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Athena/Lidl - Letter threatening Debt Collection Agency


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Hello all - I'm hoping someone can help me please.

 

 

I have today received a Final Demand from Anthena ANPR Limited re parking in a Lidl carpark. I parked in my local Lidl car park a few weeks ago, got back to my car within the allotted time but sat in the car for about 20 minutes or so as I felt unwell.

 

 

A few days later I received a parking charge notice from Athena and having researched private company parking invoices for a friend a few months ago followed the advice I read then, as in ignore it. I've since received the 'your 14 days are up' letter and now the one saying as the registered keeper I am liable for the full parking charge and as a result my case will be transferred to a debt collection company if full settlement is not received within 14 days.

 

 

I'm a tad worried now, as having looked on the site today I see people are saying not to ignore it.

 

 

Financially I'm slightly screwed anyway, as I have a debt solutions agreement in place to pay off debts my ex left me with, and am a single mum of two on a low wage - I don't have £90 spare to pay it, even if I wanted to.

 

 

I apologise for adding yet another thread onto your forum, but wanted to check that the info I (hopefully) get is up-to-date and relevant to me!

 

 

Thanks for reading and any advice would prevent the inevitable migraine that will soon start due to worrying about this.

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OK, first things first, DO NOT PANIC... It's a well trodden path and just one of the tricks that PPC's like to use. More in a moment, I just wanted to get this up so that you're not sat there worrying.

Please note that my posts are my opinion only and should not be taken as any kind of legal advice.
In fact, they're probably just waffling and can be quite safely and completely ignored as you wish.

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OK, first things first, DO NOT PANIC... It's a well trodden path and just one of the tricks that PPC's like to use. More in a moment, I just wanted to get this up so that you're not sat there worrying.

 

 

 

Thank you - that's exactly what I was doing!!

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Whilst I've not had any dealings (personally) with Athena/Lidl. The sequence of events seems to be fairly standard across all Private Parking Companies (PPC's) especially where ANPR systems are involved.

 

1. Parking Charge Notice.

2. Parking Charge Notice (Reminder).

3. Parking Charge Notice (Final Demand).

 

4. Debt Collection Agency Letter. Which will usually add another £40 or £50 on top of the original invoice.

5. Debt Collection Agency (Letter #2). Why haven't you paid? You have to pay! We'll tell our clients about you if you don't!

6. Debt Collection Agency (Letter #3). We don't like you anymore, your not giving us all your money. We're going to tell our clients to start county court proceedings. You're horrible and we hate you.

 

7. Debt Collection Agency (Letter #4). Look, ok, we've had a bit of a think about it, and we're going to give you one last chance to pay us, and as an incentive, we're going to knock a few quid off what we're asking you for. Aren't we wonderful.

 

 

It is important to note that the Debt Collectors cannot do anything to you, apart from writing you increasingly desperate letters using capital letters and lots of red ink.

 

 

As you've ignored it so far (which isn't the best advice anymore (but that's by-the-by)) my advice would be to carry on ignoring them. The only time that you need to take any further action is IF (and that's a big if) Athena (not their pet debt collectors) send you a Letter Before Action (or Letter Before Claim, depending on how they word it). Which would mean that they're planning on taking you to County Court. And even that's not a big deal with a properly worded defence, which we'll help you with if it gets to that.

 

After the debt collection letters get no response, they *might* just give up and chase easier targets that just roll over and pay up without question.

  • Confused 1

Please note that my posts are my opinion only and should not be taken as any kind of legal advice.
In fact, they're probably just waffling and can be quite safely and completely ignored as you wish.

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Thanks very much Dragonfly1967 - I'd started trawling the net trying to find a template letter that I really should have sent, but now will file this letter with the others and see where we go from there. Thanks for taking the time to reply.

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Thanks very much Dragonfly1967 - I'd started trawling the net trying to find a template letter that I really should have sent, but now will file this letter with the others and see where we go from there. Thanks for taking the time to reply.

 

If you have them filed (unless you mean the special round filing cabinet whistle.gif)... Is there any chance that you could scan the letters in (edit them to remove any personal details), then convert the images to PDF and upload them as attachments to a post (click on the button marked "Go Advanced"). It's always handy to see the paper trail as it can sometimes throw up reasons for a defence in county court if it gets that far. And it can also be handy to see exactly how a particular PPC words their letters for reference material to help yourself and others.

Please note that my posts are my opinion only and should not be taken as any kind of legal advice.
In fact, they're probably just waffling and can be quite safely and completely ignored as you wish.

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so what date did you park and what date did you receive the letter through the post? We presume that you didnt get a ticket slapped on the windscreen so Athena are allowed 12 days to issue a demand plus 2 days for service so you have to receive the notice to keeper within 14 days after the date of the supposed breach of parking conditions.

You then have a set time to either name the driver, pay up or appeal their demand. This is 28 days after getting a properly served NTK. If the final demand falls within the time you have to appeal then the parking co is causing harassment (should you wish to complain) but they like to see it as just a reminder (that has no lawful reason).

So, you probably still have time to appeal to Athena and anyway their 14 days notice is not compliant with the PoFA.

Reason for appeal? anything really as they are unlikely to accept your reason but they are obliged to give you a POPLA code so you can appeal to the independent arbitrator. I would suggest you say that you were unable to move your vehicle due to a mechanical problem. The reason you use for your appeal to POPLA will be different so dont go into any detail.

Get writing and get the POPLA code.

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I am not suggesting you follow my example but I've had 3 "fines" from Athena/lidl. With the first 2 I had 2 letters then nothing. For the third I had 3 letters then nothing. All totally ignored and nothing has happened.

 

One advantage of responding is that you make them work for no money. Not a penny! :madgrin: I'm sure others can give you better reasons

 

What's Best for You?

 

 

The Consumer Action Group is a free help site.

Should you be offered help that requires payment please report it to site team.

 

Alliance & Leicester Moneyclaim issued 20/1/07 £225.50 full settlement received 29 January 2007

Smile £1,075.50 + interest Email request for payment 24/5/06 received £1,000.50 14/7/06 + £20 30/7/06

Yorkshire Bank Moneyclaim issued 21/6/06 £4,489.39 full settlement received 26 January 2007

:p

 

Advice & opinions given by Caro are personal, are not endorsed by Consumer Action Group or Bank Action Group, and are offered informally, without prejudice & without liability. Your decisions and actions are your own, and should you be in any doubt, you are advised to seek the opinion of a qualified professional.

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Oooh, now I'm in a quandary .... conflicting advice - so should I continue to ignore or write?

 

It's not really conflicting advice, it just depends on the timescales. If you're within 28 days of the first NTK, then you have the option to appeal to Athena. And when they reject that appeal, you can appeal to POPLA.

If (and this is the impression I've got) you're outside the 28 days, then you've timed out on an appeal.

 

 

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Edited by rebel11
Edited by Site Team as it breaches site rules

Please note that my posts are my opinion only and should not be taken as any kind of legal advice.
In fact, they're probably just waffling and can be quite safely and completely ignored as you wish.

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It's not really conflicting advice, it just depends on the timescales. If you're within 28 days of the first NTK, then you have the option to appeal to Athena. And when they reject that appeal, you can appeal to POPLA.

If (and this is the impression I've got) you're outside the 28 days, then you've timed out on an appeal.

 

 

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Yes, I'm outside the 28 days - best I just make myself a cuppa and sit back and see what the postman brings!!

 

 

Thanks for the advice so far, I really appreciate it!

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