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DVLA earn £22m by selling motorist details

It’s been revealed that the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) have made almost £22m by selling motorist details to private parking enforcement agencies. The sum has been made over the past four and a half years as the number of private car parks has increased, meaning that many drivers have had to face expensive penalties for outstaying their welcome. As a result, a lot of drivers, regardless of whether they have DVLA registrations or private number plates, face increasing pressure from private firms trying to collect fines.

This year, the DVLA is expected to make almost £7.3m from selling people’s details, with the period between April and October netting £4.3m. The money is gained by selling motorist information to approved parking enforcement firms. When a driver outstays an allotted period in a private car park, many are fined automatically by registration readers. The management companies then contact the DVLA, pay £2.50 for people’s details and then send letters to motorists in an attempt to collect the fine. Since 2011, the new figures suggest over 8.7 million driver details have been sold in this manner.

Despite continued anger from motorists about many of the enforcement companies’ behaviour, a total of 31 firms have gained information from the DVLA. Parking Eye have spent over £7m on driver details, but lost a legal case earlier this year when they’d fined someone who’d simply been circling the car park trying to find a space. Meanwhile, Excel Parking has been accused by BBC One’s Watchdog show of ignoring a court ruling over its signposts and acting unfairly. Observices was fined after admitting they deliberately mislead motorists.

In a statement, the DVLA said: “The fees are set to recover the related administrative costs and this means that it is the applicant and not the taxpayer who funds this activity. Landowners would have great difficulty in enforcing their rights if motorists were able to park with impunity on private property. If it is alleged that the terms of the contract are breached, it is considered reasonable that vehicle keeper details may be released in order to enable the landowner or his agent the opportunity to pursue their legal rights.”

The issue of private parking fines continues to be highly debated by many. More recently, one expert suggested that drivers could quash many fines because, legally, private landowners are only supposed to charge individuals for the lost business as a result of someone parking for too long.

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