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Lex adding private parking PCN's to my lease summary costs

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We had a car on a 4 year lease with Lex which ended in March this year.

 

Late last year I got 3 or 4 private parking notices in London - Parking Eye and suchlike.

 

Lex say that if you don't pay fine then they will pay any reminder on your behalf as they have liability as the registered owner.

 

When I got the first notice I wrote to Lex saying I did not authorise them to pay any fines on my behalf, but they could provide my details to the parking companies which then moves the liability onto the driver.

 

Lex did this initially but paid 3 fines on my behalf, which I disputed.

 

My credit rating has now gone through the floor because they added the fines to my account which now shows that I have missed 3 months payments on parking charges of £450 odd quid.

 

Does anyone know if they can do this as the parking charges don't form part of the credit that I was given?

 

cheers

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they are not fines

and they cant do that.

they have no contract with the parking companies as they were not driving.

 

 

demand they are removed from you balance.

 

 

dx


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Thanks

 

Here is what seems to be the relevant section in the Hire agreement.

 

Statutory Requirements

B) You will pay to us any charges penalties or fines under the Road Traffic Act 1974 or any similar Act for which a Summons (or that which supercedes it) may be made against the Vehicle or us in respect of a fixed penalty notice or an excess charge or any other breach of the Law arising out of use of the Vehicle during the Term. In the event we are required for whatever reason to pay such charges fines or penalties then you shall on demand reimburse us for all such amounts together with a reasonable administration charge which we will tell you from time to time.

 

 

Below is an email from Lex - they refer to the Protection of Freedoms Act - but without giving any further information.

 

 

Good Afternoon,

 

A new legislation, the Protection of Freedoms Act came in during 2012, which means that private parking companies can take court action against the registered keeper for outstanding parking charges if they are not paid or settled. Unfortunately we cannot allow charges to progress to this stage.

 

We sent the notice to you with a letter as due to data protection we are not allowed to provide your personal details to a parking company without permission from you.

 

As you have given permission to provide your details to the parking company, I will do this today and they should reissue a new notice to you directly shortly.

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but these are speculative invoices

 

they are not issued under any legal act under statute law or rta law.

 

they are not penalty charges

nor are they a fine

nor are they issued under any act of RTA or any other road traffic law.

 

they are speculative parking contract invoices

please refund my money

 

abide by your own terms and conditions.


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LEX should have passed on the NTK's to you at the time and let you deal with them as the driver.

 

I agree with DX regarding the wording of your contract,

they have nothing to do with the RTA and no authority,

either consensual or implied,

to pay anything on your behalf No fine, no summons so no mechanism to cause them to act.

 

They dont have your agreement so they cant retrospectivly add these charges to your account and report on them

 

They are also talking bull when they say DPA prevents them from giving out your details.

If you had run someone over them failed to stop and report an accident would they be so forthright in saying they are responsible unless you give permission? No

 

You need to send them a letter reminding them that they are talikng rubbish and have added unlawful charges to your account and trashed your credit files and unless they undo this damage you will be seeing them in court.

 

Their reliance on saying the POFA makes a difference is also cobblers, they got it all wrong so are now trying to misdirect

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give 'em 14 days to remove the default etc from your credit file too

else you'll raise an official complaint with the ICO

and seek financial compensation for the damage done too


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Thanks for all the advice so far.

 

I sent them the email below:-

 

Thank you for directing me to Section 8 of the Hire agreement.

 

You continue to refer to these so-called parking charges as “fines”. This is incorrect.

 

These charges supposedly relate to a breach of contract that I entered into when parking on private land. They are merely invoices relating to the contract between myself and the landowner. Lex does not have a contract with the landowner.

 

They are not charges penalties or fines under the Road Traffic Act 1974 or any similar Act.

 

Lex has no authority under Section 8, either consensual or implied, to pay these on my behalf. There is no fine, no summons, no mechanism causing Lex to act.

 

I shall allow 14 days for Lex to remove all such charges and related admin fees from my account and credit file.

 

Failing this I shall proceed to make formal complaints with the ICO and seek financial compensation for the damage done to my credit file.

 

 

It is clear from Lex’s responses throughout this time that you do not intend to comply with your own terms and conditions, and you mislead and misdirect with irrelevant references to the Protection of Freedoms Act and the DPA.

 

And I received this reply :-

 

 

Good afternoon

 

As previously advised, the charges are valid and as such, I am unable to remove them.

 

 

Apologies for referring to them as fines again.

Your final response letter does detail your right to appeal this should you remain unhappy with our final response.

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as you have now admitted that these are not legal fines, nor penalties, covered under the RTA

can you please clarify where in any legally binding leasing regulations and/or the consumer credit act etc that you and I must abide by it states you can pay upon my behalf and thus trash my credit file.

