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MET Parking Services - Southgate Park Car Park - Notice To Hirer, Fine Received
FlyingSquad
post Mon, 17 Sep 2018 - 15:48
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Hi all


Summary of case below:

- The vehicle in concern is a lease car, currently on a 2 year PCH lease.

- This notice to hirer letter was sent directly to the hirer.

- The driver entered the Southgate Park Car Park near Stansted airport to go to the McDonald's on the site. There is also a Starbucks and another kebab type food outlet on the site, all within the same car park.

- There were no available car parking bays immediately outside the McDonald's premises. The car was eventually parked in the next available bay, which happened to be closer to the Starbucks than the McDonald's. That said, the McDonald's was a mere 6 meters
(footsteps) away.

- It was not obvious that the car park was split, between McDonald's and Starbucks. One would and it's fair to assume that the site fascilitated parking for all customers for either chain. There were no obvious signs the hirer could see to suggest otherwise.

- There is a 1 hour free time limit for parking and the stay in concern, did not exceed this.

- The driver did not leave the Southgate Park Premises, as this letter suggests in the alleged contravention. They remained within the grounds of the site and where the car was parked.

- The letter was received on Sat 15th September. This is 33 days from the date of issue (17th August 2018) and 66 days since the alleged contravention date (13th July 2018). Are there any grounds to challenge due to the time elapsed?

- The letter confusingly states "This charge relates to the period pf parking immediately prior to 11:07 on 13th July." This seems a rather odd and woolly way of stating the time of the alleged offense! If it's "immediately prior to 11:07", why not just state the actual time!?


A google search shows an abundance of complaints and similar cases regarding this company.

Apologies in advance if this has already been covered numerous times before, in which case, any pointers would be really appreciated. wink.gif


Many thanks in advance to anyone who can offer some assistance.

Kindest regards.



This post has been edited by FlyingSquad: Tue, 18 Sep 2018 - 08:29
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post Mon, 17 Sep 2018 - 15:48
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nosferatu1001
post Fri, 9 Nov 2018 - 12:44
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MSE Forum -> Newbies thread - contains all instructions for POPLA

You send it using the website as a PDF attachment
Whoile there look at other appeals.
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FlyingSquad
post Mon, 12 Nov 2018 - 14:51
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Cheers for the heads up. Let's see what happens!
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SchoolRunMum
post Mon, 12 Nov 2018 - 21:40
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Under OTHER, on the POPLA website, uploaded as an attache PDF document and you just put in the box:

Please see my appeal as hirer attached. I am not liable due to non compliance with POFA para 14 (the driver has not been identified) and also, my appeal relies on 'no landowner authority' and 'unclear signage' due to this being ONE car park, ONE entrance and a vague sign that allows ''customers'' to park.

Are you not going to add the usual other point people have used re this car park, that there is no evidence of the driver leaving any site, and if photos were taken that show a person driving, then parking, then walking to one of the two on-site restaurants, then this is clearly intrusive use of body-worn or hand-held or CCTV cameras and pays no regard to consumer rights to privacy under the GDPR, if this operator is taking a picture of every driver as they arrive then following them silently (rather than actually signposting the car park properly in the first place).

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FlyingSquad
post Tue, 13 Nov 2018 - 09:35
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Great advice SchoolRunMum wink.gif , if only I had received it sooner; appeal already sent and unable to add further retrospectively. I’ll report back outcome.
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SchoolRunMum
post Tue, 13 Nov 2018 - 11:32
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OK so you can use the chance at COMMENTS stage, to point out the lack of evidence. You get one more bite at the cherry and whilst you can't add new stuff you CAN comment on the utter lack of evidence to support their case, and basically pick holes in their evidence pack.
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FlyingSquad
post Tue, 29 Jan 2019 - 17:04
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Hi all.

So POPLA refused the appeal on the following grounds:

"In his appeal to POPLA Mr XXXX acknowledges that he is the driver, stating “The PCN shows still photos of me parking, and walking over to McDonalds. From the images, there is not one sign that warns; by walking over to McDonalds I will be breaking the so called contract I had agreed to.”
He also states:
• The notice to hirer was not compliant with PoFA
As stated Mr XXXX has acknowledged being the driver and as such we are not seeking to rely on the provisions of the Protection of Freedoms Act.
• No evidence of Landowner Authority
We have included a copy of our contract with the landowner in Section E of our evidence pack. We have redacted commercially sensitive details and highlighted relevant clauses for ease of reading. Our contract with the landowner grants us authority to form contracts with motorists and issue parking charge notices for contractual breach.
• Signs are not prominent, and McDonald’s is part of Southgate Park
McDonald’s car park is approached from a different entrance prior to passing McDonald’s restaurant, it has it’s own entrance and its own signage and does not adjoin Southgate Park’s car park at all. McDonald’s drive thru is also accessed from the road before you reach Southgate Park.
In Section E of our evidence pack we include copies of the signs, a site map showing their location, photographs of the signs in situ and also photographs showing Mr XXXX parked in close proximity to one of our signs.
The terms and conditions of parking are clearly stated on the 19 signs that are prominently displayed at the entrance to and around the car park. These include that this is a pay by phone car park, that there is 60 minutes free stay for Southgate Park customers while they remain on the premises only, no free stay for visitors to premises not located in Southgate Park, that McDonald’s is not in Southgate Park. They also specifically state that if motorists wish to park here while they visit locations not in Southgate Park, such as McDonald’s, they must pay to park from when their vehicle enters the car park.

