I have been in dispute over a private parking charge for over a year. I thought they had given up and had not heard from them for 6 months, then I got another demand letter and now a county court claim form. I would welcome some advice.
The issue date is 10 March 2017, I have filed an Acknowledgement of service
The Particulars of Claim reads
The Claimant's Claim is for the sum of £100.00 being monies due from the Defendant to the Claimant in respect of a Parking Charge Notice (PCN) issued on 17/12/2015 (Issue Date) at 20:41:09 at Smyth Street Anpr Scheme Std (60-100).
The PCN relates to under registration xxx. the terms of the PCN allowed the Defendant 28 days from the Issue Date to pay the PCN, but the defendant failed to do so. Despite demand being made the Defendant has failed to settle their outstanding liability.
The Claim also includes Statutory Interest pursuant to section 69 of the County Courts act 1984 at a rate of 8% per annum a daily rate of 0.02 from 17/12/2015 to 09/03/2017 being an amount of £8.98.
The Claimant also claims £54.00 contractual costs pursuant to PCN Terms and Conditions.
The claimant is Vehicle Control ServicesLimited (there is a typo and the space is actually missing on the form). The form lists BW Legal Services as the legal representative and address for sending documents and payment.
Note that Vehicle control services limited is not listed on the signage in the car park. Instead variations of Excel Parking are listed on the signs. I have never had any contact from Excel Parking. I don't know what a Notice of Assignment is, so I guess I never received one.
I did appeal to the IPC. The appeal was rejected, but I do not feel they addressed any of the points of my appeal.
The claim is for £100 PCN + £54.00 legal costs + £8.98 interest plus £25.00 court fee plus £50.00 Legal representative's cost giving a total of £237.98.
My intention is to defend the case, but I have a few questions.
1) The form comes from County Court Business Centre, Northampton. Does this mean I will need to travel to Northampton to defend the case? That's about 120 miles away from both me and the site of the alleged offence (both in Wakefield). I think there is a county court in Wakefield, can I ask it to be heard there?
2)My intended defence is as follows, could somebody tell me if it seems okay?
It is admitted that the Defendant was the owner of the vehicle in question at the stated date and time.
The claim is denied on the following points
1) The signage at Smyth Street - Wakefield Anpr Vcs Scheme Std (60-100) indicates that the car park is operated by Excel Parking and therefore any contract within this car park is with Excel Parking, see figure 1. I have not received any demand for payment from Excel Parking, nor has the claimant, Vehicle Control Services Limited, ever indicated that a contract has been transferred to them. I therefore have no contract with the claimant and no liability to the claimant.
2) The claimant has issued me with notice for the due amount as the keeper of the vehicle in question under powers granted by the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012 (henceforth PFA2012). However the claimant has failed to meet the requirements of PFA2012 in the following ways:
a. PFA2012 requires that either a notice to driver or notice to keeper be issued.
PFA2012 paragraph 7 (4) states the notice to driver must be given—(a) before the vehicle is removed from the relevant land after the end of the period of parking to which the notice relates, and (b) while the vehicle is stationary, by affixing it to the vehicle or by handing it to a person appearing to be in charge of the vehicle.
Under PFA2012 paragraph 9 (2) (e) A notice to keeper must state that the creditor does not know both the name of the driver and a current address for service for the driver and invite the keeper— (i) to pay the unpaid parking charges; or (ii) if the keeper was not the driver of the vehicle, to notify the creditor of the name of the driver and a current address for service for the driver and to pass the notice on to the driver. The notice sent to me dated 31/12/2015 does not fulfil these requirements.
The notice provided to me does not fulfil either of these requirements and is therefore neither a Notice to Driver, nor a Notice to Keeper. I am therefore not liable for any amount due as the keeper of the vehicle under PFA2012.
b. PFA2012 paragraph 12 (2) states “The appropriate national authority may by regulations made by statutory instrument prescribe requirements as to the display of notices on relevant land where parking charges may be incurred in respect of the parking of vehicles on the land.” The IPC provide such requirements in the IPC Accredited Operator Scheme Code of Practice 2012 Third Edition. This states in part B item 2.2 and Part E:
Entrance Signs: Entrance Signs should: a) Make it clear that the motorist is entering onto private land. b) Refer the motorist to the signs within the car park which display the full terms and conditions. c) Identify yourself (where you are a limited company. This should be by reference to your full company name, your company number and the jurisdiction within which your company is registered).
Contrast and Illumination: If parking enforcement takes place outside of daylight hours you should ensure that signs are illuminated or there is sufficient other lighting.
The signage as shown in figure 1 does not comply with any of these entry signs requirements. The alleged incident took place at night and as can be seen from figure 2 the entrance sign is not illuminated and no lights in the car park are functioning. The signage therefore does not comply with the code of practice and therefore I am not liable for any amount as the keeper of the vehicle.
3) Under PFA2012 paragraph 4 (5), the maximum sum which may be recovered is the amount specified on the notice to keeper. The initial amount requested (although, not on a correct notice to keeper as noted in my point 2) was £100. The claimant is however attempting to claim an amount of 237.98.
Even, should the court find that my defence above is not relevant, the recoverable amount can only be £100.
I will also include a photo of the entrance sign and a photo of the car park at night showing the lack of lighting.
Should I require the Claimant to prove I was the driver?
Thanks for any help