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Parking Eye, Mercure Hotel Wetherby, Most expensive 20 minutes parking ever?
AlfaRomeo
post Tue, 31 Jul 2018 - 11:39
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Hello everybody,

I have just received a "Parking Charge Notice" from Parking Eye, which informs me that a week or so ago a car, of which I am reg'd keeper, was parked in the carpark of the Mercure Hotel, Wetherby, for a grand total of 20 minutes and 52 seconds. For this privilege they are inviting me to pay them £100!

The PCN includes photos of the car, which are marked with an arrival and departure time. To the best of my knowledge, any signs explaining about possible parking restrictions are either not there, or extremely easy to miss(!). I was not a patron of the hotel at the time.

Before posting I have spent a bit of time trawling the site to see what I could learn. However, from what I gather the advice can vary a bit depending on several factors such as the location or even the firm which has issued the notice... also there appears to be a bit of an ignore/appeal debate going on, the current feeling on which appears to be swaying towards toeing the line and appealing?

So I figured I'd post this up for some more specific advice, if you'd be kind enough to give it!

Obviously happy to share more information as needed.

Thanks in advance.

This post has been edited by AlfaRomeo: Tue, 31 Jul 2018 - 11:55
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post Tue, 31 Jul 2018 - 11:39
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NGR
post Tue, 9 Oct 2018 - 08:36
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Did you go into the hotel, maybe to inquire about room availability or restaurant facilities or for a possible planned visit in the future?
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AlfaRomeo
post Tue, 9 Oct 2018 - 09:23
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QUOTE (NGR @ Tue, 9 Oct 2018 - 09:36) *
Did you go into the hotel, maybe to inquire about room availability or restaurant facilities or for a possible planned visit in the future?


Good question but no, the driver never actually left the car unoccupied. It's back at post #3 where I've explained why the car was there. As tempting as your line of explanation is, I've already sent a full description to the Hotel via email so I don't think it'd look very good changing the story at this stage :-)
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AlfaRomeo
post Tue, 9 Oct 2018 - 09:48
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As of now, with Parking Eye's "deadline" from their latest letter approaching in less than a week, what are people's thoughts on whether I should be responding to this letter, or continuing to try and resolve it via the Hotel?

Thanks!
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ostell
post Tue, 9 Oct 2018 - 10:02
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You do both. The hotel can tell PE to cancel at any time, even if in the middle of court proceedings.

This post has been edited by ostell: Tue, 9 Oct 2018 - 10:03
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NGR
post Tue, 9 Oct 2018 - 12:55
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QUOTE (AlfaRomeo @ Tue, 9 Oct 2018 - 10:23) *
QUOTE (NGR @ Tue, 9 Oct 2018 - 09:36) *
Did you go into the hotel, maybe to inquire about room availability or restaurant facilities or for a possible planned visit in the future?


Good question but no, the driver never actually left the car unoccupied. It's back at post #3 where I've explained why the car was there. As tempting as your line of explanation is, I've already sent a full description to the Hotel via email so I don't think it'd look very good changing the story at this stage :-)


Indeed, wasn't suggesting anything untoward smile.gif

However, it's an indication of how ridiculous parking has become in this country where you could quiet innocently inquire at an establishment and end up being dragged through the courts by a parking scammer!

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AlfaRomeo
post Tue, 9 Oct 2018 - 15:38
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QUOTE (ostell @ Tue, 9 Oct 2018 - 11:02) *
You do both. The hotel can tell PE to cancel at any time, even if in the middle of court proceedings.


OK, that's heartening. I feel slightly less hassled knowing that. Which is of couse how the whole system operates - piling on of deadlines and ultimatums to make it look like your safest option is to just drop 100 quid to make it go away.


QUOTE (NGR @ Tue, 9 Oct 2018 - 13:55) *
Indeed, wasn't suggesting anything untoward smile.gif

However, it's an indication of how ridiculous parking has become in this country where you could quiet innocently inquire at an establishment and end up being dragged through the courts by a parking scammer!


See your point and couldn't agree more. It would be a bit more palatable if, when this sort of thing happens, one has a fairly reasonable chance of a quick and fair appeal. All I've seen so far suggests that any option other than just paying up is a potential headache.

So, given Ostell's response I will continue to badger the Mercure customer services and in parallel draft a response to the letter from PE.

Now, I realise nobody here has a crystal ball but on the basis of what I've outlined so far, then assuming "the worst" happened and PE ended up chasing this to court, is it possible to say what my chances are??

I have no objection to court per se, as I feel like I'm pretty justified in my appeal. But obviously I'd rather not be dragged down that route and if I am, it'd be nice to have a little bit of confidence/optimism on the way there!
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ostell
post Tue, 9 Oct 2018 - 19:04
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If it got as far as court a sensible judge would see that you weren't parked for the time they say so they are being unreasonable.
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SchoolRunMum
post Tue, 9 Oct 2018 - 20:54
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QUOTE
Now, I realise nobody here has a crystal ball but on the basis of what I've outlined so far, then assuming "the worst" happened and PE ended up chasing this to court, is it possible to say what my chances are??


