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Vehicle Control Services, Ticket in Sheffield
tonybaloney
post Tue, 19 Apr 2011 - 20:14
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I got a ticket from this lot a couple of weeks ago, in Sheffield. Me and a mate were working and had my van parked in my clients parking spot, which is controlled by VCS. I'd had a permit and a note on my dash, saying where I was working and even the operatives number, who'd said we were ok to park there a couple of weeks earlier.
We'd been there all day, without a problem aswell as all the previous day. We nipped out to the suppliers and came back about an hour later to get some paperwork signed.
The permit and note must have fallen off the dash, while we were out without us seeing. When we came back to the van, about 20 minutes after parking up, there was a ticket on it asking for the usual extortionate fee of £80.
I sent an email in, telling VCS of the circumstances. As expected, they said that the ticket would stand and gave me another 2 weeks to pay, which ends on 21/4/11, or it would go up to £120.
I know all the advice says to ignore the notice and don't acknowledge them, but if they tracked down my company as the registered keeper, they'd pay the fee and take it out of my wages aswell as a nice little "admin fee".
I can't make my mind up if the notice is filled in correctly, as the contravention code is only filled in on the bottom section of the ticket.
Any advice on this would be a great help.

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post Tue, 19 Apr 2011 - 20:14
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southpaw82
post Tue, 30 Aug 2016 - 21:52
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I'd imagine you're in much the same position as the people in the dozens of other BW Legal threads.


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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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SchoolRunMum
post Tue, 30 Aug 2016 - 22:17
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QUOTE (tonybaloney @ Tue, 30 Aug 2016 - 22:46) *
The latest update on this is that I've just received the standard letter from BWLegal, stating that the "debt" has been passed to them. I've read about the £54 being un-recoverable, but I just want a bit of clarification on where I stand as the original notice was received in early 2011. Also, they know I was the driver as it was a company van- the thread details the reasons etc.
As they know who was driving, is there any benefit in giving my correct address to respond to?
I've only just received the letter, as again it went to my previous address. This only gives me 3 days to respond (they allow 16 days from the date of the letter), which is why I'm after a quick heads up on where I stand.


The very quickest heads-up would be, as Southpaw effectively suggests in his post, reading the advice already posted day in day out about these exact same letters, since a few months ago when the deluge started. It's quicker to read advice already posted recently, than waiting on this isolated thread for an odd snippet of advice and you will find much more already posted than anyone can manage to post again.

Examples of replies, complaints and how to word them & who to send them to, the lot has been covered several times in this past week alone - even more if you go back further on the forum thread list.

Dunno about everyone else but I'm pretty jaded with the repeated BW Legal threads - but we want you to find what you need and the info is here waiting for you to read it. Do not reply if any poster pm's you offering to 'help' off the thread. You can't be sure who that is and what their agenda might be and you really need nothing more than is posted here umpteen times over. The advice has not changed in the weeks we've been covering this blizzard of BW Legal letters and all versions have been seen and commented on before.

This post has been edited by SchoolRunMum: Tue, 30 Aug 2016 - 22:20
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tonybaloney
post Tue, 30 Aug 2016 - 22:23
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I've had a look around the threads, but they all seem to be more recent than mine. I wasn't sure if there was anything different that needed adding to a reply because they know the driver and also that it was from over 5 and a half years ago.
Also, is it acceptable to email them or is it better to write?
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SchoolRunMum
post Tue, 30 Aug 2016 - 22:29
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Try searching Google then - keywords 'BW Legal 2011 pepipoo' finds the August threads exactly like yours, in less than one second.
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tonybaloney
post Wed, 31 Aug 2016 - 13:03
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Ok, so here goes. After reading as many posts as I can, I've come up with this reply:

I acknowledge receipt of your letter dated 17 August 2016.
As previously communicated to your client, I refute any debt and will dispute this vigorously in the event of any court action.

The costs stated refer to “Initial Legal Costs” of £54. As you should be aware, these are non-recoverable under POFA 4(5) and so I suggest you inform your client before costs exceed anything that may be recoverable. If you are aware of this, I can only assume that you are attempting to exploit my supposed lack of knowledge which breaches The Solicitors Code Of Conduct Chapter 11.

