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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.
May I ask please did the car park have signs displaying the requirement to buy a ticket or limiting waiting time please?
If so what was the alleged infraction - e.g.failure to buy a ticket or overstaying?
FYI - I am just stepping away from my desk for a few minutes. I will not be long
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.
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.
Thank you for the above.
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?
As i had sent in an appeal letter I had mentioned I was 6 minutes late so yes
and I also wrote to roxburgh that as i had not received reply from elite i refused to pay the increased £173.
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.
However just because you have made the above admission does not mean all is lost by any means...
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Is there anything above I can clarify for you any further?
if they do take me to court would i be expected to attend the hearing
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.
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.
Do the courts send a letter advising of the dates etc or do the car parking firm send the notice
Yes if they issue proceedings you will receive a notice from the court asking you to admit or defend the claim.
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.
The courts write to you directly.
Is there anything else i can help you with?
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
Yes of course.
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thanks i will rate you favourably. many thanks