/ Parking Charge for Ticket Displayed Face Down

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Martin Hore 14 Feb 2020

Bit of a long shot this, but I wonder if anyone on here has been in my position, or knows someone else who has. I parked in the private car park at Sennen Cove, went climbing for the day, and returned to a £100 Parking Charge Notice. I'd paid the correct parking fee but inadvertently left the ticket face down. 

I sent the company a scan of the ticket, but they persisted with demanding the £100 charge. I refused to pay (but offered to pay a small amount to cover their extra costs incurred - I reckon not more than £10) and the matter is now going to court. 

Neither party disputes that the correct fee was paid. They are not suggesting that I "borrowed" someone else's ticket. 

Does anyone else know of a similar case that's actually reached court? I've done a fair bit of research into case law on this, but not found an exact case that sets a precedent. Plenty of cases where the driver overstayed, or parked without paying, but none where the correct payment was made.

Any help welcome.

Martin

charliesdad 14 Feb 2020
In reply to Martin Hore:

I suspect the parking notice will have said that you are liable to pay a fine for failure to DISPLAY a valid ticket, rather than failure to pay for parking. Please keep us posted on the outcome of the case!

Jamie Wakeham 14 Feb 2020
In reply to Martin Hore:

Definitely a private car park (ie a Parking Charge Notice) and not a council-run car park (ie a Penalty Charge Notice)? If so, it's not a fine, it's a highly speculative invoice that you'd be mad to just pay.

Definitely contestable but you need specialist advice, which you won't get here. Go to the MoneySavingExpert board or Pepipoo and they will talk you through the process.  Don't delay because the easiest way to make this go away (a successful appeal at PoPLA) is time limited.

5
Albert Tatlock 14 Feb 2020
In reply to charliesdad:

I would say the ticket was displayed in the correct manner face up on the dashboard and that when you shut the car door the draught from closing the door must have flipped it over, face down.

Tom V 14 Feb 2020
In reply to Albert Tatlock:

Mandy Rice  Davies would have a suitable reply to that defence.

3
Oceanrower 14 Feb 2020
In reply to Albert Tatlock:

> I would say the ticket was displayed in the correct manner face up on the dashboard and that when you shut the car door the draught from closing the door must have flipped it over, face down.

So, err, it wasn't displayed correctly then.

Not sure you've thought this through...

1
Deadeye 14 Feb 2020
In reply to Jamie Wakeham:

> Definitely a private car park (ie a Parking Charge Notice) and not a council-run car park (ie a Penalty Charge Notice)? If so, it's not a fine, it's a highly speculative invoice that you'd be mad to just pay.

Why does this idea still persist several years after the law changed to make private tickets legally enforceable?

OP - Unless the notice says which side to display I think you'd have a reasonable argument.

2
Oceanrower 14 Feb 2020
In reply to Deadeye:

> OP - Unless the notice says which side to display I think you'd have a reasonable argument.

Not a hope in hell. If the time is printed on one side and you display the other then why on earth would you think that?

The penalty isn't for not buying a valid parking ticket, it's failing to display a valid parking ticket and if the expiry time is hidden you can hardly claim it's correctly displayed!

Post edited at 20:09
2
Sean Kelly 14 Feb 2020
In reply to Albert Tatlock:

> I would say the ticket was displayed in the correct manner face up on the dashboard and that when you shut the car door the draught from closing the door must have flipped it over, face down.

Reply from parking company...
"They would say that, wouldn't they!"

Fight on!

1
Andy Chubb 14 Feb 2020
In reply to Martin Hore:

I suggest you get advice from the facebook group ‘Fight your Private Parking Invoice’. It seems to be a legal minefield so expert advice would probably be more useful than ill informed opinion, however well intentioned.

Good luck 

Philip 14 Feb 2020
In reply to Deadeye:

> Why does this idea still persist several years after the law changed to make private tickets legally enforceable?

> OP - Unless the notice says which side to display I think you'd have a reasonable argument.

