A TV producer fed up with enforcement firms "bullying" motorists has won a significant appeal against the operators of the Wycombe Rye Lido car park.
Bob Massie’s appeal against a £60 notice issued against his daughter Ellie after she allegedly failed to pay for her Hyundai’s one hour stay at The Rye on February 16 has been upheld by the Parking on Private Lane Appeals body.
POPLA ruled Civil Enforcement Ltd failed to prove the £60 charge issued to Miss Massie over her ‘unpaid’ 20p fee was a ‘genuine pre-estimate of loss’.
Mr Massie, 53, who’s wife runs the Red Lion in Knotty Green, said he felt it was time parking firms were pulled up for ‘bullying vulnerable people’ into paying extortionate parking fines.
He said: "I looked on a few websites and people had said that if you ignore the fine and the threatening letters they send out, it will go away.
"That’s fine unless you’re an old lady or, in this case, my daughter - it is bully boy tactics, they get people over a barrel and rely on them thinking they will be taken to court and will lose their TV and worldly goods if they don’t pay.
"So I thought it’s time they were stopped in their tracks as this is a civil matter, you won’t be up before a judge.
"They are effectively sending people an invoice for £60 to cover ‘their costs’ which will rise to £100 if you don’t pay in a set time frame over, in this case, a 20p ticket. It’s total baloney."
The Beaconsfield resident does not want to see a "Wild West" parking mentality, and said Ellie is adamant she paid for her stay, but he said enforcement companies need to introduce a ‘fine to fit the crime’.
He said: "I am not advocating a Wild West scenario in car parks, people need to pay for their parking, but the fines need to be appropriate as bullying people into paying extortionate fines is deplorable."
The car park operator argued the fine is a contractual term calculated upon a genuine pre-estimate of loss and a sum due for laying on the parking provision.
It said the charge covered the loss in revenue of attached businesses and another vehicle parking in the bay, as well as DVLA fees, commercial justification and administrative expenses.
But the POPLA assessor ruled that while some of the listed costs were genuine, she believed others would have been incurred regardless of the alleged breach.
Aurela Qerimi added: "I am therefore not satisfied that the operator has proved that the amount for the parking charge notice is a genuine pre-estimate of loss. Accordingly, I allow this appeal."
Mr Massie said: "It’s a significant victory. The message needs to go out that you do not have to be bullied by these companies."
A spokesman for the car park operator said it would not comment on individual cases but fines were used as a deterrent for exceeding the limit.
The operator added: "Without this in place motorists would have little reason to comply with the car park rules, leaving it vulnerable to abuse and making the facilities less accessible to a larger number of customers."
Fusion Lifestyle, which runs the Rye Lido, refused to comment.