/ Parking fine....is this legal?

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The Lemming - on 26 Nov 2013
If somebody went to a famous store to go shopping and bought lots of lovely stuff, what would happen if the got a Parking Fine for using their Car Park?

This person received a letter in the post saying that the car park was on private land and was managed by ParkingEye. This person was in the shop for 2h 35 minutes and the signs stated that they were only allowed to stay 2 hours.

The letter has a photo of the car and reg plate and is demanding £100. The letter looks very professional and scary stating paragraph 9(2)(b) of schedule 4 of the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012 that the driver is required to pay this parking charge in full.

Is this scary letter real in that it can demand £100 for parking at a large retail store car park?

Or is the letter not enforceable?
drysori - on 26 Nov 2013
In reply to The Lemming:

Whether or not it's enforceable, if you spent a decent amount in the shop and you have your receipt to prove it the shop may be able to get it waived for you.
balmybaldwin - on 26 Nov 2013
In reply to The Lemming:

Yes it is enforceable. However in practice it may not be enforced due to the cost of enforcing it. As said above, challenge it with the shop they'll. Probably waive it.
Climbing Pieman on 26 Nov 2013
In reply to The Lemming:
Legal - usually
Enforceable - yes if legal
It's a civil matter and require acceptable of the contract terms in parking.
Check out for example http://www.moneysavingexpert.com/reclaim/private-parking-tickets
You can usually get the store to have the ticket withdrawn if you can show you were shopping lots in their store.

Climbing Pieman on 26 Nov 2013
steveej - on 26 Nov 2013
In reply to The Lemming:

There are two types of parking tickets.

1. Council tickets - failure to pay these is a criminal offence. You have to pay these.

2. Private land tickets - these are made up to look like and worded like council tickets to scare you. Failure to pay these is a Civil matter and would need to be taken to cout as you have not committed a crime. No case has ever been taken to court in the UK. I would ignore it.
earlsdonwhu - on 26 Nov 2013
In reply to The Lemming: I would certainly complain to the store.... not the local manager but Head Office. They can't afford to deter shoppers with a proven spending record.

johncoxmysteriously - on 26 Nov 2013
In reply to earlsdonwhu:

To be fair to the store, these time limits are usually part of their planning permissions, and they have to be able to show the council if necessary that they've been enforcing them, or at least pretending to enforce them.

But, yeah, nothing to worry about. Ignore or reply pointing out the usual stuff (disgraceful, you only took 2.5 hours because of queues and vast spend on your part, copying in store manager, no adequate signs warning of excess charges, etc, etc.).

jcm
lost1977 - on 26 Nov 2013
In reply to steveej:

Think you will find that's not the case anymore as several private companies have taken people to court for non payment of private tickets and won.
lost1977 - on 26 Nov 2013
In reply to earlsdonwhu:

> I would certainly complain to the store.... not the local manager but Head Office. They can't afford to deter shoppers with a proven spending record.

I work in private enforcement and would go the opposite way a ticket will have a better chance of being overturned if you speak to the local branch manager with a valid receipt at the time of finding the ticket.
The Lemming - on 26 Nov 2013
In reply to lost1977:

> Think you will find that's not the case anymore as several private companies have taken people to court for non payment of private tickets and won.

It was the car park for The Range in Blackburn. My friend did indeed endure 2 hours and 35 minutes shopping there.

I have also read an article that a hundred+ people at the Barrow based 'The Range' are also p1ssed off by similar letters.

Has the law changed?

I've tried to keep up with the Money Saving Expert website but there are too many links to follow.

This is FEKING disgraceful.
johncoxmysteriously - on 26 Nov 2013
In reply to The Lemming:

>This is FEKING disgraceful.

Oh get a grip. Goodness, I do wonder how some of you people manage to get up and get dressed in the morning, and walk around and feed yourself and wash behind your ears and stuff.

The law’s been the same on this matter since Boadicea picked up a parking fine for her chariot from the Romans.

If you want to park in someone’s car park, be prepared to pay their fee. They can charge you whatever you like as long as they display notices saying sufficiently prominently what their charges are.

I agree with you that what’s occurring isn’t smart marketing, and believe me the store hates it as much as you do; the supermarkets fight tooth and nail against these conditions. Just calm down and write a sensible letter.

That'll be ten guineas. My clerk will be in touch.

jcm
Neil Williams - on 26 Nov 2013
In reply to steveej:

"No case has ever been taken to court in the UK"

Are you absolutely sure? It's rare, but none ever? Would surprise me.

Neil
Jack B on 26 Nov 2013
In reply to The Lemming:

Bear in mind that:

1) The law varies a bit between Scotland, Northern Ireland and England/Wales.

