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PCN from PPS - Didcot station car park


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Hi,

 

I have received a PCN from PPS for parking in Didcot station car park, and I am hoping I can get some help from the forum. I have previously used the advice here to avoid penalty fees, but things seem to have changed with the introduction of POPLA and I'm now not sure of the best approach.

 

Here's the situation:

I parked, as I often have done, in Didcot station car park on 3rd July and paid using the RingGo app as usual. Or at least, it appeared to have successfully my booking. However, apparently it didn't work on this occasion and I received a PCN on my car. When I saw this, I immediately made a payment (again) using RingGo, so that the car park operator was not out of pocket and wrote to them within four days to explain the situation.

 

I heard nothing back until two weeks ago, when I received an invoice for the increased amount (£100). I wrote back to challenge this on four points:

1. The fault was with the RingGo app, and I thought I had paid the fee on time in good faith, as I had done many times previously.

2. I immediately re-made the payment, meaning that the parking operator was not out of pocket.

3. They waited too long (two months) to follow up on this matter.

4. I wrote to them within 14 days and so, according to PPS, the penalty would be £50, not £100. (Although, as I mention above, no penalty is due, nor allowed in contract law).

 

Yesterday, they emailed back with a pdf copy of a letter dated 23rd July rejecting my initial letter and offering the POPLA mediation service. However, this letter did not arrive at my house - I don't know whether they sent it at all, or whether there was a problem in delivery. Otherwise, I would have responded to it. Now it seems that I am too late to use POPLA, as it has been more than 28 days.

 

 

My questions to the forum are now:

1. Should I use the POPLA process to progress my arguments on the points above? Or should I simply write back to repeat my rejection of their claim and call an end to the matter?

 

2. Is it even possible to use POPLA, as the 28 days has expired since their non-arriving letter? Does it make a difference that I didn't receive their letter?

 

3. Is there some other approach I should take? And do I have a good chance of winning this?

 

Many thanks in advance for any help,

Richard

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As they havent followed the protocols of the PoFA theyare on a very sticky wicket in trying to calim anything so I dont think that you have too much to worry about.

If you really want to go via POPLA 9and cost them some money) write to the BPA with a complaint that PPS are deliberately ignoring the timescales of the PoFA and denying you the chance of appealing the charge as a result of their behaviour and demand to know what the BPA is going to do about it.

Send a copy of the complaint to POPLA (not via email) so they are aware that PPS are taking the biscuit on this.

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You responded to the windscreen ticket ( NTD ) so have identified the driver.

 

Check when the POPLA code was generated here;

 

http://www.parkingcowboys.co.uk/popla-code-checker/

 

Does that tally up with what they say?

 

Demand proof of postage that the rejection letter was sent as you never received it.

And state that you expect a new POPLA code to be sent if proof of postage is not forthcoming...

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Hi,

 

thanks for the quick replies. I've checked the code checker and it's valid. They just didn't sent it to me (at least, it didn't arrive - and I am not in the habit of igoring post). OK I will ask them for proof of postage and a new POPLA code.

I was also thinking of asking for the following evidence from them in preparation of a POPLA appeal:

- Records from the RingGo system to prove that they did not receive a request from my phone.

- A copy of their contract with the landowner indicating that they have the authority to give motorists the right to park.

- Accounting records showing how the penalty charge is related to the loss that they incurred as a result of my parking.

 

What do you think?

 

@ericsbrother - you sound sceptical about POPLA. Do you recommend I don't use it? What approach do you suggest?

 

Again - thanks for the feedback. Keep it coming!

 

Richard

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Hi and welcome to CAG

 

I assume this was a train station car park and as such would it be worth checking whether any by laws operate on that site. There should be something on the notice board

 

All they have lost is the cost of he parking except that you paid it so what have they lost? Nowt!

 

Erics brother isn't sceptical of using POPLA. It is that they are out of time to do anything. By all means appeal to PPS first and then get the code to take the appeal higher as this will then cost them.

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Didcot parkway station is operated by First Great Western. Apcoa ' manage ' all their car parks.

