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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
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Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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Hello I parked in a private car park (supermarket) in a disable

Customer Question

Hello I parked in a private car park (supermarket) in a disable bay for less than an hour and was fined £100. The ticket (left on my windscreen) was made to the wrong number plate - although they have taken pictures of my car, plate and tax disc. I would like to challenge this fine. I understand that the disproportionate fee and unjustified loss of revenue are potential ways to go about it. What do you think?
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
Hi.

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

Who is the issuer?

Please forget about UCTA. Its got no relevance.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

UKPC What is UCTA?

Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
Unfair Terms and Contracts Act.

In the small print of the fine, does it say anything about the local council?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

not that I can see

Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
Are you looking at the original fine please?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

yes, the one stuck on my windscreen. I can't see the word 'council' anywhere

Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
Thanks.

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.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thanks but you did not advise on:


1. If I should do nothing and wait (I said that they had the wrong number plate on the ticket - although they have photos showing my car with the number plate and the tax disc.


2. If I do appeal online do I simply argue that the fine is disproportionate compared to the loss of revenue they have incurred by my breach of contract - you said that the UTCA was not worth mentioning.


 


Many thanks

Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
1 I think I covered this above? There's no point in doing anything although the fact that the fine is issued to the wrong number is XXXXX non issue because they will have it on the photographs.

2 There's no point in appealing internally. If they sue then you shoud raise the points I mentioned above.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Ok but there is a Late/Non payment paragraph at the back of the ticket saying that failure to pay within 28 days may lead to court proceedings being issued and a debt recovery agency being instructed. Your advice is still that I do not pay nor challenge the fine online in their appeal website?

Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
Not using their appeals system. There's no point. Its just an opportunity to put your head in the noose.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Sorry but I'm confused ... should I challenge the fine in writing then? Or do nothing and just wait?

Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
There's no point in appealing internally. Its just an opportunity to put your head in the noose.

If they do sue then you should fight it
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 69983
Experience: Over 5 years in practice
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Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.

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