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Perryqhill
Hi. Just arrived at the forum after being reccommended here over at MSE forums. I've been posting a while over there initially because of a PCN issues by VCS and now BW Legal are involved.

Back in March (1/3/16) I parked in a car park I use for work three times a week. As usual I paid and displayed. Unfortunately for whatever reason when I came back to the car I had a parking charge notice for £60 as the ticket I'd purchased wasn't displayed and had flipped upside down onto the dashboard.

I first emailed VCS a copy of the ticket explaining the weather conditions must have caused the ticket to move in the car. They replied with a letter stating that my ticket was not displayed correctly and as no mitigating circumstances have been given they saw no reason to warrant cancellation of the notice.

I then replied stating they didn't provide tickets which stick on and that they were welcome to take me to court.

Since then we've had three more similar letters from VCS each one becoming more 'urgent' and we haven't responded.

In mid June 2016 we got a letter from Debt Recovery Plus Ltd asking for £160 which we ignored. They followed up that letter (16th July) with similar trying to frighten us into paying with a letter talking about landmark ruling Beavis v Parking Eye. After taking advice elsewhere I chose to ignore said letters.

Then in December (around the 10th) 2016 I started recieving correspondence from BW Legal asking for the amount of £100PCN plus initial legal costs of £60. It states they require payment in full within 16 days of the letter and if we fail to do so or provide reasons for non payment in that time frame they will see their clients instructions to commence legal proceeding against us in the form of a county court claim form in the county court.

Needing a response and not being sure what to reply with, I went with the below:

QUOTE
Dear Sir/Madam,

RE: Your reference ******

I deny any debt to Vehicle Control Services Ltd and refer you to my initial response to your client regarding the ticket I purchased on the day of the alleged offence and retain to this day.

Regarding your intention to claim £60 for legal costs, I refer you to CPR 27.14.

If your client intends court proceedings, please provide a properly formatted Letter Before Claim that fully complies with the requirements of the Practice Direction on Pre-action conduct and Protocols.
I will then be in a position to provide a more detailed response.

Yours Faithfully


They initially responsed Thurday this week with a letter stating they hadn't recieved a response, now today they've replied with:

QUOTE
We refer to the above matter and your recent correspondence.

Our Client is seeking recovery of the PCN recovery costs n the sum of £54. We refer you to the bottom of the Tariff Board, which states, '[the Claimant} will be entitled to take legal proceeding to recover any outstnading charges, including interest and any addition costs incurred.'

We confirm Our Client elects to rely on the court of appeal ruling in Chaplair Limited v Kumari [2015] EWCA Civ 798, 'that does not alter the fact that it remains a contractual entitlement which the court will enforce subject to its equitable power to disallow unreasonable expenses. There is nothing in the rule making powers in respect of the CPR which enable the rules to exclude or override that contractual entitlement and I therefore agree with Arden LJ that the judge had jurisdiction to assess the costs free from any restraints imposed by CPR 27.14.


Obviously through the course of the weekend I've got bit of reading to do on these thing to get a reply together. The BTW car is registered in my partners name. I replied early on with a scanned image of the parking ticket from the day admitting I was driving on the day in question. I'll upload a couple of images of the signs up in the car park.







One of the parking notices in the car park:
Gan
Chaplair concerned a housing agreement in which the issue of legal costs was specifically written into the contract
It's yet another contrived attempt by BWL to get around CPR 27.14

There's no mention of such costs on the sign

There's also the issue of whether VCS has actually paid the amount
If not, it's an Indemnity Cost that can only be awarded if the court is satisfied that the legal issues are "outside the norm" Excelsior Commercial & Industrial Holdings Ltd v Salisbury Hammer Aspden and Johnson

BW Legal accounts don't support their assertion that they're paid the £54
They don't even support the £50 fee to issue claims

It's a bit late as you've already contacted VCS but edit your post so you don't reveal the identity of the driver
ManxRed
Are all the parking signs like that one, or are there others? I suspect there will be some VCS ones somewhere, in which case we need to see one of those.

That sign doesn't cut it (for them) for a number of reasons.
Lynnzer
Love it.
I mean I LOVE IT

That sign is going to be so nice to see in front of a judge. If this ever gets that far make sure to take a big handkerchief so you can cover your face when the judge splurts spit all over from laughing out loud.

If there are other signs it would be nice to see one as they will almost certainly be prohibitive in nature and anyway will be in contradiction to the one you posted already.

This is already high on the list for a claim for a breach of DPA and worthy of a DVLA complaint.