2) The law changed in England and Wales fairly recently (by the act you mention). Clamping is now illegal under most circumstances, but it's also easier to take drivers to court and win. Some people's experiences might be a little out of date.
lost1977 - on 26 Nov 2013
In reply to The Lemming:

I don't think it's so much the law changing but private companies were reluctant to test it (very much a gamble as it could have gone either way), believe the cases were hand picked to minimise risk but I would expect more cases soon
FesteringSore - on 26 Nov 2013
In reply to lost1977: I think it can be contested in a civil court from the angle that the fee(NOT a fine) is disproportionate to any inconvenience caused by overstaying the permitted parking time. cf Pepipoo

FesteringSore - on 26 Nov 2013
Jim C - on 26 Nov 2013
In reply to The Lemming:
I took my daughters receipt from Mothercare back to their store along with the car park demand, they sorted it with a email. (Scotland)

That said I would have just ignored the demands, as they are not enforceable , but I preferred not to have the hassle, so got the store to sort it.

The New NickB - on 26 Nov 2013
In reply to The Lemming:

My understanding is as follows. Is these is a charge and a mechanism for paying it such as a machine or an attendant, you must pay. If you don't they can chase you for the charge plus reasonable costs through the civil court.

With free parking with time limits, they must show that it is a charge rather than a penalty, ie. did you have the option of paying for extra time. A penalty is only enforceable when charged by a public body with those powers, ie. a Council in conjunction with a Traffic Regulation Order.

A private company can only recover costs, they would have to demonstrate losses through liquidated damages on a time limited free car park, I don't believe a private parking company has ever done this in court. People have been successfully been taken to court, but only to recover paid parking charges and costs.

I have had dealings with Parking Eye, they will send lots of letters, including very carefully worded threats about court and letters from solicitors firms that are part of the same parent company. They will then give up.
The New NickB - on 26 Nov 2013
In reply to Jack B:

> Bear in mind that:

> 1) The law varies a bit between Scotland, Northern Ireland and England/Wales.

> 2) The law changed in England and Wales fairly recently (by the act you mention). Clamping is now illegal under most circumstances, but it's also easier to take drivers to court and win. Some people's experiences might be a little out of date.

The main change is the prove I was driving defence has gone, the registered keeper is now held responsible. My post above is still correct.
ads.ukclimbing.com
The New NickB - on 26 Nov 2013
In reply to johncoxmysteriously:

> To be fair to the store, these time limits are usually part of their planning permissions, and they have to be able to show the council if necessary that they've been enforcing them, or at least pretending to enforce them.



Speaking as a planner who has tried to enforce parking management agreements the more likely story is that the stores completely ignore the parking management agreements that they sign as part of planning conditions and instigate standardised and generally stricter parking rules.

Climbing Pieman on 26 Nov 2013
In reply to The Lemming:

About half of my clients just ignore, and half act by writing with a very small percentage just paying! None have come back and said they are being taken to court, but then again it is Scotland and it is in particular car parks where there are known problems with signage so probably not representative!
I read somewhere that the stats of payers are stupidly high with around 60% of tickets issued actually getting paid due to the threatening nature of them and driver's ignorance of the law.
I had one client who's car was "ticketed" when he was out of the country. Like to see the outcome of a court case of that.
Another local case for a lady who drove through a car park, and five hours later drove back through in reverse to the morning direction and was ticketed as the first exit/second entry camera was not working so they thought she had parked up for five hours!
johncoxmysteriously - on 26 Nov 2013
In reply to The New NickB:

I agree they won't pursue it and have a graded system of letters.

My understanding is different from yours, though. Unless there's been a statutory change (quite possible) then AFAIK they can charge whatever they like as long as it's been properly notified ('incorporated into the contract' in lawyerspeak). Which means sufficiently prominent notices, in practice. The notion that these charges are penalties for a breach of contract rather than simply contractual dues (which is implicit in what you're saying) is one of the theories consumer websites sometimes advance, but I can't see it myself, and I think most lawyers don't agree with it.

Could be wrong, though; I don't keep up with this area. In practical terms the solution in the present case is obvious.

jcm
johncoxmysteriously - on 26 Nov 2013
In reply to The New NickB:

>Speaking as a planner who has tried to enforce parking management agreements the more likely story is that the stores completely ignore the parking management agreements that they sign as part of planning conditions and instigate standardised and generally stricter parking rules.

Really? I'm very surprised to hear that. In my experience (not that extensive, acting for one of the supermarkets in only semi-related disputes) the supermarkets hate these provisions because they lead to their shoppers getting hassled. They prefer to instigate their own regimes if and when they find that people are parking in their car park without shopping at their store and genuine customers are having trouble. That's what they told me, anyway. I imagine it depends on local conditions whether they do the latter.

But you may well know better than me.

jcm
The Lemming - on 26 Nov 2013
In reply to The Lemming:

My friend has not decided what to do yet.

The two options are:

Ignore everything

Write a letter and go the whole hogg.

Here is a copy of the template letter that my friend will use.





Dear Sir or Madam,

Ticket number: xxxxxx
Vehicle registration number: xxxxxxxx

You issued me with a parking ticket on [insert date] but I believe it was unfairly issued and I will not be paying your demand for payment for the following reasons:


• There was insufficient signage
The carpark in question has no clear signage to explain what the relevant parking restrictions are. This means no contract can be formed with the landowner and all tickets are issued illegally. I have photographic and video evidence as proof.

• The fee is disproportionate
According to the Unfair Consumer Contract Regulations, parking charges on private land must not exceed the cost to the landowner during the period the motorist is parked there. In my case, the £100 charge you are asking for far exceeds the cost to the landowner as there were no easily recognisable signs quoting any fees what so ever.


