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 Jenny Your Own Question
Jenny
Jenny, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 6346
Experience:  Qualified Solicitor specialising in Employment Law and general legal matters. Please start your question For Jenny Only
32019188
Type Your Law Question Here...
Jenny is online now

I have a question regarding the legality of a car rental

Customer Question

Hello, I have a question regarding the legality of a car rental company holding me liable for penalty charge notice, the rental car company automatically paying the PCN once they receive the PCN, notifying me about the PCN only after the 28 day appeal window has passed, then debiting my account plus an additional admin fee, thereby waiving my right to appeal the PCN which was in fact issued in error. This has happened several times. Thanks
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Jenny replied 2 years ago.
Hello my name is ***** ***** I am happy to help you today. Do you accept you were the driver at the time?
What does your contract for hire state about what will happen in the event of a pcn or other issue?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

hi Jenny,

Yes i do accept i was the driver of the vehicle, in the terms and conditions it does state that i will be liable for any pcn's , tickets, congestion charges etc. but does not state they would pay them automatically

Expert:  Jenny replied 2 years ago.
Do you have the exact wording please?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

exact wording:

you are liable for all costs arising from congestion or parking charges (or your failure to pay them) or a breach of any parking restrictions or a road traffic offence or any other offence involving the vehicle, including costs from the vehicle being clamped, seized or towed away & any charges/costs (or your failure to pay them) of the relevant organisation )if & when it asks for these payments) and our £36 administration fee for each charge we pay.

Expert:  Jenny replied 2 years ago.
This is a tricky situation as on signing this contract you have agreed that you are 'liable for all parking charges' and further it goes on to say that there is an administration fee for each charge we pay.
You can argue that by paying this fine they have denied you the opportunity to dispute this charge and that it is your position that it was not a valid charge therefore there was no contractual right for them to deduct without giving you the opportunity to dispute the PCN.
YOu should say that if they do not refund the money you will bring a claim in breach of contract on that basis.
You are able to raise a small claim at www.moneyclaim.gov.uk
Hopefully they will refund you the money.
You should note that this is fairly common practice with car hire companies so they may refuse to refund on the basis that this is industry standard and that you had agreed to the charges when you signed the car hire agreement.
Good luck with it.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

is it not a legal right for the person liable for paying the ticket to have the ability to appeal the ticket?

Expert:  Jenny replied 2 years ago.
This is where it is complicated. The Car Hire company as the owner of the vehicle may be liable for the paying the ticket rather than the driver and may sign statements of liability on behalf of the driver.
http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2000/2546/schedule/2/made
Your better argument is that they cannot say that the parking charge is owed if you were not given the right to dispute the ticket.
It is really saying the same thing.
This is why they are arguably in breach of contract by charging you (plus the admin fee) without giving you the right to appeal.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

if I argue they are in breach of contract and ask for an immediate refund, do they have the right to appeal the ticket on my behalf before they refund me the money that is if they contact pcn company directly and they then decide to extend the appeal window?

Expert:  Jenny replied 2 years ago.
Yes potentially they will but this will depend on the issuing council's rules.
Jenny and other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Expert:  Jenny replied 2 years ago.
Hello is there anything further you would like to know about this?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

actually, lastly, is there any particular way i should word the "breach of contract" statement, as I'm finding it difficult to grasp the concept

Expert:  Jenny replied 2 years ago.
Hi yes, you should say that the wording is 'you are liable in respect of any parking charges, or failure to pay them'. You dispute the fact that there should be parking charges (by virtue of the fact you were not given the opportunity to appeal the PCN), therefore they are in breach for charging you for the charge and the admin fee.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

thank you for your help, that'll be all.

Regards

Adom

Expert:  Jenny replied 2 years ago.
No problem, good luck