The sign states the un-statable words PENALTY, CLAMPING, TOWING.
It also places no obligation to display the permit in any particlur way, just to display a valid ticket. You did. Simple.
ostell
There's also, unlike Beavis, no mention of any sum involved for failing to display so how can you contract for any sum?
Perryqhill
QUOTE (Gan @ Sat, 21 Jan 2017 - 11:42) *
It's a bit late as you've already contacted VCS but edit your post so you don't reveal the identity of the driver


Cheers. For the reply.

Unfortunately BW are now writing to me rather than the keeper (my partner).

QUOTE (ManxRed @ Sat, 21 Jan 2017 - 11:58) *
Are all the parking signs like that one, or are there others? I suspect there will be some VCS ones somewhere, in which case we need to see one of those.

That sign doesn't cut it (for them) for a number of reasons.


I've only been provided with two so far. I believe several of them are like this but need to take photos of them all

Gan
Do the tickets have serial numbers on the back so the operative could have checked that yours was valid ?

The signs say "Pay and Display ticket holders"
They don't say "Pay and Display ticket displayers"

When a contract term is ambiguous, it must be interpreted against the person that drafted it (contra proferentem rule)
The Consumer Rights Act 2015 also says that where a term can have more than one meaning, it should be interpreted in favour of the consumer
ManxRed
The first sign is terrible. As mentioned, it contains no details of the company you're supposedly contracting with (so cannot form a contract), it does not detail what the charge is for failing to display, and it misrepresents its authority by stating that you will receive a 'penalty' when what you will actually receive is an invoice for allegedly breaching a contract. It's useless.

The second sign doesn't say anything about non-display of the ticket as being a breach of the terms, so as far as that is concerned, you haven't done anything wrong.
ostell
And the alternative condition is Registered Visitors. How you register I don't know but were you a valid visitor?
Perryqhill
QUOTE (Gan @ Sat, 21 Jan 2017 - 14:20) *
Do the tickets have serial numbers on the back so the operative could have checked that yours was valid ?

The signs say "Pay and Display ticket holders"
They don't say "Pay and Display ticket displayers"

When a contract term is ambiguous, it must be interpreted against the person that drafted it (contra proferentem rule)
The Consumer Rights Act 2015 also says that where a term can have more than one meaning, it should be interpreted in favour of the consumer


Unfortunately the tickets don't have serial numbers on the back.

QUOTE (ostell @ Sat, 21 Jan 2017 - 18:05) *
And the alternative condition is Registered Visitors. How you register I don't know but were you a valid visitor?


I presume I was given I paid for a ticket?
Perryqhill

Hi guys. Back in 2016 and 2017 I was fighting this on behalf of my partner as the car in question was mine and initially she replied to VCS with an email of said ticket from the day before we knew anything about parking fines etc. They sent several letters initially which we ignored and then DRP and Zenith collections got involved. Eventually I took control of it and after some great help on here and pepipoo I replied several times to BW Legal. I think BW Legal basically gave up as their last reply was 19th January 2017 and they were keep offering more and more irrelevant case history and we were getting more and more robust in our replies. Unfortunately the posts I made on here seem to have gone and I can't find the thread, but the shorter thread on MSE is still there https://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/showth....php?p=71977720

Since then we had a new baby in March 17, moved house in August 17 and we'd not heard anything and so as life got busy I'd no need to come back on here and almost forgot about it.

However this week I've now had a Letter Before Claim from VCS about the same thing. It doesn't give any case histories as an example, It just mentions the location, car reg and despite their best endeavours to recover payment it's proved unsuccesful and that unless the balance is paid they will have no alternative but to commence legal proceedings.

Interestingly though it's to me, not my partner, who previously had admitted she was driving on the day. So obviously I'm going to have to do a bit of research and sort a reply out. Has anything changed in the mean time on parking fines I should know about?

I've still got all of the letters from the various companies barring one or two of the early ones and two of the replies I sent, the ticket from the day and the photos of their quite poor signage, which differed in parts of the car park.

In terms of the reply I'm thinking I should thank them for telling me it has now been passed to their legal department, as they also did in on 16th December 2016. That I strongly deny any debt to VCS and point out that I retain a ticket from the day, as I also retain images of their inadequate signage from the time which included the words "your vehicle being immobilised or removed from site without further notice" which at the time was already illegal. Also pointing out that the claim appears to have arisen over a non payment of a tarif and a failure to display, but previous evidence from VCS proved we did display. The signs only stated that the ticket be displayed, not that it should be displayed in any particular way.


I'm going to have a scan now and try and get some more ideas on the forum, but thanks for any help given now or in the past.
ostell
This sounds like railway stating parking, or similar. Can you confirm.

So they know the identity of the driver and are proceeding against the keeper despite this.
Redivi
Can't see any mention of railway parking and don't recall any previous VCS threads on the subject

Does the Letter Before Claim include the questionnaire for the Pre-action Protocol for Debt Claims ?

