How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site. Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Jo C. Your Own Question
Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 71051
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
Type Your Law Question Here...
Jo C. is online now

My issue concers a parking charge notice (not penalty charge)

This answer was rated:

Hi. My issue concers a parking charge notice (not penalty charge) issued to my son back in November by LCP. His car was photographed entering Harlesden Plaza car park, and photographed leaving some time afterwards. LCP claim he was parked for 20 minutes though there is no evidence of this. Neither photo has a burned in date or time stamp. LCP's charge initially was for £60 for this alleged 20 minute visit. Their letters have been ignored. We are now being bombarded with threatening letters from ZZPS (debt collectors) and Wright Hassell solicitors. Now demanding payment of £190. I strongly object on a point of principle to these charges. My question is - can they take us to court as they say they might? Do they have any grounds to pursue this? They don't know the name of the driver - just the car owner. Help, please!
thank you.
Hello where hat were the termsof the car park he broke?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
He assumed it was a free car park as it was next to Tesco.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
He didn't buy a ticket. There was no barrier. And no evidence he was ever parked. Just pictures of his car entering and leaving the car park with no time and date stamped.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Hi Ben - not sure if you're still there?
Yes sorry had to look up a couple of things but may have to refer this to one of my colleagues. As its the weekend you may not get a reply straight away but rest assured you will be contacted asap. Thanks
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Ok - thanks. The company is LCP who issued the parking charge notice. ZZPS are now the debt collectors chasing us for £200. There's a so called legal firm in the mix ... Wright Hassall! Threatening court action and possible CCJs. I have appealed but because it's outside the appeal window they have refused to consider it. So no POPLA number. Nightmare. I've written to Tesco store to ask them to get involved. The store was by the car park and we thought it was free to tesco customers.

