A furious driver says he’s ready to pay thousands of dollars to fight a £100 parking charge he was slapped with after standing in a shopping park for ‘just half an hour’.
Lawrence Carnie, 58, went on a nine-month crusade after being fined for staying ’22 hours’ in a car park in Dartford, Kent, in June last year.
Mr Carnie said he visited the business park for half an hour on two consecutive days but was punished because of a malfunction in CCTV license plate recognition.
Parking is free for three hours but he claims he was never checked in when leaving the first time so he was hit with an overstay fee as to the system it seems to be arrived at 3:20 p.m. on June 10 and left at 1:30 p.m. the next day.
He appealed to parking officials, Group Nexus, and independent arbitrator, Parking On Private Land Appeals (POPLA), but was denied both times.
Lawrence Carnie (pictured), 58, went on a nine-month crusade after being fined for staying 10pm in June last year in a car park in Dartford, Kent
The Tower Retail Park car park (pictured) is free for three hours, but Mr Carnie claims he was never checked in when leaving the first time and was therefore hit with an overstay fine stay, as the system seems to have arrived at 3:20 p.m. on June 10th. and left at 1:30 p.m. the next day
Mr Carnie, from Dartford, contacted the British Parking Association, which represents Nexus, about the alleged problems, but they denied any problems with the system.
Undeterred, he continues his fight and has sought the help of a lawyer to fight the fine for his stay at the Tower Retail Park car park.
He said: “If I met you on the street and said ‘give me £100’ you wouldn’t do it.”
“That’s what happened here, they’re asking £100 not to be there. It’s so wrong what this company is doing.
Motorist is advised by CCJ Removals Services, which helps people remove court judgments from their credit reports.
Paralegal Luke Memory specializes in tough parking fines and is overseeing the case.
He said: ‘Cases like this don’t usually make it to court because the court costs are much higher than the fine, but Mr Carnie is an exception to the rule.’
‘Once a claim is made against Mr Carnie we would have a solicitor draw up a statement of defense which costs £500 which would lead to a hearing where Mr Carnie would ask a solicitor and it would cost around £1,000.
“It’s off-putting to the common man, but Mr. Carnie is happy to fight it in court.”
He added: “These companies are very smart because the costs of defending a case are much higher than the fine, so people would usually only pay.”
“I think he has a good case. What they allege is that he was in the parking lot too long, but their own evidence does not prove this and is littered with omissions and errors and clearly demonstrates that their records are inaccurate and unreliable.
Mr Carnie added: ‘I’m only doing this because the data they provided was so bad.’
“They should show he’s flawless, but as I found it doesn’t show that.”
Mr. Carnie plans to have all of his costs covered by Group Nexus if he wins his case.
After appealing the sanction through the independent arbitrators, POPLA, Group Nexus released a 356-page document showing all activity during that 24-hour period in the parking lot.
Mr. Carnie used his knowledge of analytics and put all the logs into a spreadsheet.
From there, he deduced that the Group Nexus data seemed to be missing a number of entries.
According to the document, Mr Carnie was spotted entering the commercial estate car park at 3.20pm on June 10.
He was then seen leaving at 1.30pm the following day without any further data entry for his car.
After going through the 9,920 entries, he claims there are even more anomalies.
According to Mr Carnie, 135 cars entered or left the car park twice, and while 67 entered twice, 68 left twice.
There was also a single entrance where a car exited the parking lot three times without even entering.
Alongside this, Mr Carnie says 96 cars were recorded entering on June 10 but were not spotted leaving that day.
On June 11, 100 different cars, which had not arrived that day, were seen leaving, according to Mr Carnie. This would mean that a maximum of 196 people could also have been fined that day.
“They are asking £100 not to be there. It’s so wrong what this company is doing,’ Mr Carnie (pictured) said
Mr Carnie said: ‘That night 196 cars went unchecked which meant that at 3am that car park should have been half full.
“How can they impose fines? Their data is so bad. What I really want is for Group Nexus to cancel all of their parking fines in this parking lot.
Mr Carnie added: “I know they lost two of my photos which I know I can’t prove in isolation but there are so many entries that can’t be explained or haven’t been explained.”
“They use this bad data to issue fines. There are people who can’t afford the fine let alone the legal process for it and so giving fines on this data is wrong.
“Some entries start with 1322, which is basically the Dartford area code.
“I think the ANPR system could capture phone numbers from the back of vans.
“Data provided by Group Nexus demonstrates that cars arrive and depart undetected by their ANPR cameras, this can and does result in tickets being issued in error.”
Despite this, their website acknowledges this issue on their website.
The website states: “Regular users of a car park over a 24-hour period sometimes find that their first entry is associated with their last exit, resulting in a ‘timeout’.
Mr Carnie urged anyone appealing a fine to properly analyze the evidence provided.
He said: “When someone appeals their parking charges with POPLA, Nexus can provide evidence in the form of a PDF document showing all arrivals and departures. This is especially true for those long overstays.
“People should get the data analyzed properly because it’s probably very poor.”
Nexus Group previously said of the case: ‘The PCN was upheld on the basis that the motorist exceeded the time off allowance.
“Problems with cameras are extremely rare. When there is one, we almost always find evidence of it in the system.
“In this case, we investigated the claim and found no evidence that this vehicle visited the site twice.”
The British Parking Association said an investigation had been carried out but the ticket had been issued incorrectly.
A spokesperson said: “The motorist appealed the charge issued to his vehicle to POPLA, which was rejected as they felt the charge was issued correctly.
“The BPA has fully investigated the motorist’s complaint about the handling of parking by one of its members and has concluded that there was no breach of its code of practice.”
The Nexus Group also reiterated their claim that there is nothing wrong with their cameras.
A spokesperson said: ‘The original challenge was dismissed and the PCN was upheld on the basis that the motorist had exceeded the time off allowance.
“Issues with the cameras are extremely rare. In this case, we investigated the claim and could find no evidence that this vehicle visited the site twice.
“The motorist then referred his challenge to POPLA, the independent arbitrator led by Mediation Services, who also dismissed the appeal.”
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