 

Looking on google Street, it would seem the OP parked in the car park opposite the station ' managed ' by PPS.

 

Relevant land is not an issue in this case I believe.

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Yes, this is the station car part opposite the station, not the Apcoa one.

 

I'll ask PPS for a code and for the information about RingGo and their authority to collect parking charges. Let's see how they respond.

 

Thanks again,

Richard

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  • 3 weeks later...

Hi all,

 

PPS has responded quite aggressively to my communication. They did not issue a new POPLA code as requested, but instead reiterated their demand for payment. They have not given me a breakdown of their pre-estimate of loss, as requested, and have not provided computer records from RingGo as I requested. I followed the link they provided to see more information about the pre-estimate of loss, and this had scanned copies of POPLA adjudications saying, "the operator has provided a breakdown of their losses and I am satisfied that this loss is justified and flows from the appellant's breach of contract. The operator has provided a witness statement to confirm that they have the authority to issue parking charge notices at this site."

 

I am nervous that they will now pursue me through the courts for the £100. Any advice on how to proceed?

 

Here is the key part of the letter from PPS:

 

The Parking Charge Notices that we issue represent liquidated and ascertained damages. When a

motorist parks in breach of the Terms and Conditions of Parking, we incur a loss because incorrect

parking prevents the efficient management of the car park. The amount of the Parking Charge Notice

represents a genuine pre-estimate of the additional expense incurred by us as a result of this. It will be

seen that the charge of £100 reduced to £60 if paid within 14 days is within the prescribed guidelines

issued by the British Parking Association, our governing body. The charge is in accordance with the

Protection of Freedoms Act 2012. You have not offered any evidence as to why the charge exceeded the

appropriate amount. The genuine pre-estimation of loss set out below refers to costs that we estimated,

at the time of issuing the PCN that may flow from the initial loss for this individual charge only. For further

information, regarding genuine pre-estimation of loss, please visit our website pps[dot]uk[dot]com on Home

Page, Newsfeed, for recent adjudications by POPLA in our favour on this point.

Please forward a payment of £100 to reach us by 31/10/2014 in order to avoid Debt Recovery

proceedings; incurring additional costs. Please be aware that when appealing any further the charge will

not be placed on hold.

 

Thanks in advance,

Richard

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Ignore them. You paid the prescribed fee so any cost they have accrued since is all their own doing and not a result of any breach by you. They are out of time on the rest, havent followed the protocols of the act they quote and I suspect that they will now pass this on to some tame DCA to send you threatograms on an occasional basis. They are unlikely to have any right to make a legal claim against you as most railway land is covered by byelaws that preclude the PoFA being relevant legislation.

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Ok thanks for the advice. Should I send a final denial? or a cease-and-desist letter?

 

I am not familiar with PoFA and how it might affect this.

 

Thanks,

Richard

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They are unlikely to have any right to make a legal claim against you as most railway land is covered by byelaws that preclude the PoFA being relevant legislation.

 

 

 

It is the car park opposite the station, not the station car park.

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ignore means ignore.

as for whether it is relevant land then land covered by statute such as docks and harbours, railway property and airports is not "relevant land". Most station car parks have arrangements wheer a company collects the money on behalf of the railway co but issues the "tickets" for breaching the contracts placed there by themselves that make the money for themselves. What should happen is the parking co should eport the motorist for breaching byelaw 14 or 15 and then the railway co should seek a prosecution under those powers. however, the parking co and railway co dont get any money then so they have this crooked understanding between them to fleece the motorist instead.

As the post above indicates it is not a station car park then the ownership of the land and who is the occupier should be determined. If it is not owned by the railway co but managed by them then the parking co is unlikely to have the assignment necessary from the landowner to allow them to pursue a motorist for damages. If this is the case here then ignoring PPS is still the way to go and make them show their hand as they havent followed the procedures as stated so they dont stand a chance of making a successful claim in a court for damages.

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Thanks for the input. I am pretty sure it is not owned by the station, which has two proper car parks nearby. This is just some rough ground opposite the station.

