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Steve Mac

Already sent a letter - What now?

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Doh! I sent a letter before I read the posts on here.

 

I parked at the Brewery car park in Romford, run by MET Parking Services, and ended up with a ticket. I took some advice from another site and sent them the following letter (paragraph with personal details deleted):

 

"I had purchased a valid parking ticket (a copy of which is enclosed) when I parked the car that morning. This ticket cost £2.50 and expired at 3:08pm, covering the period when the Parking Charge was issued. I placed the ticket face up on the dashboard when I left the vehicle. The only way I can think that the ticket ended up face down is that the draught from me shutting the boot caused the ticket to flip over after I returned to put some shopping in the car. Therefore I do not dispute that the ticket was not clearly displayed when the Parking Charge was issued.

However after taking legal advice, I do dispute the amount you have chosen to charge me for the ticket not being clearly displayed.

When I parked in the car park and paid for a ticket, I entered into a contract with yourselves.

Put simply, in return for a fee, I was permitted to park the vehicle in the car park as long as the vehicle clearly displayed a valid parking ticket. When the ticket flipped over, I broke the terms of that contract.

Common law holds that the remedy for breach of contract is damages. This means you are entitled to damages covering the costs incurred as a result of me breaching the contract. For damages to be justifiable they must be a reflection of actual loss. As I had paid for the use of that space until 3:08pm, including the period in which the Parking Charge was issued, you did not incur any actual loss of revenue.

I would like to draw your attention to a piece of consumer legislation called the Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations (1999).

 

Section 5 states:

“Unfair Terms

5. - (1) A contractual term which has not been individually negotiated shall be regarded as unfair if, contrary to the requirement of good faith, it causes a significant imbalance in the parties' rights and obligations arising under the contract, to the detriment of the consumer.

 

 

(2) A term shall always be regarded as not having been individually negotiated where it has been drafted in advance and the consumer has therefore not been able to influence the substance of the term.

 

(3) Notwithstanding that a specific term or certain aspects of it in a contract has been individually negotiated, these Regulations shall apply to the rest of a contract if an overall assessment of it indicates that it is a pre-formulated standard contract.

 

(4) It shall be for any seller or supplier who claims that a term was individually negotiated to show that it was.

 

(5) Schedule 2 to these Regulations contains an indicative and non-exhaustive list of the terms which may be regarded as unfair.”

 

Schedule 2: Indicative and Non-Exhaustive List of Terms which may be Regarded as Unfair

 

(e) requiring any consumer who fails to fulfil his obligation to pay a disproportionately high sum in compensation.

 

It is obvious from this legislation that the terms of the contract between ourselves were unfair from the very beginning. Furthermore it is clear that your claim for £100 (or £50 if paid within 14 days) is grossly disproportionate to any loss you may have incurred, and as such is also unfair under the above legislation. In light of this, the contract between us and the subsequent Parking Charge you have levied against me is wrong under this legislation and therefore I will not pay the unfair charge which you are claiming from me.

Please could you reply to me within 14 days stating your response. I feel this is more than enough time for a company of your size with a dedicated department and staff to deal with this matter. A stamped addressed envelope is enclosed for your convenience.

If I do not receive a response within this time I will assume that the charge has been cancelled."

 

 

 

 Anyway, this week (exactly three months after the ticket was issued and well after my 14 day deadline!) they wrote back. They state that the breach of contract damages arguement is invalid and that I owe them £50, as that's what the terms and conditions stated on the signs (they have graciously reset the original penalty amount down from £100 - aren't they kind?!). They also say that the sums are entirely in line with those set out in the British Parking Association Code of Practice (which I now know is written by the parking companies themselves). They also say that "the courts have already upheld fees of this sum to be reasonable".

 

The last sentence of their letter is this:

 

Additional costs may be inccurred upon transferal of this case to debt recovery agents and/or court proceedings.

 

My question is what do I do now?

 

Can I just ignore them even though I have already entered into correspondence with them, or should I write again telling them to poke it?

 

Forgive me if this post is in the wrong place, I'm a novice at this forum lark.

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Yep, just ignore everything.

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Yep, just ignore everything.

Seconded


Please remember our troops, fighting and dying in our name. God protect them.

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