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UK Parking Control County Court Claim From 2016
Tpayne
post Fri, 15 Oct 2021 - 08:33
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Hi everyone, I would really appreciate help on this. As a preamble my Dad whose now 81 is going in for a round of radiotherapy to treat prostate cancer starting tomorrow. I honestly don't really have the mental strength to deal with this fully.

So today I got a letter through from the County Court Business Centre with a Claim Form. It's from UK Parking Control Limited (I will try and attach the letter to this post if it's possible).

In short they are demanding £284.67 including court and legal fees for a contravention they claim happened in 2016!! What's worse is where this contravention apparently occurred has free parking for customers so I am being charged for an apparent PCN on a dubious basis.

For my part I honestly don't remember ever getting a PCN nor do I recall ever hearing anything from these people until I got this claim form. I have, however, used that car park on numerous occasions so it's very possible that I was there during this time.

They claim the car was parked in breach of the signs but I am not sure what they would be claiming - as the car park was free and still is to this day as far as I am aware.

They also are claiming that I agreed to pay within 28 days but did not - this is something I certainly never did as I never even knew this PCN existed.

To be honest, I am just shocked that an alleged PCN from 2016 is being sent to the county court now - I can't believe they took so long to take action. How can anyone keep any recollection of what happened that long ago esp with no notifications.

My main fear is getting a CCJ - I have just about managed to stay above board with my credit rating but a CCJ would be devastating. Can you please advise me what I can do in this situation?

Given my circumstances I am leaning towards simply paying them and asking them to discontinue the case - is this a possibility? I don't think I could stomach this being dragged on for ages longer. Then again, part of me wants to fight - esp given the blatant lies suggesting I said I would pay and never did not to mention the overall trumped up charges.

What's your feeling? I would really appreciate your help please.

Ps I've not received any additional information on Particulars of Claim from their legal team - but then I only got the claim form today.

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post Fri, 15 Oct 2021 - 08:33
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nosferatu1001
post Fri, 15 Oct 2021 - 09:48
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1) issue date is 11.10.2021 so acknowledge the claim ONLINE tomorrow. Not today.
2) the signs will likely state the driver agrees to pay. So of course they state this
3) any reason you didn't get at minimum 3 letters? They've got your right address now, so was it an old address? V5 changed if you moved? Check, and confirm back to us.
4) free but with a time limit?
5) the claim form doesn't say full particulars to follow, does it? If nit, you're not going to get ANYTHING further for now
6) as you know, because you've read other threads - or wil do, hint! - you DONT get a recorded ccj just for losing. You get one for losing in court AND not paying within 30 days. So, don't do that.

First steps, today, are to go to the MSE forum parking newbies page (google it) and READ POST 2. All of it. Twice. Then a third time. I'm not kidding. It eilll take you through the COMPLETE court process, including the bit you've missed - letter before claim - and encourage yiu to do obvious things, such as sending a SAR (google it) to the parking company (ppc) so that, in 30 days, yiu wil have all data relating to you,including a copy of the original PCN.

It also gives you an example defence, because you will not be able to count on getting g this data back in time. You will, of course, point out that this is the FIRST COKMMUNICSTION YOU HAVE RECEUVED FROM THE CLAIMANT, in your defence, and the claimant is in breach of the pre action protocol for debt claims. You are having to produce a defence covering all bases because of the claimants apparent failure to engage

You WILL do this in yiur defence, because it explains in two lines the position you're in. Not doing so is a terrible idea.
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Dave65
post Fri, 15 Oct 2021 - 09:52
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You would be able to pay this if you choose to do so.
But, it looks like they've added around the £60 for debt collectors letters etc. Which you would challenge in your defence.
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ManxRed
post Fri, 15 Oct 2021 - 09:59
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When you acknowledge the claim don't put anything in the defence box, not even a full stop.

They appear to have added an arbitrary £60 onto the total PCN charge, this can be challenged. As they have never engaged with you previously they have no idea who was driving (and let's maintain that on here, as they are known to read forums. Always refer to the driver as 'the driver' even on this thread). Under Protection of Freedoms Act (which they will claim they complied with - more on that in the MSE thread no doubt) the maximum they can claim is the value of the original ticket, which would have been £100, not £160.

They are claiming interest on the payment, yet they're the ones who have waited five years to bring a claim. so that can also be challenged.

Read the MSE thread, as advised.


--------------------
Sometimes I use big words I don't understand in an effort to make myself sound more photosynthesis.
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Tpayne
post Fri, 15 Oct 2021 - 14:24
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Hey, first of all thank you so much for your super fast responses and all the positive next steps - it's emboldened me to take this further.

In answer to your questions Nosferatu1001 - I don't see any reason why previous communication has not been received as the address has stayed the same. Secondly, the free parking as far as I know is not time barred - or at least I've not seen anything stating a limit. The only stipulation as far as I am aware is that you have to be a customer.

I will now take the next steps you all mentioned and read the MSE post and tomorrow will acknowledge receipt. I will then take the next steps from there - I'll update this thread as I go through the process. Thank you very much for the support - it's really appreciated!
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nosferatu1001
post Fri, 15 Oct 2021 - 15:39
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Don't guess at this, you need to know. Check the signs

It could be a "driver walked off site" pcn. Those are really, really difficult for ppcs to prove. But you must be sure.
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Tpayne
post Wed, 20 Oct 2021 - 19:04
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Hey everyone,

Thank you for all your help so far. I thought I would update you as things have progressed slightly. So I acknowledged the claim as suggested and I went through the MSE forum posts. I also sent out an SAR as suggested.

I got back the SAR today - and I now know the reason for the PCN. Apparently the driver did not park correctly within the markings. There are pictures of this and I am also taking a screenshot of the PCN.