If you choose to pursue me please be aware that I will not enter into any correspondence and this will be the only letter you will receive from me until you answer the specific points raised in my letter.

Yours faithfully,

Mr P1ssed Off
Wulfrunian - on 26 Nov 2013
In reply to The Lemming:

Ignore. Do not make any contact at all. Then ignore the next 4 or 5 letters as they get progressively more threatening. My friend has successfully ignored a few of these now. No court in the land is going to force you to pay £100 for 35 minutes parking. Fecking parasites.

Ignore ignore ignore ignore
Bob Hughes - on 26 Nov 2013
In reply to The Lemming:

your "friend" should also consider mentioning how much they spent in the shop.

The second part of this sentence doesn't follow-on from the first. "In my case, the £100 charge you are asking for far exceeds the cost to the landowner as there were no easily recognisable signs quoting any fees what so ever."

the signs and the cost to the landowner have nothing to do with each other.
wintertree - on 26 Nov 2013
In reply to The Lemming:

> This is FEKING disgraceful.

Which bit? To make it easy to reply I have given them numbers. Just let us know which of these is the disgrace.

1) The bit where council's limit the parking spaces shops are allowed to have to prevent large scale conversion of our landscape into car parks?
2) The bit where stores enforce fair access for all shoppers, to their limited supply of spaces?
3) The bit where there are rules and people have to follow them or face consequences
4) The bit where every motorist can't just do what they damned well want?

The Lemming - on 26 Nov 2013
In reply to wintertree:

> 3) The bit where there are rules and people have to follow them or face consequences

Nail on head.

My friend has been to this shop many times and every time there was no barrier, attendant or place to demand a parking fee. The place has always been free parking.

Now, out of the blue, my friend gets a strongly worded letter demanding £100.

My friend pays all parking tickets to car parks and abides by all parking times and restrictions.

But what is he supposed to do when such things are kept secret until a letter falls through his letterbox?

I await your next sarcastic reply.
llechwedd - on 26 Nov 2013
In reply to The Lemming:

You can blether away about it on UKC or follow the advice on the moneysupermarket link posted upthread.
Why try and reinvent the wheel. The advice and experience is all there on a dedicated part of their forum.
Read the newbies bit first by the way.
If you want to make an appeal under POPLA, as a precursor you'll have to reply with a 'soft' appeal to the company issuing the PCN (within 28 days of it being issued). If the company turns your soft appeal down they then have 28 days after that appeal to send you a code for a POPLA appeal. My understanding is -no POPLA code, no POPLA appeal. You can't just appeal direct to POPLA. From the forum mentioned it seems that most win on a POPLA appeal, but the parking company will be loath to provide that code as it costs them £27 to take that step.
Probably someone'll be along in a minute to say I've got it wrong...
llechwedd - on 26 Nov 2013
In reply to llechwedd:

i meant moneysaving expert..
wintertree - on 26 Nov 2013
In reply to The Lemming:

> But what is he supposed to do when such things are kept secret until a letter falls through his letterbox?

If its the case that the parking rules were "kept secret" then I imagine they're utterly unenforceable.

One generally finds that parking terms and conditions are posted quite clearly in car parks, generally on an excessively large number of signs. If your friend has been ignoring them then it's his problem. If they weren't there then he has a pretty clear cut case against any attempt to enforce the parking T&Cs, which other posters have already pointed out is all any court action would seek to do.

> I await your next sarcastic reply.

It wasn't sarcastic. I am genuinely surprised that anybody these days is not aware that private car parks are a limited service with fines if you don't obey the rules. It's not hard.
The Lemming - on 26 Nov 2013
In reply to llechwedd:

My friend has/is reading the money saving website for guidance.

Cheers.

:-)
Wainers44 - on 26 Nov 2013
In reply to The Lemming:

I have just been through 6 months of dealing with this since my son received the court summons issued by Parking Eye. To cut a very long story short do not ignore this, PE will probably not go away and the charge MAY be enforceable.

Best plan is to deal with this via the Store, and at the same time write to PE stating you wish to refer the matter to POPLA. The store will almost certainly tell PE to back off.

The help available on Pepipoo is outstanding and the individuals who give of their time to help are stars! I found this by far the most useful source of real info rather than hearsay or blather which some other sites are full of.

Best of luck!!
The Lemming - on 26 Nov 2013
In reply to Wainers44:


I shall get my friend to write a letter to The Range tomorrow and include receipts with times and dates to confirm everything.


You are a star.
steveej - on 26 Nov 2013
butteredfrog - on 27 Nov 2013
In reply to The Lemming:

It's Parking Eye, Ignore it (Even more so if you have store receipts excetra.)

