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Biker JP
The general advice on this forum regarding "tickets" from Private Parking Companies appears to still be "IGNORE".

However, I saw a post in which someone suggested responding with the letter below, effectively letting the PPC know that you won't put up with their bull***. There is an argument to say that on receiving this sort of letter, they may flag your details on their system so as to save themselves time, energy and cost in further pursuing you.

For all you regulars on this forum, I'm keen to know your thoughts as to the pros and cons of Ignoring vs Responding with the letter below. I look forward to your comments.

Dear Sir/Madam

I refer to your Contractual Parking Charge Notice number: XXXXXXX

I am unable to confirm at this stage if I was the driver of the vehicle at the date shown. I cannot think of any action of mine that may have contributed to the alleged contractual contravention and cannot remember entering into any parking contract with you.

I am therefore unable to make an informed appeal against the circumstances since I am unsure if it was me that agreed any contract with you, although I certainly don't recall doing so. I am unwilling to make any payment on notification from a company I do not know, for an amount I cannot remember agreeing to, on a contract I didn't have any knowledge of.


I will not make payment for any speculative demand without proof of the existence of any supposed contract between us, and your legal right to make such a contract with me in the first place. If you would kindly send details as follows I will then be able to properly consider this matter fully and my own liability for any alleged contractual breach:



  1. Proof of your right to make a contract with a driver using the said car park facility. This to be in the form of landowner rights such as a copy of the land deeds, any contract with the landowner giving you the right of occupation of the land rather than a right of access for monitoring the said area, or a lease agreement for the land in question.

  2. A copy of the contract between yourself and the landlord showing your responsibilities in monitoring the car park on their behalf, and your right to pursue any matter to legal proceedings if no payment is forthcoming.

  3. A copy of any contract that you allege exists between yourself or landowner client and me; such contract to be shown to have been properly offered and then accepted by me or any other driver who may have been involved in this matter.

  4. The reasoning of the alleged contravention. Please advise as to whether this alleged offence was supposedly for a Breach of a Contractual Parking arrangement or for Trespass. If no contractual agreement was made or accepted by either party, then an explanation as to why you consider trespass was committed in an area where there is free access by the landowner to members of the public.

  5. In the unlikely event that you do have full rights to make contracts with individual drivers, either on behalf of the landowner, or at your own behest due to some contractual arrangement with your client, then I need a breakdown of what charges have been made in connection with the alleged contravention or trespass and how they have been calculated in accordance with the necessity to make a charge for a known financial loss to the landowner.
I am aware of the legal aspects of the monitoring of such premises and am keen to avoid any doubt as to whether or not you have a legal right to demand payment, and whether I am equally liable to make that payment as demanded.

I am also aware of the existence of various cases in courts which have shown that the vast majority of such demands are made by companies who have no authority to make them in the first place, so I need to remove that doubt in this case to progress it any further.

Failure to provide the information requested in support of your claim will mean that I will not consider this particular charge to have any merit and will therefore refuse payment accordingly. It may also carry the consequence of a complaint being made for harassment if demands continue in any form if you do not send me the information requested.





Yours faithfully
...
minotaur
I was thinking of something simpler.

Dear sirs, THIS IS NOT AN APPEAL

With reference to your invoice XXXXXXXX dated XXXXXX, please state the legal grounds which you intend to present in court.
As I understand it, there are three possibilities - all mutually exclusive.

Yours .....
Jlc
The best action depends on the exact situation. We generally advise against 'templates' as they can could attract more attention that necessary - which is often why ignoring is a good option.

Post particulars about the incident and specific advice will be granted...
Gan
This looks a letter on a site that another member's posted as a link

My own view on this is that ignore or engage depends to an extent on the situation and the identity of the PPC
We don't have enough information to give specific advice

Regarding the text of the letter :

Don't send any template letter unless you understand every word that you're sending

In general I prefer very short letters - they warn the company that they're in for a fight but don't provide any information that can be twisted and used against you.

I will not make payment for any speculative demand without proof of the existence of any supposed contract between us, and your legal right to make such a contract with me in the first place.

I don't like this sentence because it implies that you accept liability if they can provide such proof
Remember that any claim would be in the civil court where the burden of proof is only "more likely than not"

You've provided them with the option of demonstrating a right to offer a contract and evidence that you agreed to it
The question of losses then doesn't arise

If they produce the land-owner's agreement and a picture of a sign that you would have read, it's game over

You have to leave them to decide the grounds for their demand and then defend yourself
You don't suggest what the grounds could be and what you'll accept as their evidence

In fact, the more I read that letter, the less I like it

Lynnzer
QUOTE (Gan @ Sat, 9 Mar 2013 - 12:57) *
This looks a letter on a site that another member's posted as a link

My own view on this is that ignore or engage depends to an extent on the situation and the identity of the PPC
We don't have enough information to give specific advice

Regarding the text of the letter :

Don't send any template letter unless you understand every word that you're sending

In general I prefer very short letters - they warn the company that they're in for a fight but don't provide any information that can be twisted and used against you.

I will not make payment for any speculative demand without proof of the existence of any supposed contract between us, and your legal right to make such a contract with me in the first place.