I have also noted that this letter was sent to my previous address. The correct address was communicated to your client following the last correspondence relating to this claim. This would leave me to believe that it was sent in the hope that it would remain un-challenged and an “easy win” could be obtained.

I now require you to respond within 14 days stating that the above matter is now closed and that you have removed all details relating to it from any databases shared between yourselves and VCS Ltd. Should you fail to confirm this, I will file a formal complaint with ICO, the SRA and CSA regarding breaches of the relevant codes.

Yours Faithfully

I'm still not sure whether to attach my proper address and post it or whether to email it to them and leave them to try and find my letter with it on. They also have a web portal, but I'm not sure whether to trust that or not.

Thanks again for any help
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nosferatu1001
post Wed, 31 Aug 2016 - 13:05
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Given if they ever make a claim, it would get sent by post from the court, I would suggest making sure there is no way they can claim they didnt know your current address.

Web portal is fine. Screenshot to show you filled it out.
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tonybaloney
post Tue, 6 Sep 2016 - 20:49
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I've managed to find all the original paperwork etc ,by searching all my old hard drives and realised that the amounts being claimed vary from £120 on the original notice to £100 by Rossendales and BW.
Although it definitely shows a lack of communication between them and highlights their incompitence, could it also be used in my defence in case it gets to court?
I'm just in the process of drafting complaint letters and thought it was also worth including.
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tonybaloney
post Tue, 13 Sep 2016 - 19:38
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I've had another letter from BW today, which I'd appreciate some advice on please.
I've had a look round and haven't found a similar letter. It doesn't really say much, so I'm not sure how to respond.
One thing is that they obviously haven't seen the original PCN, as they refer to paying for a ticket although it was a free car park using permits.

Do I respond by repeating my previous denial of debt and stating that I will now file the formal complaint to the SRA and CSA? I also thought about including references to Ibbotson V VCS, regarding authority to take legal action and VCS v HMRC regarding a VAT invoice. Would this be too much, too soon or is it good to fire a warning shot this early?

Thanks again for any advice.
Attached File  BWLegal_Letter_2_Annotated.compressed.pdf ( 154.64K ) Number of downloads: 61

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peterguk
post Tue, 13 Sep 2016 - 19:48
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QUOTE (tonybaloney @ Tue, 13 Sep 2016 - 20:38) *
It doesn't really say much


So why bother responding?


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tonybaloney
post Tue, 13 Sep 2016 - 22:15
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I was thinking of replying, just to drag it out and to state again that I've no intention of paying. Also, to make them aware that I'm sending in the complaints.
If it ends up in court, my thinking was that I've given them enough warnings and chances to drop it, which the judge will obviously see.
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nosferatu1001
post Tue, 13 Sep 2016 - 22:33
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It's the same template as found in other threads. So the same response I'd merited at most.
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tonybaloney
post Thu, 15 Sep 2016 - 12:05
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Could someone have a look at my letter of complaint to the SRA, please? I've tweaked a letter from Pappa Golf on Moneysavingexpert's forum and just want an opinion on whether anything isn't relevant.
I'd appreciate any advice on this, as always.

Dear Sir/ Madam,

I am contacting you in reference to the behavior of one of your member companies.
I believe you are aware of a number of complaints regarding BW Legal, based in Leeds.

I recently received a letter, dated ........, attempting to get me to pay a disputed invoice from Vehicle Control Services Ltd, plus costs imposed by themselves, of £54. The total claimed was £174.

There were a number of statements, which I found distressing and have since been advised, are misleading and untrue:

(1) “Should we successfully obtain a County Court Judgement (CCJ), this may have a detrimental effect on your future credit worthiness and employability.”

(2) They state that their client also ''reserves the right to commence enforcement proceedings against you for the balance due'' as if a CCJ is a fait accompli.

(3) For the avoidance of doubt the Balance relates to the £120.00 PCN and £54.00 for our client’s initial legal fees, which are detailed in the car park terms and conditions.”

