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Imminent(ish) court date.., Yet another working driver persecuted for doing his job
HSmp
post Fri, 4 Jan 2019 - 21:17
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Hello folks,

This may be slightly different from most posts, because I don't really care about the charge. This is about the principle. Private parking companies are having a laugh at the expense of the rest of us, including taxi drivers picking people up in hospital car parks.

I work for a large company, which I hesitate to name in case that in itself gets me into trouble at work. We deliver and collect things.

Some months ago I visited a shop to do a collection. Company policy is to park as close to the collection point as possible, for security reasons and because there might be a heavy load to carry to the van. I used one of two bays marked as both 'mother and child' and 'disabled' (surely it can't be both, and it looks hand-painted rather than official).

I was there for seven minutes, according to NPE, who sent me a grainy picture of me next to the vehicle and a demand for £100 (no discount offered to me, although it had been to my employer, the registered keeper).

In short, I ignored their first couple of letters and their 'appeals procedure' on the grounds that they are merely a private company with the same recourse to the law as anyone else, and their 'appeals procedure' is of supreme indifference to me. Especially since most ‘appeals’ seem to fail.

After further silly, quasi-legal looking letters from their 'debt-collectors', I refuted their claim on the basis that I was not parking, I was loading. I told their debt collectors they were irrelevant, having clearly not bought the alleged debt, and I informed NPE that the only way they would ever receive a penny from me was if they instigated legal proceedings - and won.

Exit the debt-collectors, and enter (predictably) Gladstones. They (predictably) asked me not to reply to them, but to NPE. I, naturally, replied to Gladstones, telling them NPE had had my response.

I have now received another letter from Gladstones saying that they have been instructed to commence legal proceedings unless I pay or reply within 30 days. I therefore assume this is finally going to court. That does not phase me. I have taken people to the small claims court myself, and won every time. I always turn up and argue my case. The other side usually fails to show. And loses.

My questions are,
Is the maximum amount of any claim limited to the original 'charge' (£100)? I believe so..
Does the small claims court have the power to award costs? I believe not...
Do the facts that the claimant left no pcn on the van, and offered me no discount for prompt payment help my case?
Can Gladstones/NPE produce in court a picture of me taken without my consent, or does that violate my rights under the General Data Protection Regulations?

If my liabilty is limited to £100 (or even the £160 I am being asked to pay), then I will be no worse off than I would be if I caved in, and anyway money is not the issue. I would dearly like to create some case law for working drivers all over the UK and back these vultures off..

I would appreciate any views. Thanks.
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post Fri, 4 Jan 2019 - 21:17
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Jlc
post Fri, 4 Jan 2019 - 21:33
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QUOTE (HSmp @ Fri, 4 Jan 2019 - 21:17) *
1.Is the maximum amount of any claim limited to the original 'charge' (£100)? I believe so..
2.Does the small claims court have the power to award costs? I believe not...
3.Do the facts that the claimant left no pcn on the van, and offered me no discount for prompt payment help my case?
4.Can Gladstones/NPE produce in court a picture of me taken without my consent, or does that violate my rights under the General Data Protection Regulations?

5.If my liabilty is limited to £100 (or even the £160 I am being asked to pay), then I will be no worse off than I would be if I caved in, and anyway money is not the issue. I would dearly like to create some case law for working drivers all over the UK and back these vultures off..


1.if using PoFA then the maximum they can claim is the amount on the NtK. They will try and claim other contractual costs (what do the signs say?) and can of course claim statutory amounts via the claims process including court fees and solicitors (£50).
2.Small claims is limited unless 'unreasonable behaviour' is found.
3.No.
4.GDPR doesn't assist in that way. (They don't process under consent)

5.You won't be setting any binding case law.


--------------------
RK=Registered Keeper, OP=Original Poster (You!), CoFP=Conditional Offer of Fixed Penalty, NtK=Notice to Keeper, NtD=Notice to Driver
PoFA=Protection of Freedoms Act, SAC=Safety Awareness Course, NIP=Notice of Intended Prosecution, ADR=Alternative Dispute Resolution
PPC=Private Parking Company, LBCCC=Letter Before County Court Claim, PII=Personally Identifiable Information

Private Parking - remember, they just want your money and will say almost anything to get it.
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HSmp
post Fri, 4 Jan 2019 - 21:51
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Thanks for the quick reply Jic.