Bazzer - on 27 Nov 2013
In reply to The Lemming:
DO NOT WRITE A LETTER! Or contact them in any form. I had one of these and researched it properly. You'll find it's not actually a fine, it's an invoice. Parking Eye don't have the jurisdiction to issue fines. As long as you ignore it you'll get 2 more letters and never hear from them again. They'll persist further if you contact them. Only a handful of these have one to court and always end with the "fine" not being upheld. At worst The person had had to pay some very minor amount for use of Parking Eye's premises.
Wainers44 - on 27 Nov 2013
In reply to butteredfrog:

Thats what I thought until the Court Claim arrived. Unless you are really dumb (and happy to risk summary judgement, enforcement, unsatisfied ccj on your credit record etc) you dont ignore that.
loads of letters, defence papers, statements, and the like followed. Quite a few of these cases have come to Court now and generally PE havent done too well. However thats when they come up against somone who defends it properly, usually with the right advice behind them.

Since the change in the law last November, which seemed to sneak past everyone, ignoring this sort of thihg leaves you at risk of receiving a court claim. My advice to the OP stands. Deal with early and avoid the potential for loads of hassle later...and avoid paying the b*st*rds anything.
Wainers44 - on 27 Nov 2013
In reply to Bazzer:
PE issued loads of claims through the NCC bulk claims centre. My son got one pepipoo are helping with loads of them.

Take a chance, dont reply, but unlike before last november when they could do little to you, now you just might get a claim lodged against you. Like we did!
Chris the Tall - on 27 Nov 2013
In reply to Bazzer:

> DO NOT WRITE A LETTER! Or contact them in any form.

Why not? They've already got your name and address. If you have a legitimate reason, which the OPs friend does, then why not try to resolve it ?

I got a PCN from them this year for parking in Hawkshead. Fortunately I still had my ticket. Ok no apology or explanation of their error, but no more hassle.
Offwidth - on 27 Nov 2013
In reply to Chris the Tall:

Getting letters you dont open is hassle?

I'd say ignore. In this sort of case ignore is common advice and if it ever went to court you can prove you were shopping so the shop would be pretty embarrassed by any fine. Reading and writing letters costs time and energy and in nearly all cases the benefit of spending this is highly doubtful.
Jim Fraser - on 27 Nov 2013
In reply to The Lemming:

I have had a few of these letter. I (and my late parents too) have been buying most of my groceries from this place since its predecessor opened in 1983. That means many thousands of pounds of business across 30 years. Most visits are cycling so no problem (so far!). One way or another, many of the few times I am using the car, they find a reason to slap a notice on it whether I have bought a ticket or not.

Tough. I am in Scotland. They are in England. The cost of legal action here by an English company is prohibitive. However, if they turn out to be stupid, I have the address of every media organisation in the country and a 30 year story to tell. Bring it on.
The Lemming - on 27 Nov 2013
In reply to Chris the Tall:


> I got a PCN from them this year for parking in Hawkshead. Fortunately I still had my ticket. Ok no apology or explanation of their error, but no more hassle.


May I ask how you went about this?

I am also seeking advice from the PepiPoo site as well. For my friend, you understand.
The Lemming - on 27 Nov 2013
In reply to Offwidth:

> Getting letters you dont open is hassle?

> I'd say ignore. In this sort of case ignore is common advice


And that advice is now out of date and wrong. From what I've read, the law has changed and doing nothing can result in going to court. Doing nothing also hints to the judge, judge style person that you did not try to resolve the problem at the earliest possible opportunity and this may go against you.

The game has changed. :-(

And my friend, really was being dragged around The Range for two and a half feking hours.

I have also discovered that 'The Range' does not care about the publicity from the Parking company. :-(
Dave Perry - on 27 Nov 2013
In reply to The Lemming:

Is it legal? Sort of. Is it enforceable? Maybe not in practice. I .

Try this link for an authoritive answer... And how to deal with it.
http://www.honestjohn.co.uk/faq/private-parking-penalties/

Honest John is the motoring columist for the Daily Telegraph and this subject comes as regularly in his column as it does on these forums.
butteredfrog - on 27 Nov 2013
In reply to Wainers44:

The furthest it has ever gone with me is the two letters from the "solicitors", representing parking-eye, threatening me with the four horsemen if I didn't pay up. Fees at around £200 at this point for overstaying in a car park for 20mins.

It's interesting that Parking-eye, the "debt collectors" and "solicitors" letters all originate from the same office. Have a look on street view, its a wonder they all fit in. :)

Parking-eye are no more than legalised scammers, using empty threats to frighten people into paying large sums of money for very trivial happenings.

andy - on 27 Nov 2013
In reply to butteredfrog: Debt collection firms often own firms of solicitors, y'know - not that surprising given that they use solicitors to pursue debts.

butteredfrog - on 27 Nov 2013
In reply to andy:

My point was the size of the office clashing with the grandeur of letterheads of the various companies based there. :)
andy - on 27 Nov 2013
In reply to butteredfrog: Registered address? My company's based in an accountant's in Harrogate!

Chris the Tall - on 27 Nov 2013
In reply to The Lemming:

> May I ask how you went about this?

Wrote to them at the address provided in their letter.
Chris the Tall - on 27 Nov 2013
In reply to Offwidth:

> Getting letters you dont open is hassle?

I'm sure there are people who can happily ignore such letters, or credit card bills or final demands, and not get stressed out about it, but I'm not one of those people.