I don't like this sentence because it implies that you accept liability if they can provide such proof
Remember that any claim would be in the civil court where the burden of proof is only "more likely than not"

You've provided them with the option of demonstrating a right to offer a contract and evidence that you agreed to it
The question of losses then doesn't arise

If they produce the land-owner's agreement and a picture of a sign that you would have read, it's game over

You have to leave them to decide the grounds for their demand and then defend yourself
You don't suggest what the grounds could be and what you'll accept as their evidence

In fact, the more I read that letter, the less I like it

Point taken. I'll see about doing a different one. My point though is that to ignore is no longer a feasible option when some PPC's are getting very twitchy with court proceedings being taken on.
A lot of them use the likes of Roxburghes who no doubt get their own cust from a court hearing so it may well be a solicitor action that got you into court, or at least a recommendation from them to their own PPC client.
Ignore is dangerous in my opinion and the fact that you didn't respond to MANY requests/demands won't look good in a court if it did get that far.

The whole point of the letter is to request information knowing that they're unlikely to give it. If they fail to provide evidence of their rights then you have a reasonable excuse for ignoring beyond that point.
Broadsword
"The whole point of the letter is to request information knowing that they're unlikely to give it. If they fail to provide evidence of their rights then you have a reasonable excuse for ignoring beyond that point."

EXACTLY!!

It's all about creating an audit trail of reasonableness.
Ming Rider
I would tend now to agree with Lynnzer.

In hindsight (a wonderful gift), I believe I should have written to the PPC after the first invoice, pointing out that I know exactly where I and the PPC stand legally, thus making it clear that I am not one of the millions of uninformed individuals that are conned out of their money every year.

Further, if I'd made it clear from the outset that because of this, the only way they'd get my money is through the courts, which I would defend and fight as long as my ass points south, maybe they would have stopped wasting mine and their time and money?
Lynnzer
QUOTE (Ming Rider @ Sat, 9 Mar 2013 - 14:56) *
I would tend now to agree with Lynnzer.

In hindsight (a wonderful gift), I believe I should have written to the PPC after the first invoice, pointing out that I know exactly where I and the PPC stand legally, thus making it clear that I am not one of the millions of uninformed individuals that are conned out of their money every year.

Further, if I'd made it clear from the outset that because of this, the only way they'd get my money is through the courts, which I would defend and fight as long as my ass points south, maybe they would have stopped wasting mine and their time and money?

And if this was ever taken to court you'd look a real obnoxious git. No offence meant, I just think that a "REASONABLE REQUEST FOR INFORMATION" knowing that you won't get it would be looked at more favourably in court.
Biker JP
QUOTE (Gan @ Sat, 9 Mar 2013 - 12:57) *
This looks a letter on a site that another member's posted as a link

My own view on this is that ignore or engage depends to an extent on the situation and the identity of the PPC
We don't have enough information to give specific advice

Regarding the text of the letter :

Don't send any template letter unless you understand every word that you're sending

In general I prefer very short letters - they warn the company that they're in for a fight but don't provide any information that can be twisted and used against you.

I will not make payment for any speculative demand without proof of the existence of any supposed contract between us, and your legal right to make such a contract with me in the first place.

I don't like this sentence because it implies that you accept liability if they can provide such proof
Remember that any claim would be in the civil court where the burden of proof is only "more likely than not"

You've provided them with the option of demonstrating a right to offer a contract and evidence that you agreed to it
The question of losses then doesn't arise

If they produce the land-owner's agreement and a picture of a sign that you would have read, it's game over

You have to leave them to decide the grounds for their demand and then defend yourself
You don't suggest what the grounds could be and what you'll accept as their evidence

In fact, the more I read that letter, the less I like it


Good point Gan. Circumstances are simple: PPC is Parking Eye. Shopping centre car park with 4 hours free. I "overstayed my welcome" by over an hour.
Now that Parking Eye seem to be taking some people to court, some respondents to my thread seem to agree that it's better to respond to the "ticket" with a letter letting them know you won't be an easy target...

I take your point about avoiding template letters. What wording do you suggest? Or do you still advocate ignoring for now? As Lynnzer says in an earlier reply "to ignore is dangerous in my opinion and the fact that you didn't respond to MANY requests/demands won't look good in a court if it did get that far"

Any more comments/advice?
Broadsword
Without giving too much away.

I am currently helping two people in pretty much identical circumstances with Parking Eye (overstayers)

'We' sent the same initial letter challenging the process and PE's legal capacity.

PE responded with an 'appeal refused' letter to both (identical PE letter) but with no POPLA info or codes as required (and demanded in 'our' letter)

At this point we've split the response

Victim 1) emailed PE and demanded the POPLA info/code which PE supplied (appeal now in with POPLA and pending a decision)

Victim 2) did not enter into any further correspondence with PE and guess what? - 'we' have heard nothing further from PE.

In summary, the decision to challenge the initial PCN (IMO) puts PE on the back foot, ask a series of entirely reasonable questions and when they don't answer them them and/or fail to provide the POPLA info when refusing the appeal and it's then downhill all the way.

(I'm waiting patiently for PE to send another threat-o-gram to victim 2) now that they've failed to follow the POFA and the BPA CoP and it will be a complaint, route 1, to the DVLA for misuse/misrepresentation of DVLA obtained data - unfortunately so far there's been no follow up)

EDIT: just for clarification, the letters that we sent were not the same as the one posted in this thread but based on similar principles (courtesy of Tim Kevan)
tapas600
QUOTE (Broadsword @ Sat, 9 Mar 2013 - 17:53) *
'We' sent the same initial letter challenging the process and PE's legal capacity.

PE responded with an 'appeal refused' letter to both (identical PE letter) but with no POPLA info or codes as required (and demanded in 'our' letter)

At this point we've split the response

Victim 1) emailed PE and demanded the POPLA info/code which PE supplied (appeal now in with POPLA and pending a decision)
Victim 2) did not enter into any further correspondence with PE and guess what? - 'we' have heard nothing further from PE.