Can I ask why the result won't set case law? Not that I don't believe you..just a bit surprised.

And on point 2, what sort of thing might constitute 'unreasonable behaviour',and how 'unlimited' could it get? If we're talking about a few hundred pounds I'll take my chances in court. I've found judges to be sensible, reasonable people so far..

Also, who decides whether this comes under the PoFA? I assume that would be Gladstones. What else could they base a claim on?

Thanks in advance.

This post has been edited by HSmp: Fri, 4 Jan 2019 - 21:57
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southpaw82
post Fri, 4 Jan 2019 - 22:02
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QUOTE (HSmp @ Fri, 4 Jan 2019 - 21:51) *
Can I ask why the result won't set case law? Not that I don't believe you..just a bit surprised.

Small claims is not a court of record plus there’s nobody further down the chain to be bound by the decision anyway.


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HSmp
post Fri, 4 Jan 2019 - 22:35
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Ah, I see. Thanks .

But since these parking claims are likely to be heard in the small claims court, wouldn't a precedent be set, albeit informally?
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Umkomaas
post Fri, 4 Jan 2019 - 22:41
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Is this at a Co-op site in the Norwich area? I'm sure that NPE use CCTV there to capture the images.

My understanding is that there are specific privacy issues linked to the use of CCTV, but the people previously helped are only concerned with getting off their charge rather than helping the cause and the bigger picture by aggressively pursuing the CCTV privacy angles. You seem quite sparky, just wondered if you would be up for doing some digging and getting to the bottom of NPE's legal position in this context?

It could stop this Peeping Tom operation!
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Jlc
post Fri, 4 Jan 2019 - 22:51
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QUOTE (HSmp @ Fri, 4 Jan 2019 - 22:35) *
But since these parking claims are likely to be heard in the small claims court, wouldn't a precedent be set, albeit informally?

Any judgment (with a transcript) can be considered by the Judge but is not binding as already noted. Unlike Beavis where the Supreme Court decided that the charge does not have to represent actual losses.


--------------------
RK=Registered Keeper, OP=Original Poster (You!), CoFP=Conditional Offer of Fixed Penalty, NtK=Notice to Keeper, NtD=Notice to Driver
PoFA=Protection of Freedoms Act, SAC=Safety Awareness Course, NIP=Notice of Intended Prosecution, ADR=Alternative Dispute Resolution
PPC=Private Parking Company, LBCCC=Letter Before County Court Claim, PII=Personally Identifiable Information

Private Parking - remember, they just want your money and will say almost anything to get it.
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HSmp
post Fri, 4 Jan 2019 - 22:59
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I don't want to be too specific as I don't know what my employer's policy is, regarding publicity. I'm trying to find out... But you're getting warm.

And yes, I'm quite sparky. Or bloody-minded. Or vengeful. Or sick of parasites who frighten people for profit.

I am up for helping this particular cause, but whilst I don't care about a few hundred pounds, I wouldn't risk everything...

My local newspaper is also now taking an active interest in this issue. Seems to me we need an MP on board, plus companies like the Co-op.
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southpaw82
post Fri, 4 Jan 2019 - 23:16
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QUOTE (HSmp @ Fri, 4 Jan 2019 - 22:35) *
But since these parking claims are likely to be heard in the small claims court, wouldn't a precedent be set, albeit informally?

No.


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Any comments made do not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon. No lawyer/client relationship should be assumed nor should any duty of care be owed.
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Broadsman
post Sat, 5 Jan 2019 - 10:52
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QUOTE (HSmp @ Fri, 4 Jan 2019 - 22:59) *
I don't want to be too specific as I don't know what my employer's policy is, regarding publicity. I'm trying to find out... But you're getting warm.

And yes, I'm quite sparky. Or bloody-minded. Or vengeful. Or sick of parasites who frighten people for profit.

I am up for helping this particular cause, but whilst I don't care about a few hundred pounds, I wouldn't risk everything...