Attached Image


I think I now have some idea of this incident - I think it's possible the driver parked this way because the other car was parked in the lane next to it in the middle - which is not shown in these pictures. Hence the car is outside of the line but was not obstructing any other lane - as can be seen by the pictures.

Attached Image

Attached Image


As you can see the signage itself is a tiny sign taken at a random angle - it seems to be on a lamppost at some height with small writing.

Attached Image


Given the evidence what do you think would be the best defence going forward. Is there anything I should be aware of?

I would appreciate your input before putting together the defence - thank you.

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Jlc
post Wed, 20 Oct 2021 - 19:15
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Poor signage seems to feature highly - any closer shots of the wording? (Particularly anything about random escalation of the charge)

Problem is it's trite that parking within a bay is expected behaviour in a car park (especially by such a significant amount!)

However, the amount they are claiming is truly horrendous. Whilst they have 6 years to pursue such a claim there doesn't appear to be any good reason to leave it so long? (Argue against large interest bill)

Is there a copy of the NtK? Did it comply with PoFA?

This post has been edited by Jlc: Wed, 20 Oct 2021 - 19:17


--------------------
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, SAR=Subject Access Request

Private Parking - remember, they just want your money and will say almost anything to get it.
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Tpayne
post Thu, 21 Oct 2021 - 19:04
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Thank you for your response Jlc.

With regards to the signage - I will be visiting the car park this weekend to see if the same sign is still present. Even then, it may have been changed since 2016 - in which case the only image is the one I've attached in the last post which they sent me - its very grainy and we would not be able to make out what it actually said. I will investigate it further though and report back on it.

There is a copy of the NtK and from what I can see it does seem to conform with PoFA. I will try and attach it to this post so you can take a look to see if I have missed anything.

Given the circumstances the defence would be based on 1) Signage being too small to read/placed in odd location 2) Argue against the large interest charges and why this was case was not brought sooner 3) The disparity between the charge and the crime itself (parking outside a designated parking line).

Am I able to argue that they have not been able to identify the driver and therefore there is no contract between the registered keeper and the private parking operator? Furthermore, it's a free car park - no charges are levied for staying.

Ill update on the weekend and I hope I can get a skeleton defence plan together as well - any suggestions would be very welcome.

Attached File  NTK.pdf ( 231.33K ) Number of downloads: 18
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Jlc
post Thu, 21 Oct 2021 - 20:41
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QUOTE (Tpayne @ Thu, 21 Oct 2021 - 20:04) *
Am I able to argue that they have not been able to identify the driver and therefore there is no contract between the registered keeper and the private parking operator? Furthermore, it's a free car park - no charges are levied for staying.

Any alleged contract is *always* with the driver. However, if they comply with PoFA then they can pursue the keeper (presumed to be the RK) for the driver's unpaid parking charge.

Being a free car park doesn't make any difference. There are contractual terms still...

QUOTE (Tpayne @ Thu, 21 Oct 2021 - 20:04) *
Ill update on the weekend and I hope I can get a skeleton defence plan together as well - any suggestions would be very welcome.

The wording does not comply 100% with PoFA. There's also no period of parking for sure...

Check the list here under 8(2) - note it says the notice MUST...

This post has been edited by Jlc: Thu, 21 Oct 2021 - 20:42


--------------------
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, SAR=Subject Access Request

Private Parking - remember, they just want your money and will say almost anything to get it.
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nosferatu1001
post Fri, 22 Oct 2021 - 11:39
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1) signage. It helps if they've improved the signs. The only logical reason to do so is the previous signs were inadequate. But obviously getting pictures helps

However when debating signs, the most convincing witness is.. a witness. Not someone hearing from "the driver" that the signs were bad. If the keeper happens to be the driver, it CAN be of benefit to be an admitted driver
2) No, that's NOT A DEFENCE - you're defending the claim that you're liable for a charge. That is a question as to whether it is unreasonable for them to delay this long to collect interest at 80 times the base rate

3) not in any way shape or form a defence. Neither is it being a free carpark. Parking eye v Beavis. Read it. Supreme Court decision.
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Tpayne
post Fri, 29 Oct 2021 - 19:44
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Hey everyone,

Sorry for the delay in getting the photos but I have finally been able to visit the car park. So here is the original sign picture taken in 2016 released to me through SAR:

Attached Image


And this is the sign as it is now:

Attached Image


This view is approximately the distance from the parking space in question. Below I have taken close ups of the sign for reference:

Attached Image

Attached Image


So its clear the signs have changed - in 2016 it was almost half the size and the text just as small if not smaller. In 2016 the chances of actually spotting this sign let alone reading it would have been difficult.

Given everything that has been said in the thread so far - I am now compiling a list of defences I can use - am I correct in saying they are the following:

1. NtK wording does not comply 100% with the PoFA.

2. Ntk does not state period of parking

3. Signage has been improved since 2016. In 2016 the signs were not readable and placed in an obscure fashion - its not sure the average Driver would have been able to see such a sign let alone read the instructions on it.

4. The identity of the Driver has not been established.

5. The Claim form is the first time I became aware of this PCN. The arbitrary extra charges added - the original ticket value being £100 - why the additional £60 as well as interest for 5 years at an exorbitant rate - why did they wait 5 years to bring this case?

Are these my main defences? Have I missed anything? Could I add anything?

I would very much appreciate your final input on this - I'll compile this over the weekend and send in a defence - thank you all for the help so far - it's truly been invaluable.

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nosferatu1001
post Fri, 29 Oct 2021 - 20:39
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Don't compile a defence when a good template exists - MSE forum newbies thread. Give it a google.
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