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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Traffic Law
Satisfied Customers: 69379
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice.
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Hello, A couple of months ago I received an invoice from Parking

Customer Question

Hello,
A couple of months ago I received an invoice from Parking Eye for not paying in a pay and display car park (although I did actually pay, the meter took the money but would then not issue a ticket) I sought advice here and it was basically to ignore the invoice because they vary rarely take these things to court - advice which I agreed with and followed.
Anyway, just my lucky, but after the first letter, the next thing I receive is a court letter claiming 100 pounds plus solicitors fees and court costs etc. which they have issued through money claim.
I still feel quite strongly about this as the first letter was addressed to me, but stated 'we would like to remind you that if you were the driver at the time of the parking event you are required to pay or appeal the parking charge' - and as I was not the driver, I felt that I could safely ignore it! ;-)
What would be the best course of action now?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Traffic Law
Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
Thank you for your question. My name is ***** ***** I will try to help with this.
Do you deny driving the vehicle please?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Yes, I am the owner, but was not driving at the time as I recall.
Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 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 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 2 years ago.
Hmmm... that looks like exactly the response you gave me before the court summons was issued.
Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
Thanks.
I cannot really add any more.
I will opt out.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
ok
Expert:  UKSolicitorJA replied 2 years ago.
Hello,
You may defend the court claim on the grounds that the amount being claimed is penal and not a reasonable estimate of loss to the claimant.
Secondly, an additional defence ground is that you were not the driver of the car although you are the registered keeper of it and you did not breach any purported contract with the claimant as you did not enter into any such contract in the first place.
Hope this helps
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Thanks - part of the reason that I feel strongly about this is that I did actually pay the fee, but the machine just did not process it. Could I defend it by saying that I did pay, and that the onus is on parking eye to prove that I did not by auditing their books or providing video evidence, which must exist, to prove my point?
Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
I'm afraid the answer above is wrong. 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.

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