My local newspaper is also now taking an active interest in this issue. Seems to me we need an MP on board, plus companies like the Co-op.


The EDP ran a story a few days ago/over Chrimbo about a woman that parked at Earlham shops but the child didn't exit the car. NPE backed down and will again when the press become involved.

We can only hope that the EDP/local MPs get their teeth into the [mod edit] running NPE and NTC and get rid of their [mod edit] practices. I'm not holding out much hope that my MP will join in, I'm not naming him but he's one of a very few in Norfolk that has such a safe seat he doesn't actually need to do anything to "rock the boat".

This post has been edited by southpaw82: Sat, 5 Jan 2019 - 15:51
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Churchmouse
post Sat, 5 Jan 2019 - 12:31
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QUOTE (HSmp @ Fri, 4 Jan 2019 - 21:51) *
Also, who decides whether this comes under the PoFA? I assume that would be Gladstones. What else could they base a claim on?

They appear to be pursuing you as the driver (presumably, your employer gave them your name and address?), so they don't need POFA, and are not limited by POFA. But it's still a small claims action, so their recovery options will be limited anyway.

The PPC may argue that there is no "loading" exception for parking charges on private land, but the Jopson case could be useful on that point.

--Churchmouse
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HSmp
post Wed, 9 Jan 2019 - 21:44
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Thanks, Churchmouse,

Yes, they are pursuing me as the driver, but their first letter addressed to me refers specifically to the PoFA para 14, schedule 4 as the basis of their right to recover the money.. Does that change what you said?

Also, the Jopson case seems to revolve around residential parking, so I don't think it helps.


@Umkomaas
Can you please expand on what you said about cctv and privacy issues?

Thank you both - and everyone else - for your help.



Edit: I know this is a long shot, but they photographed my van from the rear. Admittedly it's a work vehicle, but can I require them to prove that it wasn't displaying a blue badge? After all, my employer does not discriminate against disabled people..

This post has been edited by HSmp: Wed, 9 Jan 2019 - 22:52
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Umkomaas
post Thu, 10 Jan 2019 - 07:23
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QUOTE
@Umkomaas
Can you please expand on what you said about cctv and privacy issues?

I don't have the chapter and verse on it, but do know there are some privacy issues surrounding it. It's a case of someone who has a good reason to do so (privacy having been potentially violated) to do some more detailed research, look at current legislation etc and examine whether there are any points of law they can use in their fight against the PPC, and help the bigger fight more generally. This is why I said:
QUOTE
You seem quite sparky, just wondered if you would be up for doing some digging and getting to the bottom of NPE's legal position in this context?


Here's a possible starting point from a simple Google search.

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/go...odePractice.pdf
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ostell
post Thu, 10 Jan 2019 - 09:30
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So they mentioned para 14 in their NTK. This would appear to mean that they are pursuing you as a hirer. This adds another dimension to the appeals unless the driver has been identified.
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Churchmouse
post Thu, 10 Jan 2019 - 13:48
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QUOTE (ostell @ Thu, 10 Jan 2019 - 09:30) *
So they mentioned para 14 in their NTK. This would appear to mean that they are pursuing you as a hirer. This adds another dimension to the appeals unless the driver has been identified.

I'm not sure that matters at this point. He has been identified as the driver by his employer, the PPC has his photograph and he appears to have told the debt collectors that he "was loading", not parking. I would suggest there is enough evidence there to support a court's finding that he was the driver.

Jopson was indeed a residential parking case, but in it (para 21) the judge discusses the meaning of "parking" and clearly reasons that persons doing loading/deliveries are not parked:

QUOTE
Whether a car is parked, or simply stopped, or left for a moment while unloading, or (to take an example discussed in argument) accompanying a frail person inside, must be a question of fact or degree. I think in the end this was agreed. A milkman leaving his float to carry bottles to the flat would not be “parked”. Nor would a postman delivering letters, a wine merchant delivering a case of wine, and nor, I am satisfied, a retailer’s van, or indeed the appellant, unloading an awkward piece of furniture. Any other approach would leave life in the block of flats close to unworkable, a consideration which those instructing Miss Fenwick seemed reluctant to accept. I am quite satisfied, and I find as a fact, that while the appellant’s car had been stationary for more than a minute and without its driver for the same period (whatever precisely it was), while she carried in her desk, it was not “parked”. Accordingly, for that reason too, the appellant was not liable to the charge stipulated in the respondent’s notice.

