Patricia Pearl - Small Claims Procedure - A Practical Guide


An excellent guide for the layperson in how to use the County Court - a must if you are intending to start a claim.

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  1. #1
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    Default Locked in car park

    Hi, A good friend of mine has asked me to post his experience on the forum and ask for advice. Almost 3 years ago, he had attended a Saturday morning class at his local College, Plymouth College of Art. On returning to the college car park, he found the barrier was down and he couldn't get his car out. He walked around the area looking for someone from the college to open it up for him, but no-one was there.As he had a long drive home and didn't want his car stuck there till Monday morning, he decided to see if he could lift the barrier himself and managed to do so.
    A few weeks later he was arrested and charged with criminal damage, for which he accepted a caution.He asked for the CCTV cameras to be looked at because they would show that he had not used excessive force and had tried to find assistance,but it was claimed that the footage was lost or wiped. He was adamant that he had not done any serious damage to the barrier and he should know because he had previously worked as a service enginneer for car park barriers.
    Some months later he received a demand from solicitors acting for the college, (Lyons Davidson) for almost 4000 and claiming he had wrecked the barrier which had to be completely replaced. There were other claims made also to the effect that notices were provided giving instructions as to what to do in the event of getting locked in. I actually went with him to take photographs of the entire car park and there were absolutely no such notices. It was obvious though that a flashy new barrier had been installed to replace the old, rusty one.
    He wrote back demanding proof of the damage caused and a breakdown of costs, but nothing was forthcoming and everything went quiet until this week, almost 3 years later.
    Now he's had a new demand for payment with threats of court action etc.
    Can anyone throw any light on what his rights are in this situation please?
    He's certain a new barrier wasn't necessary and the college were definitely lying about the circumstances. Also does anyone know when such a claim becomes statute barredicon?
    Any advice would be very welcome.

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Locked in car park

    A couple of things,you state that he accepted a caution,if he was not guilty of anything then he should not have accepted it.
    Secondly he should have made a Subject access requesticon for the CCTV images under the data protection act.
    The request to provide the information regarding damages etc was a reasonable one.
    Pre action Court protocols demand that you be given information to enable you to properly defend any court action.
    My guess is that this debt/alleged debt has been sold on.
    Can you say who are the DCAs /Solicitors involved ?

    Finally have you kept a log of actions and copies of letters sent asking for info ?

    Have a happy and prosperous 2013 by avoiiding Payday loans. If you are sent a private message directing you for advice or support with your issues to another website,this is your choice.Before you decide,consider the users here who have already offered help and support.
    Advice offered by Martin3030 is not supported by any legal training or qualification.Members are advised to use the services of fully insured legal professionals when needed.






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  3. #3
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    Default Re: Locked in car park

    Thanks Martin, Yes I thought it was a pity he accepted a caution too. It didn't seem right to me either, but he said he was overwhelmed by the whole thing and it seemed like the easy way out, at the time. Now he regrets it for sure, especially having his DNA taken.

    The solicitors are Lyons Davidson.
    Yes he has kept a proper log and copies of correspondence.
    Thanks again for your help.

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    Default Re: Locked in car park

    ok no problems.I have a letter which will assist-will let you have a copy once things are a bit more clearer-but needs to be sent out ASAP.

    Have a happy and prosperous 2013 by avoiiding Payday loans. If you are sent a private message directing you for advice or support with your issues to another website,this is your choice.Before you decide,consider the users here who have already offered help and support.
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    Default Re: Locked in car park

    Hi again,
    The solicitors are Lyons Davidson.Thanks very much for your help and for the offer of the letter, Martin. It's much appreciated. If there's any more detail you want, just let me know. My friend is in a bit of a tizwoz about it all and I didn't really know what to advise him.
    All the best, Patma


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    Default Re: Locked in car park

    That letter would be much appreciated, Martin if poss.


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    Default Re: Locked in car park

    Bump


  8. #8
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    Default Re: Locked in car park

    Advice or a letter suggestion would be much appreciated. Thanks, Patma


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    Default Re: Locked in car park

    Patma - trying sending Martin a PM or email - he may not be picking up that you need his help.

    All help is merely my opinion only - please seek legal advice if you need to as I am only qualified in SEN law.
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    Default Re: Locked in car park

    Thanks for that, Tiglet, will do.


