A local MP has given her backing to parliamentary action on rip-off parking firms as the problem was debated in the House of Commons.
Makerfield parliamentary representative Yvonne Fovargue, who also chairs the all-party parliamentary group on consumer protection, fully backed a raft of measures proposed to stop firms unfairly penalising motorists.
Ms Fovargue spoke for Labour in the debate in the House of Commons on introducing a bill against rogue private companies cashing in at drivers’ expense.
She spoke in strong terms about a number of dishonest practices, including issuing fines wrongly disguised as penalties from the authorities, using unclear or misleading signs or fining people despite not having working ticket machines in place.
The issue was introduced to the House of Commons through a private members’ bill and has cross-party support, with the Government backing on action making it likely it will end up as law.
Ms Fovargue said: "Drivers are being fleeced left, right and centre by these private companies.
" Who doesn’t know someone who has felt compelled to pay a fine despite the fact that there were no obvious parking sign and no working ticket machines?
"The fact is that unlike an official council penalty charge notice a private parking ticket is an invoice from the owner or private land and not a fine, even if it is deceptively made up to look like one.
"The statutory code will prevent these rogue firms from passing their ‘ tickets’ off in this way and – crucially – will deny them access to the DVLA database if they continue to act in an unfair and unreasonable way.
"We should also ensure that companies are obliged to tell the DVLA of parking fine hotspots, car parks that catch out drivers repeatedly, often because signs are deliberately unclear or confusing.
"Sanctions should then follow where the parking companies fail to clean up their act."
Figures released late last year suggest the DVLA will end up revealing some six million vehicle keeper records to private car park firms by the end of the financial year in 2017-18.
The RAC also said motorists leaving their cars at privately-owned locations are now 13 times more likely to be fined for overstaying than they were a decade ago.
By contrast revenue from tickets dished out by Wigan Council fell from £1.1m to £800,000 in two years.