If it helps in a way of stats/evidence, my case falls into that second category.
Gan
I like the idea of asking a series of questions and with hindsight I've been unfair
Lynnzer, Broadsword and I are usually in agreement and the reality is that we're not far apart here

I'm conscious that most of us aren't professionals in the workings of the law.
We also don't have the same financial interest in the business

I'm therefore wary of any letter that has a phrase along the lines of "I will not pay unless..." because it can be flipped into "I will pay if...." or shows the OP to be unreasonable if he raises further objectives when his conditions have been met

If the contentious sentence is replaced by something like :

In order to consider my legal position I require answers to the following questions, I don't have a problem




Lynnzer
QUOTE (Broadsword @ Sat, 9 Mar 2013 - 17:53) *
Without giving too much away.

I am currently helping two people in pretty much identical circumstances with Parking Eye (overstayers)

'We' sent the same initial letter challenging the process and PE's legal capacity.

PE responded with an 'appeal refused' letter to both (identical PE letter) but with no POPLA info or codes as required (and demanded in 'our' letter)

At this point we've split the response

Victim 1) emailed PE and demanded the POPLA info/code which PE supplied (appeal now in with POPLA and pending a decision)

Victim 2) did not enter into any further correspondence with PE and guess what? - 'we' have heard nothing further from PE.

In summary, the decision to challenge the initial PCN (IMO) puts PE on the back foot, ask a series of entirely reasonable questions and when they don't answer them them and/or fail to provide the POPLA info when refusing the appeal and it's then downhill all the way.

(I'm waiting patiently for PE to send another threat-o-gram to victim 2) now that they've failed to follow the POFA and the BPA CoP and it will be a complaint, route 1, to the DVLA for misuse/misrepresentation of DVLA obtained data - unfortunately so far there's been no follow up)

EDIT: just for clarification, the letters that we sent were not the same as the one posted in this thread but based on similar principles (courtesy of Tim Kevan)

I prefer to use the ploy of asking for information rather than doing an appeal. Make sure it's not worded as an appeal and see if they come back to you with the details requested. They won't. Either you get a refusal because they still took it as an appeal or they'll send other crap which doesn't address the points raised. If you get a POPLA code, which you won't from some PPC's it doesn't matter. You're on solid ground to ignore everything from then on in as they haven't given you any reason to confirm that they are a legitimate operator.
Broadsword
QUOTE (Lynnzer @ Sat, 9 Mar 2013 - 19:28) *
I prefer to use the ploy of asking for information rather than doing an appeal. Make sure it's not worded as an appeal and see if they come back to you with the details requested. They won't. Either you get a refusal because they still took it as an appeal or they'll send other crap which doesn't address the points raised. If you get a POPLA code, which you won't from some PPC's it doesn't matter. You're on solid ground to ignore everything from then on in as they haven't given you any reason to confirm that they are a legitimate operator.



My letter is not an 'appeal' (and indeed it actually specifies that it is not an appeal) it is a 'challenge' (as to the legality of what is being alleged and the amount being claimed) - the fact that they then treat it as an appeal is down to them.

An appeal might well be misinterpreted as somehow conferring a tacit recognition or acceptance of the process.

bama
all agreeing.
and all agreeing that exact text is crucial.
unfortunately the average man in the street being unused to PPCs etc may well
put their foot in it so to speak.
Even advising "just ask questions, do not state any facts" can produce all kinds of 'foot-in-mouth' text from what I have seen. People see through the situation and often feel so aggrieved they just can't help getting carried away off-brief.
tapas600
I think Lynnzer's website offering a few approaches is good for this. A response to a PPC needs to be structured (as pointed above, not everyone is fluid in their literally expression) but tailor-made to reflect personal circumstances.
Biker JP
QUOTE (Gan @ Sat, 9 Mar 2013 - 19:14) *
I like the idea of asking a series of questions and with hindsight I've been unfair
Lynnzer, Broadsword and I are usually in agreement and the reality is that we're not far apart here

I'm conscious that most of us aren't professionals in the workings of the law.
We also don't have the same financial interest in the business

I'm therefore wary of any letter that has a phrase along the lines of "I will not pay unless..." because it can be flipped into "I will pay if...." or shows the OP to be unreasonable if he raises further objectives when his conditions have been met

If the contentious sentence is replaced by something like :

In order to consider my legal position I require answers to the following questions, I don't have a problem



QUOTE (Lynnzer @ Sat, 9 Mar 2013 - 19:28) *
QUOTE (Broadsword @ Sat, 9 Mar 2013 - 17:53) *
Without giving too much away.

I am currently helping two people in pretty much identical circumstances with Parking Eye (overstayers)

'We' sent the same initial letter challenging the process and PE's legal capacity.

PE responded with an 'appeal refused' letter to both (identical PE letter) but with no POPLA info or codes as required (and demanded in 'our' letter)

At this point we've split the response

Victim 1) emailed PE and demanded the POPLA info/code which PE supplied (appeal now in with POPLA and pending a decision)

Victim 2) did not enter into any further correspondence with PE and guess what? - 'we' have heard nothing further from PE.

In summary, the decision to challenge the initial PCN (IMO) puts PE on the back foot, ask a series of entirely reasonable questions and when they don't answer them them and/or fail to provide the POPLA info when refusing the appeal and it's then downhill all the way.

