Private parking problems in Shire

The local Kindcardine and Mearns Citizens Advice Bureau
The local Kindcardine and Mearns Citizens Advice Bureau

Citizens’ advice bureaux across Scotland have been inundated in the last year with complaints regarding over-zealous parking charges.

The charges being handed out by the private parking resulted in demand at the Citizens Advice Service in Scotland reaching an unprecedented level – a 50% increase in cases regarding parking this year compared to last.

CAB are worried by cases brought to them by vulnerable Scots including those who are disabled and elderly caught out by poor signage and unfair appeals processes.

CAB say there is no independent form of redress or appeals process for anyone hit by these charges.

Citizens’ advice bureaux said: “We are looking to the Scottish Government to establish a mandatory register, similar to that of letting agents, that will ensure those in the industry are fit and proper and allow a banning mechanism for those that operate unfairly.

“We must also see the industry put a stop to the deliberate and misleading use of ‘Parking Charge Notice’ similar to the police’s ‘Penalty Charge Notice’.

“It is clear that this term and the usual yellow and black checked appearance used is to imply that the charge has the same legal standing as a police fine. It does not. In addition, we must question why supermarkets and stores in retail parks let such practices go on. This is their customers being penalised, and they could take action to end a lot of the bad and unfair practices that are currently being carried out when people use their services.”

Citizens Advice Service has been carrying out investigations into the practices of a number of private parking companies operating within Aberdeenshire. Some have resulted in voluntary compliance by the operators, cancellation and refunds of parking charge notices, and reports to the Procurator Fiscal.