I'll preface this with saying I do not have a salary sacrifice car (my employer doesn't offer it yet) or lease car, but many friends and family do.

In the UK, the keeper of a vehicle is not necessarily the owner. This is long established the V5C (Vehicle Registration Certificate) has in huge letters right across the front page "This document is not proof of ownership"

Indeed "Ask The Police" previously stated

The DVLA make a point of saying that the person named on the registration document is not necessarily the owner. This is particularly true with a company car which is owned by the company, however the registration document should show the registered keeper, i.e. the day to day user (this may be an employee who has it as a permanent perk with his/her job).

Until I queried this anomaly when writing this article, at which point they changed it, adding;

In relation to cars which are leased or hired under a contract for use, the lease/hire company would ordinarily be the registered keeper of the vehicle. In the case of a lease, a finance company who are financing the lease of the vehicle would be the owner of the vehicle.

Seemingly carving out an exception to the established rule to make leasing companies compliant, whereas their previous interpretation of the rules would not have been.

For the context of this article (and law for this type of agreement it seems), 'lease'  this is synonymous with 'hire'

Why does it matter?

This anomaly (which is, apparently, legal now confirmed by the Police who sought information from the DVLA) exists only to help line the pockets of fleecing, sorry leasing, companies.

This odd arrangement first came to light for me when a friend got a salary sacrifice (Tesla) car, and didn't even have full access to the car's functions (that's another story)

Essentially, it allows a leasing company to MITM (Man-in-the-middle) various fines and frivilous 'parking charge notices' to add their own fees and interfere in the normal appeals process.

Speeding ticket? Penalty Charge Notice? TFL Fine? We'll add a £10+vat (£12) fee which we'll take off your salary directly thanks to your employer.  If you appeal it, the fee won't be refunded. If it's a non-endorsable penalty (e.g. a parking fine) they pay that too.

Then there's the dodgy arrangements with individual private parking companies;

PCNs issued by Parking Eye are paid immediately. You are offered 6 months to lodge an appeal from the date of issue as our customer.

Now, Parking Eye are probably one of the worst out there for ridiculous tickets thanks to their flawed ANPR systems, and they get special treatment?!

This feels like a collusion between two masters of corruption. There's also arguably an incentive for ParkingEye to issue their invoice "parking charges" to vehicles where the keeper is a leasing company, they're more likely to get their money after all.

Keeper Liability and the Protection of Freedoms Act

The ridiculously named "Protection of Freedoms Act 2012" introduced the concept of keeper liability to England and Wales.

Broadly, this allowed private parking companies to recover money from the registered keeper of a vehicle (in this case a leasing company) when they couldn't identify the driver.

Notably, it does not apply in Scotland.

Furthremore, it also doesn't apply to a leasing (hire) company (Para 3 of Schedule 4) Therefore there is absolutely no reason for leasing companies to make it easier for these private parking companies to recover money from their customers.

If ParkingEye (or anyone else) send a leasing company notice of a parking charge, the correct response from the hire company is to send them a statement explaining the vehicle is hired.  

But, instead of doing this, they just take the money from their customers' paychecks and hand it to the parking company?