Private car park operators in Queensland are being denied access to vehicle registration information after ‘exploited’ drivers filed complaints with the Bureau of Transport and Major Roads.
Transport Secretary Mark Bailey said “predatory companies” took advantage of a loophole to fine drivers who overstayed the time.
Existing regulations have allowed private car park operators to access registration data, including names and addresses, when viewed as the first step in a lawsuit against drivers found to have over-parked.
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“What we’ve seen is some predatory companies giving people what looked like fines that aren’t actually fines for staying in parking lots too long,” Bailey told reporters Tuesday.
“And the way it was done was a real rip off to be honest and it was something that tried to exploit people rather than manage parking lots.”
As of Monday, companies will no longer be able to access information under a statutory provision intended for car accidents or similar incidents where failure to provide information is a punishable offence.
Some companies have instead used the provision to access information solely to issue fines with no intention of going to court to pursue a lawsuit, Bailey said.
“It was a case of not acting in good faith and exploiting a loophole,” he said.
“What we’re going to do is stop that from happening next Monday and we’re going to try to reform the rules so that you need a court order to get access to that information.”
Macca’s furor over parking pain
The Queensland Government’s move comes after a third-party parking management group hired by McDonald’s came under fire when it charged Brisbane customers with exceeding parking restrictions they were unaware of on March 20.
Queensland’s mum Leisa Maia was at Indooroopilly McDonalds earlier this month for her son’s eighth birthday celebration, which lasted less than three hours, videos, photos and receipts confirm.
A few weeks later, she and the children’s party guests received a $135 fine in the mail from Smart Compliance Management.
“We didn’t see any parking signs or notices,” Maia said.
Both Maia and her cousin, who was also fined, went through the appeals process but said it was “not really a process”.
She received a “dry reply” which, in Maia’s words, read: “Hell, you’ve exceeded the parking limit”.
“Pay or we’ll send your details to collection agencies.”
They were informed that the appeals process had ended.
In a statement, Smart Compliance Management told 7NEWS that “customers are on private property, so Smart Compliance Management is legally able to report parking violations.”
Bailey had previously called the opportunistic use of the parking spot “disgraceful and disgusting.”
McDonald’s previously told 7NEWS that “like many businesses, some McDonald’s restaurants may hire a third party to manage their parking lot.”
After 7NEWS came forward about the Maia family’s experience, McDonald’s agreed to drop the parking ad — even though it wasn’t legally enforceable.
– With AAP
– With Sally Gyte and Ned Balme, 7NEWS
https://7news.com.au/politics/law-and-order/major-change-to-parking-rules-closes-loophole-in-one-state–c-9750969 Queensland is introducing a major change in parking rules to close a “loophole” being exploited by private parking operators