Irshadgul News report,
Motorists have been shocked by a 50 per cent increase in the number of parking tickets issued by private companies.
An analysis of Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) figures by the PA news agency showed a record 2.7 million tickets were handed out between April and June.
That’s an average of about 30,000 every day and up from the total of 1.8 million during the same period last year.
If the rate continues, the number of stamps issued annually will reach 10.8 million.
Motoring research charity the RAC Foundation claimed it was “inconceivable” that so many drivers were deliberately breaking parking rules.
In July, the government rolled out a long-awaited code of conduct aimed at eliminating some of the sector’s worst practices following a legal challenge by parking companies.
DVLA figures show the number of records received from the agency by companies chasing car owners for alleged breaches in private car parks such as shopping centres, leisure facilities and motorway service areas.
Tickets for drivers can cost up to £100.
Private parking businesses have been accused of using misleading and deceptive signage, aggressive debt collection, and unreasonable fees.
Steve Gooding, director of the RAC Foundation, said the private car park management sector was “flourishing”.
“The number of tickets issued to drivers on private land has fallen from less than two million annually over the past decade to possibly closer to 11 million this year,” he said.
“It’s big business that’s seeing more entrants all the time.
“The allure may be just one thing – the chance to make significant profits before the government brings in changes – which now appear delayed – to level the playing field.
“It is unimaginable that, annually millions of motorists are prepared to run up these tickets of up to £100 each, especially when household budgets are very tight.
“This latest data is indicative of a system that is broken.
Jack Cousons, head of roads policy for the AA, accused private parking companies of “licking it” and issuing “as little notice as possible” before the code came into force.
He said: “Most drivers panic when they get the letter and pay for fear of being overcharged.
“The reality is that many were innocent and should not have been charged.”
The code of practice, which is due to come into force across the UK by the end of next year, said the cap on tickets for some parking offenses should be halved to £50.
Withdrawal pending review of tariffs may further delay its implementation.
Lisa Webb, consumer rights expert at What?, suggested that motorists receiving tickets from companies that are not accredited by a trade body “want to ignore them”.
This is because those businesses are not allowed to access the DVLA’s database so “are usually unable to pursue you for payment”, he explained.
A spokeswoman for the Department for Leveling Up, Housing and Communities said: “We recognize that there are unacceptable practices by some Cowboys companies.
“We will be introducing our own Private Parking Code as soon as possible to help tackle this issue and protect motorists.”
Some 176 parking management businesses requested vehicle owner records between April and June, up from 151 during the previous 12 months.
Parkingi was the most active, purchasing 521,000 records.
The DVLA charges private companies £2.50 per record.
The agency says its fees are set to recover the cost of providing the information, and it makes no money from the process.