I think you've misunderstood. The change in law had made it harder to ignore, bit it hasn't made it possible to enforce penalties for mistakes.

I had tickets cancelled for incorrect number plate. They must allow time to leave. 

Had Jamie told someone to just park anywhere and sod the consequences of not paying it would have been bad advice, but instead suggesting you contest a penalty when payment had been made is quite sensible.

keith-ratcliffe 14 Feb 2020
In reply to Albert Tatlock:

Last year I had exactly that happen to me in Oban - the ticket blew onto the drivers footwell. I sent the ticket which was for the full period to Argyll Council with a note recognising my error and including the payment and saying that I would fully understand if they still felt the need to apply the fine. I received the cheque back a few days later with a note suggesting that in future I should make tickets clearly visible. I felt much more inclined to follow the rules than if they fined me and now use a bulldog clip to secure my tickets.

PS Regards to Ena, Minnie & Martha - have a milk stout on me!

Post edited at 20:56
Sean Kelly 14 Feb 2020
In reply to Martin Hore:

Perhaps if tickets were a bit like stic-it notes with that little adhesive strip!

Babika 14 Feb 2020
In reply to Martin Hore:

Fat chance at Sennen.

At this car park 2 years ago I paid for a full days parking and stuck in on the windscreen. In the very hot weather it peeled off somehow and fell in the foot well. Despite sending it to the company - who accepted that we had paid - we ended up paying a £60 fee. A really annoying lesson in sticking the ticket somewhere it wont fall off. 

mbh 14 Feb 2020
In reply to Martin Hore:

When I did exactly as you did in a council car park in Bath, and got a parking charge, I sent the ticket to the council as evidence that I had paid and they waived the charge, though with some stiff words about Don't Do it Again.

Even if the wording is that you should display the ticket correctly, it seems ludicrous that they could be deemed reasonable to charge you £100 when you can present evidence that you did pay, and when there must have been something that looked very like an upside down ticket on your dashboard.

Ridge 14 Feb 2020
In reply to mbh:

> When I did exactly as you did in a council car park in Bath, and got a parking charge, I sent the ticket to the council as evidence that I had paid and they waived the charge, though with some stiff words about Don't Do it Again.

> Even if the wording is that you should display the ticket correctly, it seems ludicrous that they could be deemed reasonable to charge you £100 when you can present evidence that you did pay, and when there must have been something that looked very like an upside down ticket on your dashboard.

^ This

There was clearly no attempt by the OP to avoid paying, and there is documentary evidence that at the time the notice was issued he had paid the parking fee. Judging by some of the posts up thread if the company had printed “and you must walk round with your knob hanging out and wearing an illuminated red nose whilst your vehicle is parked in our car park” anyone not doing so is clearly in breach of the T&Cs and must pay up immediately.

Get expert advice and fight it as far as possible is my view.

1
Timmd 15 Feb 2020
In reply to Babika:

> Fat chance at Sennen.

> At this car park 2 years ago I paid for a full days parking and stuck in on the windscreen. In the very hot weather it peeled off somehow and fell in the foot well. Despite sending it to the company - who accepted that we had paid - we ended up paying a £60 fee. A really annoying lesson in sticking the ticket somewhere it wont fall off. 

It's rotten that they accepted you'd payed and charged you a fee as well. 

1
Northern Star 15 Feb 2020
In reply to Martin Hore:

If its still the same parking company at Sennen Harbour (Armtrack I think they were called) when we were there last year, then their car park signage does not meet the required industry standards.  It's shockingly bad in fact. 

We simply wrote to them (as keeper, not the driver) explaining this and left it at that.  A few sh*tty letter from them afterwards and then they dropped it.  Google the parking company - if it's the same one then they are a complete bunch of cowboys and I think you can fairly safely tell them to get lost.

andyman666999 15 Feb 2020
In reply to Martin Hore:

I would definitely take them to court. Yes perhaps it wasn’t displayed correctly - but the company should definitely have acted in a more reasonable manner when you have proof that you paid the charge. Would definitely read up on Protection of freedoms Act 2012 and check out money supermarket for some advice.  I challenged a fine and they backed off. 

toddles 15 Feb 2020
In reply to Martin Hore:

I had the same thing happen in a council car park, in a rush I put it on the dashboard upside down and got a fine, I took a picture of the parking fee ticket, and emailed a photo of it to them.