 

 

I have sought further information provided by the Financial Ombudsman Service and the Information Commissioners office , neither of which confirm your actions are legal nor are aware of any clause that can be inserted in a leasing agreement that allows you to do so.


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Thanks. I replied as suggested, and received the following :-

 

As a written final response has been provided for this complaint, I am sorry but I will not be responding further.

Rather than look at and comment on my arguments around their rights and contract terms,

is this an attempt to force me to make some other complaint, or pay up to avoid the hassle?

 

Do I start with the Ombudsman?

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you can ask them if this is their deadlock letter so you can take the matter to the FCA.

You will also report them to the ICO and if they have been flagged on a credit file

you will ask the CRA to place a comment on that flag disputing the charge

 

The charges arent valid,

the leases do say about penalties not stupid invoices on the standard forms

 

You also need to stop using email as you will only get some lowly wonk responding.

 

 

Try finding out who the CEO is

ring his office and tell his PA that you are taking the matter further

and may well be dragging him before the courts for breach of contract if the matter is not considered properly

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Thanks for everything so far.

 

Before I go any further, I do keep going back to read the Protection of Freedoms Act.

 

Does section 4 not apply here ?

 

Right to claim unpaid parking charges from keeper of vehicle

 

4(1)The creditor has the right to recover any unpaid parking charges from the keeper of the vehicle.

 

Thanks

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stop trying to bat for the leaser

they have no right at all to mark your file nor pay the charges upon your behalf.

 

 

information commissioners office complaint time if you've already sent the letter we suggested

LEX cannot do this.

 

 

dx


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Well I guess that told me.

 

Don't you people sleep either :-)

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have they inserted the whole of the POFA in their lease contract? No? then it doesnt apply.

 

 

The POFA allows the parking co to claim the money from the keeper if they do not know the identity of the driver IF CERTAIN CONDITIONS ARE MET.

 

 

Now, it is up to the lease co to tell the parking co who was the driver at the time.

If they dont they cant add anything to your lease because it isnt part of that contract.

 

 

Read the contract carefully

but I bet is says fines under the RTA n ot unproven invoices under no law whatsoever..

 

Thanks for everything so far.

 

Before I go any further, I do keep going back to read the Protection of Freedoms Act.

 

Does section 4 not apply here ?

 

Right to claim unpaid parking charges from keeper of vehicle

 

4(1)The creditor has the right to recover any unpaid parking charges from the keeper of the vehicle.

 

Thanks

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This is what the Hire Agreement says :-

 

B) You will pay to us any charges penalties or fines under the Road Traffic Act 1974 or any similar Act for which a Summons (or that which supercedes it) may be made against the Vehicle or us in respect of a fixed penalty notice or an excess charge or any other breach of the Law arising out of use of the Vehicle during the Term. In the event we are required for whatever reason to pay such charges fines or penalties then you shall on demand reimburse us for all such amounts together with a reasonable administration charge which we will tell you from time to time.

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Here is the email I sent last night, copying in the MD of Lex. Below that in the following post I shall put their reply.

 

 

With reference to your email below and your “final” letter dated 20th June 2017, I am prepared to take this matter further to the Financial Ombudsman, however I feel it is unfair to expect me to do so until Lex has fully responded to my complaints in a satisfactory manner.

 

In your letter you refer the Parking Charge Notices as “fines” on no less than 10 occasions. This is both incorrect and misleading. The notices are speculative invoices arising from a perceived breach of contract between the parking operator and the driver of a vehicle.

 

I specifically instructed Lex not to pay any parking charges on my behalf, but you could provide my details as the driver of the car to the parking companies. You acknowledge this in your letter, but have stated that you required instruction specific to each notice. You also hid behind the Data Protection Act as a reason for not supplying my information to the parking companies, whereas another member of Lex staff advised me that you could make a note on my account to the effect that you could always supply my information to the parking companies. This is again inconsistent and misleading, and I have previously asked you for comment on this point but have received no response.

 

You state in your letter that “each private parking fine has to be dealt with in line with your agreement.” You have referred me to section 8 of the Hire Agreement, which does not allow Lex to recharge me with such parking invoices. These charges do not fall under the Road Traffic Act, nor could they lead to a summons, nor are they a breach of the law. This is an important point and relates to your insistence on calling these charges “fines”. You appear to be trying to make these charges fit into the terms of your Hire agreement when clearly they do not.

 

I have also asked you, without reply, to indicate where in the Hire Agreement or in any relevant legislation does it allow Lex to add these invoices to my credit account. I have paid £27,092 to Lex relating to the hire of the vehicle under the terms of the credit agreement. My obligation in relation to the hire of the car has been satisfied and settled. Yet my personal credit profile has been severely affected by the addition of these parking charges as if they are monies owed to Lex relating to the hire of the vehicle under the terms of the Hire Agreement, which they are not.