You'd only be risking about £75 to find out, and we see wins in almost every defended cases on here and on MSE. The odd person who loses v the likes of PE pays about £175 and has no repercussions, no CCJ, nothing bad or unsafe or affecting your credit rating, because you would then pay it, if a Judge said so.

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AlfaRomeo
post Wed, 10 Oct 2018 - 19:13
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QUOTE (SchoolRunMum @ Tue, 9 Oct 2018 - 21:54) *
QUOTE
Now, I realise nobody here has a crystal ball but on the basis of what I've outlined so far, then assuming "the worst" happened and PE ended up chasing this to court, is it possible to say what my chances are??


You'd only be risking about £75 to find out, and we see wins in almost every defended cases on here and on MSE. The odd person who loses v the likes of PE pays about £175 and has no repercussions, no CCJ, nothing bad or unsafe or affecting your credit rating, because you would then pay it, if a Judge said so.


Do you mean £175 including the £100 they're currently asking for? If so I think those odds are pretty good. In the case of a loss, I'd console myself that it hopefully would have cost them more than £75 to administer the court claim! Is it all done via a small claims/Money-claim online type of thing? As a matter of fact they mention in the last letter that costs are including, but not limited to, £50 solicitor plus £25 claim fee, perhaps this is the £75 to which you refer?


Anyway, I have to respond to the LBCC by the 13th, so I am going to put something in the post tomorrow. I have yet to hear anything back from the emails to the hotel (big surprise there, huh?!) but will of course continue to pursue that.

As for the response to Parking Eye, I'll be ticking their "I dispute the debt" box and attaching the following - perhaps people would be kind enough to tell me if I'm way off the mark or not!? I'm essentially telling them the same facts I have told the hotel:


Dear Sir/Madam

I dispute the £100 charge and I am asking Mercure Hotels to kindly cancel it, given the circumstances which I will outline below.

The driver of the car **** *** was staying in the Wetherby/Harrogate area on holiday on the weekend of the 21/07/18, and on the day in question was touring the Wetherby area by car, and had in place a plan to meet with another family member who was also due to be driving past nearby, up the A1. After speaking by phone to the family member in the other car, and since it was a convenient/safe place with a car park right beside the road, it was decided, more or less on the spur of the moment, to pull off the A58 and wait for them at the Mercure Hotel. The other party arrived approximately 15 minutes after the driver of the Alfa Romeo, and also parked in the same car park. After a few minutes of exchange, both parties then left the carpark and went on their way. At no point was either car left unattended and there was plenty of room for other cars in the car park.

Although I am informed by the hotel staff member, with whom I have subsequently spoken, that there are multiple signs explaining the parking rules, it probably goes without saying the driver had not noticed any of these. I also understand from my conversation with the hotel staff member that there is a maximum of 20 minutes parking before charges come into effect. The parking charge notice states that the entry time was 14:56:06, and the leaving time was 15:16:58, resulting in an "over-stay" of just 52 seconds.

I believe the £100 charge to extremely unreasonable given the circumstances. I have begun conversation with the customer services team at the Mercure parent group, Accor Hotels, and I am asking them to instruct Parking Eye to cancel the charge.

Yours Faithfully



I ought to reiterate, if it makes any difference, that up to now I've only spoken with the hotel and its parent company. This is the first response I will have made to PE, which means I did not lodge any appeal with them within the 28 day period they mentioned in the initial PCN. I hope this doesn't count against me if this does get as far as court?!

Thanks

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SchoolRunMum
post Wed, 10 Oct 2018 - 23:14
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QUOTE
Do you mean £175 including the £100 they're currently asking for?


Yes, as I said, you are risking just seventy five quid...

No CCJ, nothing bad, no huge costs, no sitting on the norty step. Pay only if a Judge says so.

QUOTE
Is it all done via a small claims/Money-claim online type of thing?
Not 'all done' that way, a MCOL leads to a hearing at your local court where you can be heard and most people we help, win.

QUOTE
As a matter of fact they mention in the last letter that costs are including, but not limited to, £50 solicitor plus £25 claim fee, perhaps this is the £75 to which you refer?
No they can't add £50 (unless you roll over and let them without arguing it)!

PE can't add solicitors costs as they have an in house legal team and they issue robo-claims with just admin teams handling them, no supervising solicitor even looks at the bulk of copy & paste claims.

The £175 if you lost, might be the £100 PCN, £25 MCOL fee, £25 hearing fee and a bit of interest, so probably less than I said.
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AlfaRomeo
post Thu, 11 Oct 2018 - 06:52
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OK, thanks for the clarification. On the basis of that info I do feel more confident in proceeding.

I am going to post the above response to PE today - does anyone have any comments before I do?

Thanks
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nosferatu1001
post Thu, 11 Oct 2018 - 09:41
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for them to turn up to a hearing willl ocst them around £300
So even if they win, they lose - as they cannot claim that £300 back.
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