(I'm waiting patiently for PE to send another threat-o-gram to victim 2) now that they've failed to follow the POFA and the BPA CoP and it will be a complaint, route 1, to the DVLA for misuse/misrepresentation of DVLA obtained data - unfortunately so far there's been no follow up)

EDIT: just for clarification, the letters that we sent were not the same as the one posted in this thread but based on similar principles (courtesy of Tim Kevan)

I prefer to use the ploy of asking for information rather than doing an appeal. Make sure it's not worded as an appeal and see if they come back to you with the details requested. They won't. Either you get a refusal because they still took it as an appeal or they'll send other crap which doesn't address the points raised. If you get a POPLA code, which you won't from some PPC's it doesn't matter. You're on solid ground to ignore everything from then on in as they haven't given you any reason to confirm that they are a legitimate operator.




QUOTE (bama @ Sun, 10 Mar 2013 - 01:01) *
all agreeing.
and all agreeing that exact text is crucial.
unfortunately the average man in the street being unused to PPCs etc may well
put their foot in it so to speak.
Even advising "just ask questions, do not state any facts" can produce all kinds of 'foot-in-mouth' text from what I have seen. People see through the situation and often feel so aggrieved they just can't help getting carried away off-brief.



QUOTE (tapas600 @ Sun, 10 Mar 2013 - 01:11) *
I think Lynnzer's website offering a few approaches is good for this. A response to a PPC needs to be structured (as pointed above, not everyone is fluid in their literally expression) but tailor-made to reflect personal circumstances.


Thank you all for your comments so far...

Gan (and everyone else), I have edited the template letter taken from http://www.mother-bride-outfits.co.uk/Parking-thingy.htm with the following text. Do you feel this is more appropriate in that it does contain any phrase saying "I won't pay unless.." which might be construed as "I will pay if..."

Newly edited letter to Parking Eye:

Dear Sir/Madam

I refer to your Contractual Parking Charge Notice number: XXXXXXX

I am unable to confirm at this stage whether I was the driver of the vehicle at the date shown. I cannot think of any action of mine that may have contributed to the alleged contractual contravention and cannot remember entering into any parking contract with you.

I am therefore unable to make an informed appeal against the circumstances since I am unsure if it was me that agreed any contract with you, and I certainly don't recall doing so. I am unwilling to make any payment on demand from a company I do not know, for an amount I cannot remember agreeing to, on a contract I didn't have any knowledge of.


In order to consider my legal position, I require proof of the existence of any supposed contract between us, and your legal right to make such a contract with me in the first place. Please therefore send me the following details so that I may properly consider this matter:

  1. Proof of your right to make a contract with a driver using the said car park facility. This to be in the form of landowner rights such as a copy of the land deeds, any contract with the landowner giving you the right of occupation of the land rather than a right of access for monitoring the said area, or a lease agreement for the land in question.

  2. A copy of the contract between yourself and the landlord showing your responsibilities in monitoring the car park on their behalf, and your right to pursue any matter to legal proceedings if no payment is forthcoming.

  3. A copy of any contract that you allege exists between yourself or landowner client and me; such contract to be shown to have been properly offered and then accepted by me or any other driver who may have been involved in this matter.

  4. The reasoning of the alleged contravention. Please advise as to whether this alleged offence was supposedly for a Breach of a Contractual Parking Arrangement or for Trespass. If no contractual agreement was made or accepted by either party, then an explanation as to why you consider trespass was committed in an area where there is free access by the landowner to members of the public.

  5. In the unlikely event that you do have full rights to make contracts with individual drivers, either on behalf of the landowner, or at your own behest due to some contractual arrangement with your client, please provide a breakdown of what charges have been made in connection with the alleged contravention or trespass and how they have been calculated in accordance with the necessity to make a charge for a known financial loss to the landowner.


I am aware of the legal aspects of the monitoring of such premises and it has come to my attention that there have been several court cases which have shown that the majority of such demands are made by companies who have no authority to make them. I therefore need to remove any element of doubt in this case so as to decide whether to progress the matter further and whether I am liable to pay the sum demanded

Failure to provide the information requested in support of your claim will mean that I will not consider this particular charge to have any merit and will therefore refuse payment accordingly. It may also carry the consequence of a complaint being made for harassment if demands continue in any form if you do not send me the information requested.

Yours faithfully...



Gan
I am aware of the legal aspects of the monitoring of such premises and am keen to avoid any doubt as to whether or not you have a legal right to demand payment, and whether I am equally liable to make that payment as demanded.

I am also aware of the existence of various cases in courts which have shown that the vast majority of such demands are made by companies who have no authority to make them in the first place, so I need to remove that doubt in this case to progress it any further.

Failure to provide the information requested in support of your claim will mean that I will not consider this particular charge to have any merit and will therefore refuse payment accordingly. It may also carry the consequence of a complaint being made for harassment if demands continue in any form if you do not send me the information requested.

Your Faithfully....
Broadsword
I don't like the introduction and some other bits and bobs - I've sent you a PM
tapas600
Biker JP. I am in no way have the same knowledge or experience as Gan, Bama or Lynnzer (plus a dozen of other members here). I had an interaction with one other PPC few years back as well as PE recently. By following the above mentioned members' posts I now have a view that a first response to a PPC is better being short rather than wordy. As Lynnzer suggests, you need to ask for the documents and evidence that they have grounds to make a contract, demand the sum quoted, take legal action on behalf of their landowners - the documents not many of them can and are willing to to produce at this stage. You are making a reasonable request to assist them in their clam against you - that puts the ball firmly into their corner, i.e. you are asking: "show me your entitlement to make such a claim".

