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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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My case is exactly the same as the one detailed in the thread, actually on the same

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Hello, my case is exactly the same as the one detailed in the thread, actually on the same day! It is now two and a half years since the event and I have not heard anything for over a year. Is there not a time limit on this? Just like the other person I have always considered Allison Court as part of the Metro Centre (as it was actually named after the daughter of Sir ***** ***** the builder of the Metro Gentre) and the notice just said "Leaving the site" without defining what the site was. I have now had a letter from The Miah Solicitors demanding £275. Do I have to pay?
Thank you
Thank you for your question. My name is ***** ***** I will try to help with this.
-Could you explain your situation a little more?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

On the 27th May 2013 I went shopping at Allison Court retail Park Metrocentre Gateshead.
My teenage daughter was with me and wanted to shop in the Metrocentre main building.

I parked (It was always a free car park, no time restrictions and half empty) escorted my daughter across a busy road to the Metrocentre main building, then continued to do my shopping at the Allison court section. I had been given a private "Ticket" for "Leaving the site". A new sign was on display and in the middle, not very clearly, said you should not leave the site. Allison court has always been considered part of the Metrocentre by all users (It was even named after the dauaghter of the builder of the Metrocentre, Sir ***** *****). I was sent a letter asking for the name of the driver and later various levels of threat and increasing demands. I ignored all and had absolutely no contact with them. The last I heard from them was 12/18 months ago until yesterday when I received a demand for £275 from The Miah Solicitors. Is there not a time limit for these things and do I have to pay this extortionate amount. As it's a free car park I have not deprived them of any income and have not received a VAT invoice. "The site" you should not leave is not defined and it is reasonable to think Allison Court and Metrocentre are the same "site".

Thank you


Who is the issuer please?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.


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 arising from an alleged agreement whereby you agree to park for a fee. 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. That is what is in dispute.
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.
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.
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 a small amount for their loss.
Hope this helps. Please let me know if you need more information.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Thanks for that.

What about the fact that the site they say you must not leave is not defined or identified, does that count as unclear signage?

Not really. The fact that they haven't identified it doesn't mean it isn't at the scene and clear to the motorist on site.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Ok thanks for that, I can argue that point if neccesary.

Just before I leave the rating can I say that after starting this enquiry and paying I checked on reviews of Just Answer.

I must say I was very unhappy with some of the stories on there.

However I have absolutely no complaints with the service provided to me today.

Thank you.

No problem.
All the best.
It is very unlikely they will sue you although you will get some nasty letters.
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