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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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HSmp
post Fri, 11 Jan 2019 - 23:54
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QUOTE (Jlc @ Fri, 11 Jan 2019 - 07:25) *
Even if you did lose and paid within 30 days you wouldn’t have an unsatisfied CCJ anyway...


Thanks Jic.

I'm starting to enjoy this now. I've just replied to Gallstones requesting paper copies of the information sheet and reply form. I expect they'd prefer me to do it online and save them time, effort and postage, but I'm not inclined to make life easy for them.

Also, can anyone tell me exactly what I can demand from them in terms of evidence/documentation before this goes to court?

Thanks in advance...
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Redivi
post Sat, 12 Jan 2019 - 07:23
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The safe approach is to take enough cash on the day and ask the NPE solicitor for a receipt

You take the receipt to the court office and the CCJ is never recorded

You demand all the evidence and documents that NPE intends to rely on

You also want its contract with the management agent :

This must meet the criteria of the IPC Code of Practice Section B 1.1
You also require evidence that NPE's appointment was approved by at least 75% of the residents and the company's instructions regarding tradesmen when parking spaces are not available

This will, at the very least cause inconvenience for Gladstones and wipe out its profit on the case

Its business model is a roboclaims process that only charges clients about £25, not the £50 on the claim form
In the absence of the above response, it only ever sees any client documents if it's informed by the court that a claim has been defended
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HSmp
post Sat, 12 Jan 2019 - 22:24
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Thank you Redivi.

My case differs from Jopson in that I was ticketed in a Co-op car park, not a residential parking area. Nevertheless, I was working/loading not parking, so Jopson seems relevant.

Do I still ask for a copy of the contract between the Co-op and NPE?

I had assumed that Gladstones hadn't seen any documentation yet - I can't imagine they'd start legal proceedings if they knew the facts. Can't help wondering what the SRA would make of their business model...

By the way, does it have to be cash? wouldn't a cheque do?

This post has been edited by HSmp: Sat, 12 Jan 2019 - 22:25
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ostell
post Sat, 12 Jan 2019 - 23:47
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Cheques can bounce (I wouldn't/haven't give a receipt for a cheque) and may be refused. That's why it's safer to take cash.

Yes you ask for the contract to show they have the right to charge.

This post has been edited by ostell: Sat, 12 Jan 2019 - 23:49
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nosferatu1001
post Mon, 14 Jan 2019 - 08:42
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A cheque is not cleared funds, so the debt is not settled on the day.
Just take cash if you want smile.gif

Send a SAR to NPE if you havent done so already

This CANNOT ask for e.g. copies of signs as they are not data relating to you
BUT
It will flush out ALL photos etc.
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HSmp
post Wed, 16 Jan 2019 - 20:01
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Thanks folks.

SAR? I can't find out what this is. I've written to Gladstones requesting paper copies of the information sheet and reply form. I thought the reply form would be where I request all documentation..
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nosferatu1001
post Wed, 16 Jan 2019 - 20:02
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Subject access request
Send it to the ppc.
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HSmp
post Thu, 24 Jan 2019 - 22:40
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OK. I've just received paper copies of the information sheet and reply form from Gladstones but I can't work out whether I'm supposed to send it back to them, or to NPE. The wording on the reply form says I have 30 days to complete and return it, and advises that if I have any questions, I call 'the business that sent you this form'. In fact, Gladstones sent it at my request, as mentioned above. So where do I send it please?

Also, I plan to tick the box to dispute the debt, but apart from mentioning Jopson, my reasons for doing so will be the same as those I've already given to NPE. Is that appropriate?