The same reasoning could equally be applied to a non-residential situation, as the question of whether someone is "parked" or not does not depend on their status--as the judge's references to the milkman, postman, wine merchant and retailer's delivery agent make clear.

There are CCTV and privacy issues, but none of them would be relevant here. If the PPC has the authority to issue parking charges on the land, then they would probably be able to rely (as to the OP) on the exception to the DPA relating to legal proceedings.

What are the Ts&Cs of the car park? Private car parks often do not allow BB holders to park for free, or wherever they like (leaving aside for a moment what would happen if you were asked to prove that you had a BB...)

Regardless, you may have a legal argument against liability. Best practice is to post here (or post links to elsewhere) redacted copies of the NtK and any other non-debt collector correspondence, as well as photos of the signage in place at the time of the event.

--Churchmouse

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ostell
post Thu, 10 Jan 2019 - 18:02
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The employer has identified him as the keeper at the time. They were not there to know who was the driver. If they are using para 14 the they also need to include hire details and orivinal NTK

But, as you say, if the op has been identified as the driver then all bets are off.
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HSmp
post Thu, 10 Jan 2019 - 23:51
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Thanks folks,

Yes - my employer has identified me as the driver. That is not in question. I don't deny it.

My argument is that I was loading, in the course of my job, not parking. I will go to court if necessary and rely on common sense and British justice rather than pay these scavengers. If the court says I have to pay, then I will do so.

Jopson para 21 does indeed look very relevant, as I fall into one of the categories mentioned by the judge. Thanks again, Churchmouse.

Can anyone confirm my belief that my potential liability here is limited to the original charge, plus approximately £100 for costs?

These parking companies are getting out of hand. I met a friend this morning for coffee at a Costa. There were no parking spaces, so we didn't get out of our cars. We spoke briefly through our windows, then left. However, there were NPE signs in the car park. I'm half expecting another 'parking charge' to fight. My friend's other half is a solicitor, so that could get quite interesting..

I'm going to ask my MP to get involved. The local neswpaper is already running articles on this subject and I think I'll talk to them anonymously. I've emailed them once and they're taking an interest. I'd talk to them on the record, but my employer might not like that..

This post has been edited by HSmp: Thu, 10 Jan 2019 - 23:53
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SchoolRunMum
post Fri, 11 Jan 2019 - 01:29
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QUOTE
Can anyone confirm my belief that my potential liability here is limited to the original charge, plus approximately £100 for costs?


Yes, that's the worst case scenario (unless you acted unreasonably like the Judge found the lay rep (not Barry B) did in the UHW Nurses case...but no-one else acts like that).
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HSmp
post Fri, 11 Jan 2019 - 03:26
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Thank you, SchoolRunMum,

I had a quick look for the UHW case (unbelievable stupidity from the hospital authorities) but didn't find anything about the lay rep. I'll try again later.

If my maximum liability is as stated, I'm good to go, MP, local paper, small claims court and all. Even if I lose it will cost only about £40 more than if I cave in, which is not going to happen.

I can't really see a court ruling against a working driver who falls into one of the categories mentioned in Jopson. As for all the scaremongering about CCJs and credit ratings - I couldn't care less. I'm old enough to have sorted out my finances and paid off all my loans.
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Jlc
post Fri, 11 Jan 2019 - 07:25
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Even if you did lose and paid within 30 days you wouldn’t have an unsatisfied CCJ anyway...


--------------------
RK=Registered Keeper, OP=Original Poster (You!), CoFP=Conditional Offer of Fixed Penalty, NtK=Notice to Keeper, NtD=Notice to Driver
PoFA=Protection of Freedoms Act, SAC=Safety Awareness Course, NIP=Notice of Intended Prosecution, ADR=Alternative Dispute Resolution
PPC=Private Parking Company, LBCCC=Letter Before County Court Claim, PII=Personally Identifiable Information

Private Parking - remember, they just want your money and will say almost anything to get it.
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