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'PARKING CHARGES' issued without adequate signage


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Hello all, I wonder if there is anyone that can advise me?

 

In December a friend and I met up and parked our cars at a supermarket(?) car park. We looked all around for Pay & Display machines / Parking Charges signs and, on finding none, we left the car park (through a supermarket back entrance), assuming it was free parking . On returning to our cars about 2.5 hours later we were bemused to find 'Parking Charge' notices fixed to our windscreens (thought it was a prank at first!). Our squawks of indignation attracted other shoppers who joined with us in looking around for any reference to charges, as they too had always believed it was free.

 

Then another lady quietly filed past pointing to a notice situated at thigh height (and below 2 other notices) next to the supermarket back entrance. Unsuprisingly we had not seen this - and it was the only one (there isn't one at the entrance / ramp to the car park either). To be honest, even had I glanced at it, I wouldn't have recognised it as a parking charges sign (it was headed 'contractual agreement' followed by lots of small print...). We did actually take photos of the sign to show how inaequate it is.... The notices on our windscreens demanded 'the fee of £60' for staying over 2 hours, plus £3 per day ('liquidated damages') after 10 days (so car parking was free it seems, but only for 2 hours - fair enough if only we'd known!!)

 

I phoned the govt consumer advice line who advised that we pay the fees and write the words 'paid under protest' on the back of the cheques. Huh, like little lambs bleating our pleas on the way to the slaughter house? I don't think so...

 

Anyway, heeding some of the advice on this forum our initial strategy was to ignore. They got our details from DVLA and sent us each notices demanding £144, and now 'statements' for £174 each.

 

Please would someone who knows about these matters advise / suggest (I feel uncomfortable ignoring it for any longer as it's starting to keep me awake at nights!).

 

Thanks everso

 

GG

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Thanks so much for your reply Michael.

 

I'm wondering whether we should go through the 'I acknowledge that I am the keeper...[and that]...you need to take this up with the driver,' route (would the courts look dimly on this if it got that far?), or whether we should go straight for 'yes, it was us, but there was inadequate warning displayed' defence?

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What did the sign on the bay say? If it said 'disabled parking only' provide proof to the parking co. about the blind passenger along with a reminder that blue badges are not a legal requirement in private car parks. If you do by any chance get taken to court you will win as the car was being used by a disabled person.

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Thanks so much for your reply Michael.

 

I'm wondering whether we should go through the 'I acknowledge that I am the keeper...[and that]...you need to take this up with the driver,' route (would the courts look dimly on this if it got that far?), or whether we should go straight for 'yes, it was us, but there was inadequate warning displayed' defence?

 

The courts would not look dimly on it at all. You have to show that you acted reasonably to resolve the dispute. You are under no legal obligation to help these people. You do have the right to remain silent and not incriminate yourself. This is a Civil case. The onus of proof lies with the plaintiff (that is the parking company). They have to prove that the RK and the driver are one and the same. Not all that easy. The RK is not always the owner and not always the driver.

 

The easiest course is to admit nothing. Let them prove their case. You get to see what, if any, evidence they have. If they can't get past first base and prove who the driver was then they don't have a leg to stand on.

 

To further clarify the PPC have to prove the following you were the driver, you saw the signs, you understood the signs, you agreed with the terms and conditions of the contract contained within, the contract met all statuatory requirements under "unfair terms in contracts" legislation and the charges that they are applying are not Penalty charges which has been illegal for over 100 years. (Dunlop Case). They have a lot to prove and from your information fall down on the first 3 steps.

 

Stand firm and in all likelihood they will go away.

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This does not constitute legal advice and is not represented as a substitute for legal advice from an appropriately qualified person or firm.

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Thanks very much for your help. We have each written to the PPC and told them they will have to take the matter up with the driver. From what I have read of this company in other postings on this forum, they are going to be quite persistent.

 

Seconds away round two....

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We're into the next round....

 

We sent our 'you need to take this matter up with the driver' letters. My friend has subsequently received simply a further statement (now demanding £204) and I received one too, but I also got a letter saying:

 

'The parking charge, which was issued, was to your vehicle; we know from the DVLA that you are the registered keeper and you would know who the driver of your vehicle was at the time the charge was issued.

 

If you do not wish to pass on the drivers details we will issue county court proceedings after all our statements have been issued to you.

 

Your comments have been noted and will be held on file until this matter proceeds to County Court.'

 

(I wonder whether the author of the above is reading now this....?)

 

Another template letter.....?

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We're into the next round....

 

We sent our 'you need to take this matter up with the driver' letters. My friend has subsequently received simply a further statement (now demanding £204) and I received one too, but I also got a letter saying:

 

'The parking charge, which was issued, was to your vehicle; we know from the DVLA that you are the registered keeper and you would know who the driver of your vehicle was at the time the charge was issued.

 

If you do not wish to pass on the drivers details we will issue county court proceedings after all our statements have been issued to you.

 

Your comments have been noted and will be held on file until this matter proceeds to County Court.'

 

(I wonder whether the author of the above is reading now this....?)

 

Another template letter.....?

 

What a lovely bunch they are. How nice and helpful. How nice of them to increase the charges, illegal but nice.

