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Joshua, Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 26070
Experience:  LL.B (Hons), Higher Prof. Dip. Law & Practice
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I have a parking fine from New Years Eve, I left my car there

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I have a parking fine from New Years Eve,
I left my car there for 2 days - the ticket machine was broken, but as no one else had tickets I didn't feel the need to take a picture and I was in a hurry
When I came back I had 2 x £100 ticket fine's aswell as my car being damaged. (Wing mirror's stolen and aerial stolen)
As this was a private car park, I ignored the fines from advice from a friend.
I have moved house, so I went and collected mail from my parents home, months of letters...
I have had threatening fine letters through saying I owe £380 now??
This is ridiculous - they are threatening court proceedings
What do I do? :(
Hello and thank you for your question. I will be very pleased to assist you. I'm a practising lawyer in England with over 10 years experience.

May I ask if you either have evidence that the machine was broken - e.g. a picture - or they accept this was the case please?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

I don't have any pictures unfortunately - I looked around and no one had tickets.

I know I should off, it was a silly mistake not too!

Many thanks. Apologies for the short delay. I am just preparing my response now...
Thanks. Don't worry it is not the end of the world. For private parking tickets of this kind, they used to be essentially unenforceable if the registered keeper refused to identify the driver but that changed a year or two ago when the Protection of Freedoms Act came into force outlawing private clamping and providing enhanced measures for parking companies to enforce private tickets.The PoFA provides that if a registered keeper refuses to identify the driver within 28 days following receipt of the demand then the registered keeper is liable for the demand. Accordingly if you do not identify the driver within 28 days of receipt then the registered keeper is liable for the ticket (subject as below) but can look to the driver to recover any monies it has to pay out. The Act has not authorised private parking firms to issue fines though though they often prepare the demands to resemble fines. These demands are still nothing better than invoices demanding payment for breach of contract - the contract is formed by the use of signs warning to display tickets/permits or risk a ticket (invoice) at the advertised rate. Being a contract the ordinary rules of contract apply whereby they must prove that they displayed adequate signage to enable a driver parking there to know of the requirements; evidence of loss on their part as a result of the breach of contract and evidence that they have attempted to mitigate their loss. If you can show that the machines were out of order on the balance of probability then you can argue it was impossible to perform your obligations under the contract; accordingly you can offer to pay the normal parking rate that would have been payable had the machine been operational and nothing more.How you proceed depends on your appetite for risk. My general feedback in relation to appeals process parking firms use is that appeals are largely a waste of time in that they are conducted by an industry body and therefore appeals have a tendancy to favour the parking companies which are ultimately only interested in making money and therefore rarely grant appeals themselves. In fact I have never heard of a successful appeal however that is not to say that they do not occur as logically if an appeal is successful the individual concerned is unlikely to be contacting a lawyer.However it remains the case that as nothing more than an invoice the parking company have to go to court to force payment just as with any other debt. If they were to do so you may be able to argue that they failed to provide adequate signage (if this was the case) and therefore may fail to show that a contract was formed when you entered the car park or parking area; you can also use the argument above in relation to the parkig machine. They will attempt to claim admin costs and so on but they would still struggle to demonstrate a loss of any significance compared to the amount they will attempt to claim - solicitors costs cannot be claimed if they go to court as the matter would be a small claims hearing if it was pursued. Generally a doubling of the fee if not paid (as is often provided for on these claims) within a certain period is almost certainly unenforceable in contract law.Accordingly you may either pay any amount demanded or simply ignore the various threatening letters that will ensue should he fail to do so. All they can do is issue proceedings in the County Court to sue for the amount demanded plus costs which would be in the order of £35 plus some minor allocation fees if the matter proceeded to a hearing. Historically they almost never did so because they would find it very difficult to win. Now they have a better position in that they can sue the registered keeper if he fails to identify the driver as above but they must still prove loss and so on as above which is not straightforward. There is little evidence of large scale claims in the county courts though the Act is still relatively young and I gather one or two have started to filter through with judges varying in the amount of costs they will allow. There is an appeal case going through the courts "Parking Eye Ltd v Beavis" which may clarify the amounts parking companies may be able to charge thoug it has not yet. There is no final decision on this yet as the matter is being appealed and so the position is presently as above.I hope the above is of assistance? If you have no further questions for now I should be very grateful if you would kindly take a moment to click to rate my service to you today or just reply back to let me know if the above is helpful. Your feedback is important to me. If there is anything else I can help with please reply back to me I'd be very grateful
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

