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Advice on PCS "Leaving Site" charge
Jim King
post Sun, 15 Sep 2019 - 15:49
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Hello,

I've been trying to assist a friend fighting a PCS parking charge of £100 for leaving the "site" on which they were parked. The car park they parked in is a small car park surrounded by shops and buildings on three sides and a road along the fourth. There are other shops surrounding this area including some on the other side of the road, and this is where my friend and the other occupants went. They were parked in a disabled bay as my friend has mobility issues and they had no idea that they were not allowed to park on that car park when visiting other shops in the immediate surroundings.

The only sign on the entrance to the car park is a large "P" sign with "private land" and "terms and conditions apply". When they revisited the site they did see there is another sign that says "the driver of the vehicle must remain on site throughout the entire period of parking". There is no specific information about what "site" means.

After the appeal to PCS was immediately rejected (as expected) I followed the advice here and on other forums to submit an appeal to POPLA. I have been careful not to identify the driver. This appeal has now been rejected, and I have copied their findings at the end of this email.

I notice it says in their findings that they didn't have the picture I submitted with the appeal. I definitely submitted a picture of the sign at the entry to the car park. Surely if they hadn't got the picture they could have easily got in touch and asked for it?

I would be extremely grateful for advice on what to do next. Should they just ignore any demands for payment and hope PCS will eventually give up? What should we do if PCS decide to go to the Small Claims Court? My friend simply can't afford a £100 fine and would never have parked in this place had she realised it wasn't legitimate to do so. She has a Blue Badge so could have actually parked in the road!!!

POPLA Rejection:
In this case, the driver is unknown, so I must consider the Protection of Freedoms Act (PoFA) 2012, as the operator issued the Parking Charge Notice (PCN) to the keeper of the vehicle. The operator has provided me with a copy of the notice to keeper sent to the appellant. I have reviewed the notice to keeper against the relevant sections of PoFA 2012 and I am satisfied that it is compliant. The appellant has been identified as the keeper; as such, I will be considering their liability for the PCN as the keeper. The operator has provided photographic evidence of the signage. The sign states: “The driver of the vehicle must remain on site throughout the entire period of parking” and “Breach of ANY term or conditions will result in the driver being liable for a parking charge of £100”. The operator has provided a copy of the PCN as well as photographs of the vehicle. They say that they parked in a disabled bay and one of the occupants of the car went to a shop across the road. It is the responsibility of the motorist to make sure they are aware of the terms and conditions before deciding to remain. As they have remained, they have accepted the terms. The terms state that the driver of the vehicle must remain on site. The operator has provided evidence to show three people, including the person on the driver’s side of the vehicle, leaving the car park to cross a road. They state that the signs are not clear if you can visit a shop next to the car park. The site that the sign is referring to is the car park and the adjoining shops. The shops across the road are not on the site. They advise that the entrance sign only indicates that there are terms and conditions in the car park and they had to look for them. It is standard practice for the entrance signs to indicate that motorists should see signs within the car park as it is not possible to read all of the terms and conditions while driving the vehicle into the car park. The say that when they found a sign, it indicates you may only use the car park to visit shops on site. They state that it does not define what is mean by the site and if a shop opposite is on the site. As stated above, the site is the car park and adjoining shops. It is clear from the images of the car park that there are clear boundaries to what shops are on the car park and which shops are not as they are separated by the roads. I am satisfied that the operator has provided reasonable opportunity for the motorist to read the terms and conditions and that it is clear what is defined as the site. I am also satisfied that the operator has provided sufficient evidence to show that the driver left the site. The appellant states that they feel the amount of the PCN is high. The legality of parking charges has been the subject of a high profile court case, ParkingEye-v-Beavis. Cambridge County Court heard the case initially, handing down a decision in May 2014 that a parking charge of £85 was allowable. It held that the parking charge had the characteristics of a penalty, in the sense in which that expression is conventionally used, but one that was commercially justifiable because it was neither improper in its purpose nor manifestly excessive in its amount. Mr Beavis took the case to the Court of Appeal, which refused the appeal in April 2015, stating that the charge was neither extravagant nor unconscionable. Mr Beavis further appealed to the Supreme Court, which on 4 November 2015, concluded: “…the £85 charge is not a penalty. Both ParkingEye and the landowners had a legitimate interest in charging overstaying motorists, which extended beyond the recovery of any loss. The interest of the landowners was the provision and efficient management of customer parking for the retail outlets. The interest of ParkingEye was in income from the charge, which met the running costs of a legitimate scheme plus a profit margin. Further, the charge was neither extravagant nor unconscionable, having regard to practice around the United Kingdom, and taking into account the use of this particular car park and the clear wording of the notices.” As such, I must consider whether the signage at this site is sufficient. When doing so, I must first consider the minimum standards set out in Section 18 of the British Parking Association (BPA) Code of Practice. Within Section 18.1 of the BPA Code of Practice, it states as follows: “You must use signs to make it easy for them to find out what your terms and conditions are.” Furthermore, 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.” As stated, these are the minimum standards that a parking operator must meet when informing motorists of the terms and conditions at a particular site. In addition to this, I note that within the Protection of Freedoms Act (PoFA) 2012 it discusses the clarity that needs to be provided to make a motorist aware of the parking charge. Specifically, it requires that the driver is given “adequate notice” of the charge. The Act then moved on to define “adequate notice” as follows: (3) For the purposes of sub-paragraph (2) “adequate notice” means notice given by: (a) the display of one or more notices in accordance with any applicable requirements prescribed in regulations under paragraph 12 for, or for purposes including, the purposes of sub-paragraph (2); or (b) where no such requirements apply, the display of one or more notices which: (i) specify the sum as the charge for unauthorised parking; and (ii) are adequate to bring the charge to the notice of drivers who park vehicles on the relevant land. Even in circumstances where PoFA 2012 does not apply, I believe this to be a reasonable standard to use when making my own independent assessment of the signage in place at the location. Having considered the signage in place at this particular site against the requirements of Section 18 of the BPA Code of Practice and PoFA 2012, I am of the view that the signage at the site is sufficient to bring the parking charge to the attention of the motorist. Therefore, having considered the decision of the Supreme Court decision, I conclude that the parking charge in this instance is allowable. Although the charge may not be a genuine pre-estimate of loss; the signage at the location is clear, the motorist did not keep to the terms and conditions set out on the signage, and the charge is neither extravagant nor unconscionable. While the charge in this instance was £100; this is in the region of the £85 charge decided on by the Supreme Court. I note that the appellant indicated that they have uploaded images; however, there are none on the case. I am only able to assess the appeal based on the evidence provided. It is the responsibility of the appellant to make sure that the evidence relied upon has been correctly attached to the case when submitted. After reviewing the evidence, I can see that the motorist has parked in the car park and has left the site. As the driver was observed leaving site, the PCN has been issued. As such, I conclude that the PCN has been issued correctly. Accordingly, I must refuse this appeal.[/i]
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post Sun, 15 Sep 2019 - 15:49
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ostell
post Sun, 15 Sep 2019 - 16:52
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Have you had a look at VCS v Ibbotson, the "toothbrush" case?