They quashed the fine, but said they were right to issue it.

My sister had something similar happen where a parking fee ticket fell off the inside of a damp windscreen, again that was a council car park and they let her off when she sent in a photo to prove she had paid the parking fee.

Jim blackford 15 Feb 2020
In reply to Martin Hore:

As a rule council car parks will let you off if you show the correct ticket later, but private companies will not.

However I read a while back that 2 out of the 3 car park companies operating in  Cornwall don't have the power to take you to court and just threaten it to make you pay.

I'm not sure that's the case with the sennen car park but a quick Google should let you know - many locals hate parking charges and write a lot about it online 

Jamie Wakeham 15 Feb 2020
In reply to Deadeye:

> Why does this idea still persist several years after the law changed to make private tickets legally enforceable?

What change in law are you talking about?

In 2012, the PoFA was introduced, which gave private parking companies the right to apply to DVLA for the address of a car's keeper.  They had to meet rather detailed requirements in order to be able to do this.  One of these requirements was to subscribe to an independent appeals body.

However, pretty much every PPC that's come into existence is simply one of the old cowboy clampers.  These are not reasonable people - they are absolute scum who will do anything and say anything to get money.  The fact that the PPC in question fully agrees that the OP paid for a ticket, and yet still claim that he 'owes' them £100 (which I imagine they will increase if he has the temerity to question it) tells you all you need to know about their practices.

They banded to gether to form the British Parking Authority, and the 'independent appeals body' that they came up with is called PoPLA.  This is a kangaroo court where, if you use common sense, you will lose.  Among its rules are that there is no such thing as mitigating circumstances - so if the OP goes to PoPLA and points out that he paid in full but the ticket was blown over, he loses.  PoPLA has refused appeals on ground such as pregnant women going into labour and other medical emergencies.

However it is perfectly possible to win at PoPLA as long as you play the game.  The PPCs basically never manage to fulfil the requirements under PoFA, because they are lazy.  So as long as you get proper help and present your case to PoPLA with the right arguments, you win every time.  I should know this - I've done it eight times in the last few years, once for myself and seven times for friends and family, and I'm winning 8-0.

I imagine the 'law change' you refer to is actually the decision in Parking Eye vs Beavis.  Beavis was an idiot who didn't go through PoPLA, where he would absolutely have won, but instead went to a magistrate's court and then on to an appeal court and ultimately the supreme court, where he lost on one point - he argued that the charge was not a genuine pre-estimate of the PPC's loss.  The supreme court decided that it was not an 'extravagant' amount.  So Beavis lost us one of the (many) arguments that could be used in PoPLA.  Before 2015, I'd won using GPEOL several times.  Of course, it was trumpeted by all the PPCs that a court had decided that everything they did was legitimate and there was therefore no point in ever appealing against them again...

Since that case I've won five more times, including on grounds of inadequate signage, the inability of the PPC to demonstrate that they have legal standing, and failure to post their paperwork within the correct timeframes.

In fact the only actual change in the law in recent years has just come into force - the PPCs have been forced to add simple mistakes in keying in your reg to the list of allowed grounds for appeal at PoPLA. 

Edit - is this the harbour car park?  That's run by ArmTrac, who are absolutely beatable - their signage and paperwork management are miles away from compliant.  The don't subscribe to PoPLA, though; they use a different system called IAS.  Go get proper advice from PePiPoo.

Post edited at 10:22
overdrawnboy 15 Feb 2020
In reply to Martin Hore:

I got nabbed by the wolves at Lamorna a few years back. 15 mins over in a deserted car park in February. Wrote them a stiff letter and a cheque for £20 and said I considered the matter closed. As soon as cheque cleared I knew it was done with. 

