If you haven’t heard about this enterprising young man, here’s the story. Joshua Browder, 18, an IT student was hit with 30 fines for parking in Camden, north London. He was incensed and set up his own website called donotpay.co.uk to help people appeal parking fines. Initially, he thought the site would help family and friends but news of the site has spread like wildfire.
To date 40% of the free appeals he has made on behalf of motorists have been won according to a poll on the site. He has saved drivers over £2 million and overturned 30,000 parking fines and the site is free to use!
The site lists the usual reasons why an automated appeal can quickly overturn the fine, saving a driver £60. For instance, the car was stolen or there was an innocent error with a parking permit. In all there are 12 options, users select which option applies to them and fill in the details on the online form to create a customised appeal which an algorithm on the site generates. The whole process of appealing is reduced to less than a minute. Joshua says he spent 100 hours filling in paperwork to contest the fines he received. He’s put all this experience and knowledge into producing this neat little process. At present the site only deals with council issued fines but may move into handling private car parking fines.
Joshua taught himself to code when he was only 12 and built the site using his great knowledge IT and of appealing fines. He scanned hundreds of documents released by Freedom of Information requests into the system with help from a leading traffic lawyer who advised on legal complexities.
Joshua is amazed and delighted by the success of the site and admonishes councils who he feels are targeting vulnerable road users like the elderly and disabled. He says: ‘I have come to realise that councils issue tickets first and ask questions later. Unfortunately, many recipients of these tickets don’t have the time, legal knowledge or energy to appeal.’
Councils appear to be making a “profit” out of parking fines year on year. The RAC Foundation states that in 2014 councils in England made £667 million from street parking fines, an increase of 12% from 2013. More than 44% of that was generated by London councils. There have been five consecutive years of rising parking fines in England. Many of Joshua’s parking tickets were overturned and as 40% of the appeals on his site were successful it would bear out to some degree that Joshua’s view on councils dishing out appeals without sufficient justification would be quite correct. More power to this enterprising young man!