £20 to the motorist.

In this instance, the motorist had made a major keying error by entering the wrong registration entirely. The parking operator had not offered to reduce the charge to a maximum of £20 when the motorist appealed. POPLA found that the operator had failed to follow the keying error guidance in the British Parking Association Code of Practice.

Outcome

POPLA allowed the appeal and required the parking operator to cancel the Parking Charge Notice because it was evident that the parking operator had failed to offer the reduced charge as required by section 17 of the British Parking Association Code of Practice.