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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Traffic Law
Satisfied Customers: 69368
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice.
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Sign on public house car park states - UKCPS pay and display

Customer Question

Sign on public house car park states - UKCPS pay and display - private land contractual agreement. Charges applicable Mon-Sat 08:00 - 18:00.

Parking charges section has been obscured by a laminated paper sign duct taped in place states car park prices - £2.60 all day - 30p every half hour - tickets must be displayed on dash.

I returned to the car having paid for all day parking at 18:15 there was no parking charge notice on the car, but I received a parking charge letter in the post stating that my car was observed at 18:10 "Beyond a stipulated time limit". and as the reduced charge of £60 had not been paid the amount now due is £100.

I appealed that the sign did not state that parking was not allowed beyond 18:00 (All Day was not a time limit) and that I had not even been given the chance to pay the reduced amount. They refused the appeal and sent photographs of my car with a PCN attached (stating that unauthorised removal is an offence).

They have now threatened to recover the money owed by means of a debt collection agency and may proceed with court action against me.
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Traffic Law
Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
Thank you for your question. My name is XXXXX XXXXX I will try to help with this.

What would you like to know about this?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Is this legal? How should I proceed? Do you recommend I pay the penalty?

Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years 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. 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.

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. They have no claim for 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.

Also, they will have to prove that they have suffered loss. They may be able to claim a very small amount in administration costs but it is going to be the sum they are trying to claim from you. Their loss would seem to amount to no more than about £5.

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 £5 for their loss.

Hope this helps. Please let me know if you need more information.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thanks for that, do I need to reply to their letter rejecting my appeal?

Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
I wouldn't bother.

I wouldn't use their appeal's process either. I've never heard of anybody who has been upheld.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Traffic Law
Satisfied Customers: 69368
Experience: Over 5 years in practice.
Jo C. and other Traffic Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thank you, I will be taking your advice.

Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years 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 Jo C’.

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