In this case there is a valid reason for the parking regulations, and such regulations are meaningless unless enforced. However the OPs "friend" had a legitimate reason for the length of time they were there. Parking Eye don't know, and have no way of knowing, this reason. So the OP should tell them (and send a copy to the store). If they still insist, try the appeals procedure. If that doesn't work, then start ignoring them until you get a court summons.

However, I really don't like the way so many people think its morally acceptable to flout parking restrictions. Particularly that van in the bike lane this morning.
PeakDJ on 27 Nov 2013
In reply to The Lemming:

Ignore it. I had a similar letter some time ago and looked into it quite a bit. I sent a letter to the parking company setting out the reasons why I wasn't going to pay, and told them I would not read any further correspondence. They did write to me once, but I binned the letter without reading it and never heard from them again.



Chris the Tall - on 27 Nov 2013
In reply to PeakDJ:

> They did write to me once, but I binned the letter without reading it and never heard from them again.

So it's possible that there response was "Thank you for explaining the situation. We won't bother you again" ;)
lost1977 - on 27 Nov 2013
In reply to PeakDJ:

You say it was quite a while ago, are you aware that this company has been successfully taking people to court for this since the changes in the regulations? As the advise you are giving is outdated and potentially expensive.
Offwidth - on 27 Nov 2013
In reply to lost1977:

I dont belive there is a big change, taking people to small claims is expensive and risky and you can ignore anything up to the court notice and still defend your position. CAB say:

"If you get a ticket and you don’t think you should have to pay, you can decide not to pay and not to reply to the parking operator. It is possible that the parking operator will take enforcement action in order to recover the charge although in practice a threat of this nature may not be followed through as the amount of money being demanded is usually quite small. A parking operator has no power to recover a parking charge without first taking court action. The company may continue to send requests to pay and you can continue to ignore these unless they decide to take you to the small claims court. If the parking operator does take you to court, you may be able to defend the action, for example, on the grounds that you did not park in breach of the parking rules and/or that the fee being demanded is unreasonably high."

Neil Williams - on 27 Nov 2013
In reply to Offwidth:

A bit of a devil's advocate question - do you believe that private property owners should be able to enforce their parking policy?

If not, do you believe, for example, that it would be OK for me to park on your driveway with no redress?

I agree some of this is too harsh (in particular "no return within X" policies at shops where you may wish to shop around) - but I don't fundamentally object to the idea of enforcement.

Neil
lost1977 - on 27 Nov 2013
In reply to Offwidth:

Looking at the case details I suspect many more people being taken to court, pretty sure other private parking companies have already started using PE's test cases (think that includes the one I work for even though we barely even chase as we can make our money otherways)
andy - on 27 Nov 2013
In reply to lost1977: This is quite interesting:

http://www.combinedparkingsolutions.com/legal-issues/#court-order-transcripts

I know this is a website of a private parking set up, but the transcripts and judgements are interesting, particularly in light of the number of times we're told "even if it went to court, the charges are unreasonable so it'd be thrown out" - the two or three transcripts I read specifically say that as the charge was on the sign, the judge found the charge of £135 to be "reasonable" and lawful under contract law - so I'm not sure whether that particular piece of advice is reliable.
The Lemming - on 27 Nov 2013
In reply to The Lemming:

I have just spoken to the Customer Service Dept of The Range and they really DO NOT give a sh1t.

They refuse to give me any contact names of the Chief Exec/Managing Director and will not enter into any discussion about the fine.

I can now confirm that all the complaints going to The Range direct are falling on deff ears.

I am so pissed off that I will never shop there again.

I just wish I know how to do a FaceBook sh1tstorm at the customer service for this company.

I hope that they feking go bust with all this bad press.
ads.ukclimbing.com
Neil Williams - on 27 Nov 2013
In reply to The Lemming:

Customer service departments never give a stuff. Their whole remit is to get rid of complaints as quickly and cheaply as possible.

You could try:-
1. Writing to the CEO marked private and confidential - just address to "The Chief Executive Officer" or "The Managing Director" c/o the head office address which will be on their website. Sometimes this works - it is unlikely to get to them but it is also unlikely to end up with customer services.

2. Speaking to the store manager in person.

Neil
Chris Harris - on 27 Nov 2013
In reply to The Lemming:


> I am so pissed off that I will never shop there again.

I read a case in the paper about a bloke who got done at Morrison's 10 years ago & hadn't been back since.

He said it cost them 10 years of weekly shops at about £80 a go, so over £40,000 in lost revenue.




Neil Williams - on 27 Nov 2013
In reply to Chris Harris:

But equally supermarkets lose custom when people can't park there because the car park is full of rail commuters or football fans (to give 2 local examples).

The problem is lack of discretion. It would for instance make sense for the customer service desk to be able to waive it if you take it in with your receipt "on the spot".

Neil
Offwidth - on 27 Nov 2013
In reply to Neil Williams:

Personally I obey such restrictions in the first place. The situation of a huge car park with plenty of space running a 'racket' with excessive fines for short overstays (they could for instance put a machine in like they do in my local shopping area where you get a ticket which is free for 2 hours and has a fair charge thereafter) and the blocking of someones personal drive where no right of parking for any fee have been issued are hardly similar. The only times I've been done for parking were on council notices where they were in the wrong but the hassle of fighting that in my time wasn't worth it.