I would also advise finding the free parking spot at Sennen, but if you do don't publicise it. Good luck!

David Riley 15 Feb 2020
In reply to Martin Hore:

I got threatening letters under a number of names about a Sennen parking "fine" for more than a year.

They stopped eventually. The increasing cost of postage has some benefits.

Jamie Wakeham 15 Feb 2020
In reply to David Riley:

Just be aware that one particularly charming tactic that these firms use is to wait for five years.  They have six years under law to bring a case.  So they issue a County Court claim (via the bulk centre in Northampton) just before the end of that period, using the address they got from DVLA at the time.  Of course, often people have moved house by then so the summons never gets to them, and the first they know is that they get turned down for credit because a CCJ has been issued in absentia.

David Riley 15 Feb 2020
In reply to Jamie Wakeham:

Six years gone.

Mike505 15 Feb 2020
In reply to Martin Hore:

Out of curiosity was the ticket paid for by cash or card? If on Card you'll have clear proof of purchase. Oh any CCTV?

pwo 15 Feb 2020
In reply to Martin Hore: 

THe exchange of money for the ticket is acceptance of the contract you entered into with the car park operator. Notwithstanding the above, the operator should, within its' appeal process have due regard for circumstances which prevent or obstruct the display of a ticket (these should be examined on their own individual merits by an impartial person). 

Having been responsible for vetting case files prior to issuing a court summons (Local  Authority) we would NOT issue a summons for a ticket being face down, or if the ticket had failed to adher to a surface because of condensation or excessive heat reducing the adhesion. For two reasons

1. It would not be in the public's interest (far too costly for any fine issued by the court against the fixed penalty notice and our costs divided amongst all the cases we took to court on that day. We block book the court for a few days for a wide variety of unrelated cases)

2. I seriously doubted whether a magistrate would uphold our fixed penalty given an exchange of contract had taken place even if there was a minor infraction in upholding the contract.

Perversly I have had a private civil notice issued against me for an identical infringement and I wrote to the company explaining I had entered into the contract for use of their facility for the stipulated time within the contract period. I could prove I had paid and that their ticket had no method of ensuring it could remain on display. I informed them that I would not pay their civil penalty notice and requested that they take the matter to court. I further informed them of my intention to demand a list of disclosures from them prior to court and that I would make an application for costs against them should the court find in my favour for reasonable and justifiable expenses (travel, parking, food and overnight accommodation). Additionally I advised them if they just continued to threaten me with additional correspondence I would calculate a reasonable and justifiable fee for replying and take them to the small claims court. I never heard from them again.

A reasonable operator would not be taking this to court. However I add a note of caution in that some people make a 'habit' of displaying their ticker upside down. When we identified a pattern of beaviour then we did pursue them through court.

good luck with it.

Oceanrower 15 Feb 2020
In reply to pwo:

Smells like bullshit to me. Since when did breach of contract end up in mags?

3
pwo 15 Feb 2020
In reply to Oceanrower:

I have not said that BofC ends up in magistrate's. Read my reply it's straight forward enough. We issued summons against failure to pay . 

Jamie Wakeham 15 Feb 2020
In reply to pwo:

I take it that you were involved in council-run enforcement, not a private company? You sound far too... reasonable... to have been anything to do with a PPC!  Every one I've ever dealt with would try it on for a ticket that had fallen face down.

pwo 15 Feb 2020
In reply to Jamie Wakeham:

Indeed. A minor part of my role unfortunately dealt with a wide variety of enforcement issues. The fixed penalty notice issued by a local authority is based on statutory acts of Parliament (Road traffic Act for parking offences etc, etc). Private operators base theirs (or did) on contract law. The contract in this instance must be displayed clearly in a prominent position and the exchange of money for the ticket is acceptance of that contract. 

