Parking firms are buying details of more than 19,000 vehicles a day from the DVLA so that they can chase unpaid fines.
MPs warned that these 'bully boy' firms were targeting motorists and called for a crackdown to protect motorists, as it emerged the trade is now at record levels.
Between April and June this year, the DVLA sold 1.74 million vehicle details – an increase of 64 per cent compared with the same period last year. The organisation sells details at £2.50 per vehicle, which means it rakes in nearly £1.5 million each month from the details.
Parking firms subsequently use these details to chase drivers for fines of up to £100. The worst offending companies are Parking Eye (obtaining 570,000 details in three months), Smart Parking (125,000) and Euro Car Parks (118,000).
Sir Greg Knight – Conservative MP for East Yorkshire – brought up the issue in a private member's bill, aiming to end the industry's self-regulation. Sir Greg told the Daily Mail: "Bully boy parking firms are hounding innocent motorists and milking them for money. We need to put rogue firms out of business."
Steve Gooding, director of the RAC Foundation, said: "Five years after the ban on clamping, private parking has turned into an industry worth hundreds of millions of pounds, with many firms relying on enforcement as the only way to make money.
"No wonder the DVLA is now being inundated annually with millions of requests for vehicle keeper data so drivers can be sent penalty tickets on often dubious grounds."
By Ted Welford