Secondly, I think in line with the above members views, you don't need to dwell or even touch the issue of who was the driver at the time of the event. I presume the PPC got your details because you are the RK. So, you are the RK of the vehicle that allegedly was parked in a manner that contravened some regulations and the PPC are asking you to pay a sum of money to rectify that breach. You are a reasonable person and as common sense dictates, you are not going to discuss your personal actions or expose somebody else to a claim from people/organisation you don't know before you establish the full facts in a calm but direct manner that their claim is legitimate.

That's all, in my view, that needs to be conveyed in the first letter to any PPC.
Biker JP
Good point tapas600 ! Who was the driver is not relevant at this stage. I will revise the letter and shorten it to just request the documents I need in order to determine for myself whether to consider their claim.
Gan
Give them a deadline to reply as well

The BPA code of practice deadline of 14 days to reply to appeals would be reasonable

If they reply in time, it keeps the option open to make a real challenge that can later involve POPLA if they don't regard the letter as an appeal

If they don't reply or only much later, you can raise the code of practice failure if they take it all the way
Broadsword
Contrary to what the majority think, I believe that the Protection of Freedoms Act was a game changer.

I never really liked the 'ignore' advice prior to the POFA but I think to 'ignore' post Oct 1st PCNs is a very risky strategy.

The major headache for the PPCs is the POPLA process. If a consumer fails to respond to the initial PCN then that is playing into the hands of the PPC because it takes the whole POPLA process out of the equation and the PPC then has the whip hand and can call all the shots from that point onwards.

Alternatively, a timely challenge to the legitimacy of the PCN not only creates the audit trail of reasonableness but also triggers the POPLA process which the POFA and the BPA code of practice dictate how the PPC should now behave.

This puts them in a difficult position, if they refuse to cancel the PCN then the potential cost of that decision is £27 plus VAT to them and nothing for the RK/Driver.

Furthermore, the reasonable questions asked and issues raised will require a meaningful response if the matter proceeds to POLA and the Civil Court - and it is for this reason that I believe that a more detailed 'challenge' is submitted to the PPC at the outset requiring them to justify their demand.

There is further reason that the POPLA process is a useful tool that needs to be taken into account

One of the difficulties is trying to nail down exactly what the PPC is claiming because the PPCs like to keep things deliberately vague

Is it damages for trespass
Is it damages for breach of contract
or
Is it simply a contractual sum


The following text is from a friend of mine which explains why the POPLA system is useful:

"PPCs Particulars of Claim are very scant of detail. From the few I have seen they follow along the lines of

"The claim is for recovery of a parking charge against X as driver/registered keeper of vehicle registration number such and such that was parking in so and so car park on the nth of December when that parking charge was incurred"

So nothing is given away. Is the claim for damages or a contract sum or trespass? On what basis is the PPC making that claim? Can it contract?

Go to POPLA and you should find out exactly what the claim is for. As with (redacted) we have asked. Is it 19.5 or 19.6 of the Code? POFA talks only of a parking charge in a car park but of damages if the claim is in trespass. POFA leans towards a contract sum. So in Particulars of Claim they don't ask for damages but a parking charge. Those who ignore the claims end up at court and will not know just what they are defending until they actually get into court. So, how can they put forward a robust defence when they may be running the wrong argument? Run the wrong argument and you get the wrong decision. Their defence may lead to the PPC then countering their defence and a hearing set with the defendant then not responding to the Plaintiff's actual case."


In simple terms, a referral to POPLA (win or lose) will establish exactly on what basis the PPC is claiming the sum and this makes it easier to defend at the Civil Court.
tapas600
QUOTE (Broadsword @ Sun, 10 Mar 2013 - 10:46) *
In simple terms, a referral to POPLA (win or lose) will establish exactly on what basis the PPC is claiming the sum and this makes it easier to defend at the Civil Court.

So what if a PPC refused to give POPLA reference but later issued small claim papers? The defendant would not know the basis of the clam in a such scenario.
Broadsword
QUOTE (tapas600 @ Sun, 10 Mar 2013 - 10:53) *
So what if a PPC refused to give POPLA reference but later issued small claim papers? The defendant would not know the basis of the clam in a such scenario.



A Civil Court Judge would give any such claim short shrift
tapas600
QUOTE (Broadsword @ Sun, 10 Mar 2013 - 10:58) *
QUOTE (tapas600 @ Sun, 10 Mar 2013 - 10:53) *
So what if a PPC refused to give POPLA reference but later issued small claim papers? The defendant would not know the basis of the clam in a such scenario.



A Civil Court Judge would give any such claim short shrift

I'd like to hope that this would be the view across the many individuals who perform this duty. Not sure I do though.

Gan
The BPA Code of Practice says that they mustn't take further action to recover the debt until at least 28 days after providing the validation code

I regard it as a continuing block on any further demands.

Can't see a PPC wanting to explain their behaviour to a judge although a claim could be used as a tactic to get the uninformed to cave in


Broadsword
Also, once a PPC fails to adhere to the requirements of the POFA then any potential registered keeper liability flies out of the window.

There's a very useful 'check-list' on the Parking Cowboys website here http://www.parkingcowboys.co.uk/keeper-liability/
tapas600
Thank you both. It does make sense.
Jlc
I tend towards appealing instead of ignoring, mainly for the reasons given above. But every appeal they have to deal with is also wasting their time and costs... Although, most PPC's ignore the appeal and issue standard rejections about how carefully they have considered the facts and they are satisfied the ticket was legally (sic) issued and it must be paid or their pets will be boiled.