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Redivi
post Sun, 15 Sep 2019 - 18:24
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Which parking company ?

PCS can't take anyone to court because it's a trading name of Debt Recovery Plus

DRP is a debt collector that's contracted by some companies to manage their appeal process

It then uses its real name to chase payment of unpaid parking notices after it's refused the appeals

POPLA is only interested in whether the PCN was issued correctly
It's not interested in whether a payment is legally owed





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Jim King
post Wed, 18 Sep 2019 - 15:24
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Thanks for the replies. I've just read the transcript of the VCS v. Ibbotson case – is the fact that they were not legally able to sue on behalf of the landowners something that is likely to still apply, or will the parking enforcement companies be wise to this and have written agreements in their contracts now?

In other words, can PCS or rather the DRP legally take the case to court?

I've attached some photos in the post below showing the signs and where the car was parked (it's the light blue car on the end). You can see the car park is pretty empty, so I can't see how their parking caused any damage to the businesses. You can see the road next to the car park and there are shops on the other side of the road. Is it obvious that the "site" doesn't include such shops, as the POPLA findings claim?

What would your best advice be? Just to ignore any demands for payment that they receive?


This post has been edited by Jim King: Wed, 18 Sep 2019 - 19:07
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ostell
post Wed, 18 Sep 2019 - 16:10
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I dont have a dropbox account. Suggest imgur
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Jim King
post Wed, 18 Sep 2019 - 18:24
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Sorry, I thought the images were the publicly available. Here they are on imgur








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nosferatu1001
post Thu, 19 Sep 2019 - 10:16
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VCS may or may not have a contract. Ibbotson was about leaving site, NOT agreement, and thats the message you should have taken away!

DRP cannot take ANYONE to court ever.
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ostell
post Thu, 19 Sep 2019 - 10:42
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VCS got chewed off in that case as there was nothing that actually defined "the site"

This post has been edited by ostell: Thu, 19 Sep 2019 - 10:43
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Sheffield Dave
post Thu, 19 Sep 2019 - 11:04
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IIRC, The "tooothbrush" part of Ibbotson concerned VCS misleading the court about having the contractual right to bring proceedings, rather than the main issue of leaving the site.
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Jim King
post Thu, 19 Sep 2019 - 11:58
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Yes, when I read through the court proceedings it appeared to me that it was thrown out because they didn't have agreement to sue on behalf of the landowners. The transcript doesn't really dwell on the definition of "site" as far as I can see.

So would you say the best course of action is just to ignore any demands for payment as it's unlikely it will be taken further?

This post has been edited by Jim King: Thu, 19 Sep 2019 - 11:59
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The Rookie
post Thu, 19 Sep 2019 - 12:02
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It was, Coates had to admit they had no right in the VCS contract with the landholder to bring a court action, she was told if any where still on the court Docket come that Friday she should bring her toothbrush - comedy gold.

http://forums.pepipoo.com/index.php?act=at...t&id=16231)


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There is no such thing as a law abiding motorist, just those who have been scammed and those yet to be scammed!

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nosferatu1001
post Thu, 19 Sep 2019 - 13:50
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OP - no, why do you think you sit and do nothing?
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Jim King
post Sat, 21 Sep 2019 - 17:35
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QUOTE (nosferatu1001 @ Thu, 19 Sep 2019 - 14:50) *
OP - no, why do you think you sit and do nothing?

because I'm not sure what else we can do as POPLA appeal failed?
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The Rookie
post Mon, 23 Sep 2019 - 04:23
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You can simply go about your business, ignore (but file) anything related to this UNLESS it's a formal letter before claim or actual court papers. the only way they can make you pay is via court action which you then defend using the useful background in 'Ibbotson'.


--------------------
There is no such thing as a law abiding motorist, just those who have been scammed and those yet to be scammed!

S172's
Rookies 1-0 Kent

Council PCN's
Rookies 1-0 Warwick
Rookies 1-0 Birmingham

PPC PCN's
Rookies 10-0 PPC's
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nosferatu1001
post Mon, 23 Sep 2019 - 12:02
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Exactly

Its not dong "nothign" - its looking out for a LBA, looking into other cases so you KNOW what to do when one arrives, or a claim form, etc

BE proactive.
VCS is litigious so its best to be prepared.
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