CAB are hardly lax on how to deal with such consumer issues and small claims courts do offer a dgree of leeway on recent law changes so would be sympathetic to a certain extent on non-replies where the company had clearly been in the wrong. I've been very impressed by the small claims judgements that I've been aware of.
lost1977 - on 27 Nov 2013
In reply to Neil Williams:

Going to customer services immediately is the best way as they duty manager will normally have they authority to cancel them (we send in our ticket details at the end of the week, if a duty manger asks me I simply list it as cancelled and authorised by manager, end of ticket).
The Lemming - on 27 Nov 2013
In reply to Neil Williams:

> It would for instance make sense for the customer service desk to be able to waive it if you take it in with your receipt "on the spot".

Here's a little lite reading

http://www.nwemail.co.uk/news/shoppers-anger-as-barrow-store-gives-100-parking-fines-1.1097400
Neil Williams - on 27 Nov 2013
In reply to The Lemming:

That's particularly bad - £100 for inadvertently entering outside opening hours?

There's one of those opening near me. I reckon I will give it a miss.

Neil
johncoxmysteriously - on 27 Nov 2013
In reply to andy:

That is an interesting link. It rather confirms what I’ve said – the notion that these clauses are a penalty and that the landowner has to prove loss, while popular on the internet, is not so hot in the courtroom.

If anyone cares actually to read the law, by the way, it can be found in Schedule 4 of the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012 (a curious name for an Act designed to protect landowners’ right to restrict what one might reasonably think of as people’s freedom, but Parliament has its own marketing to do, of course).

Anyway, the change in the law that made, apart from introducing various balls-aching lists of requirements for notices, was to say that the registered keeper of the car is liable to the landowner whether he was driving or not, thus eliminating the lent-it-to-my-au-pair-who’s-now-back-at-this-address-in-Romania defence. Apart from that I don’t see anything about reasonableness of the charge or landowners having to prove loss, so we’re back at the previous law, whatever that is. I suspect it’s exactly what Andy’s link says.

I don’t know – perhaps lost1977 does – whether typically the claimant is the landowner themselves or Parking Eye Limited. Assuming that the claim is ultimately the landowner’s, whether assigned or not, and that Range is the landowner, it must be, in practice if not in strict theory, highly relevant that you spent the entire time standing in a queue in their shop.

jcm
johncoxmysteriously - on 27 Nov 2013
In reply to Neil Williams:

>- £100 for inadvertently entering outside opening hours?

Now those really won’t stick. In order to show a contract with people who park outside opening hours, walk up to the store and find it shut and drive away again, the store’s going to need to show it put up notices that adequately drew the opening times to people’s attention before they parked, which ex hypothesi they presumably didn’t.

jcm
Neil Williams - on 27 Nov 2013
In reply to johncoxmysteriously:

My local B&Q does...but they're wrong! Therefore I would park and walk up to the door. Anyone reasonable would, IMO.

If the store do not want people to park outside hours, they should simply have a gate on the car park.

Neil
Neil Williams - on 27 Nov 2013
In reply to Neil Williams:

Also, the parking T&Cs you get these days tend to be lengthy and in a small font. Therefore, the only reasonable way to work is for you to be able to park while you read them, so there needs to be some leeway to decide you do not accept them and leave.

Neil
snoopdawg - on 28 Nov 2013
In reply to The Lemming:
Do not reply to any letters and certainly do not write them a letter as they will have a contact point for you.

As mentioned previously they would have to demonstrate a loss in court and it would be hard to demonstrate a loss in a free car park. I'm guessing that there were available car parking spots as well.

In relation to court action it is not a ticket enforceable by a local authority it is an invoice made to look like a ticket. If you think of court action what are they going to produce, a picture of a car? but not a driver. The law and courts work on specifics not possibles.

Don't just have a look at the money saving experts website, do a trawl, there's lots of information out there.

I had one and ignored all the correspondence. I'm not in the phone book which assisted
snoopdawg - on 28 Nov 2013
In reply to The Lemming:

In addition to the previous there is a consumer law which states that it is unlawful to harass a debtor when it not established who the debtor is
Neil Williams - on 28 Nov 2013
In reply to snoopdawg:

Once again, the law has changed. The registered keeper is now liable if the driver cannot be established. This was a concession to the industry when clamping was banned.

DO NOT take this advice unless you are happy with the risk (it *might* work), it could prove costly if the case does go to Court, and as others have posted cases now have.

Neil
The New NickB - on 28 Nov 2013
In reply to wintertree:

> It wasn't sarcastic. I am genuinely surprised that anybody these days is not aware that private car parks are a limited service with fines if you don't obey the rules. It's not hard.

Private companies cannot fine anyone. What constitutes a legitimate charge and what constitutes a penalty (fine) is the sort of thing that fills the day at the OFT, but private companies cannot fine anyone.
Neil Williams - on 28 Nov 2013
In reply to The New NickB:

In theory they can't. In practice they can, they just call it something else. A number of court cases have succeeded.

