A fish-and-chip shop owner has taken his case against an £85 parking charge to the Appeal Court in a case that could pave the way for thousands of motorists to claim refunds from private car park operators.
The RAC Foundation said that if Barry Beavis, 47, won his case against parking operator ParkingEye, it could establish a precedent that might allow thousands of drivers to claim refunds on excess parking charges made against them by parking companies.
“Tens of millions of pounds hang on this case,” said Stephen Glaister, the motoring group’s director.
An indication of the potential sums involved was given by a Channel 4 Dispatches documentary this month, which found that the number of parking tickets issued by private companies is now 2.5 million a year, amounting to an annual £100m.
In 2013, Mr Beavis, 47, of Chelmsford, Essex, was charged £85 by ParkingEye for staying at the Riverside Retail Park for two hours and 56 minutes – 56 more minutes than allowed. Outside court, he told the i paper he had decided to fight rather than pay, saying:
Each communication from the company made me ever more furious about the way they bully people into paying them money they have no legal right to. It has to stop.
At yesterday’s hearing his barrister Sa’ad Hossain, QC, argued that a county court judge had “misinterpreted recent Appeal Court cases”.
Urging the three judges to uphold the county court verdict, Jonathan Kirk, QC, for ParkingEye, argued that “deterrent” should be taken to mean “acting to discourage” and was not anything to do with “extravagant, exorbitant or unconscionable” charges.
Judgment was reserved, with the judges promising to give their ruling “in due course”.