Therefore the signs clearly advise motorists that McDonald’s is not on Southgate Park and they must pay to park in this car park if they wish to visit McDonald’s.

The terms and conditions include that if you wish to park here while you visit locations not in Southgate Park, such as McDonald’s, you must pay from when your vehicle enters the car park. The evidence in Section E also demonstrates that no payment was made for parking.
The terms and conditions of parking are clearly stated on the signs prominently displayed around this car park. They include that: this a pay by phone car park; there is a free stay period of 60 minutes for Southgate Park customers while they remain on the premises only; and if you wish to park here while you visit locations not in Southgate Park, such as McDonald’s, you must pay from when your vehicle enters the car park. The evidence demonstrates and Mr XXXX acknowledges he left his car in the car park while he left the premises and did not pay for parking therefore we believe that the charge notice was issued correctly, and the appeal should be refused."



The 'operator information and evidence' section from POPLA goes on to say:

Decision: Unsuccessful

Assessor summary of operator case:
The operator issued a Parking Charge Notice (PCN) to the appellant due to leaving their vehicle in Southgate Park car park without payment for parking and occupants left Southgate Park Premises.

Assessor summary of your case:
The appellant has provided an extensive document detailing their grounds of appeal, I have summarised these below. The appellant states the operator has ailed to deliver a fully complaint Notice to Hire in accordance with the requirements of The Protection of Freedoms Act (PoFA) 2012. The appellant says no presumptions can be made regarding the driver’s identity. The appellant says they exercise the right not to name the driver. The appellant has questioned the operator’s authority to operate on the land. The appellant has questioned signage at the site.

Assessor supporting rational for decision:
I am satisfied that the appellant is the driver and as such, will be considering their liability for the PCN. The signage at the site states “PRIVATE PROPERTY. TERMS AND CONDITIONS OF USE APPLY AT ALL TIMES. PLEASE READ THIS SIGN CAREFULLY. Motorists by visiting this area are entering into a contact and must comply with the terms and conditions of use and also accept liability to pay the parking charge if they failed to comply with them.
There are no concessions for disabled badge holders. PAY BY PHONE CAR PARK. FULL DETAILS OF TARIFF CAN BE FOUND ON THE TARIFF SIGNS LOCATED AROUND THE CAR PARK. PAY BY PHONE CAR PARK, 60 MINUTES FREE STAY FOR SOUTHGATE PARK CUSTOMERS WHILE THEY REMAIN ON THE PREMISES ONLY. TARIFFS APPLICABLE THEREAFTER. NO FREE STAY FOR VISITORS NOT LOCATED IN SOUTHGATE PARK. PLEASE NOTE: MCDONALD’S IS NO IN SOUTHGATE PARK. SEE TARIFF SIGNS FOR DETAILS. NO RETURN TO SITE WITHIN 60 MINUTES OF VEHICLE DEPARTING. MAXIMUM FREE STAY IS 60 MINUTES. YOU MAY EXTEND YOUR STAY UP TO 3 HOURS BY USING THE PAY BY PHONE SERVIC. IF YOU WISH TO PARK HERE WHILE YOU VISIT LOCATIONS NOT IN SOUTHGATE PARK, SUCH AS MCDONALD’S, YOU MUST PAY FROM YOUR VEHICLE ENTERS THE CAR PARK…If you breach any of the above terms and conditions of use you will be charged £100…”.

Further signage states “Starbucks customer parking only. Do not leave the site whilst your vehicle is parked in the car park”, and Southgate Park customers only. Do not leave the site whilst your vehicle is parked in the car park”. The operator issued a Parking Charge Notice PCN to the appellant due to leaving their vehicle in Southgate Park car park without payment for parking and occupants left Southgate Park Premises. As the appellant has raised several grounds of appeal, I will address each in turn.

