How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Joshua Your Own Question
Joshua
Joshua, Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 25440
Experience:  LL.B (Hons), Higher Prof. Dip. Law & Practice
35043042
Type Your Law Question Here...
Joshua is online now

Two years ago in january 2012 i got aparking ticket on private

Customer Question

Two years ago in january 2012 i got aparking ticket on private land for being 10 minutes late. As i got to the car park the attendant had just written the ticket and as he had written it out He said there was nothing he could do but advised me to write and appeal to elite management. I appealed on line straight away and had no reply. A month later they sent a letter saying that the fine had gone from £125 to £173, so I wrote a letter saying that I had appealed and due to no reply was not going to pay the extortionate fine. They kept sending me letters from the debt collecter Roxburgh which was based in the same building chasing the fine, including letters from their lawyers based in the same address. I had gone to citizens advice and they told me to write to them not paying on grounds no reply on appeal and due to increase in fine which i did. After a while i heard nothing and then 2 years later they send me a letter saying due to limitations act they can pursue the fine for up to 6yrs. A week later they are saying they will take me to court if I dont pay. Should I be paying as at the time there was aprogram on the BBc watchdog tim cary the solicitor who specialises in traffic law said it was not a criminal offence and said not to answer them as it was not from the police.
Please can you advise what I should do.
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Joshua replied 3 years ago.

Joshua :

Hello and thank you for your question. I will be very pleased to assist you. I'm a practicing lawyer in England with over 10 years experience.

Joshua :

May I ask please did the car park have signs displaying the requirement to buy a ticket or limiting waiting time please?

Joshua :

If so what was the alleged infraction - e.g.failure to buy a ticket or overstaying?

Joshua :

FYI - I am just stepping away from my desk for a few minutes. I will not be long

Customer:

There were signs at the entrance but very basic, which now they have improved the signane in the last year or so & there was no mention of waiting time however speaking to the attendants at other car parks they give you a 15 minute grace time. the infraction was for overstaying the two hours that i had paid parking for.

Customer:

according to their notice I was 11minutes late and i thought i was about 5 minutes but as i was busy discussing the matter with the attendant had not recorded the time.

Joshua :

Thank you for the above.

Joshua :

May I ask if you have confirmed or admitted to the company at any time that you were the driver of the vehicle in question on the day please?

Customer:

As i had sent in an appeal letter I had mentioned I was 6 minutes late so yes

Customer:

and I also wrote to roxburgh that as i had not received reply from elite i refused to pay the increased £173.

Joshua :

Thank you. That is unfortunate. The parking ticket was issued under the old regime whereby you had to admit who the driver was and if you did not do so they had no claim against you and the ticket was unenforceable. The position is now different but the above was the case then.

Joshua :

However just because you have made the above admission does not mean all is lost by any means...

Joshua :

Unfortunately as above the position here is that you have admitted being the driver and accordingly they do have a potential claim against you. However, penalties in contract law are unlawful-these parking charges are based in contract law. In contract law, they are only able to recover their actual losses which in real terms would be very small.

Joshua :

In addition, they have to be able to show that there are signs were clearly displayed in order to enforce the contract. If they were not, then they have no claim at all.

Joshua :

How you choose to proceed depends on your appetite for risk. Appeals to the parking company direct are largely a waste of time in that it is an industry body and therefore appeals have a tendancy to favour the parking companies which are ultimately only interested in making money and therefore rarely grant appeals themselves. In fact I have never heard of a successful appeal however that is not to say that they do not occur as logically if an appeal is successful the individual concerned is unlikely to be contacting a lawyer. However it remains the case that as nothing more than an invoice the parking company have to go to court to force you to pay just as with any other debt.

Joshua :

If there were to do so you may be able to argue that they failed to provide adequate signage and therefore may fail to show that a contract was formed when you entered the car park or parking area; alternatively or in addition they would struggle to show any loss from your alleged breach of overstaying particularly if there were other free spaces available that customers could park in. They will attempt to claim admin costs and so on but they would still struggle to demonstrate a loss of any significance compared to the amount they will no doubt attempt to claim - solicitors costs cannot be claimed if they go to court as the matter would be a small claims hearing if it was pursued. Generally a doubling of the fee if not paid (as is often provided for on these claims) within a certain period is almost certainly unenforceable in contract law.

Joshua :

Accordingly you may either pay the amount demanded or simply ignore the various threatening letters that will ensue should you fail to do so. All they can do is issue proceedings in the County Court to sue you for the amount demanded plus costs which would be in the order of £35 plus some minor allocation fees if the matter proceeded to a hearing. Historically they almost never did so because they would find it very difficult to win. Because you have admitted to being the driver they have a better position in that they know who to claim against but they must still prove loss and so on as above which is not easy.

Joshua :

Is there anything above I can clarify for you any further?

Customer:

if they do take me to court would i be expected to attend the hearing

Joshua :

You don't have to - you can submit your statement that you would like the judge to take into account and ask that the judge deal with the matter in your absence.

Joshua :

You must give the court 7 days notice if you do not intend to attend. Providing you give the above notice the judge will deal with the matter in your absence and take into account your statements.

Customer:

Do the courts send a letter advising of the dates etc or do the car parking firm send the notice

Joshua :

Yes if they issue proceedings you will receive a notice from the court asking you to admit or defend the claim.

Joshua :

If you defend that the court will set a hearing date asking you for dates which are not convenient and then make a determination at the hearing.

Joshua :

The courts write to you directly.

Joshua :

Is there anything else i can help you with?

Customer:

i think that is all for now .thanks for your help and advise. If i have any other questions relating to this can I contact you further

Joshua :

Yes of course.

Joshua :

If you have no further questions for now I should be very grateful if you would kindly take a moment to rate my service to you today. Your feedback is important to me. You can return at any time to ask follow up questions without further charge

Customer:

thanks i will rate you favourably. many thanks

Joshua and other Law Specialists are ready to help you