Although, as noted this important stuff for when they review which ones they are going to take to court. Those who ignore are surely at the front of the queue for potential litigation...
minotaur
So,broadly speaking, you are all in some agreement with my suggestion -
QUOTE (minotaur @ Sat, 9 Mar 2013 - 11:59) *
I was thinking of something simpler.

Dear sirs, THIS IS NOT AN APPEAL

With reference to your invoice XXXXXXXX dated XXXXXX, please state the legal grounds which you intend to present in court.
As I understand it, there are three possibilities - all mutually exclusive.

Yours .....

Gan
All letters and the responses they receive are usual to improve the advice that's given
Broadsword
QUOTE (minotaur @ Sun, 10 Mar 2013 - 12:39) *
So,broadly speaking, you are all in some agreement with my suggestion -
QUOTE (minotaur @ Sat, 9 Mar 2013 - 11:59) *
I was thinking of something simpler.

Dear sirs, THIS IS NOT AN APPEAL

With reference to your invoice XXXXXXXX dated XXXXXX, please state the legal grounds which you intend to present in court.
As I understand it, there are three possibilities - all mutually exclusive.

Yours .....



I'm not in agreement with your draft at all. It doesn't sufficiently 'challenge' the actual process and is not specific enough to trigger the POPLA process.
bama
I am with Broadsword. I think POFA is nuclear.
And that the DfT guidance is the 'how to'

Trouble is it seems the best solution is a template ( I know I know, don't shout) and then we
get all the related issues.
Overall they seem the lesser evil though ( can't believe I am pleading moral relativism - sincere apols for that)
psimmons200
I would think it best to "ignore" unless and until you receive something through the post. Responding to the piece of toilet paper they stick to your windscreen gifts them the driver's name and address - I would respond only to something addressed to RK through the post, meaning they had to go to the DVLA for RK's address, and play the game of asking the RK to identify the driver (the £2.50 fee is a happy bonus).

My strategy would be:

1. Receive sticky notice
2. Tell the customer service desk of whatever shop I was in to make it go away, pronto
3. Ignore it until something arrived addressed to RK, in which case respond with a polite request of the sort shown by previous posts.

I think we have also been underestimating the power of the BPA's code of practice as a tool for defence. They need to be compliant to the letter, or else any legitimacy they have falls apart.

For instance in the VCS -v- Ibbotson case, Judge McIlwaine's decision was very much influenced by the Code of Practice (personally I think the COP is a load of COdswalloP, but who knows which way judges will swing?). He said: "on my interpretation of your Code of Practice, you are in clear breach. You have signed statements of truth which say you adhere to the Code of Practice. You do not. To sign a statement of truth when it is not correct has significant implications."

Therefore I would also add a question, for completeness, of the sort "Please advise if you adhere to the British Parking Association's 'Approved Operator Scheme Code of Practice' both in your operations at [LOCATION] and in your subsequent pursuit of alleged unpaid charges"
Gan
Please confirm that you fully comply .....
tapas600
QUOTE (psimmons200 @ Sun, 10 Mar 2013 - 15:15) *
I think we have also been underestimating the power of the BPA's code of practice as a tool for defence. ...

Therefore I would also add a question, for completeness, of the sort "Please advise if you adhere to the British Parking Association's 'Approved Operator Scheme Code of Practice' both in your operations at [LOCATION] and in your subsequent pursuit of alleged unpaid charges"

I agree with the notion of that, however, it is far too easy for a PPC to put out a blanket statement saying they adhere to a letter of it - the burden of proof that they don't at this stage sits with a driver. In my case the PPC included such statement in their letter to me, while clearly messing about with terms like 'breach of contract', 'true estimate of loss' and 'managing on behalf of the landowners'.

Therefore, I think, that is best to reserve question of adherence to the BPA until POPLA appeal or a court hearing, where PPC telling porkies would become an issue and quite likely anger a judge exactly like in the Ibbotson case.

That's another good reason to keep all correspondence with PPCs safe. If they change details of their claim, you would have an earlier letter that would say otherwise. It's only Shona at POPLA who thinks that terms 'contractual charge' and 'breach of contract' are interchangeable - a court judge would spot massaging of evidence.
anon45
QUOTE (Jlc @ Sun, 10 Mar 2013 - 12:15) *
I tend towards appealing instead of ignoring, mainly for the reasons given above. But every appeal they have to deal with is also wasting their time and costs... Although, most PPC's ignore the appeal and issue standard rejections about how carefully they have considered the facts and they are satisfied the ticket was legally (sic) issued and it must be paid or their pets will be boiled.

Although, as noted this important stuff for when they review which ones they are going to take to court. Those who ignore are surely at the front of the queue for potential litigation...


I tend to tentatively disagree with the suggestion that PPCs are likely to prioritise "those who ignore" over those who have "appealed to POPLA" (and lost), and do not currently believe that the POFA is a "game-changer", for the following reasons:

1) If a RK "appeals" internally, and then does not appeal the inevitable rejection to POPLA, he or she has not really gained anything, and merely wasted a little time of his/her own.

2) Appealing to POPLA gives one's defence away, which gives the chance for the PPC to prepare its subsequent claim more carefully, and exploit any weaknesses in the 'POPLA defence';

3) The BPA-financed POPLA (with rules set by the BPA) has shown that it is blatantly biased towards PPCs on all issues except the issue of whether the PPC had a contract with the landowner;

4) If the PPC "wins" at POPLA, they are likely to be more motivated to pursue the case through to county court, especially as they have already paid the POPLA fee, and since the BPA is strongly pushing its members to chase such "POPLA upheld" invoices in court;

5) If a case does get to court, then there is a real risk that an ignorant judge may attach wholly undue weight to the biased POPLA "assessment" in making his or her ruling.

