Are you prepared to risk being sued?
If you are happy to risk being sued then just refuse to pay.
The chances that they will issue are very low. They may but it isn’t particularly cost effective for them to do so.
Ultimately POPLA do not decide whether you will pay or not. The small claims court is the only way they can enforce this.
If they do issue then you will have to examine the terms of the signs at the location. Having a ticket is not the same as displaying it. If the terms of the signs demand that the ticket be displayed then there is no positive defence arising. You could still rely on asking them to prove that they have suffered loss though.
Can I clarify anything for you?
Thank you for your comprehensive answer. I would like some clarifications.
1) I've read that it is worth asking for them to prove a contract exists between them and the owner of the site. They are likely to refuse this and not take the matter further. Did a contract actually exist between them and me?
2) Is proving loss worth considering before it went to court? It's not clear who has lost on their side. The owner of the site received payment. The reinforcement firm has lost the cost of 2 letters.
3) The fact they accepted my argument on the first 'offence' might be considered a precedent for not taking the matter further?
4) I would have thought that (2) above was the best defence using this Dept. of Transport extract below, especially as there were no unpaid charges. Do you agree?
Charges for breaking a parking contract must be reasonable and a genuine preestimate of loss. This means charges must compensate the landholder only for the loss they are likely to suffer because the parking contract has been broken. For example, to cover the unpaid charges and the administrative costs associated with issuing the ticket to recover the charges. Charges may not be set at higher levels than necessary to recover business losses and the intention should not be to penalise the driver.
It could also be argued that if they are concerned soley that a parking charge has been paid, they already have that information on the machine that issues tickets (which includes the car registration), and that seeking a £60 payment is a charge at a higher level than necessary to 'recover business losses'.
1 It is not. There is a good deal of nonsense on the internet. A contract clearly existed not least because you part complied with one by buying a ticket.
2 No. Case of Beavis.
3 Not sure what you mean?
4 Absolutely not for the reasons above.
I have talked to the leaseholder of the property in question (it is a small regional airfield).
No contract exists between the leaseholder and this parking firm. It is purely a 'gentleman's agreement (their words, not mine) for the parking firm to manage the ticket distribution and collect 'charges'.
3) What I mean is that previously they cancelled a charge when I had a valid ticket which was not displayed correctly. In other words, they accepted my argument, and therefore a precedent exists for cancelling the charge for similar circumstances.
5) This implies their business exists by creating these extra parking charges, which is surely against the DoT's regulations (see above)?
6) The DoT regulations mention 'landholder'. In this case are the parking firm considered the 'landholder'?
A gentlemen's agreement is a contract. He might not understand the law but there is a contract.