 

So I should sit tight and wait to see what comes through the door. Threatograms, presumably?

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They are unlikely to do anything more than send out threatening letters as they are holding a busted flush and they undoubtedly know it. Further correspondence on your part means that you are actually thinking about it and they see this as a hopeful sign that you will waver and pay up. Keep any letters you get from them or their representatives and if you start getting texts on your mobile report them to the FCO for improper debt collection practices and the ICO for breaches of the DPA (assuming you havent given them permission to harass you by phone)

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  • 4 weeks later...

Update: I received a letter rejecting the points of my dispute. They went to some pains to say that the penalty fee was actually a realistic estimate of liquidated damages, and that they could provide numbers to back this up. I ignored this letter. They have now sent another letter, in which they have increased the penalty to £130, which "represents their increasing costs". I am ignoring this letter too.

 

I am somewhat nervous, because I cannot prove that I attempted to make the payment with their app, and they may be able to produce paperwork in court that shows how their "liquidated damages" costs are calculated.

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Don't tell me you really expected them to agree with you. If they did this to everyone then they would go out of business pretty sharpish. It wouldn't have mattered what you said they would still have rejected it.

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No, but I wasn't expecting them to come back with an argument that defended the penalty charge in terms of realistic liquidated damages. I could imagine being in court and they present a long and realistic-looking spreadsheet showing all their ticket-checking and penalty-collecting costs, compared to the sum of all fines collected.

 

Anyway, as I say, I am sitting tight for now and will let you know if it comes to the court. Based on previous experience, I am expecting threatograms from "debt collection" agencies now, which I will rebuff.

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Did they not give you a POPLA code so that you could escalate this?

 

As it is, they cannot justify the 'liquidated damages' as they will no doubt include signage and other costs that could never be claimed in court.

 

It doesn't matter that you cannot prove that you tried to pay. The burden of proof is on them and if (BIG IF) they choose to go to court, a well prepared defence will do you a power of good.

 

The fact that you did pay means that there can be no loss to claim for.

 

Carry on ignoring for now.

If you are asked to deal with any matter via private message, PLEASE report it.

Everything I say is opinion only. If you are unsure on any comment made, you should see a qualified solicitor

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Apparently they wrote to me with a POPLA code earlier on, but the letter that they sent to me with the code and POPLA form didn't arrive (see my earlier post about this). I only found this out when they sent me a pdf copy of the letter and the POPLA form, but by then the period for POPLA had expired. I asked for a new POPLA code but they didn't provide one.

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This is a standard trick for some companies. they generate a number, bin the letter and that way it looks as though the fault is yours. The reality is they dont want to go to POPLA as it costs them money and they will most likely lose. You can complain to the BPA about the mising code and point out that they havebeen keen enought to send out a rejection letter withour the code so why wasnt it included in that correspondence.

Dont bother with writing to them again, they havent stuck to the rules so dont waste your time.

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  • 1 month later...

Latest update: I received a threatogram a month ago, which was two weeks after the previous notice had upped the penalty to £130 (i.e. dated 17/11/14). This time, PPS threatened to "pass this debt to our legal department for consideration to bring proceedings in the County Court. We regularly use this county court process as can be seen on our website www.pps.uk.com".

 

I ignored the letter (and the previous one), as I would be interested in seeing how this plays out in court, if it ever got that far. It's now a month since the letter, and there's been no follow-up so far.

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We regularly use this county court process as can be seen on our website

 

Erm! No. It doesn't show county court cases, only POPLA cases which the appellant has lost. 7 in total (although we have to wonder why they did not list cases 1-5)! It obviously doesn't show how many appeals were won.

 

This time, PPS threatened to "pass this debt to our legal department for consideration to bring proceedings in the county court"
which means we will think about court action but it is easier and cheaper to pass on to a DCA instead.

If you are asked to deal with any matter via private message, PLEASE report it.

Everything I say is opinion only. If you are unsure on any comment made, you should see a qualified solicitor

Please help CAG. Order this ebook. Now available on Amazon. Please click HERE

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  • 4 weeks later...
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