Most PPC invoices are currently not Schedule 4-compliant anyway, so RK liability would not come into play in those cases, although of course it depends enormously on the specific invoice and ought not to be relied upon as a general rule. Of course, there are many other reasons why an invoice is likely to be unenforceable.

However, I would be prepared to change my view if subsequently events show that PPCs (whether in general or specific firms) do preferentially take "non-responders" to court, and in any case there are some cases (such as hire cars) where ignoring is definitely not the best option.
Jlc
Some recent cases on here have been 'ignorers' but it's unlikely we'll ever know how they work. Sadly, the vast majority will continue to blindly pay.
R U Kidding?
I believe that asking for a copy of the contract that may have financial terms and other commercially privileged information within is unrealistic. It is also unreasonable.

Instead, you should ask for a copy of the relevant paragraphs that confer authority to issue these punitive charges (as opposed to any normal "per hour" charges from a ticket machine.
tapas600
QUOTE (anon45 @ Sun, 10 Mar 2013 - 16:55) *
2) Appealing to POPLA gives one's defence away, which gives the chance for the PPC to prepare its subsequent claim more carefully, and exploit any weaknesses in the 'POPLA defence';

I am not so sure. I can appeal to POPLA that the charge does not represent the true pre-estimate, but when in court I would roll out all tests for PPC's 'eligibility' to make contract, unfair terms of contract, etc.

I agree with your concern about judges. I think it would be useful for this process to prepare a short summary of what POPLA is and isn't to inform just such a situation. POPLA's biggest weakness is that its decisions are defined as binding on PPCs but not appellants/drivers. Now if POPLA was a statutory body (which it isn't at all) this would not be the case. I have not yet formulated what this little summation might look like but it would counteract PPCs telling a judge that POPLA is some sort of legal entity which can issue binding decisions.

This is a good start to collating such information. This is from MSE website.

From the papers tabled at London Councils’ Transport & Environment Committee. Proposed Appeals Service in relation to Parking on Private land.

"Whilst the new service [POPLA] has similarities with the existing Parking and Traffic Appeals Service, the key difference is that the new appeals service will be run by a non statutory body considering the merits of each case based on contract law whereas PATAS is a statutory body operating under Road Traffic law."

Original document


minotaur
QUOTE (Broadsword @ Sun, 10 Mar 2013 - 13:16) *
QUOTE (minotaur @ Sun, 10 Mar 2013 - 12:39) *
So,broadly speaking, you are all in some agreement with my suggestion -
QUOTE (minotaur @ Sat, 9 Mar 2013 - 11:59) *
I was thinking of something simpler.

Dear sirs, THIS IS NOT AN APPEAL

With reference to your invoice XXXXXXXX dated XXXXXX, please state the legal grounds which you intend to present in court.
As I understand it, there are three possibilities - all mutually exclusive.

Yours .....



I'm not in agreement with your draft at all. It doesn't sufficiently 'challenge' the actual process and is not specific enough to trigger the POPLA process.


So, what changed?

QUOTE (Gan @ Sat, 9 Mar 2013 - 12:57) *
In general I prefer very short letters - they warn the company that they're in for a fight but don't provide any information that can be twisted and used against you.


QUOTE (Lynnzer @ Sat, 9 Mar 2013 - 14:27) *
The whole point of the letter is to request information knowing that they're unlikely to give it. If they fail to provide evidence of their rights then you have a reasonable excuse for ignoring beyond that point.


QUOTE (Broadsword @ Sat, 9 Mar 2013 - 14:47) *
"The whole point of the letter is to request information knowing that they're unlikely to give it. If they fail to provide evidence of their rights then you have a reasonable excuse for ignoring beyond that point."

EXACTLY!!

It's all about creating an audit trail of reasonableness.


QUOTE (Gan @ Sat, 9 Mar 2013 - 19:14) *
In order to consider my legal position I require answers to the following questions, ...


QUOTE (Lynnzer @ Sat, 9 Mar 2013 - 19:28) *
I prefer to use the ploy of asking for information rather than doing an appeal. Make sure it's not worded as an appeal and see if they come back to you with the details requested. They won't. Either you get a refusal because they still took it as an appeal or they'll send other crap which doesn't address the points raised. If you get a POPLA code, which you won't from some PPC's it doesn't matter. You're on solid ground to ignore everything from then on in as they haven't given you any reason to confirm that they are a legitimate operator.


QUOTE (Broadsword @ Sat, 9 Mar 2013 - 19:41) *
My letter is not an 'appeal' (and indeed it actually specifies that it is not an appeal) it is a 'challenge' (as to the legality of what is being alleged and the amount being claimed) - the fact that they then treat it as an appeal is down to them.

An appeal might well be misinterpreted as somehow conferring a tacit recognition or acceptance of the process.



Lynnzer
Without doing a "quote" to the above to keep things short, I don't understand the reason for that post?
Care to explain please Minotaur?
Biker JP
Thanks everyone for your advice so far...
I've sent the PPC a letter broadly based on the one in my post, by Signed For post.
I'll update this thread if and when I get a response...
Don't hold your collective breaths! biggrin.gif

JP
minotaur
QUOTE (Lynnzer @ Mon, 11 Mar 2013 - 14:58) *
Without doing a "quote" to the above to keep things short, I don't understand the reason for that post?
Care to explain please Minotaur?


