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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 71048
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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I recently received a parking ticket in a train station car

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I recently received a parking ticket in a train station car park. I park 3 days per week and each day use their telephone parking service. On this particular day I tried twice to call but was unable to get through and then forgot later in the day - one of the days of major flooding disruption. Can you advise an approach to the parking firm - APCOA?

Thank you for your question. My name is XXXXX XXXXX I will try to help with this.

Does this fine say anything about railway by laws please?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Thanks. Sorry I am not sure as I don't have it with me.
That will be important but you can check and come back later if you would like?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Sure, although it being APCOA I would imagine they will have the wording in order?
It depends and it does change the responses if this is a railway by law
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

OK, thanks. I will check this evening and respond.

No problem.

I will be here.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
It doesn't mention railway bye laws anywhere.
It is headed 'Civil Parking Notice'.
Even in the small prints?

Its very important.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
No. It is a two sided sheet and nowhere does it refer to railway bye laws. It was inside a plastic envelope that I discarded, but I can't imagine that being relevant and I don't recall any text.

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 4 years ago.
Thank you. Does any of this change because I have used their online service (and so they have my personal details at the ready) and also it means that I clearly know that I should pay to park there because they have a record of my doing so many times before?

(And does this mean I should never pay for my parking there :-) )
It would have been better if you hadn't but the days really when you could just ask them to prove that you were the driver have gone so this doesn't change much.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
And no issues because they don't have to prove the signage point?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
You said they have to prove the signs are adequate and clear. Presumably they would not need to do that since they have evidence that I regularly park there and (usually) pay for it.
Well, I don't think they would get away with introducing that.

It is a problem when people over stay because it becomes difficult to argue there wasn't a contract then but thats not what you did.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Great, thanks. I will sit tight and await their next move.
No problem and all the best.

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