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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 71051
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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I overstayed the 2hour limit in a supermarket car park in April

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I overstayed the 2hour limit in a supermarket car park in April 2011 and I am now threatened with court action by a company called Debt Enforcement and Action Ltd.
Your advice pls
Thank you for your question. My name is ***** ***** I will try to help with this.
What would you like to know about this please?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

As I did not pay the original fine of, I think, £60 and ignored subsequent claims for increasing amounts I am now being told that my debt is £255 but I can pay a reduced amount of £130 provided it is received before 22/09/14.

I was of the opinion that companies were unable to enforce these parking charges.

It may not be relevant but the overstay was not intentional, I was unable to return to remove my car and I had shopped in the supermarket.

Am I legally obliged to pay this fine?

Its always been completely incorrect to say that companies cannot enforce these things. Its just difficult to enforce and not particularly cost effective but they have always had a perfectly valid claim and sometimes people are sued and have to pay.
If you overstayed in a car park that has clear and prominent signs then the law is against you. That is a trespass or a breach of contract and you are liable.
The practical reality is that the chances of you being sued are fairly low. They have to prove that the signs were adequate and also if you are in Scotland that you were the driver although there is some case law that has suggested that the registered keeper is likely to be the driver.
The chances are still fairly low that they would enforce this. They would just get debt collectors to write and make threats.
Even if they do, you can always put them to proof upon adequacy of signs and often that does fail them.
If they do sue though, they will get the sum of the original fine plus about £35 in court costs and maybe £50 in fixed solicitors costs. The £255 comes from adding their debt collectors costs which they won't get at court.
Can I clarify anything for you?
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