Thanks again.
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ostell
post Fri, 25 Jan 2019 - 07:38
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So now you know that Gladstones know nothing about the case. If you want to return the form (they are obliged to send it) then by all means do so and repeat the reasons that you are not liable.
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nosferatu1001
post Fri, 25 Jan 2019 - 10:25
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You send the form to Gladstones.
Noone else
If you want to, of course.
Give the brief reasons why you dispute the debt
Tell them to send you documents they will rely on, such as the copy of the contract with the landowner. STate that there is no reason to delay disclosure of this document, as their client must have landowbner authority to operate. Commercially sensitive information such as pricing can of course be redacted, but anything else must stay.
You also require
- photos of signage on teh site, along side dates of when these photos were taken
- records of site inspections of signs
- anything else you can think of

State that this disclosure is warranted as it meets the overriding objectives of the courts process, whcih is to narrow the areas under disagreement and avoid court action whereever possible, as well as being a requirement of the PAP.

Did you send the SAR to NPE? If not the clock is ticking.
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HSmp
post Fri, 25 Jan 2019 - 20:27
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Thanks guys,

I'm slightly confused though.

Nosferatu1001 - If I send a SAR to NPE requesting photos, documents etc, do I still ask Gladstones for the things you listed? Seems like duplication. Not that I mind how much effort I put them both to... Also, you said that I cannot ask NPE for copies of the signs.. so I'm assuming I can ask the solicitors and NPE for slightly different things.

I intend to deal with the form and the SAR this weekend and post them by recorded delivery on Monday.

Enough people are now complaining about these bloodsuckers for the problem to be getting attention from Radio 4's 'Moneybox', as well as the Eastern Daily Press and the House of Lords. Hopefully this particular gravy train is heading for the buffers. I'm also wondering whether to refer Gladstones to the SRA. I find it curious that they write to people but ask them to direct replies to their client, and that their return address (for undelivered mail) is a PO Box in Cornwall, despite their registered address being in Cheshire. I've already pointed Moneybox to this forum. I'm certainly not suggesting any impropriety. Just confusion, which does not seem to enhance the reputation of the legal profession.
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bobbione
post Fri, 25 Jan 2019 - 22:09
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Be cautious in relying on Jopson in regards parking vs loading. Judge Harris mentions it as discussion. The outcome of that case is where there is permission to use land a ppc cannot unilaterally vary that permission. In Jopson that permission a lease/tenancy is written and a provable. One could argue a delivery driver if invited onto the land has permission but in court such sn argument needs proof.


Firstly invited at that time
Secondly business or person inviting has rights to vary terms on parking signs

There is a county court appeal case where Jopson is ripped apart in regards waiting vs parking. Appeal not allowed defendant was in car on roadway waiting for less than a minute for his son to leave work parking management vs crutchley

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Redivi
post Sat, 26 Jan 2019 - 02:24
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It's not duplication

You're asking different questions to different organisations

When a solicitor has been appointed, that's who you must send all communications to regarding legal action - signs, contracts etc
I like to add a footnote to the letter that, unless they're in the habit of starting legal action without inspecting their client's case, they must already have this information

The SAR to NPE is uncover all the information they have about you personally
- the DVLA application, the parking notice, all the photos, letters to debt collectors and Gladstones

You're trying to flush out all the evidence they have such as driver identification, observation times
If pictures show the driver, your defence can challenge why the operative didn't warn about parking - see Toothbrush Case
If there's no DVLA information because they read the name on a van, they haven't complied with POFA

If NPE fails to send you information they've passed to Gladstones, or turns up later, they're in breach of GDPR
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bobbione
post Sat, 26 Jan 2019 - 08:52
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Toorhbrush case is 2012 . If relevant (check) it's for limitation of costs claimed from reading this forum is strongest from POFA and at the date of NtK. Check this on parking prankster they have discussed it

Maybe something in van signage as that reasonably a route to identify the driver at the time.
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southpaw82
post Sat, 26 Jan 2019 - 11:51
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Letters to their lawyers are likely to be privileged and exempt from disclosure.