I am advised that those assertions and statements are contrary to the SRA’s Code of Conduct 2011, Chapter 11: Relations with third parties, and particularly are covered under Indicative Behaviours IB(11.7) and IB(11.8).

These statements take unfair advantage of the addressee’s lack of legal knowledge where they have not instructed a lawyer, by stating untruths and making unsubstantiated and unreasonable claims. I am an unrepresented consumer and was distressed to read the letter from BW Legal and was certainly misled by it.

I have been advised to submit this complaint as it breaches the SRA code of conduct.

Regarding statement (1) and (2) I am advised that BW Legal will know that, even if they were to bring County Court proceedings for their client against the addressee, and even if those were successful, it is implied that this would result in a CCJ against the addressee. A CCJ would only be obtained in such a situation if the addressee, after being taken to court successfully and after being ordered by the County Court to pay BW Legal’s client, would then still not pay. It is unfounded and unsubstantiated for BW Legal to assert that this is a likely scenario and describe 'recovery of the CCJ Award' as if it is almost inevitable. This assertion is made to coerce the addressee of BW Legal’s letter into paying their demand. This is taking unfair advantage against an unrepresented addressee and I was certainly alarmed and distressed to read such statements.

Statement (3) is a clear demand by BW Legal on behalf of their client for a sum of £54.00 that is not legally recoverable. BW Legal will know that it has been held countless times that when instructed to collect a simple debt, demanding from the debtor the debt recovery costs is taking unfair advantage, since it cannot be said at that stage that such a cost is legally recoverable; particularly since those costs have not been substantiated at all. This is therefore again clearly taking unfair advantage against an unrepresented addressee. It also refers to Terms and Conditions which are currently in place and not which were in place at the time of the initial invoice.

It is understood that letters of this type are being issued on a large scale, by this company to take advantage of all previous invoices that aren’t legally represented and may now have changed address.

I would therefore respectfully request the SRA take action to ensure that BW Legal stops issuing assertions and statements which are clearly used to coerce consumer recipients into paying unjustified and unenforceable demands. 

Yours Faithfully


Again- thanks for looking. I just need one for the CSA now.

This post has been edited by tonybaloney: Tue, 20 Sep 2016 - 20:34
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tonybaloney
post Tue, 20 Sep 2016 - 20:38
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Hello again,
I've drafted a CSA complaint and would appreciate some feedback before I submit it, please:

Dear Sir/ Madam,

I am writing to complain about one of your member companies and their behavior in the management of an alleged debt .

BW Legal wrote to me on the DATE , regarding an unpaid PCN (Parking Charge Notice), dating back to 2011. They informed me that their client- VCS Ltd had passed the “debt” onto them.

The CSA Code of Practice, Section 1g states that members should “ensure that any communication complies with this Code of Practice and is in plain English”
The letter, I believe, breaches your Code of Practice for the following reasons(Text copied exactly as written.):

1. “For the avoidance of doubt, the Balance Due includes the £120.00 PCN charge plus Our Client’s initial legal costs of £54.00, which are detailed in the car park terms and conditions.”
This contradicts Section 10k- “only impose such costs and interest on customers as it is lawfully entitled”, as they are aware that they are unable to reclaim this cost in court.
It also contradicts Section 1k- “inform their clients of the true rates of charges for services rendered”. The true cost of sending one letter cannot be £54, otherwise the costs would spiral with every piece of correspondence.

2. “In the event County Court Proceedings are issued you may be liable for Court fees, further solicitors costs and statutory interest. Should we successfully obtain a County Court Judgement (“CCJ”), this may have a detrimental effect on your creditworthiness and employability. Our client also reserves the right to commence enforcement proceedings against you for recovery of balance due.”
The CSA Code Of Practice states in Section 1y, members are to “communicate with customers fairly and transparently, and not intentionally mislead them”
As a Debt Recovery Company, BWLegal should be aware that a CCJ would not have any effect on creditworthiness or employability, unless a payment plan is not set up or the debt goes unpaid after 14 days of the judgement. Therefore, it is my belief that the above statement was included in a deliberate attempt to frighten the addressee into paying up.

