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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
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Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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I am appealing a parking charge with Smart Parking, as the

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I am appealing a parking charge with Smart Parking, as the evidence is flawed. They are stating that I was parked for more that 7 hours on a retail park. POPLA have dismissed my dispute even though I have been telling everyone until I'm blue in the face that I was at work 5 miles away when I was apparently parked. The fine has now gone up from £35 to £140 which I'm refusing to pay. Debt Recovery Plus has advised that they will pursue until the debt is recovered and I will get a CCJ against me. Now I can't afford £140 and I also can't afford to have a CCJ against me.

I'm stressing here...what are my options


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 please?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Will I need to hire a solicitor to present my evidence in court.


Debt Recovery Plus advised that Smart Parking have won 8/10 cases, but out of principle I don't see why I should pay when the ANPR only picked up one entry and one exit instead of two entries and two exits


This will be the small claims court so you can appear unrepresented.

They will only get the sum of the original fine even if they do win and if you pay within 28 days of judgment then it will not show on your credit rating as its a dispute over liability not bad money management.

Also, 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.

Will I need to go to my employers in the meantime to explain and get evidence to show that I was actually at work when they I was parked at the retail park. POPLA advised that any evidence that I submitted would not be acceptable.

I don't imagine that POPLA often find evidence acceptable. Had you posted earlier I would have told you not to appeal and to just ignore them. The reason they are pursuing you is that you have responded.

That said, I'm not sure what the relevance of whether you were at work or not is?
Jo C. and other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Because the camera had me entered the retail park at 07:20am and not leaving until 14:42pm when in fact I actually left at 07:30am and returned later in the after at 14:00.


I was at work from 8-12pm

Ok But whats that got to do with the fine?

Are they saying you were unlawfully parked when you weren't there?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Yes...they are trying to say that I was parked over the allotted 3hrs free parking timeframe when infact I wasn't there and I went there twice

The way to deal with that is to ask them to check their cameras at the relevant points.

Of course they won't do it but then you will be able to examine upon why they haven't.

This won't get to court anyway.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Should I just ignore the letters then?

If you are prepared to take the risk of being sued then just ignore them.

However brilliantly you argue with them, they will never agree with you.

Thank you for the positive rating and remember that I am always available to help with your questions. For future information, please start your question with ‘FOR JO C’. You can also bookmark my profile

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

I have complained to the Debt Recovery agency for the way I have been spoken to, so I will see whether I have any comeback, I have advised them to let Smart Parking to take me to court


Hopefully they will decide not to pursue it

I'm sure it will be fine.

All the best.