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  • Government to crack down on private parking operators issuing fines
  • By Liam Mannix
  • 10/06/2015 Make a Comment
  • Contributed by: Sal ( 1 article in 2015 )
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Private car parks will be unable to enforce fines they issue motorists with under a new piece of government legislation aimed at cracking down on dodgy operators.

The government will on Wednesday introduce new legislation banning private car park operators from petitioning a court to get access to a motorist's registration details and issue them with fines. These are often legally unenforceable.

Drivers will still receive fines slipped under their windscreen wiper, but if they don't pay, the private operator will no longer have an easy way of accessing their details to serve them with court action.

The legislation mostly affects car parks that have been set up on vacant blocks of land, and are not surrounded by boom gates. The government anticipates most public operators will install boom gates to ensure motorists pay.

Council-operated carparks will be unaffected by the legislation.

Consumer Affairs minister Jane Garrett has drafted the amendment to tackle dodgy private operators who issue fake fines on official-looking letterheads and then use debt-collectors to pressure victims to pay.

"This legislation stops this practice in its tracks," she said.

"These private car park operators have been clogging our courts, wasting taxpayers' money and ripping people off and this measure is about protecting Victorians."

Many of the "fines" – actually notices for payment – issued by private car park operators have been found to be legally unenforceable by courts over the past few years.

Gavin Barrett had an infringement notice shoved under his windscreen wiper after he parked at a shopping centre car park in Box Hill. He claims that notice was wrongfully issued – and that the company, ACE Car Parking, made his life hell ever since.

"They got their debt collectors onto me. I rang the debt collector who's name was on the letter and couldn't get hold of him. I actually made some inquiries and foiund out the guy does not exist, he's just a made up person.

He described the mooted legislative changes as "poetic justice".

"They have been annoying people with these incessant demands. It's about time the government started annoying them by stopping them being able to do that."


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