Car park owner NCP has been accused of “fleecing” drivers by fining them for displaying their parking tickets in the wrong place on their car’s dashboard.
Tory MP Robert Halfon claimed that the parking giant is also wrongly marking areas as restricted when they aren’t and then fining drivers who park their cars in them during a Commons debate.
Mr Halfon, Member of Parliament for Harlow in Essex, described the company’s behaviour as “disgraceful”, and has called for a full-scale inquiry into the matter.
During his statement, he said: “My constituents have been fleeced by NCP who have signposted restricted areas improperly and then fined people who innocently park in them.
“Furthermore they have also fined people for allegedly displaying their ticket on the wrong place on the car’s dashboard.”
He then added that MPs should contact the Transport Minister and Business Minister before calling for an urgent inquiry into the “disgraceful behaviour” by the private car park operator.
However, Commons Leader William Hague said that the matter would have to be dealt with by the Office of Rail Regulation, which deals with complaints about excessive parking charges.
Mr Hague replied: “They have issued guidance on this, setting out the circumstances under which they will investigate.
“But I will let my ministerial colleagues know of your concerns and they may contact you to guide you further on it.”
Despite having been contacted, officials from the NCP have so far been unavailable for comment at the time of going to press.
This is the second major concern over parking in recent months after the DVLA was found to have made nearly £22 million in the past four and a half years by selling drivers’ private details last December.
According to freedom of information request data, the authority has been selling the names, addresses and vehicle details of drivers to private parking firms like the NCP.
The details are then used by the companies to issue fines to drivers around the country, and have made the DVLA a total of £21.7 million in the past 54 months alone.
Both drivers and motoring bodies alike condemned the DVLA and the parking companies for their conduct, but the DVLA defended itself saying that it makes no profit from the sales.
It also stressed that details were only passed along if terms of contract had been breached, and that it wasn’t violating any Data Protection laws in passing details on to the companies.