The old chestnut- need chapter and verse - concrete

During a conversation recently a friend insisted that it is good policy to completely ignore the letters from parking companies that follow up their penalty charge notice. She said her son told her it is fine to do this. I was sceptical in view of the laughably named "Protection of Freedoms Act" that has been enacted for some years now. I understood this gave the parking companies the right to access the DVLA and pursue the registered owner/keeper of the errant vehicle. So if the driver ignored the letters they have some recourse against the owner/keeper. I am sure that Middleman or Bromptonaut or DVD may have some current information regarding this and I would appreciate some enlightenment. Thank you.

Cheers Concrete

The old chestnut- need chapter and verse - daveyjp
In England and Wales ignoring is no longer a viable option. If your friend has received a private invoice she needs to really understand what she is now involved with and go through the motions in getting it cancelled.

There is currently no keeper liability in Scotland so ignoring may still be an option.
The old chestnut- need chapter and verse - ExA35Owner

There is excellent advice on the pepipoo website. Fundamentally ignoring is a bad idea and will almost certainly become expensive - with exceptions, and the pepipoo team can guide you to those exceptions if they apply in your case. Scotland is, for the time being at least, different, but again you need experts, not the pub bore, so go to pepipoo!

The old chestnut- need chapter and verse - nick62

As stated on a prevoius thread, SWMBO got one a few months ago in our local shopping area.

Did a bit of digging and found out who owned the land, send a grovelling email to the "CEO@xxxxxxxx.co.uk" (she was bang to rights) and after a bit of to-ing and fro-ing with them and the parking bandits I got it cancelled.

The old chestnut- need chapter and verse - Moodyman

There are several ways of approaching this.

1) Speak to the retailer at the site. The big brands, if they own the site, tend to waive at the customer service desk if it can be shown you were shopping there but outstayed your allowed time. Some of them will refer you to the parking company if they themselves are tenants of the site.

2) Speak to the parking company if you feel you have a legitimate reason not to pay. For example, if the signage was not clear. I had a case where I was trying to get into the store before it shut, and didn't notice the disabled spot. However, in defence the yellow paint on the floor had worn out and one couldn't easily make out that it was a disabled spot. I took pictures and printed them in colour for the pending court case. It never happened, despite their threatening letters for 18 months.

3) Ignore, despite their threatening letters. Yes, they now have more teeth and can take you to court, but more often than not, they won't as their costs will exceed the value of the fine. Also, due to Covid, court hearings are massively delayed and trivial matters like parking notices will be given less priority.

Edited by Moodyman on 15/03/2021 at 18:10

The old chestnut- need chapter and verse - daveyjp

Issue with 3) is the company have 6 years to chase the debt. You may think ignoring has worked, but the parking company can open the file to begind debt collection and they don't have to confirm your address a second time.

You move house in the 6 year gap, the debt gets chased at your old address, you are completely unaware, it ends up in Court, you end up with a CCJ on your credit file which then needs sorting out.

As parking reduced over Covid the income for companies fell dramatically and there is some evidence old invoices are now being chased many years later.

Serving Court papers does work, most people haven't a clue how Courts work, it takes months to prepare papers for a case and some are frightened they will end up in prison, at that point pay up whatever is being asked,

The old chestnut- need chapter and verse - sammy1

Eurocarkparks is one of these. They start of with a fine( its an invoice ) of £60 in itself a rip off and then Increase it to £100 if not paid within xdays with unpleasant wording like threatening your credit rating. If you then do not pay along comes the letter from a debt collection agency and guess what the fee is now some £250 and more unpleasant wording of courts etc. Quite how this is legal is beyond me aided by the DVLA so best not to use their parks. If it was a reasonable amount say £20 maybe it would be justified after all what is Euro cars loss of a couple of minutes overstay when the parking rate is some £2 per hour or you are just shopping at a supermarket.

The old chestnut- need chapter and verse - Moodyman

You're absolutely correct the court process is long-winded and expensive (for the parking company). It's why they don't usually go there.

The important thing to remember is these 'penalties' are not a fine. They are a penalty for you breaking a perceived civil agreement. It's up to the parking company to prove how you broke the agreement and you are given an option to mount your defence. A judge will then decide the outcome. You can ignore that outcome or appeal it. If you ignore, the company has to go back to the court to get permission to start debt collection process. If you still do not pay, you will end up with CCJs (again the company has to go to court to get these enforced). Meanwhile their courts costs have massively outweighed the £60 fine.

I'm not suggesting one goes down this route if they have parked incorrectly. But if you have a legitimate defence, it's worth sticking to your guns. Most people will be frightened into paying upon the threatening letters. But, look closely at the language used and the words are meaningless. There's a lot of 'may do', 'could do', 'might harm'.