Neil
Aly - on 28 Nov 2013
In reply to The Lemming:

I remember researching this when I got a ticket about a year ago and here is the reply I posted on a thread back then at some point. I'm assuming the law changes you're talking about are those from October 2012 and, whilst the private ticket company can now pursue the registered keeper, they are no more liable than the driver ever was under previous legislation.

I'm no lawer but if I had received your letter I'd be using to line the cat's litter tray, best place for it IMHO.
--------------------------------------------------

Whilst the law has changed, the consensus from the consensus from Moneysavingexpert and pepipoo seems to be that the response to PCC fines should be the same i.e. ignore them as they not legally enforcable.

From what I understand the PCC can invite the registered keeper to name the driver, and if they don't then they can pursue the RK but they are no more liable for the charge than an offender would have been pre-law changes.

It looks like if the PCC is a member of the BPO AOS then you can lodge an appeal (which costs you nothing and the PCC about £30), the result of which is not binding so if you lose you can still ignore.


Here's the pepipoo link:
http://forums.pepipoo.com/index.php?showtopic=46975

and the MSE forums:
http://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/forumdisplay.php?f=163
---------------------------------------------
The New NickB - on 28 Nov 2013
In reply to Neil Williams:

Do any of those cases include a defence relating to the provision of a penalty within a contract, none of the ones I have read have, but I haven't read them all.
Neil Williams - on 28 Nov 2013
In reply to The New NickB:

No, I think they work around it by saying something like:-

2 hours parking: free
More than 2 hours parking: £100

This is perfectly legal - there is no legislation restricting the price of parking.

I figure it would be much harder to defend the idea of being charged £100 if you didn't pay, when if you did the charge was £5, say, because that is a pseudo-fine. But equally, there is plenty of precedent for things costing £X is bought in advance, but many times £X if paid afterwards.

Neil
The Lemming - on 28 Nov 2013
In reply to The Lemming:


I've read about pissed off customers billing companies huge sums of money for writing letters, stamps, stationary and time spent writing the letter these companies.

I'd love to pursue that through the small claims court if they failed to pay.

:-)
ads.ukclimbing.com
andy - on 28 Nov 2013
In reply to The New NickB: I know they're from a parking company website, but assuming the transcripts of the cases I linked to above are genuine then this business about "you're only liable for the lost income from the parking space" looks like it's errant bollox - if the sign says it's £100 for unauthorised parking or whatever (and I'd be amazed if most of the larger parking companies don't know exactly how big and prominent the signs have to be) then it looks to me like a judge will say "pay £100". What's also interesting from the link above is a judge thought it was perfectly reasonable for a parking firm to charge an extra £50 for their time in pursuing it. Plus his mileage at 45p a mile!

andy - on 28 Nov 2013
In reply to The Lemming:

> I've read about pissed off customers billing companies huge sums of money for writing letters, stamps, stationary and time spent writing the letter these companies.

> I'd love to pursue that through the small claims court if they failed to pay.

> :-)

I think it works the same as the parking - if you tell them that's what you charge and they continue to incur the charge then they're deemed to have accepted the contract and are liable to pay.
The New NickB - on 28 Nov 2013
In reply to andy:

In that case, the defence of it being a penalty has not been used. CAB seem to suggest the penalty defence has some mileage.

The payment of costs for pursuing the charge isn't at all interesting, this has always been allowed, as I have stated many times on previous discussions about private parking charges, of course for these to be payable the parking company needs to win in the first place. If they are ruled to be allying a penalty, they cannot claim these costs.

I couldn't see any examples of lost cases where the penalty defence has been used.
The New NickB - on 28 Nov 2013
In reply to The New NickB:

This is an interesting article and is basically saying what I believe the legal position to be.

http://www.theguardian.com/money/2013/apr/18/how-challenge-parking-ticket

This is the section of most interest:

"Equally unclear is how much a company can lawfully charge drivers for breaching the terms of a contract. The British Parking Association (BPA) suggests its members' charges should not exceed £100, and the parliamentary briefing note issued when the 2012 act was introduced cites this amount as an example of a parking charge. Yet since private companies are not allowed to fine or penalise drivers who misuse private car parks, only claim for any losses or damages, a motorist charged £100 could argue this is an excessive sum that amounts to a penalty.

A parking company claiming damages would have to show that the sum was fair and reasonable under the Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations 1999, and given that the actual losses in unpaid parking fees and administrative costs are unlikely to add up to much, some experts believe the charges could be fraudulent. Courts, however, vary on what they will consider reasonable damages. "Because county courts don't have an inquisitorial system it is down to judges to make a decision on the facts of the case given to them, so if the motorist is not clued up they may lose," says Marc Gander, spokesman for the National Motorist Action Group (NMAG)."
andy - on 28 Nov 2013
In reply to The New NickB:

I'd have thought the BPA would have some grounds for coming up with a hundred quid, and judges would seem to agree with them. In fact didn't one of the transcripts talk about a "deterrent"? So that'd suggest that whilst they wouldn't get away with £1000, then as long as the signs comply then £100 is about where it's
The New NickB - on 28 Nov 2013
In reply to andy:

I have not found anything that talks about a deterrent, he De Buwin case is perhaps the most relevant, but even this didn't question the validity of the penalty only the reasonableness of the increase in charges when the company uses its resources to pursue the motorist. It is the same principle as pursuing costs in relation to a legitimate claim.
Wainers44 - on 28 Nov 2013
In reply to The Lemming:

With the greatest of respect to all the contributers to this thread, and there is some really good advice here, I wonder how many have had first hand experience of this. I have. I will expand on the story a bit as it might help with some of the myth and legend in a few of the less reliable responses...