The above statement also contravenes your Use, Format and Content Of Standard Debt Collection Communication document, which states in Section D, Para 1.1 “The OFT has seen a number of standard letters issued by DCAs which contain inaccuracies and omissions in their description of the debt recovery procedure and the legal process, and which fail to mention that steps are required before enforcement action can be taken. For example:
Letters which set out the potential enforcement actions following non-payment of a County Court Judgment (eg bailiffs seizing goods, employers deducting money from wages) without indicating that a further application to the court is required before enforcement action can be taken (ie to obtain a Warrant of Execution, Attachment of Earnings, Charging Order, etc)”


3. Section 1d says that members should “make available on their website (if they have one), or following a request, a copy of this CSA Code of Practice”.
After searching their website, there is nothing to suggest that a copy is available or even could be, if requested.


This letter was followed up with another letter, dated DATE. In this letter, they stated:
“The terms and conditions (“the Terms”) of the Car Park (which were displayed within the Car Park) required you place, on clear display, a valid parking ticket so that Excel’s agent could easily identify that a parking ticket had been purchased. You failed to comply with the aforementioned Terms and are therefore in breach of Terms and are consequently liable to pay the balance.”

There are a number of inaccuracies in this statement:
1. The car park is a Permit Car Park and so, a “valid parking ticket” cannot be purchased.
2. Their client is VCS Ltd and not Excel.

The fact that these statements are the basic facts of their complaint, leads me to believe that this is a simple “copy and paste” template letter, which demonstrates their lack of regard towards the way that their clients are dealt with.

I look forward to a full investigation into the methods that this company are employing and await your response.

Yours Faithfully


Once again, any advice on anything that needs adding or removing is appreciated.

This post has been edited by tonybaloney: Tue, 20 Sep 2016 - 21:09
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tonybaloney
post Thu, 22 Sep 2016 - 14:15
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Hi again,

I've just received the latest letter from BW. It's titled "Letter of Claim", this time. It's the usual one which mentions Beavis.
Could someone just confirm whether this is their attempt at making me believe that it's a letter before action, or whether I'm due another one sometime soon, please?
I've had a look through Practice Direction and it doesn't comply at all. I've also looked at a lot of similar letters, but with different titles and want to be sure so I send the right response.

Thanks again
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nosferatu1001
post Thu, 22 Sep 2016 - 14:24
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If its called Letter of CLaim, it can reasonably be interpreted that they are considering it a letter before action. So I would respond as such

Reiterate the same points in a small summary, rebutting their usual rubbish, and point out they have failed to follow the practice directions. Given some small details of this, as they have responded back claiming otherwise in other threads - with actual documented proof theyre incompetent, it will make their wiggling even more fun to see!
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tonybaloney
post Thu, 22 Sep 2016 - 14:34
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Thanks Nosferatu- Can I just clarify something? They refer to a "legitimate commercial Interest", in reference to their costs and Beavis- does this still apply if it was a free, permit operated parking space? I got the impression that was usually used for Pay and Displays or shopping precincts.
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nosferatu1001
post Thu, 22 Sep 2016 - 14:46
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Thats a reference to Beavis. Theyre claiming they should make money from it, and / or that the place parked at needed to maintain turnover.

its rubbish. However directly attack it.
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tonybaloney
post Thu, 22 Sep 2016 - 16:43
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Also I found out, the other day, that VCS's client may have gone into liquidation the year before my PCN. Does this have any relevance ie would VCS still have a contract in place, or are they just trying to recoup some money from a client that's gone bust?
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nosferatu1001
post Thu, 22 Sep 2016 - 17:13
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As I understand it, once they go into liquidation, there is no longer a contract. This would mean they cannot offer parking contracts (they have no standing).

Get the companies house records, show it is in liquidation and the date, boom there is no case IF the company was the one they had contract with.
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tonybaloney
post Thu, 22 Sep 2016 - 17:20
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Excellent- that's what I was hoping. When I say there are a few, it looks like they're the same group with the same name, but different divisions for slightly different work streams. They've all been dissolved in the last couple of years, but most of them went into liquidation before my PCN.
I'm tempted to leave it right up to the last minute before asking them wink.gif
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