--------------------


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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Churchmouse
post Sat, 26 Jan 2019 - 15:39
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QUOTE (bobbione @ Fri, 25 Jan 2019 - 22:09) *
There is a county court appeal case where Jopson is ripped apart in regards waiting vs parking. Appeal not allowed defendant was in car on roadway waiting for less than a minute for his son to leave work parking management vs crutchley

Yes, Jopson wasn't really the best-reasoned case I can think of, but it is still useful as it could be persuasive to a sympathetic court. As for Crutchley, the next time I need to establish that contractual damages can be payable for trespassing, I will keep it in mind.

--Churchmouse
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bobbione
post Sat, 26 Jan 2019 - 18:32
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Jopson decided by a circuit judge and in Crutchley (again a circuit judge) the superior lease argument is reaffirmed
IF waiting/loading vs parking then then discussion in both cases maybe useful . Jopson was residential. For a residence delivery driver or taxi driver could prove permission to be on the land and this progresses use if permission is temporary , this of course sits with Beavis reasoning.

Crutchley was private business park with designated parking and loading. It hinged on amenity and damages in contract (terms not disputed).

A useful analogy is the postman not deemed to have trespassed in being required to cross a boundary

Implied right of access is a complex issue.

There can be no contract from trespass it is a tort/damage. The case judges contend that the courts could consyrue a license to use the land but none of the cases go into as no claimant has forwarded that argument.

So there are three pillars of Law at play. Contract Tort and Land
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HSmp
post Sat, 26 Jan 2019 - 23:19
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Thanks folks,

More food for thought. Thanks again for all the input. I'm always grateful, and I always take it seriously.

However, I think this situation is probably quite straightforward. I was the driver. Neither I nor my employer dispute that. The times of arrival and departure are recorded. NPE has an extremely grainy picture of me next to the van with a sack in my hand. If they have more pictures, they may well show me coming and going with my hands full (but what's to stop them from 'losing' such images)? My argument is that I was loading, not parking. I was there at a pre-determined time, as part of a daily schedule, and the premises I was visiting shares the car park.

NPE may easily have read the signage on the van and decided not to bother with DVLA. Does that blow their case out of the water? Alternatively they may still have used DVLA. I hope the SAR proves they didn't...

This seems to be the usual scattergun approach - dish out PCNs and live well off those who don't fight back. I'd be amazed if they'd written letters to their lawyers, or if Gladstones are even slightly familiar (yet) with the details.

The bottom line is that I don't care about a couple of hundred pounds. I could have paid these scavengers and forgotten all about it, but this is a matter of principle, so I'm prepared to go to court and put my case before a judge. Obviously I want to win, but I'll be arguing my own case and I'm a layman, so hazy on Contract Tort and Land etc. Jopson does seem quite relevant/similar to my own case, whereas Gladstones/NPE seem to quote only Beavis (ad nauseam) which seems to me not to bear much resemblance to my situation, and suggests to me that they're a bit short of cases helpful to them.

So, I'm making them work for their money this time. I've always found judges to be very sensible, so I'll put my case to the court and if I lose it won't be that much more expensive than surrendering in the first place. If I win, I will make it my business to communicate that fact to my several thousand co-workers, probably via our union and/or social media, and encourage them to fight back too. That alone could help make these robo-claims less lucrative. Several of my workmates have paid up like frightened sheep. Another is watching what happens here, as he is part way down this same process. And that's just in my own workplace. If we all fight back, Gladstones will need to hire more staff. How many little wins does it take to pay an extra salary? Come to think of it, a social media campaign is something I'll consider...

All help very much appreciated. Thanks.

This post has been edited by HSmp: Sat, 26 Jan 2019 - 23:56
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ostell
post Sun, 27 Jan 2019 - 08:47
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You're querying DVLA access. Can you not get your company to make a request to the DVLA to find out if NPE actually made an enquiry?
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nosferatu1001
post Sun, 27 Jan 2019 - 14:11
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Not accessing the dvla is fine, as you're an admitted driver.
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