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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 69268
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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A few months ago we received a parking ticket, even though

Customer Question

A few months ago we received a parking ticket, even though we had a valid ticket for the time we were away.
We arrived in the car park that had only been open a few days. There were only a handful of cars parked in it. As we stopped the car a lady knocked on the window and thrust a ticket into my daughters hand, saying that she had only had it for 1 minute to pick up some food in the local take away. We thanked her and as this is often the procedure when parking we went on our way. Upon our return we found we had the ticket. My daughter spoke with the attendant, and he told us to pay up. From then on we felt we were victims of a scam. ( quickly earning revenue on an empty and new car park )
Since then we have received letters from the company 'Napier' to which my daughter appealed. They totally disregarded our appeal. She then told them that she works on a cruise ship and couldn't do anything until she is next home late October as she will be cruising the east side of Canada and Greenland.
We are now in receipt of threatening letters from a debt collecting company in Wallasey, with a Final Notice before Action, and the cost of the fine has increased to £140.00.
As we obviously do not want debt collectors sending threatening letters, we wonder should we pay, and if so what amount should we offer.
Also, my daughter feels certain we have been victims of a scam in all this, as Napier have not sent us any photographic evidence of the transfer of the ticket. Only that the attendant saw it happen. We feel we should counter sue.

Since this happened to us, we have learned of further bullying tactics at this same car park. One young lady was in the queue waiting to get her ticket and the attendant photographed her car twice in one minute. The crowd around her argued with him, but still he insisted.
Even though the car park is conveniently situated near the shops in Waterlooville, Hampshire, we notice it is often fairly empty. This must be due to the word of mouth about the bullying tactics. Apparently there are also a number of entries on their blog. We have heard of many people staying clear.
Can you help us please? Should we just pay up, and allow this sort of thing to go on. Or! should we fight it?

Josie Branscombe
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.

Thank you for your question. My name is Jo and I will try to help with this.

When did you receive the ticket please?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

For Jo C


20th March 2013

Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.

Who is the issuer of the fine please?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

For Jo C


The issuer of the fine is Napier Parking Limited

Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.

This is a private land fine. They are not parking fines whatever they may look like. I realise that many of them mimic those issued by the council or the police but they do not have the same authority.

A private land firm is not an emanation of the state. It does not have the right to punish you for the manner of your parking any more than your neighbours do.

This is essentially an invoice arising from a civil dispute. They say that you accepted a contract by parking there and breached it by staying too long or otherwise parking at variance with the contract.

Private land fines used to be very easy to escape by refusing the details of the driver. They only have a contract with the driver. Unfortunately the Protection of Freedoms Act came into force in October 2012 and it makes the registered keeper liable for the penalty if he does not disclose the details of the driver within 28 days.

All that means is that the claim runs against the registered keeper. It just makes it easier to find the person against whom there should be enforcement.

The chances are high that they will not sue. Even though the law has recently changed in their favour and they were quite aggressive in the beginning, they do not sue in the majority of cases.

If they do sue then they would only have a claim for the sum of the original fine plus about £35 in costs. They will send you debt collection letters in which they will threaten to sue you for their debt collection costs. Do not be intimidated by that. They have no claim for that.

Even if they do go to court, they would still have to prove that the signs are adequate and clear. Quite often they are not.

Also, they will have to prove that they have suffered loss. They may be able to claim a very small amount in administration costs but it is going to be the sum they are trying to claim from you. Their loss would seem to amount to no more than about £5.

They will send you some very nasty letters though. You will get debt collection letters making threats of legal action. They will probably get Graham Whyte solicitors to write to you as well. None of these are anything to worry about. It will not impact upon your credit history and it will not add to the costs.

Unless you actually get a court summons, none of these correspondences have any legal basis. If you do get a court summons then you can always part admit the claim and offer £5 for their loss.

Hope this helps. Please let me know if you need more information.

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