Keep it short.
Do not appeal.
Ask for information.
Divulge no information.

That's what you all spent the previous page suggesting.

It should be read as "I will fight you regardless of your choice of weapon".

Lynnzer
The pen is mightier than the sword.

There are many ways to fight. Some people offer advice one way then someone else decides another option is best.
At the end of the day (I hate that phrase) it's down to the OP to decide from the alternatives explained on the forum.
Broadsword
QUOTE (minotaur @ Mon, 11 Mar 2013 - 19:50) *
1) Keep it short.
2) Do not appeal.
3) Ask for information.
4) Divulge no information.

That's what you all spent the previous page suggesting.


Just for the record

1) Certainly not.
2) 'Challenge' rather than appeal.
3) Correct.
4) Nope, judge each case on it's individual merits.
Broadsword
QUOTE (interlog @ Wed, 13 Mar 2013 - 07:46) *
QUOTE (tapas600 @ Wed, 13 Mar 2013 - 07:41) *
Well, one little rascal - Parking Eye - is making sure motorists don't take the POPLA route by withholding POPLA code.


Well that is good because when it goes to Court one can ask for it be struck out because the PPC didn't use all options available before resorting to Court action. One could call it abuse of the Court system which should really be used as a last resort only!


I know it's early days but I'm going to stick my neck out here (again)

Put yourself in the PPC's shoes (I have one particular company in mind at the moment as I write this)

You issue a PCN .

Scenario 1. the RK/Driver doesn't respond then the door closes on POPLA and the PPC can fast track to the civil court (starting to see these more and more now) - who is now in the stronger position the PPC or the RK?

Scenario 2. the RK/Driver challenges the PCN with the PPC within the time limits, 'appeal' allowed by the PPC end of story (haven't seen one yet though)

Scenario 3. the RK/Driver challenges the PCN with the PPc - 'appeal' refused but the PPC does not provide the POPLA code (this appears to be the standard operating procedure for a particular PPC with something along the lines of "......and will be put on hold for a further 14 days for you to pay up or submit any further information" - this is possibly their insurance policy to justify not giving out the POPLA code)

Therefore,

3 a) RK/Driver now ignores everything else and sits tight - who is now in the stronger position the PPC or the RK? (and I suspect that the PPC will simply and quietly drop those cases)

3 b) RK/Driver contacts the PPC and demands the POPLA code (which is now supplied) and appeals to POPLA where currently two thirds of motorists are successful (and that's with (no disrespect) inexperienced POPLA submissions as it's still early days)

As I stated before, the POFA is a game changer. If you give advice to ignore based on the 2011 (and pre-POFA) court figures then you are trying to compare apples with oranges, and don't forget about the poor sod who you convinced that 'ignore' was the best option and who now has a pile of PPC court paperwork dropping through his letterbox.

The POFA is a game changer because it has set down some statutory rules that must be followed carefully and religiously by the PPC - you can make sure that they do so by submitting a timely and well worded challenge when they don't.
axeman
QUOTE (Broadsword @ Wed, 13 Mar 2013 - 08:35) *
QUOTE (interlog @ Wed, 13 Mar 2013 - 07:46) *
QUOTE (tapas600 @ Wed, 13 Mar 2013 - 07:41) *
Well, one little rascal - Parking Eye - is making sure motorists don't take the POPLA route by withholding POPLA code.


Well that is good because when it goes to Court one can ask for it be struck out because the PPC didn't use all options available before resorting to Court action. One could call it abuse of the Court system which should really be used as a last resort only!


I know it's early days but I'm going to stick my neck out here (again)

Put yourself in the PPC's shoes (I have one particular company in mind at the moment as I write this)

You issue a PCN .

Scenario 1. the RK/Driver doesn't respond then the door closes on POPLA and the PPC can fast track to the civil court (starting to see these more and more now) - who is now in the stronger position the PPC or the RK?

Scenario 2. the RK/Driver challenges the PCN with the PPC within the time limits, 'appeal' allowed by the PPC end of story (haven't seen one yet though)

Scenario 3. the RK/Driver challenges the PCN with the PPc - 'appeal' refused but the PPC does not provide the POPLA code (this appears to be the standard operating procedure for a particular PPC with something along the lines of "......and will be put on hold for a further 14 days for you to pay up or submit any further information" - this is possibly their insurance policy to justify not giving out the POPLA code)

Therefore,

3 a) RK/Driver now ignores everything else and sits tight - who is now in the stronger position the PPC or the RK? (and I suspect that the PPC will simply and quietly drop those cases)

3 b) RK/Driver contacts the PPC and demands the POPLA code (which is now supplied) and appeals to POPLA where currently two thirds of motorists are successful (and that's with (no disrespect) inexperienced POPLA submissions as it's still early days)

As I stated before, the POFA is a game changer. If you give advice to ignore based on the 2011 (and pre-POFA) court figures then you are trying to compare apples with oranges, and don't forget about the poor sod who you convinced that 'ignore' was the best option and who now has a pile of PPC court paperwork dropping through his letterbox.

The POFA is a game changer because it has set down some statutory rules that must be followed carefully and religiously by the PPC - you can make sure that they do so by submitting a timely and well worded challenge when they don't.



I have done option 3 and appealed on several points to POPLA, will await the outcome, I believe we are talking the same PPC here.
bama
+2p
and check that the PPC paperwork is Sch 4 compliant

if it isn't the POPLA route (to pursue the RK) is dead for them IMO.

then who is the stronger position ? the RK or the PPC.
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