Thank you for your question. My name is ***** ***** I have been asked to assist. I presume you haven't admitted anything yet?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
No - just so you know I'm getting involved on behalf of my son. He's the registered keeper and was driving at the time. Though we've not admitted to this. He thought the car park was free for Tesco customers. At first we ignored the PCN when it first landed in September. We've then appealed to LCP in December and they have written back saying the appeal windown is closed and they cannot consider it. So they have not given me a POLA no. to enable me to appeal via that route. Letters from ZZPS and Wright Hassall have now landed and the penalty is up to £190. I've now written to the Tesco store asking the manager to get involved and write to LCP to get them to cancel the PCN. No response from Tesco yet.
Thanks for any advice you can give.
Is he prepared to risk being sued?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Yes - I assume at any point we could pay the "fine" and end this sorry saga? I appreciate the "fine" will continue to rise every time they send a letter. I was wondering if they had any grounds to take him to court? Or if their letters were just empty threats? there's lots of advice on the web about ignoring the letters because they cannot take you to court. Is that the case?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I have to go out now, Jo. So won't be on line for a while.
Are you on now? Can you carry on now?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Yes. Off to work shortly but can continue from there if necessary. My main point is this ... My son made a mistake. He thought it was free parking and didn't get a ticket when he should have done. So more than Happy to pay a commensurate sum ...£10 or £20 ... For the 20 mins he was in the car park. However, £200 is excessive. I'm aware of the Beavis result at Supreme Court recently. But, the basis of this PCN from LCP are two pictures - one of his car entering, one of it leaving - without a date or time code on them. BPA code if practice says they should have. So are we on safe ground to continue to ignore this harrasment knowing they don't have a leg to stand on if they do decide to sue? I think that's what I need advice on ....
Yes, the practical reality though is that Beavis has resolve the issue of the sum of the loss caused by parking on private land at least until it is overturned.
I am afraid it would be irresponsible of me to guarantee that there is no chance of him being sued. The chances are fairly low as they always are with private land fines but nobody can guarantee anything.
If he is prepared to take the risk then I would suggest it is a fairly safe one. It isn't cost effective for them to start suing people for one instance.
If he is saying that the signs were inadequate and that was the reason he did not know that was a defence. He can always rely upon that if he is sued.
Can I clarify anything for you?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
So you are saying that because of the Beavis result, there is no defence in the pre-estimate of loss. That has gone away. and that the only defence would be poor signage. what about the issue of the pictures on the PCN - which only show his car entering and leaving. Not parked. And no date and time burnt on to the pictures. It could be that he never parked at all - he just went in and drove round and came out. there is no evidence that he ever parked. Or that he was there for 20 minutes as LCP claim.
Yes, that is what Beavis establishes. It was always going to lead to that outcomeI'm really sorry but I'm afraid I think leaving and entering is fairly good evidence. If there is a time delay, which will be quite easy to establish, then the inference is that he must have parked.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
OK - thanks. So what about the pictures without time and date is a red herring. The BPA code of practice says as follows:20.5a When issuing a parking charge notice you may use photographs as evidence that a vehicle was parked in an unauthorised way. The photographs must refer to and confirm the incident which you claim was unauthorised. A date and time stamp should be included on the photograph. All photographs used for evidence should be clear and legible and must not be retouched or digitally altered.My thinking is if they are not complying with the BPA code of practice, then they will be easy to discredit if they sue. Is that logical?
Yes, essentially.
The BPA is a non issue. It has no relevance. They can very definitely sue even if they never complied with the BPA in their lives.
The BPA is not a law maker despite the way they regularly behave.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Yes - I appreciate they (LCP) can sue. I'm looking something that I can throw back and let them know they should back off as they've breached some rules. So that we stop receiving these letters. I think a £60 charge for a 20 minute stay is unfair and disproportionate. How can that be justified? But from what you're saying it would appear we don't have a defence - other than claiming poor signage. The pictures without time and date are irrelevant. And we can no longer rely on LCP having to show a pre-estimate of loss. So our only two options are - either pay up the full £190 now (or later if they do decide to sue), or continue to ignore the letters and demands for money and hope they lose interest. Is that a fair summary?
There is no realistic chance of that. They just plain will not back off.
They may not sue because it isn't cost effective but they will not stop debt collecting.
I'm afraid there isn't any way to turn the tables on them.
That is a fair summary.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Thanks Jo. I really appreciate your feedback. One final question from me ... what would you do?
Well, it isn't really a relevant question.
I would never pay a private land fine. I would just plain ignore them.
However, I am comfortable about being sued. Not everybody is.
You need to decide upon your appetite for risk. If you are prepared to receive several nasty letters, maybe some phone calls and run the risk of being sued then ignore them. The chances are that it will end in your favour. Some people are not though and if you are not then you need to be aware that is what will happen.
They don't often sue but they do debt collect. Debt collection is a nuisance more than anything else.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Thanks Jo. If this went all the way and we were sued and lost, what's the likely cost? Hundreds of pounds I assume. Not thousands. Does common sense apply? Or would LCP be awarded damages against us and Lord know what else?
The sum of the fine plus about £25-£35 in court costs and maybe fixed solicitors costs of £50. It is not a huge risk.
Common sense isn't really a consideration. The trouble is that it just plain doesn't apply. Come what may, they have a claim and they may win if they went to court. The reason they probably won't is that it isn't really a sum worth litigating over.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
By the fine do you mean the original £60? Or the fine plus various hits of admin charges which have taken the total to £190 already. And it's sure to rise.
They won't get the admin charges beyond court costs.
The risk really is the CCJ but if you pay within 28 days of judgment you can ask the credit reference agencies to remove it as it is not poor money management but a dispute over liability. The trouble is that it is a constant exercise to get them to do that. It won't go that far though unless you are incredibly unlucky.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Thank you, ***** ***** appreciate your help with this. Will consider what you've said and think about next steps.
Thanks again.
No problem and all the best.
Please remember to rate my answer.
Remember that I am always available to help with your questions. Even if I am in Court I will usually pick up a question within 12 hours. For future information, please start your question with ‘For Jomo1972’.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Ok. Thanks. May be back in touch after giving this some more thought.
All best.
No problem.
You can ask follow up questions for free after rating.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 71051
Experience: Over 5 years in practice
Jo C. and other Law Specialists are ready to help you