This is all great, but what should I do?

Pay it or ignore it?

This really depends on your appetite for risk. Some people will prefer to pay for a quiet life. If it were me I would respond to them with a letter headed "WITHOUT PREJUDICE SAVE AS TO COSTS" and offer to pay them the cost of a parking tickted for the relevant period on the basis that their machine was out of order advising them that that offer is in full and final settlement and decide to issue proceedings, the matter will be fully defended on the basis that it was impossible for you to perform the contract on the basis of the status of their parking machine reminding them of the consequences of failing to accept a part 36 offer. A part 36 offer is a letter headed with the above wording and has the effect that if the claimant does not agree your offer, and subsequently proceedings in the County Court that fails to achieve a higher judgement, they will bear the cost of court fees whether they are successful or not.If you are willing to risk a court claim which does not add significant costs and pprovides an opportunity to argue down the charges they seek to apply, you have relatively little to lose by either ignoring the letters in the hope they will drop the matter or proceeding as above.I hope the above is helpful? Can I help you with anything else or has the above answered your questions satisfactorily? If you could drop me a quick message to let me know I'd be very grateful.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Thanks for making me feel better :)

Do you have any templates I can send to them?

Certainly you could consider adapting the below template letter: I been able to help you with all your questions on the above?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Just one final thing!

Do I send this to the parking fine company or solicitor?

Thank you for your help

If a solicitor has been instructed and advised you it is acting for the parking company the letter shold be sent to them. If the solicitor has not advised it is acting for the parking company then it should be sent to the parking company.A please. I am glad the above was of assistance. I hope your appeal and/or defence goes in your favour.
Joshua and other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Sorry to keep bothering you

The letter template you sent, do I send that as it is?

Do I mention about paying the cost of a parking tickted for the relevant period on the basis that their machine was out of order?

And involving the part 36 offer?

No problem. It will need a little adaptation, for example by adding that the machine was broken so it was impossible to purchase a ticket and obviously adding your details, but otherwise it is largely appropriate. The p36 offer can be reserved for after you receive a response to your initial letter if you are minded to offer it
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

So this is suitable to send at the top:

This letter is a formal challenge to the issue of your Parking Charge Notice - Notice to Keeper as set out in the current BPA Ltd AOS Code of Practice B.22

On 01/01/2015 I was the registered keeper of a VAUXHALL ASTRA SRI registration number MK58 YMZ.

Before I decide how to deal with your Parking Charge Notice - Notice to Keeper, I should be grateful if you would first answer all the questions and deal with all the issues I have set out below. Once you have done so, I will be able to make an informed decision on how I deal with the matter.

May I also bring up that the company's parking machine on site, when the car was parked was not working which made it impossible to perform the contract on the basis of the status of their parking machine.

I should be grateful for specific answers to all questions raised. In this respect I remind you of the obligations set out in the current Practice Direction on Pre-Action Conduct.

I dispute your claim for the reasons set out below. Please note that although I dispute the whole basis of the parking charge, my main concern is its disproportionate and punitive level.

Quite so.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Does it matter that the parking fines are in January and it is now May?

No they have to justify the moneys they charge. They may tell you it is too late to appeal using their internal appeals process but if they do you can respons that you still require answers to the issues raised referring them to the pre action protocol provisions of the civil procedure rules.