In ye good olde days if you entered a car park which had an Attendant to issue the ticket and take your money and the Attendant was NOT present then you were perfectly entitled to use the car park and not pay because the operator didn't want to enter into a contract with you. I used that argument a number of times in car parks successfully . I hasten to add I happily paid if the Attendnat was pleasant but I'd happily have 'sport' with them if they were not.

Martin Hore 16 Feb 2020
In reply to Martin Hore:

Huge thanks to everyone who has responded to this. I now have a lot more leads to pursue.

I'm particularly interested in the number of posters who have had parking companies (or local authorities) rescind PCNs for incorrectly displayed tickets once the driver has submitted the correct ticket to them. This seems to be common good practice, and quotable in court.

I'm also very interested in people's experience of Armtrac - aka KBT Cornwall - (for it is indeed they). I'll Google the company specifically. If anyone lives close enough (ie really close) to get me current evidence of their inadequate signage that would be great. I live in Ipswich, so that's rather too far to go. Foolishly, I didn't take photos at the time. I think at the time I just naively thought that they would accept evidence that I had paid. Armtrac's debt collectors are BW Legal. Does anyone have experience of them? 

This is going to my local County court now. I've contacted "Which Legal" and have a phone consultation with one of their lawyers on Wednesday. It's cost me a little (£38 for a month's subscription) but I'm fighting this on principle now. Armtrac are now demanding £239.00 anyway (including escalating costs of course). "Which" (ie the Consumer's Association) intervened in the ParkingEye vs Beavis case so they should know their stuff. I've read the whole ParkingEye vs Beavis judgement and agree that it doesn't give carte-blanche to the cowboys. But given the complexity of the case law, I suspect that I will either lose on the spot or it will be referred to a higher court.

I'll let you know how I get on.

Martin

David Riley 16 Feb 2020
In reply to Martin Hore:

Armtrac and aliases with me too.  Morally they should lose on the spot.  You can prove payment and they have suffered no loss, except from their mistaken accusation you had not paid.

Michael Hood 16 Feb 2020
In reply to all:

It seems like the OP's case has gone beyond this stage and many on here probably know this but with PCNs (not penalty/council) there are two things...

1. Do not say who was driving, always take care to phrase things about the "keeper" of the vehicle. Makes a big difference to your defence options. Until it gets to court proceedings, nobody can force you to say who was driving.

2. Look on money saving expert, the relevant forum gets a bit complex but stick with it, following their advice rarely loses.

In reply to charliesdad:

How much was the original fine, was it £100 or less orginally, then going up to £100 after a certain timeframe?

Maybe offer to pay the original fine amount?

Personally I would paid it immediately or not have entered into any correspondence at all with the company. I don't see the point of it going to court; if you lose, you pay the legal costs too. Of course if the company lose, they pay the legal costs. The difference is that a handful of hundreds of legal pounds don't have an impact on a company, but I suspect they do to you.

Don't get me wrong, I hate the whole parking ticket industry's pernickety and soul less approach, but I do think it will be hard for you to win in court. 

Post edited at 11:51
Rob Exile Ward 16 Feb 2020
In reply to Martin Hore:

Good luck Martin, I think you're being very brave but there ARE a lot of these bullying companies out there and it's good that you're taking a stand.

Jamie Wakeham 16 Feb 2020
In reply to Martin Hore:

PLEASE go get advice from the Pepipoo forum (or MSE - largely the same people). They have massive experience with this, and BW Legal are very well known to them.  

Northern Star 16 Feb 2020
In reply to Martin Hore:

> Huge thanks to everyone who has responded to this. I now have a lot more leads to pursue.

> Martin

First thing to do is to issue both BW Legal and Armtrack with a Subject Access Request.  See MSE for more info on this if you are not sure. This means that they are obliged to send you all of the information they have on you including any incriminating evidence they have on your vehicle.  If they don't comply with this then you can report them to the Information Commissioners Office.  If they do comply then the stuff they send should contain plenty of information you can use in your defense.