 

If you are either unable, or not prepared, as your email suggests, to respond further, then I would request that my complaint is escalated within Lex so that I can receive a proper response to my complaints.

 

At this stage I reserve my right to complain to the ICO in regard to your misrepresentation of the Data Protection Act and of using it as a means of “fobbing off” a customer.

 

I also reserve my right to complain to the Financial Ombudsman Service, regarding (but not limited to) the following issues:-

 

1. Using incorrect and misleading language to misdirect a customer.

2. Justifying “fines” as “valid” when they are not fines and are not covered by the clause of the Hire Agreement.

3. Ignoring an instruction not to pay any such charges on my behalf, and using the Data Protection Act as justification for doing so, thus contradicting another member of staff.

4. Applying such invalid charges to my credit file resulting in an extremely distressing negative personal credit situation for myself.

 

I would appreciate a proper response to the above within the next five working days.

 

Yours Sincerely

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And their reply to the above :-

 

 

May I first again apologise that we have not been able to reach a resolution you are happy with.

 

I can confirm that following your escalation of the complaint to Tim Porters office, it has been escalated to my management team. I have discussed the case, the details of my investigation and findings with all parties and can confirm that our final response remains and we are unable to uphold your complaint.

 

Kind regards

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as usual they mention fines etc under RTA so that is normal.

It all boils down to the interpretation of "or any other such breach of the law"

 

 

now in my book the operative word is "the" as all of this refers to the RTA

so that is, in plain english, the applicable law.

 

 

Now if they wnated to say that you were responsible for every dodgy claim under undefined and supposed unilateral contracts then they should say so separately and also give you the opportunity to either dispute these with the creditor or ahve some internal mechanism that would allow you to dispute them with Lex.

 

It may be that you will be forced to sue them for breach of contract and combined with that force them to remove the blot on your credit records or suffer further financially.

 

 

The ICO uses a softly softly approach to persuade wrongdoers to put things right rather than a punitive one.

I'm not sue how the FO does its work in a practical sense.

If you go via the ombudsman route it wont prevent you from suing later but sue first and you cant go to the ombudsman later.

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Thanks

 

Are the Ombudsman likely to look into the contract language and base a decision on that ?

 

Or do they take a view that this is normal operating behaviour from a Lease company ?

 

Lex certainly seem confident that they are acting correctly and everything is "valid"

 

Unless they are just playing hardball, which is possible.

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OK

 

I have been reading some decisions on the Ombudsman site relating to this type of complaint.

 

The Ombudsman seems to side with the Lease company and gives reasoning along these lines :-

 

Mr C has said that the charge shouldn’t have been paid by LeasePlan and it isn’t covered in

his terms and conditions. This service can’t define what a particular terms covers and I can

only look at what is fair and reasonable. I think that the terms make it clear that Mr C would

have to pay any penalties in connection with the use of the vehicle and I think it is

reasonable to conclude that the parking charge is a penalty. Mr C would need to ask a court

to decide if the term does not legally cover the charge.

 

So they don't look at the terms of the contract, just decide what they think is reasonable, which is bonkers.

 

Interestingly, Lex will not explain what their terms mean, they just say that the charges are valid, presumably so they don't prejudice themselves, as they know the Ombudsman will back them.

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the ombudsman isnt sure what the law is- no surprise there.

 

I have little faith in any ombudsman's determinations, whether the energy, pensions or whatever because the decisions are made by third division clerks until you make a complaint about their processes and then you get a higher tier wonk making the decision.

 

 

If you decide to throw a fortune at a judicial review you get the ombudsman to actually look at it but they dnt look afresh, just at the lawfulness of their minions decision so the matter may be wrong in fact and wrong in law but since the decision was honestly but incopmpetently reached that is OK then.

 

I would be considering suing the lease co for the blotting of your copybook under Durkin v DSG.

 

 

Many companies have been sued under this case law but generally they settle at the last moment, often because they are too incompetent and arrogant to make that decision earlier

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I have sent further emails directly to the MD of Lex, essentially complaining that they had issued a final letter and their twonks were now refusing to respond to me.

 

I complained that they were avoiding answering my reasonable questions regarding their terms and conditions.

 

I have now received a letter from them (attached)

 

The letter says "you feel that we are avoiding answering your questions and have not properly examined and explained the terms of the hire agreement. I can assure you that your case has been discussed at a senior level and the findings re-investigated in order to come to a decision"

 

The rest of the letter then proceeds to yet again NOT ANSWER MY QUESTIONS!

 

But they have discussed it so that must be ok!

 

I am now considering that if I go to the FO I should word the complaint in such a way to suggest that it is clearly unfair for Lex to not explain their terms, and they may be doing it in the expectation that the Ombudsman will not examine the legality of the clause.