My son's car was caught on parking camera, at a retail park where he worked in Aberystwyth (while at Uni). He was at work and overstayed the 2 hr limit by 22mins. For this Parking Eye wanted £85.

He ignored the first two letters, in line with most of the advice on the net at that time. This advice all missed the change in the law in Nov 12 after which time it became unecessary for the driver of the car to be identified. Action could now be taken against the registered keeper.

Almost 6 months later the Court Claim papers turned up. Luckily he showed them to me and from years of dealing with these Bl**dy things at work I knew the Claim was real, issued by the Court, validated by the Court stamp and the clock was now ticking!
You only have a short period to admit (now £185+costs) or to acknowledge service and defend. PE count on a proportion being dumb enough to do nothing; PE will almost certainly get judgement in their favour in the absence of a defence. Otherwise they hope people pay all or the large part of their claim to make it go away. If I am being cynical I suspect the Aber ones were chosen to persue as they may well be students (big %age student pop) who could have moved on, and would not defend.

I sent the AOS and then spent the next 5 months writing letters, preping defence and relying heavily on the advice from Pepipoo.

All the stuff on here about whether the charge is a penalty (its an argument, but there are cases both ways)....whether there is a contractual right to levy the charge (as PE arent the landowner, but they will try to prove that they have the owners consent)...are PE afraid of loosing (yes, but a few good wins are worth loads to them)...and do the retailers want the hassles etc etc is good stuff. BUT all miss the point that by the time you have the Court Claim in your hand you have to spend time looking into and discovering all this. The judge will not protect you and although PE have been largely unsuccessul they have won a few and the ones they lost were generally well defended (at the cost of loads of time, and hopefully not too much dosh if you can find a helpful sole to do it FOC for you).

My sons case was sorted in the end largely by me grinding his employer down (who did help in the end) and just bashing PE with everything and anything we could think of.

If you fancy the challenge and feel lucky (punk!), do nothing and wait to see what happens. All the best!
The Lemming - on 28 Nov 2013
In reply to Wainers44:

I have sent a letter today to Parking Eye stating that I will be taking the Appeal route.

I'm prepared to go down the rabbit hole and see where it takes me. My options are bend over and pay straight way or start with the for play and see if Parking Eye are prepared to splash some cash to take me on.

mozzer - on 28 Nov 2013
In reply to The Lemming:

Isn't it all a bit exhausting though? After an initial letter to the shop, asking for some dispensation, I would probably give up and pony up.

I hear about these stories with letters, online research, pepipoo, mse, all asking for details from the parking companies and arguing penalties, charges etc. Often for a £30 or £60 fine!

I've been stung before, for dropping someone off for 10 seconds in a bus lane I got fined £50. Bastards. But I could either pay up and put it down to experience, or go through months of shit and hassle to maybe get off.
The Lemming - on 28 Nov 2013
In reply to mozzer:


You stopped in a bus lane.

My friend went shopping and did not know about the parking issues.

I will fight this all the way.
Wainers44 - on 29 Nov 2013
In reply to The Lemming:

Good for you. These blood suckers mustn't be allowed to get away with it.

One thing I would check immediately is just how good and clear the signs are. In my son's case by the time we took it seriously they were all clear and new and shiny. We knew they weren't when he was photographed but we couldn't prove it.

Sign up to pepipoo and once they are satisfied you aren't a PE mole they will assign an expert to help you. Best of luck!
andrewmcleod - on 29 Nov 2013
In reply to The Lemming:

I got a Parking Eye charge notice (£100) once for hanging around briefly in a pub car park (17 minutes) picking up someone who was working there.

I responded to their letter, explaining why I disagreed with the charge: firstly because I wasn't 'parked' (although I don't think this would necessarily hold up), and secondly that it was excessive.

I am pretty sure that, by showing that I will probably be a pain and attempt to fight it in court (plus the very short amount of time stationary), PE will probably be less inclined to take my case to court than some other case where someone has not responded at all.

You should note that there are two potential avenues of contract:
a) The fee is for a breach of contract - in which case it is probably an unenforceable penalty, or
b) The contract is to park for £100, or discounted if you pay a smaller fee immediately.

In case b, you should note that the 'core terms' of a contract (i.e. price for the item itself) are not subject to the 'unfairness' test of the Unfair Terms act. This could include the price, unless you were able to argue that the £100 was, despite the language of the contract, a penalty after all (using some argument such as nobody would choose to pay the £100). Plus what if instead of £100, it was £1000? Or £10000? You can also argue that you have broken the contract by failing to pay up, in which case you are liable to their losses which may or may not (my knowledge of the law being sketchy) include only actual losses, and not the arbitrary charge.

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