Secondly follow the procedure outlined on the MSE website.  They loose very few cases, almost none that rely on POFA 2012.  Plus when you win in court you can claim reasonable expenses in return from the parking company.  Don't worry about this, with MSE advice you will almost certainly win in court. 

Finally, just enjoy the experience and treat it as a game (which it is kind of).  You'll learn a lot in the process.

Post edited at 18:16
Martin Hore 17 Feb 2020
In reply to Jamie Wakeham:

> PLEASE go get advice from the Pepipoo forum (or MSE - largely the same people). They have massive experience with this, and BW Legal are very well known to them.  


I'd already checked MSE. Now gone to Pepipoo as well. Many thanks for the advice.

Martin

jon 18 Feb 2020
In reply to Martin Hore:

Just out of interest Martin, how much is the daily parking fee at Sennen?

Martin Hore 18 Feb 2020
In reply to jon:

Hi Jon

It's £4.00

Martin

ThunderCat 18 Feb 2020
In reply to Martin Hore:

There's a car park just outside of Tameside Hospital in Ashton / Stalybridge, and this happened to me.  Don't know if I put the ticket face down myself or the wind of the slamming door flipped it, but I came back to a £25 fine.  I took a picture of the ticket on the dashboard, and of the details on the front of it, sent off an email with the pictures attached...expected a long protracted battle, but they emailed back within a few days waiving the fee.

All I said was that it was a simple mistake and that since the car park fee was £2 for the entire day I'd have been an idiot to deliberately try and do it without paying.  Response below

======================

Thank you for writing to us.

We have cancelled your PCN after carefully considering what you say.

Thank you for writing to us and enclosing your Pay & Display ticket.

Although your Penalty Charge Notice (PCN) was correctly issued, we have cancelled it on this occasion.

You were issued a PCN for not having a Pay & Display ticket that was both valid and clearly displayed. Even if you have a Pay & Display ticket, you have to display it so that a Civil Enforcement Officer (CEO) can see all its details.

Before issuing PCNs, our CEOs check for any parking items displayed and record the details. The CEO saw no Pay & Display ticket. This can happen, for example, when people forget to display Pay & Display tickets or when Pay & Display tickets fall off windscreens. It is unfortunate if this happened with you, but a Pay & Display ticket is only valid if it is displayed so that a CEO can see all its details.

========================

Toerag 18 Feb 2020
In reply to Martin Hore:

Face down ticket isn't a defence because you could simply have left an invalid ticket face down. Sending a picture of a valid ticket isn't a defence either because it could be one your mate used in their car at the same time (unless you put your registration into the machine).

You screwed up, deal with it and be more careful next time.

20
Jubjab 18 Feb 2020
In reply to ThunderCat:

Nice title for a shitty job.

"What do you do"

"Well, I'm the CEO at this parking company"

"WOW! Really?"

"Yeah, Civil Enforcement Officer"

Martin Hore 18 Feb 2020
In reply to Toerag:

Thanks for your support! (Please read other posts to see that I've actually been offered a good deal of support.)

I take your main point though. Fortunately the underside of the ticket (as photographed) has a serial number which matches that on the upside. More importantly, I think, the parking company has never claimed that I did not purchase a ticket. The "contravention" in all correspondence from them is "Ticket incorrectly displayed face down".

Martin

Post edited at 12:59
Jamie Wakeham 18 Feb 2020
In reply to Toerag:

You'd be happy to hand over £100 for this minor error, would you? To a company that couldn't be bothered to correctly follow the very clear law as laid down by PoFA 2012? 

Post edited at 14:52
capoap 19 Feb 2020
In reply to Martin Hore:

Buy a VRS Skoda,it has a clip to hold the ticket against the windscreen. 

Tom V 19 Feb 2020
In reply to capoap:

Not unique to the VRS..... and possibly more use than the filler cap ice scraper.

Michael Hood 19 Feb 2020
In reply to Tom V:

My favourite little car thing is Vauxhall's tyre cap gripper.


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