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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 69268
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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Hi, I have a season ticket for a private train station carpark

Resolved Question:

Hi, I have a season ticket for a private train station carpark run by APCOA in england. the season ticket starts on 7/05/14. Up to then, we had used the call service which registers the licemse plate on a system and there is no need to display a ticket. As we had not yet received the actual ticket on 7/05/14 because it was payed for by phone, we thought it used the same system/register as it is the same company.
a fine arrived home and we called to explain the situation. We were told to send all the proof and explanation in writing. Which we did including a copy of the season ticket. We did not receive any answer after this and we received a notice by recoverydebtplus to that we have to pay the fine. I contested that to and explained that we had already paid for the service provided (park services) by paying the season ticket, and that they cannot charge for the same service twice. They called requesting to call them back and a very threatening lady told me basically very rudely and aggressively to pay because we did not display the season ticket...
What shall i do next?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Jo C. replied 1 year ago.

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

Do they accept that you paid and that it was just ticket display that was the problem?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

yes, they said that ticket display was the problem. I have proof of payment also if needed.

Expert:  Jo C. replied 1 year ago.
is there any mention of the railway by laws in the fine?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

No, I don't think it does. It is a private land managed by APCOA and the only reference to the train station is the location, which is station road, harpenden, herfordshire.

It might be worth mentioning that they did have in their posession the information relating to the payment of the season ticket as they sent an sms to confirm this. Therefore, they request to find my personal details under regulation 27(1) of the road vehicles was ilegitim since they did know already (or should have known) they were claiming twice for the same service provided.

Expert:  Jo C. replied 1 year ago.
Do you have the ticket in front of you?
Can you check the small print?
It would change everything if it is private land.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

I do have the ticket with me, how can I be sure it is private land?Ticket -page 1

Expert:  Jo C. replied 1 year ago.
Is there anything in the small print referring to railway bye laws?
I can open it but it is too blurred for me to read.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

no, nothing at all

Expert:  Jo C. replied 1 year 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 arising from an alleged agreement whereby you agree to park for a fee. 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. That is what is in dispute.
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.
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.
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 a small amount for their loss.
Hope this helps. Please let me know if you need more information.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 69268
Experience: Over 5 years in practice
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