Overstaying in private car parks could prove to be a hidden cost this Christmas as the RAC is warning drivers they are now 13 times more likely to receive a ticket than a decade ago.
Latest research from the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) has revealed 1.4 million (1,429,703) vehicle-keeper records were sold to private parking firms in the second quarter of 2017-2018 with the RAC warning the festive season looks set to be a “bumper period for parking firms”.
The records sold were an increase of 1,177 per cent, or almost 13 times higher, than the second quarter of 2007-2008 when only 111,944 records were sold.
The RAC is now warning that “eye watering sums” could add an extra financial burden to Christmas and pre-New Year sale shoppers who might overstay in car parks.
The RAC expects the final figure of records sold by the DVLA to private parking companies in 2017-18 to be at least 5.6 million or easily more than 6 million.
Vehicle owners who park on private land (for example at shopping centres) currently faces fines of up to £100 if they infringe parking regulations by staying too long.
Steve Gooding, director of the RAC Foundation, said: “We all like to think we will bag a bargain at this time of year, but our festive shopping could come at a very high price.
“Private parking firms are already issuing tickets at an unprecedented rate and if history is anything to go by they will be breaking yet more records in the weeks ahead.
“Drivers should be very wary of overstaying their welcome in private car parks by even a matter of moments, and they should not give these firms any other reason to come after them with demands for eye watering sums which will spoil their Christmas.”
In the second quarter of 2017-2018 ParkingEye, which is owned by Capita PLC, requested the largest amount of data – 466,668 vehicle keeper records, or one in three of all requests made.
Gooding added: “Private parking companies do not allow a grace period at the end of your parking time - even at Christmas.
“Early in the new year the House of Commons is expected to debate Sir Greg Knight MP’s private members’ bill which aims to rein in the worst excesses of parking firms and set a fairer balance between the rights of drivers and the rights of landowners.”