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Parking Ticket - Result in Debt Collection Agency


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Hi,

 

I was wondering if anyone had experienced anything similar to me and could advise ? My girlfriend recieved a Penalty Notice, from a cleaning company who control the carparks where she works for not parking in a registered staff carpark. The fine was £50. I told her not to pay the fine, based on things I've read etc, and I wrote them a letter telling them that the claim was unlawful as it was on private property, and that they must prove she knowingly entered into a contract to park there etc etc . I simply had a letter back saying "refusal of appeal" and notices have continued to come through the post. I was happy to let this continue, and simply ignore them.What frustrates me, is that everytme a letter comes, its not even signed by an individual. The last letter she recieved is RED and says - FINAL REMINDER. It informs that the company will employ a debt collection agency to recover the costs. Personally I think this is scare tactics, though I know that debt collection agencies, add crazy amounts of fees to any form of charges. She is now starting to panic, thinking her credit history will be affected etc. I still say she shouldn't give in. I'd happily pay over the odds, at the expense of seeing how far things would actually go. Can anyone comment ?

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Yes,

 

Stand firm and don't pay. Her credit rating will not be affected unless the parking company take out a county court summons and manage to convince a judge that they have a case. They will have to prove who the driver is and that a contract had been formed and even if they manage that they can only claim for their actual losses. If the car park was free then their losses are zero. They can not claim for their unlawful penalty charge.

 

Read the sticky at the top of the parking forum for further background, but ultimately ignore them. Their letters are threatening and border on harassment. Unfortunately they have had the desired effect on your partner but their content is at best inaccurate and at worst a pack of lies regarding what they can do.

 

Just keep us updated in this thread and don't hesitate to come back for further advice if required:)

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Guest perky88

Irs100 .. on reading it seems like she was supposed to be there (working) but not parked in the correct place ??

 

Robs comment on proving loss is NOT valid, if there are signs stating she was entering a contract and the agreed charge was £50 ... what company issued the charge as their website normally displays sample signs etc..

 

I guess she made a genuine mistake in parking in the wrong bay ??

 

People make genuine mistakes - I suspect you have initally dealt with it wrong by your 1st letter to them being confrontational, rather than asking them to explain what your girlfriend had done wrong as she was allowed to be there due to working and wait for their response.

 

Your letter (as you put it) was confrontational, and probarly incorrect as the charge was probarly very lawful (not a fine or penalty .. but charge).

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probarly incorrect as the charge was probarly very lawful (not a fine or penalty .. but charge).

 

Please expand your thoughts on this point, as IMHO you are incorrect.

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Guest perky88

If they are parked on private land, if there are signs stating that permits should be shown or similar, if the wording of the singns clearly state its a contract, the conditions, and the opportunity for the person to move unless they agree - then the charge is correctly issued.

 

Irs100 states " wrote them a letter telling them that the claim was unlawful as it was on private property, and that they must prove she knowingly entered into a contract to park there etc "

 

Again, if they have evidence of the vehcile and can show the signage is correct then a contract has been entered ...

 

I suspect (and this is another example of not all facts being stated) a genuine error occured, she was allowed to be in the carpark but just in the wrong bay ... writing letters stating unlawful etc... is not the way to deal with it ...

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If they are parked on private land, if there are signs stating that permits should be shown or similar, if the wording of the singns clearly state its a contract, the conditions, and the opportunity for the person to move unless they agree - then the charge is correctly issued.

 

Apart from the issue of penalties being unlawful when issued within a civil contract, reagrdless of what the Terms and Conditions may say. Read the FAQs on this site for case law.

 

Irs100 states " wrote them a letter telling them that the claim was unlawful as it was on private property, and that they must prove she knowingly entered into a contract to park there etc "

 

Again, if they have evidence of the vehcile and can show the signage is correct then a contract has been entered ...

 

They must prove who entered into the contract - the vehicle being parked there does not tell you who parked it.

 

I suspect (and this is another example of not all facts being stated) a genuine error occured, she was allowed to be in the carpark but just in the wrong bay ... writing letters stating unlawful etc... is not the way to deal with it ...

 

The letter that the OP sent affirmed to the company that they are aware of contract law and that they weren't going to be mislead into paying a penalty. I fail to see the problem with this.

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Guest perky88

Again ... like your other posts ,.. where has penalty been mentioned ?? I thought we were talking about a parking charge ??? NOT a penalty !

 

Unfortunatly, when I (and I can only speak personally) get a letter quoting various laws/regulations- they all seem to follow a standard format and there are approx 4 or 5 main types - they all seem to be copied/pasted from websites like this and its obvious the writer does not fully understand what they are saying.

