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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 70198
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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Can a private parking company charge me if I park well within

Customer Question

Can a private parking company charge me if I park well within time limits but walk off the park?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Jo C. replied 1 year ago.
Hi.
Thank you for your question. My name is ***** ***** I will try to help with this.
-Could you explain your situation a little more?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

I parked and walked off the park then retuned back to my car and drove off, all within 21 minutes - parking is free for 1 hour.

A ticket resembling a council penalty envelope had been stuck on my windscreen. It claimed £100 for "driver/passengers observed leaving site".

Company named as UKCPS Ltd.

My email is:***@******.***

Expert:  Jo C. replied 1 year ago.
Do the signs at the location prohibit leaving the site?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Yes, in smaller but visible letters

Expert:  Jo C. replied 1 year ago.
Ok.
Are you prepared to risk being sued?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

They have said they are prepared to go to court to get payment

Expert:  Jo C. replied 1 year ago.
Yes, are you?
There is a risk that could happen.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

yes

Expert:  Jo C. replied 1 year 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 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.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Thanks for this advice.

One last point. If I go to court and lose will this affect my credit rating, even if I pay straight away?

Expert:  Jo C. replied 1 year ago.
Not if you pay within 28 days of judgment.
You can apply for it to be removed from Experian then.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

I'm not sure if I can still ask any more questions, but it is regarding the same subjected.

The parking company had sent back to me an original letter I had written to them asking questions about the fine. I wondered if this is standard?

Expert:  Jo C. replied 1 year ago.
Yes, fairly. You will get lots more letters of that nature.
I'm happy to continue with this but please rate my answer.
Jo C. and 3 other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

I have tried to rate other answers but it say I must pay extra to do so, is that right?

Expert:  Jo C. replied 1 year ago.
No, that is all you need to do.
No need to do anything else.
You can ask related follow up questions.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Well I would rate all the answers today as excellent. Thanks

Expert:  Jo C. replied 1 year ago.
No problem and all the best.
Remember that I am always available to help with your questions. Even if I am in Court I will usually pick up a question within 12 hours. For future information, please start your question with ‘For Jomo1972’.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

For Jomo1972

Hi

The parking company that charged me, did so with a ticket placed on my car. On the ticket they had written my car registration number incorrectly, but they had got the model correct. Is this a point I can use?

Expert:  Jo C. replied 1 year ago.
Yes, but it isn't brilliant.
Usually the issue with index numbers is that they can't trace you at the DVLA but they may have a note or a still from CCTV.
If they do then you could put them to proof on the basis of error but if there is a still image then it falls away really.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

I am going to send their solicitor a letter. Before I do, could I paste it here to get your opinion?

Expert:  Jo C. replied 1 year ago.
Yes, why do you want to do that?
What are you hoping to achieve?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

I thought it was a good idea because I have had some correspondence with the parking company and now they have sent a solicitors letter. So I thought I would reply

Expert:  Jo C. replied 1 year ago.
All you do when you respond is tell them that you are worth chasing.
Just completely ignore them unless they send a court summons in which case you must respond.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Does the court summons mean the case will go to court?

Expert:  Jo C. replied 1 year ago.
Yes.
That hasn't happened yet.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

All I've received so far are some demands, which I've rebuked and now a solicitors letter. I was trying to avoid court

Expert:  Jo C. replied 1 year ago.
The only way to be sure that won't happen is to pay in full.
It is very unlikely that would happen although made more likely because you are responding.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Thanks for your helpful advice.

Expert:  Jo C. replied 1 year ago.
No problem. All the best.