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Parking Fines – Real or Fake?

For quite some time private car park operators have been issuing payment notices which are designed to look like fines. This raises the question of misleading and unfair practices by private car park operators. There have been reports of community leaders also being investors or part owners in these private operators and a reaping the benefits of these fake fines.

The Road Safety Amendment (Private Car Parks) Bill 2015 was introduced into Parliament on 10 June 2015 to protect Victorians who use private car parks.

The Bill aims to abolish the right for car park operators to apply to Courts for access to people’s details through VicRoads.

On average each year car park operators request the details of more than 50,000 Victorians so letters of demand can be sent. Fines are generally between $80 - $100 per ticket and if you do not pay the fake fine a debt collector may be sent after you.
Some Victorians have told the Consumer Action Law Centre that the companies, their lawyers and debt collectors were using harassing tactics in pursuit of questionable demands for payment.
Recent decisions from the Supreme Court and VCAT have found that some private car park fines were unenforceable because the damages did not reflect the actual losses suffered by the operator.
This new law will ensure Victorians are no longer harassed or intimidated by debt collectors as it will stop car park operators getting names and addresses of vehicle owners through the courts.

Disclaimer: If you are unsure whether you have received a fake fine you should seek independent legal advice.

Dinesh Weerakkody is the Principal Legal practitioner at D LEGAL Barristers & Solicitors

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