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Hi there,


On the 8th April I was unfortunate enough to be issued with a piece of paper headed "THIS DOCUMENT IS A PENALTY CHARGE" which has been issued by Parkforce (The U.K. Parking Enforcement Agency) who are apparently members of the BPA.


The charge is for £60.00 (none reducable if paid early) and with what seems to be the standard in terms of extortionate increases if not paid within x amount of time. The charge if for 'No Permit', which is correct as I do not have one, although I wasn't aware that I needed one for that particular car park, nor had noticed the signs (which seems typical until the area is scutinised after getting the PCC) stating I needed a permit to park.


I was parked on a car park close to Salford University in front of the "Old Pint Pot" Pub, as I had a meeting with my tutor at Uni. I have always used this parking area when visiting Uni as I understood it to be the only 'non-permit' parking area (i.e. free).


Upon entering the car park on this visit (after many previous ones), as usual I parked up and started the walk up to the Uni. Upon my return I obviously noticed me (and plenty of other vehicles) had the same notice slapped under the windscreen wiper. I checked and yes, there were signs around the car park (although I don't have the exact wording nor can remember what they said), but as mentioned above I hadn't noticed the presence of these upon entry.


I drive a company car so wouldn't be registered at all with the DVLA (although my company would), and as yet have taken no action on this - what would be the best course of action to take under the circumstances given that I am neither the registered owner or keeper of the vehicle and haven't the foggiest on where to start? All advice galdy welcomed,


Yours extremely disgruntedley!


Park Sharks

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1) You need to write to both your company and the lease company PDQ in order to inform them that this charge is unlawful, unenforceable and should not be paid. Further point out that you will not accept any liability or deduction from salary should they choose to pay it.


2) Parkforce have shot themselves in both feet by calling it a penalty charge. There is no provision in contract law (which is what they are trying to enforce here) for the application of penalties. In fact, the Dunlop case actually sets case law outlawing such charges.

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Couldn't agree more. If you're in the area again, take some pictures at the entrance as if you cannot see it on entry, much can be made of the 'invisibility' of them - even assuming it comes to that.


The lease company however, need to be watched. Many take great pleasure in paying these then sending an invoice to the company adding £50 for their 'services'. Writing to them doesn't protect you as the lease contract will have this issue covered. Just hope the car isn't with one of them!

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To quote from the excellent sticky.


Dunlop Pneumatic Tyre Co. Ltd. v. New Garage and Motor Co. Ltd. (1915)


In the particular case, the judges held that the sum specified in the contract was reasonable and was classified as liquidated damages. However, in this case, Lord Dunedin laid down rules which are still applied today in these types of cases:


i) The sum is a penalty if it is greater than the greatest loss which could be suffered from the breach – in other words, if it is "extravagant and unconscionable".


ii) If it agreed that a larger sum shall be payable in default of paying a smaller sum, this is a penalty.

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