Edited by Moodyman on 16/03/2021 at 09:58

The old chestnut- need chapter and verse - SLO76
I get these wee invoices from time to time from private car parks around the town but being someone who believes that charging people to come into your town to spend money is utter madness I simply ignore them. I’ve yet to pay one or receive a court summons. I do however live in Ayrshire on the sunny west coast of Scotland. A good friend at work has accumulated over a thousand pounds worth and again no attempt to enforce payment has been made.
The old chestnut- need chapter and verse - ExA35Owner
I get these wee invoices from time to time from private car parks around the town but being someone who believes that charging people to come into your town to spend money is utter madness I simply ignore them. I’ve yet to pay one or receive a court summons. I do however live in Ayrshire on the sunny west coast of Scotland. A good friend at work has accumulated over a thousand pounds worth and again no attempt to enforce payment has been made.

Not yet in force but already in legislation - see this - Transport (Scotland) Act 2019 from I think S90 onwards. It's coming your way north of the border! So keep an eye out for the day the Scottish Govt decides to let it loose upon people.

The old chestnut- need chapter and verse - Falkirk Bairn

Scotland

Council & Police parking fines must be paid.

Parking company invoices can be safely ignored - do not reply at all, ignore threatening letters and huge increase in invoice ££s. The car owner is not liable to these invoices.

If there is a contract that has been broken the parking company need to go after the driver - if the driver is unknown they cannot go to court and the letters stop.

England & Wales is completely different.

The old chestnut- need chapter and verse - Bromptonaut

Ignoring is no longer a wholly sensible approach in England and Wales. This is because a Supreme Court Case called Beavis found that prospect of a contractual penalty for parking outside the car park's term was legitimate. The penalty in that case was broadly in line with those imposed on Council Car Parks and was found not to be, of itself, an unreasonable sum.

I have a somewhat more liberal view of the Protection of Freedoms Act (PoFA). It seems to me axiomatic that companies providing parking for their customers or employees should have some come back if their spaces are abused by, say, rail commuters. The PoFA outlawed clamping as a remedy but put in its place a right to pursue the keeper, tracing him via DVLA. If somebody abused my space in a residential housing block I'd be glad of the right to pursue.

Before Beavis ignoring was possible as the parking companies lacked the confidence to sue in the Small Claims Court. After Beavis they're much more bullish. If you're prepared to put up with letters from Debt Collectors and Solicitors, watch your post like a hawk for intimation of court action and defend your case, at risk of cost way over that for settling the ticket then ignoring is still an option.

Others have suggested courses such as appealing to the retail owner/tenant. That's a good one if you've just overstayed while shopping. The CEO of the parking company is another possibility.

There is also an 'Independent' Appeal Adjudicator of which there are at least two.

The adjudication for the British Parking Association was initially provided by London Tribunals who adjudicate tickets from Councils in the GLA area. They are very good and I say that as a successful appealing regarding on street parking in Camden. Perhaps they were too good; the service was re-contracted is now run (I think) by The Ombudsman Service Limited, a company limited by guarantee which is the operating arm of several Omuds.

I would be confident of their independence too but not sure how the process works on the ground.

The other service is, reportedly, neither transparent nor fair.

Obviously, any appeal or small claims process needs proper grounds like signage or other requirement not being properly met. Turning up ill prepared and saying it's not fair guv, or spouting some old nonsense about the Bill of Rights won't cut the mustard. Anecdotally County Court Judges are giving short shrift to such cases.

For myself, if I thought I'd a case, then I'd use the appeal mechanism.

Whether I'd then pay up if I lost might depend on how fairly I thought I'd been heard.

Hope this helps.

The old chestnut- need chapter and verse - _ORB_

Very well put!

The last time I got one, in 2015, I went back to the retailer (Wickes) who I had been to in the morning and returned to in the early afternoon, spending a lot of money. I had returned, but the cameras had not registered my first departure and allegedly my second entry... Funny innit ?

Wickes got the parking charge cancelled and advised mr to give my reg number at customer services if i thought i would stay longer than 45 minutes...

Edited by _ORB_ on 16/03/2021 at 13:31

The old chestnut- need chapter and verse - concrete

Thank you Bromptonaut. Very well laid out and clear. I shall forward that to my friend for future reference. She is indeed, as I thought, labouring under a misapprehension regarding this matter. Her son is not helping matters by insisting he is correct about ignoring the charge notices or letters. I hope this makes him take notice.

It transpires that her misdemeanour took place some 2 years ago in a car park on an Asda site. The reason for non pursuance or prosecution will probably be down to Asda not wishing to antagonise its customers. That's my view anyway.

Thanks again to all who commented.

Cheers Concrete

The old chestnut- need chapter and verse - Bromptonaut

It transpires that her misdemeanour took place some 2 years ago in a car park on an Asda site. The reason for non pursuance or prosecution will probably be down to Asda not wishing to antagonise its customers. That's my view anyway.

If it was two years ago she may well have got away with it.

I suspect that like all consumer owings there will be a practice where debt is sold to collection companies. There is a 'food chain' of such companies with debts eventually sold for fractions of a penny per £ owed.

That's why things that look as though they're forgotten rear their head again.

 

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