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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 71031
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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I received a parking fine relating to a car that I had no knowledge

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I received a parking fine relating to a car that I had no knowledge of (ie do not own or did not hire this). I contacted the company who wrote back to me attaching a letter from a well know car rental company together with a rental agreement for the said car that was in my name. The car rental company clearly states in their letter I was the person renting the car at the time and my name is ***** ***** rental agreement - the signature itself is obviously not mine.
I contacted the car rental company directly who said there was little they could do as when they put the details in their system my details appear. they said I need to email them all the details and they will look into this - turnaround time 5-10 days, same turnaround as any other query with them!
Their view was it could be a 'clerical error', in my view its a massive error that (a) someone has basically rented a vehicle in my name and (b) I am liable for anything that happened to that vehicle during the hire period until this is resolved. What are my rights here? I've obviously got the parking fine company chasing me and am concerned if anything else happened during this period. Surely a hire company needs to be much more careful, particularly under data protection. In the case of an accident and if they fled the scene I would have had the police knocking on my door!
Thanks in advance
Thank you for your question. My name is ***** ***** I will try to help with this.
Who is the issuer?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Car hire company is Europcar
Parking fine is with Smart Parking (Birmingham)
What was the date of issue?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
The rental agreement was for period 10th -21st August collection and drop off Edinburgh airport
The parking charge occurred 13th August
I presume they do not have your debit card details as you were not the renter?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
No they do not have any of my card details i believe unless I have been a victim of identity theft which is why I did ask them to escalate a response but they said I could only email the usual customer service address, I felt this was of more importance and there should have been more of a direct route of finding out what has happened here, I presume they will have a copy of the actual drivers licence on file?
We hired a car from the same company in Spain back in July but I was just a second driver so even then the actual agreement was in my husbands name.
You might well be a victim of identity theft. It is widespread in the UK.
There are separate issues here. I would report the identity theft to the police. They won't act upon it probably as they are much too busy investigating complaints against dead people for trying to kiss somebody one hundred years ago to deal with any real crime. However, they will give you a crime number which is all you really need.
Then you deal with the issue of the private land fine. Either way this is a private land fine. At the very highest point it might be a bye law fine. Either way, they have to establish that you were the driver which you can truthfully deny and produce the crime report.
The chances they will sue are minimal. They do in a very small number of cases but not commonly. If they do you just defend on the basis that you weren't the driver which is almost failsafe here.
They are not going to accept that. They will send you lots of debt collection letters and solicitors letters. Unless you actually get a court summons there is nothing to worry about.
Can I clarify anything for you?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
if it was not a case of identity theft where do I stand with Europcar issuing a contract with my details to someone other than myself? Surely there is a data protection or more serious issue since my name and address is all over a contract that does not relate to me?
I suppose you could argue there are DPA issues but I wouldn't waste your time.
The information commissioner is fairly toothless animal.
You could make a complaint and they might offer something in compensation in the interests of good business but it isn't worth suing over.
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