  11. #11
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    Default Re: Locked in car park

    Pm landed-will sort something for you when I have finished what I am on now.

    Have a happy and prosperous 2013 by avoiiding Payday loans. If you are sent a private message directing you for advice or support with your issues to another website,this is your choice.Before you decide,consider the users here who have already offered help and support.
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  12. #12
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    Default Re: Locked in car park

    Thanks Martin, much appreciated


  13. #13
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    Default Re: Locked in car park

    Time ran out to send a reply so I suggested my friend more or less reiterate his previous letter which kept them quiet for 2 years or so. Basically he pointed out numerous inaccuracies in their letter and asked for proof of the damage they claim was done and a proper breakdown of costs.
    We now await their response.


  14. #14
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    Default Re: Locked in car park

    Hi there,

    Over the years i have had my fingers in many pies. The thing i'm on with now is electronic security (including access control, i.e barriers)

    Legally i don't know where you stand, but i can tell you that 4000 is very excessive. I pay 800 for at the most for barriers (top end at that), at worst all you're friend did and would be physically cable of would be bending or breaking the boom. Possibly loosening the case fixing bolts.

    I charge less than 4000 for a complete new install, i.e new motor, gearbox, casing, boom, warning lights, saftey photocells, saftey induction loops, intercom, access control, 10 rf phobs, rf reciver card, tilt support etc. . all installed and supplied and mains power installed and certificated. All from scratch.

    A 8 meter boom (largest on most standard barriers - 2 4 meter booms bolted together) costs at trade 100 + vat - Call-out is 295.00 + vat

    I'd tell them to shove the 4000

    I suggest you friend phones a few companies (not telling them the story) and asked for a quote for a vandilised barrier - I gaurantee every company will give you a call-out price and a cost for boom without needing a site survey (remember - they will mark up boom so it will be more than 100)

    I am no expert but i assume if it goes to court, the judge wont look kindly on this company having there whole system upgraded due to your friends unfortunate situation, especially as he has been more than co-operative.

    Just my 2p

    Good look

    Chris


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    Default Re: Locked in car park

    Agreed - this smacks of bettermenticon. They found someone stupid enough to accept the accusation of criminal damage and went to town. This would have more properly dealt with through the council's insurers, who would then look to him for repayment of repairs but NOT replacement.

    Because it is a public body, he can make a Freedom Of Information Act request, requiring sll details of the use and costs of this barrier and the actual costs of its installation and replacement.


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    Default Re: Locked in car park

    Thankyou Chris and Buzby for your thoughts.I really appreciate them. I'll pass on all the info and suggestions. I think you're both right about the overcharging. We were thinking that too, but it's really encouraging to get confirmation and some solid facts to back them up.
    The Freedom of Information request is brilliant idea too. Will keep you posted. Thanks again for responding, Patma


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    Default Re: Locked in car park

    Well, I have an update. After hearing nothing all this time, a court summons has arrived today.
    As soon as I can get sight of it, I will post the details.
    All advice/suggestions very gratefully received. My friend hasn't a clue how to defend a court summons and neither have I, apart from reading about other people's experiences on the CAGicon forums.


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    Default Re: Locked in car park

    Do make sure it has the court stamp - otherwise it is fake. How did you get on with the FoI request? If you didn;t get a response, nows the time to pursue it, as you'll need this for any defence.


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    Default Re: Locked in car park

    Thankyou Buzby for responding. We had hoped this matter had gone away again when the last letter was ignored, so it was a bit of a shock when the court papers arrived.I'll be checking the documents carefully for the court stamp when I get to see them today and I'll post more details asap. Nothing forthcoming as far as FOI request, so I agree it's time to pursue that more vigorously.
    The date of the actual incident was 3 years ago exactly(4th March). I'm curious as to whether there is a three year deadline in cases like this. Does anyone have any idea about that?


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    Default Re: Locked in car park

    If they are pursuing you for money, then they have 6 yearsicon from the date the costs were incurred. If they're pursuing you (or your insurer) for the damage to the barrier with no cost of restitutionicon, then I would think they'd be well out of time - but I'm not up to speed on English Law.

    As a side issue, you could pass this on to your car insurers (at the time) but they may obkect if you hadn't forewarned them of this.



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