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Jenny
Jenny, Solicitor
Category: Law
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Experience:  Qualified Solicitor specialising in Employment Law and general legal matters. Please start your question For Jenny Only
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I received an invalid parking penalty notice from a parking

Customer Question

I received an invalid parking penalty notice from a parking control company which was subsequently cancelled. In my first response I said that I would be charging an administration fee of £25.00 per item of correspondence received or sent plus 5% interest per month on any unpaid charges. The company continued the correspondence until they finally cancelled the penalty notice. The charges now stand at £207.50 and they have made no reference to the charges in any correspondence. What are my chances of succeeding with a Small Claims Court action?
Submitted: 10 months ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Jenny replied 10 months ago.
Hi my name is ***** ***** I am happy to help you today. On what basis, contractual or otherwise have you said you will charge them for writing to you? Does this reflect any actual cost to you?
Customer: replied 10 months ago.
I have spent a considerable amount of time researching my responses and sending letters. If I had done nothing they would have set debt collectors on me.
Expert:  Jenny replied 10 months ago.
Ok thanks, ***** ***** just clarify that they are not now pursuing you for the original parking notice?
Customer: replied 10 months ago.
They have ignored all references I have made regarding Admin charges , so they have not refused to accept them but nor have they agreed to accept them. The parking penalty notice was cancelled because they failed to advise the address where the alleged infringement took place and as registered keeper of the vehicle I declined to name the driver at the time.
Customer: replied 10 months ago.
no they are not now pursuing me for the original notice.
Expert:  Jenny replied 10 months ago.
ok thanks, ***** ***** not think there is any merit in claiming sadly. The reason is that the only potential claim would be in breach of contract. In order for a contract to exist there must be offer and acceptance. The fact that they have ignored your suggestion that you will claim this does not amount to acceptance at law. You can of course send a letter before action to see if they will agree to pay but this would fail in the county court for the reasons stated above so it is not worth spending the time and money on the court issue fee if they did not pay up on receipt of a letter before action. Is there anything further you would like to now about this? If I have answered your question please remember to take the time to rate my answer. Thank you and all the best.
Customer: replied 10 months ago.
What about my time and trouble defending a spurious charge which they can send out with impunity and the threat of debt collectors further charges etc.? Why should I have to go to the expense of defending such spurious charges whilst they get away scot free?
Expert:  Jenny replied 10 months ago.
I agree it is annoying to have to deal with this. But I do not believe you are saying that the vehicle was not ever parked there are you? You are saying they are not pursuing it on a technicality, that you have declined to name the driver etc? Have I misunderstood the position?
Customer: replied 10 months ago.
Also what about my non acceptance of their penalty notice? Where do they stand in enforcing such notices without the other party accepting them? In my first letter I refused to accept that the picture they supplied was not acceptable proof of it being my vehicle. It was nighttime and showed a car similar to mine with its lights on and an enhanced picture of my number plate but the picture of the car did not include the number plate. If I had left it at that they would still have pursued me.
Expert:  Jenny replied 10 months ago.
But was your car parked there or not?
Customer: replied 10 months ago.
Yes it was but they failed to follow the correct procedures to enforce the penalty notice. I therefore spent considerable time and effort researching the issue in order to mount a credible defence.
Expert:  Jenny replied 10 months ago.
That is not a spurious claim then. The fact you have got out of it because you have done your research does not mean that they did not have the right to pursue you in the first place. As I said in my original answer you will be wasting your court fee bringing this claim because the only claim would be in breach of contract and you cannot establish a contract. If your car was not parked there at all the position might be different because you could possibly bring a claim in the law of nuisance. Is there anything I can clarify for you?
Expert:  Jenny replied 10 months ago.
Hello is there anything else you would like to know.
If I have answered your question I would be grateful if you would kindly take the time to rate my answer. Thank you and all the best.
Customer: replied 10 months ago.
So how would they enforce the penalty notice when I refused to accept it as being valid. Where is the offer and acceptance?
Expert:  Jenny replied 10 months ago.
They have not enforce it so I'm not clear what point you are trying to make. If you are asking where the contract comes in the first place with regards ***** ***** fee for parking. If there is adequate signage and you leave your vehicle that amounts to an acceptance. Ultimately it is up to you if you want to claim for this. You have asked for advice on whether it will succeed and I have explained why it will not. If you want to claim then go ahead. Let me know how you get on!
Customer: replied 10 months ago.
If my leaving my vehicle amounts to an acceptance in law, surely their replying to my first letter outlining my intention to charge an administration fee, also surely amounts to an acceptance?
Expert:  Jenny replied 10 months ago.
No it doesn't, parking on private land they make you an offer to park for a fee (assuming there is adequate signing). You accept that offer by leaving your car there. The third element of contract is that there must be consideration which there is because you receive benefit (of the parking) by leaving your car there. You threatening charges and them ignoring it to pursue a potential breach of contract is a completely different scenario. There is not contract because there is no consideration (benefit to them) nor is there an acceptance at all for the reasons I explained earlier. You can argue that there is a contract if you want and I really hope that you will succeed and prove me wrong! Let me know how you get on. Good luck with it.
Expert:  Jenny replied 10 months ago.
Hello is there anything further you would like to know?

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