If so, fill it in
If not, tell VCS to refer to the previous correspondence with BWL

If a claim arrives, there's a bullet-proof defence that VCS has no right to recover payment from you because the driver was identified
They can't complain that you've ambushed them if BWL failed to pass on the information

The usual advice is to send a Subject Access Request for all the information they hold on you
I've got mixed feelings about this

If VCS sends a copy of your letter that named the driver, their case is demolished - they can't deny that they had the information
The trouble is that somebody might recognise it, realise their mistake and chase your partner instead
Perryqhill
QUOTE (ostell @ Sun, 5 May 2019 - 11:59) *
This sounds like railway stating parking, or similar. Can you confirm.

So they know the identity of the driver and are proceeding against the keeper despite this.


Not railway no, just a town centre car park. Can't remember who owns it now but we chased it up at the time and couldn't actually trace them through the numbers we got hold of.

Yeah. Have the letters from 2016/17 as initially she replied and told VCS she'd bought a ticket and retained it etc. Every reply after that (VCS and eventually BW Legal was to her).

QUOTE (Redivi @ Sun, 5 May 2019 - 15:03) *
Can't see any mention of railway parking and don't recall any previous VCS threads on the subject

Does the Letter Before Claim include the questionnaire for the Pre-action Protocol for Debt Claims ?

If so, fill it in
If not, tell VCS to refer to the previous correspondence with BWL

If a claim arrives, there's a bullet-proof defence that VCS has no right to recover payment from you because the driver was identified
They can't complain that you've ambushed them if BWL failed to pass on the information

The usual advice is to send a Subject Access Request for all the information they hold on you
I've got mixed feelings about this

If VCS sends a copy of your letter that named the driver, their case is demolished - they can't deny that they had the information
The trouble is that somebody might recognise it, realise their mistake and chase your partner instead



Letter before claim doesn't include a questionnaire, just a link to a reply form on their website. Do I fill this in saying I dispute the debt?

I've also been advised elsewhere to tell VCS in an email to their Data Protection Officer, to erase my old address data as I could be in danger of a sneaky tactic of sending a claim form to my old address in the hope I don't see it in time.
Redivi
As soon as the name and address for the driver has been provided, any right to recover payment from the registered keeper ends
That's academic with VCS because it doesn't rely on that legislation and assumes that the registered keeper was driving

Don't use their reply form

Download the form here and post it
Keep a copy and ask the Post Office for a free certificate of sending

https://www.justice.gov.uk/courts/procedure...ls/debt-pap.pdf

Box D:

I dispute the debt because :

I was not the driver and VCS has not met the conditions of POFA to recover payment as the registered keeper
Your signage was not only inadequate but unlawful
Your allegation that the parking ticket was not paid and/or displayed is incorrect
I do not believe that you have incurred the additional charges
Even if you have, they cannot be recovered


Normally I would recommend asking for all the documents and photographs they intend to rely on, also all correspondence as a Subject Access Request
In this case I wouldn't because somebody might notice the error
Perryqhill
Thanks I'll get that sorted.
The Rookie
This thread?
http://forums.pepipoo.com/index.php?showtopic=111281&hl=
Perryqhill
QUOTE (The Rookie @ Thu, 9 May 2019 - 09:06) *


Yeah that's the one. I did search honestly!
Perryqhill
QUOTE (Redivi @ Wed, 8 May 2019 - 17:30) *
As soon as the name and address for the driver has been provided, any right to recover payment from the registered keeper ends
That's academic with VCS because it doesn't rely on that legislation and assumes that the registered keeper was driving

Don't use their reply form

Download the form here and post it
Keep a copy and ask the Post Office for a free certificate of sending

https://www.justice.gov.uk/courts/procedure...ls/debt-pap.pdf

Box D:

I dispute the debt because :

I was not the driver and VCS has not met the conditions of POFA to recover payment as the registered keeper
Your signage was not only inadequate but unlawful
Your allegation that the parking ticket was not paid and/or displayed is incorrect
I do not believe that you have incurred the additional charges
Even if you have, they cannot be recovered


Normally I would recommend asking for all the documents and photographs they intend to rely on, also all correspondence as a Subject Access Request
In this case I wouldn't because somebody might notice the error


In section 4 would you provide any documents i.e. a copy of the ticket from the day in question or reply just disputing their claims with the above?
Redivi
I personally wouldn't provide a copy of the ticket

VCS would say it that having it proves you were the driver

Apart from which, according to an earlier post, your partner has already sent a copy
Perryqhill
Fair enough. I've got it sorted to send now. Thanks for your help.
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