 

People often quote Carbolic Smoke Company as a reason why the contract wasnt formed ... duh !!! when I have a picture of them right next to our sign !!!

 

Anyway ... unless the original poster has any further questions ..

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People often quote Carbolic Smoke Company as a reason why the contract wasnt formed ... duh !!! when I have a picture of them right next to our sign !!!

 

Do you even understand what that case is about? How is being parked next to a sign relevant to that case? You're just giving out misinformation.

 

A shop in my town has a sign which says no refunds.... it doesn't make it legal.

Post by me are intended as a discussion of the issues involved, as these are of general interest to me and others on the forum. Although it is hoped such discussion will be of use to readers, before exposing yourself to risk of loss you should not rely on any principles discussed without confirming the situation with a qualified person.

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Guest perky88

Unfortunatly this is one of the cases we have to know intimatly when understanding contract law .. so yes I do know it very well.

 

I did say (and if you read threads correctly you will see) that I can only comment on OUR signage and terms/conditions ... We can and do on a very regular basis demonstrate a contract was entered (AND BEFORE ANYONE COMMENTS .. YES WITH THE DRIVER !!!).

 

Signs differ greatly .. so do the parking notices ... the court ALWAYS asks for a copy of the charge notice and the signage on display !!

 

Going around in circles on this one now ... so closing off

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I'm sorry, but you do not seem to understand that your Terms and Conditions do not supersede English law. The amount that you refer to as a 'charge' is deemed in law to be a penalty.

 

As for template letters, they help the layman, the ordinary person, i.e. you and I (although perhaps not you) to assert the rights that the law affords them. This includes the right not to be taken advantage of in civil contracts - and thus we come around to the penalty argument again. You may call it what you like, but the law defines it as a penalty, and therefore unenforceable.

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Guest perky88

If I drive into a carpark and it states £10 per hour parking .. if I stay for 6hrs .. I will get a charge/bill/invoice for £60 ... I may decide to pay now or later (if it states on the notice that invoice can be paid within 14-days)

 

The contract has been formed - The company made the offer, I duly considered and Accepted the offer by parking my vehicle knowing the conditions and charges - if I didnt want to accept the conditions I would have moved on.

 

The car park company expects to be paid what has been agreed in the contract and by issuing the charge is correct.

 

If the charge is unpaid as the agreement, the company has a right to pursue the debt + any additional charges deemed reasonable to recover the money.

 

No mention of a penalty, just recovering the debt as agreed by me the driver accepting the terms on display and parking my vehicle.

 

You can argue all you want, but in the 'real world' this is how it goes.

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If I drive into a carpark and it states £10 per hour parking .. if I stay for 6hrs .. I will get a charge/bill/invoice for £60 ... I may decide to pay now or later (if it states on the notice that invoice can be paid within 14-days)

 

The contract has been formed - The company made the offer, I duly considered and Accepted the offer by parking my vehicle knowing the conditions and charges - if I didnt want to accept the conditions I would have moved on.

 

The car park company expects to be paid what has been agreed in the contract and by issuing the charge is correct.

 

If the charge is unpaid as the agreement, the company has a right to pursue the debt + any additional charges deemed reasonable to recover the money.

 

No mention of a penalty, just recovering the debt as agreed by me the driver accepting the terms on display and parking my vehicle.

 

You can argue all you want, but in the 'real world' this is how it goes.

 

If the charge for the car park was £10 an hour, and you overstayed by 6 hours, then the car park would be entitled to ask the driver for the above £60 as this is the actual loss incurred by way of the driver overstaying. The proprietor can clearly demonstrate that the result of the overstay caused him/her to lose out on £60 that they would have got from someone else who could have used that space. Actual loss = no penalty.

 

However, when the amount charged for breach of contract becomes disproportionate, with no relation to the actual loss, it becomes a penalty and is therefore irrecoverable in its entirety. Most if not all private parking companies charge upwards of £50, with some penalties going into the hundreds of pounds; most of these car parks are free, or pay and display £1.00 per hour.

 

Free car park + breach of 'terms' = no loss.

 

£1 an hour + overstay of half an hour = 50p loss.

 

The Terms and Conditions of private parking do not take precedent over the law - the penalty is unenforceable according to the law. And as you said, the law is the law...

 

I tried to resist feeding the troll (or troll with a vested interest), but when you start giving out advice that is contrary to the law I feel that I have to correct you. I hope that clears everything up.

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