The appellant has declined to name the driver, however, within their appeal to POPLA the appellant has stated “The PCN shows still photos of me parking”. Due to this it is evident the appellant was the driver on the day and I will be assessing their liability for the PCN. Within Section 7 of the British Parking Association (BPA) Code of Practice, it requires parking operators to have the written authority from the landowner to operate on the land. As such, I must consider whether the Operator has met the requirements of this section of the BPA Code of Practice. In response to this ground of appeal, the operator has provided a license agreement document, confirming that the operator has sufficient authority to pursue charges on the land.

In relation to signage, Section 18.3 of the BPA Code of Practice states: “You must place signs containing the specific parking terms throughout the site, so that drivers are given the chance to read them at the time of parking or leaving their vehicle. Keep a record of where all the signs are. Signs must be conspicuous and legible, and written in intelligible language, so that they are easy to see, read and understand”. The operator has provided photographic evidence of the signage at the site.

Upon review, I am satisfied that the signage is sufficient to bring the site’s terms and conditions and the amount of parking charge to the attention of motorists and I consider that the motorist was presented with a reasonable opportunity to review them before deciding whether to park their vehicle. The driver of the vehicle does not need to have read the terms and conditions of the contract to accept it.

There is only the requirement that the driver is afforded the opportunity to read and understand the terms and conditions of the contract before accepting it. It is the driver’s responsibility to seek out the terms and conditions, and ensure they understand them, before agreeing to the contract and parking. The operator has provided a series of images of the appellant’s vehicle at the site on the day. Upon review, I can see the appellant parked their vehicle in close proximity to a sign. I can then see the appellant leaving the site on foot, whilst doing do I can see the appellant walk past another sign.

Based on the evidence provided I am satisfied the appellant did breach the terms and conditions. It is the duty of the appellant to ensure that when they have entered a car park that they have understood the terms and conditions before deciding to park. On this occasion by remaining parked at the site the appellant accepted the terms and conditions. As they left the site, they did not adhere to the terms and conditions. As such, I conclude that the operator issued the PCN correctly.



MET Parking has also sent a letter advising:

"We have been notified that your appeal was refused by POPLA we therefore kindly request you to pay the outstanding payment of £100 within 28 days. Should this sum remain outstanding after this time we may commence recovery proceedings via debt collection agency or the courts without further recourse to you which may result in you having to pay additional costs associated with this recovery." [Try reading that without taking a pause or breath! MET parking clearly haven't understood the use of commas or full stops!]

It seems POPLA have taken certain statements written in the first person e.g. "The PCN shows still photos of me parking" as one of the deciding factors in their assessment of the case. In hindsight, clearly the word "allegedly" should have been pre fixed in the statement.

I've read that POPLA's decision is not final and that one still has the option to disregard any further correspondence from MET Parking Services. Is this true? Or is the only option now to pay the fine?

Thanks in advance.
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nosferatu1001
post Tue, 29 Jan 2019 - 17:20
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WHat comments did you add? You were told to add them, when it came to it!

Damn
Didnt realised you had cocked up your appeal so obviously
You identified the driver after told you REPEATEDLY not to do so.
As in, we spent an entire PAGE telling you!

GAH!

No, it woudl nto have helped. "me parking" is you performing the act oof parking, which can only be done by the driver. Why "me"? WHy not "shows pictures of the driver leabving the car?" Why use ANY personal pronoun at all?

Whata waste of time. Ah well, you cost them £30.

MET dont do court
You have no choice now, other than paying, but to sit tight and come back if you get a LBA or claim form. Dont ignroe either of those, and dont ask what they are either. Research.
You know POPLA isnt binding on you, because you read it on POPLAs website. Its very clear there.
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FlyingSquad
post Tue, 29 Jan 2019 - 18:27
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I posted a draft response on here Thu, 8 Nov 2018 - 13:14, based purely on research of other successful cases out there. There was no subsequent feedback on here following my post and the clock was obviously ticking, so I assumed all was well and I was safe to send - but clearly not.

If I sit back and wait for a potential LBA or claim form, I'm guessing the amount payable will be considerably more than £100, should it get to a stage whereby it's all at a loss as opposed to a win?
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nosferatu1001
post Wed, 30 Jan 2019 - 08:01
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Yes, but you had also been told REPEATEDLY to give NO HINTS whatsoever with the driver
SOrry if we presumed you had finally understood that!
Its your appeal, your responsibilty - we can only read so far. And clearly it wasnt purely based on successful POFA based POPLA appeals, because they all shared one thing in common - NOT identifying the driver.

MET dont do court, but just in case, if you move you MUST give them your new ADDRESS FOR SERVICE. Use that exact phrase.

A lost court claim, as you will know from reading other threads (come on, yo have to do this) is around £200. But youve then cost them MORE than that in time and turning up on the day, so its still a loss for them.

Dont throw anything away. File it and wait.
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