 

Any thoughts? Letter is attached

lex 3rd august.pdf

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Below is my response to the letter from their MD.

 

 

Dear XXX

 

I have received a letter from xxx xxxxx (pp’d by yourself) dated 3rd August 2017.

 

You have written the following in your second paragraph:-

 

“You suggested in your recent communication that you feel we are avoiding answering your questions and have not properly examined and explained the terms of the hire agreement. I can assure you that your case has been discussed at a senior level and the findings re-investigated in order to come to a decision.”

 

Whilst you have noted my feelings in this regard, what follows in the remainder of your letter continues to avoid answering my questions!

 

And the fact that my case has apparently been discussed at a senior level is meaningless. Please can you explain what degree of comfort a customer is supposed to derive from this statement?

Lex won’t answer my questions but some managers have talked about it so that’s fine, I should just accept that and go away?

 

 

 

Then you have included an extract from the Hire Agreement - Section 8 – Statutory Requirements.

 

I have made the point on a number of occasions that speculative invoices from parking companies are not covered by this term in the Hire Agreement. They are invoices relating to a supposed contract between the parking operator/landowner and the driver of the vehicle. They are not a charge, penalty or fine under the Road Traffic Act 1974, there’s nothing that would cause a summons and there is no other breach of the law.

 

In short, you have paid and recharged amounts that are not covered by Lex’s Hire Agreement.

 

This extract from Section 8 has been referred to me on several occasions by Lex, yet nobody in your company has been willing to explain or discuss my assertion that this clause in not valid in terms of parking charge invoices. In fact, I had to correct xxx xxxxx on a number of occasions because of his repeated insistence on referring to the charges as "fines", which is misleading and incorrect.

 

 

 

Later in your letter you state that:- “We are unfortunately unable to operate individual arrangements for drivers around their parking charges which can come from different companies and relate to different locations and dates.”

 

This statement is contradicted in an email from XXX XXXX on 6th January in which she advised me that “We can put notes on system to pass your details to all private parking companies”.

 

XXXX's email gives her position within Lex as Fleet Administrator – Fines and Penalties so one would assume that a Customer could trust that XXXX is in a position to make such a statement, and assume from the statement that making system notes to pass on details is common practice.

 

 

 

In my email of 24th November 2016 I stated that “I do not authorise Lex Autolease to pay any charges on my behalf. You may provide them with my details should you wish, but no more than that.”

 

That is my explicit instruction not to pay any charges on my behalf, which you have confirmed that you could apply to all private parking companies.

 

And notwithstanding this clear instruction, the Hire Agreement does not give Lex the right to pay and recharge me with the cost of paying these “charges”.

 

Yet again, I would ask for some response from Lex taking into consideration my valid points, and not simply a statement that you have had a discussion and decided amongst yourselves that you are right. Your letter has been a continuation of pretty poor customer service, and a continued policy of trying to fob-off a customer without actually addressing the issues raised.

 

Yours Sincerely

 

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

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give them 14 days to remove the defaults from your CRA files or you will sue them.

Stop trying to be reasonable as they don't actually understand the differences you raise and must be shown.

 

as for going to the FOS or any ombudsman, that will be an utter waste of time and ink.

 

They can only look at whether the decision Lex took was within their remit to do so, not the actual decision itself

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the ombudsman isnt sure what the law is- no surprise there.

 

I have little faith in any ombudsman's determinations, whether the energy, pensions or whatever because the decisions are made by third division clerks until you make a complaint about their processes and then you get a higher tier wonk making the decision.

 

If you decide to throw a fortune at a judicial review you get the ombudsman to actually look at it but they dnt look afresh, just at the lawfulness of their minions decision so the matter may be wrong in fact and wrong in law but since the decision was honestly but incopmpetently reached that is OK then.

 

I would be considering suing the lease co for the blotting of your copybook under Durkin v DSG.

 

Many companies have been sued under this case law but generally they settle at the last moment, often because they are too incompetent and arrogant to make that decision earlier

 

When you first approach the ombudsman it goes to an investigator who then makes recommendations.

Generally this investigator is someone with very little knowledge or the law and generally sides with the "company" and not with the consumer.

 

Even though you quote the exact legislation verbatim to the FOS investigator and also give them an explanation how it should be used, they ignore it as they prefer to side with the company against whom you have a complaint.

 

I am having the issue with the FOS at present thinking I was dealing with an Ombudsman.

To move forward we have pointed out the errors made by the investigator and requested the issue to be reviewed and escalated.

 

I am not sure if the Ombudsman is the correct organisation to approach regarding lease agreement as in an earlier post in this thread the Ombudsman have decided that a parking charge is a penalty and that alone is incorrect. As it is a civil issue, it would be a bad debt and not a penalty

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