 

They are right it is conceivable that you would know who the driver was. What they fail to mention is that you are under no legal obligation to tell them. They also fail to note that you may have absolutely no clue as to the identity of the driver - the RK is responsible for handling communications about the vehicle such as licensing and PCNs, FPNs - not necessarily keeping track of who is driving the vehicle

 

They are also incorrect in saying the invoice was issued to the vehicle. If they want to claim that then they can ask the vehicle to pay the charge. An invoice cannot be issued to an in-animate object only to a person.

 

They say they will issue county court proceedings but do not state who they will name as defendant. Mainly because they can't.

 

Oh and they're keeping everything on file until court, if it ever gets that far. I suggest you do the same.

 

I suggest you use Bernie's templates and write a very nice polite rebuttal showing these clowns the folly of their case.

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This does not constitute legal advice and is not represented as a substitute for legal advice from an appropriately qualified person or firm.

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GretaGarbo,

 

I recognise the £3 a day liquidated damages bit - it is our friends UK PAO again isn't it?

 

[Hiya Steve :) ]

 

This crowd are very persistent, you will get lots of reminders, increasing the amount asked for each time by the £3 / day. In my case, the amount claimed went up to over £300 before it dawned on them that there was no way I was going to pay. They eventually stopped writing. I wouldn't waste too much postage on this crowd. Get to the "cease & desist" letter quick as you can and then ignore everything short of an actual court summons.

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GretaGarbo,

 

No it did not get as far as a summons, although it was threatened every time they wrote to me. Just remember don't engage with them, volunteer no information, don't even give them the time of day.

 

Remember it is up to them to prove their case - not for you to make it for them.

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Unfortunately your vehicle is boracic and is unable to pay, but as soon as it gets a job, you will let them know.:D

 

Be interesting to read the CV

 

"Easily led, can be driven hard but not a self starter, sleeps out on the pavement with a hell of a thirst"

 

don't see many takers!

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Good job my car hasn't got feelings - remember the red sports car called Christine in the film of that name...?

 

I've composed 2nd letters - drawing on Bernie's templates as pin1onu suggests, minimalist and volunteering no information as advised by BB. And in for a penny...I'm using the templates to send letters about the DVLA passing on data (one to the PPC company and one to DVLA).

 

Has it occured to anyone that these PPC people are like pimps.....?

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Has it occured to anyone that these PPC people are like pimps.....?

More like your average [problem] artist. :grin:

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This does not constitute legal advice and is not represented as a substitute for legal advice from an appropriately qualified person or firm.

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  • 2 weeks later...

They are persistent these individuals, now they've written telling me that, 'The registered keeper of the vehicle is responsible for any charge applied to that vehicle [...] if you have loaned your vehicle you can pass on their details just as a hire company would.'

 

Now I'm getting really irritated...

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Don't get irritated, just ignore them. If your wife was given a invoice from a bed shop as she left the store, because you lay on a bed for more than the allowed time - but you never saw any signs because they were on the other side of the bed - would you pay?

 

You should also report them to the police because your last post shows they have committed fraud, amongst other things.

 

P.S. A member on Pepipoo recently was issued with a MoneyClaim OnLine summons from this company, UK PAO (How you doing Stevie boy ;)), but dropped it before it got to court! See Help! Parking Ticket (UK P.A.O. Leeds) - FightBack Forums :)

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GretaGarbo,

 

The idea that drivers can enter into a contract on behalf of third parties is not new but does seem to believed at the moment only by Private Parking Companies. Despite their unceasing campaigning and spreading of the gospel far and wide, this belief has not spread to the general public and certainly not to the legal profession.

 

These "fuddy duddies" especially judges still believe in sound established principles of contract law and treat this new belief as heresy. Please find below proposed answer to a similar false statement from UKPC.

 

Dear Sirs

 

I am in receipt of your letter dated ******* with regard to the above referenced unsolicited invoice.

 

I am amazed that you maintain that I, as registered keeper are somehow responsible for contracts alleged to be entered into by the driver. I know this not to be true but feel free to refer me to any relevant statute or applicable case law which would support your groundbreaking claim.

 

It may be that you are confusing the situation with powers granted to local authorities under the road traffic act, or it may be that you know full well the actual legal position and are seeking to obtain monies from me by misrepresention.

 

Whichever is the case, in the absence of information requested above I continue to deny the amount you are claiming, or indeed any amount whatsoever is due from you to me.

If you do not concur then I demand that you issue Court proceedings within 14 days or cease and desist from any further contact. Any such claim would be vigourously defended.

 

Any other form of contact whatsoever, whether by you or your agents, will be regarded as harassment and will be reported as such.

 

y/f

 

UK PAO are nothing if not persistent [Hi Steve :) ] but when it comes to it they turn tail and head for the hills like all the rest. [see BattyBoomBoom link to the UK PAO case on the pepipoo site]

 

If you do get further letters after you've sent the cease and desist letter I would send the complaints in to Trading Standards and Office of Fair Trading citing The Administration of Justice act & the Prevention of Harrassment Act and indeed, OFTs own guidelines.

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