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Civil Enforcement PCN (breach of maximum stay) - should I pay?, £100 PCN for 15min overstay of 90min limit
superstar.son
post Sat, 25 May 2019 - 17:09
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Hi all,

All photographs are enclosed here: https://imgur.com/a/9OEog3u

The driver at the time (not myself), arrived late one night at a 24hr Starbucks in Manchester, near the Trafford Centre. Apparently, they did not realise that this car park had a 90min limit. I received a PCN today from Civil Enforcement Ltd asking for £100 (reduced to £60) for an alleged overstay of the limit by 15 minutes.

The PCN does not include any photographs of my car during the alleged time that it was there.

The driver says that they did not see the signage, as it was dark, and there were no signs near where they had parked. I have enclosed a photo of the spot where they parked the car that night, and I agree that there are no signs visible from there stating that there is a 90 minute limit. The one sign that you can see from there is a disabled only sign.

However, there are many other signs throughout the car park, most damningly at the entrance itself. I have included these photographs in the link. There was also a sign inside at the counter of the Starbucks, clearly stating that there was a 90 min max. stay, which the driver apparently seemed to miss as well.

Most infuriatingly is the fact that the driver was eligible for a parking permit issued by Starbucks which would have extended their maximum stay by another 90 minutes. However, they didn't realise that they needed to do this at the time. The permit is issued electronically, by a barista inputting the reg number into a computer to inform the ANPR system that the car's time limit is increased. I have returned to the shop, where the staff told me that they couldn't assist me as they had nothing to do with the parking, that the PCN is issued by CE Ltd., and it is to them that the charge is owed. I asked whether they could retroactively issue a parking permit, seeing as the driver had qualified for one at the time, and they said no.

I should also note, the manager of the franchise has offered to appeal to CEL on my behalf to cancel the charge, although he says that this is very unlikely to succeed. He says that the parking limitations have been in place for 7 months now, and that for the first few months they were able to successfully appeal to CEL for cancellations of parking charges, but that this is unlikely to work now. What do you make of this - is it a good idea to try?

I do not want to pay this charge. I'm not sure what best to do. Should I ignore this notice? Should I appeal (and lose the discounted fee)? Or should I just pay it?

Any advice would be gratefully received

(edit: I should also note, the manager of the franchise has offered to appeal to CEL on my behalf to cancel the charge, although he says that this is very unlikely to succeed. He says that the parking limitations have been in place for 7 months now, and that for the first few months they were able to successfully appeal to CEL for cancellations of parking charges, but that this is unlikely to work now. What do you make of this - is it a good idea to try?)

This post has been edited by superstar.son: Sun, 26 May 2019 - 13:56
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post Sat, 25 May 2019 - 17:09
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Redivi
post Sat, 25 May 2019 - 18:51
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Appeal it as the registered keeper on the grounds of poor signs
State that you weren't the driver

When it's rejected, you can make a second more detailed appeal to POPLA

If this fails, ignore all further correspondence except a Letter Before Claim

CEL has a very familiar letter chain that no reply from you will interrupt

Court claims are very common but very easy to defeat
They contain so many fake additional charges (that can't be recovered from you anyway) that CEL will cancel the claim rather than explain them to a judge
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Dave65
post Sat, 25 May 2019 - 21:30
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Also edit your post and remove anything that may identify who drove the vehicle.

It is always "the driver" did this or that.
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superstar.son
post Sat, 25 May 2019 - 22:39
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QUOTE (Redivi @ Sat, 25 May 2019 - 19:51) *
Appeal it as the registered keeper on the grounds of poor signs
State that you weren't the driver

When it's rejected, you can make a second more detailed appeal to POPLA

If this fails, ignore all further correspondence except a Letter Before Claim

CEL has a very familiar letter chain that no reply from you will interrupt

Court claims are very common but very easy to defeat
They contain so many fake additional charges (that can't be recovered from you anyway) that CEL will cancel the claim rather than explain them to a judge


Thank you for your reply.

I'm really quite inexperienced with this sort of thing. If I'm not the driver, how does that affect proceedings?

How likely is my appeal to succeed with POPLA? I have posted a layout of the signage in the imgur link - do you think it would be reasonable to make an appeal on these grounds? (there is also an additional sign inside the restaurant, at the counter, which I did not photograph. This sign clearly indicates a 90min limit. I think the driver failed to see this sign as they did not actually order from the counter, one of their companions at the time ordered for them).

If the POPLA appeal fails, and the case goes to a court, what do you make of my chances then? I'm really not sure about letting it get to that stage - it sounds like a lot of stress + time commitment. I'd only really want to go ahead with it if I knew I stood a very good chance. Otherwise, I wonder whether sucking it up and paying their reduced rate would be best.


QUOTE (Dave65 @ Sat, 25 May 2019 - 22:30) *
Also edit your post and remove anything that may identify who drove the vehicle.

It is always "the driver" did this or that.


Done, thank you for the heads up

This post has been edited by superstar.son: Sat, 25 May 2019 - 22:41
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Redivi
post Sun, 26 May 2019 - 07:42
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You appeal on the grounds that the signs were few in number, high and the £100 charge is far from obvious
You also make clear that you weren't the driver

When you appeal to POPLA, you also challenge whether CEL has a contract with the Starbucks franchisor
It's a near certainty that it doesn't - CEL contracts are arranged by a "clean" parent company that sub-contracts the management

If it goes to court, your chances are as close to 100% as it gets
CEL will cancel because it won't want to explain its fake additional charges to a judge
It will find it more difficult than usual when it's always known that it can't recover them from you as the non-driving keeper
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ostell
post Sun, 26 May 2019 - 08:26
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You also mention the hidden condition in the alleged contract in that the period of parking could be extended by application to the staff.
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superstar.son
post Sun, 26 May 2019 - 13:50
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QUOTE (Redivi @ Sun, 26 May 2019 - 08:42) *
You appeal on the grounds that the signs were few in number, high and the £100 charge is far from obvious
You also make clear that you weren't the driver

When you appeal to POPLA, you also challenge whether CEL has a contract with the Starbucks franchisor
It's a near certainty that it doesn't - CEL contracts are arranged by a "clean" parent company that sub-contracts the management

If it goes to court, your chances are as close to 100% as it gets
CEL will cancel because it won't want to explain its fake additional charges to a judge
It will find it more difficult than usual when it's always known that it can't recover them from you as the non-driving keeper


Thank you very much for your advice.

What are the implications of the franchisor not having a contract with CEL? Does this mean they don't have the right to claim the sum that they are asking for?

Also, what do you make of the fact that the PCN letter did not include photographs of the car?

I should also note, the manager of the franchise has offered to appeal to CEL on my behalf to cancel the charge, although he says that this is very unlikely to succeed. He says that the parking limitations have been in place for 7 months now, and that for the first few months they were able to successfully appeal to CEL for cancellations of parking charges, but that this is unlikely to work now. What do you make of this - is it a good idea to try?

QUOTE (ostell @ Sun, 26 May 2019 - 09:26) *
You also mention the hidden condition in the alleged contract in that the period of parking could be extended by application to the staff.


Is it a hidden condition though? It says it on each of the signs. It's just that the driver of the car happened not to see them on the night of the incident.

This post has been edited by superstar.son: Sun, 26 May 2019 - 13:52
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