A Swindon-based clamping firm was told they could not use the DVLA database to access motorists’ personal information following a string of complaints.
A request made under the Freedom of Information Act showed that the company, Premier Parking Services, paid for 2,228 inquiries over the last 12 months.
It was confirmed that the DVLA had put a temporary stop to this after having some concerns over allegedly misleading signs and tickets.
“The DVLA decided not to process requests for vehicle keeper data from Premier Parking Services following reports that their signage and tickets were not compliant with the British Parking Association’s code of practice.” A spokesperson said.
“The company has given evidence to the DVLA that its signage and tickets have been amended to ensure compliance with the code, and this has been verified by the British Parking Association.”
Premier Parking Services may begin making new requests but they will only be processed if deemed appropriate by the DVLA.
A Question of Authority
The firm may be best known for clamping a disabled man who had left his vehicle for four minutes.
Transport manager, Paul McPherson, is also contesting a £150 ticket from March for leaving his engine running for three minutes in a town centre car park.
Premier use words like “offence” and “fine” incorrectly in their signage, creating an impression that they have more power than they legally do. They also claim that they could clamp disabled drivers even if they display the correct blue badge.
Nev Metson, a retired fraud detective from Wales, challenged the company after his daughter landed an £80 penalty charge for overstaying by 15 minutes, despite being stuck in traffic while leaving the car park.
The charge stated that: “it is the legal responsibility of the vehicle’s keeper to nominate who was driving at the time of any alleged offence”, wording that Mr. Metson disagrees with.
“This is a completely false and misleading statement,” said Metson. “There is no alleged offence as private parking is based on civil contractual law only.”
Over 1.2m pieces of information is acquired from the DVLA by clamping firms every year, but this will be made illegal by 2013.
Premier Parking Services are yet to make a statement.