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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 71154
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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UK Traffic Law , I have received a PCN from a Private

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UK Traffic Law
I have received a PCN from a Private Parking Company. Although incurred on a public access road, I have checked with the local council and they have confirmed that the road in question (leading to a station) is privately owned by an adjacent block of flats.
If I can explain the circumstances…
Yesterday (Sunday) morning, a friend and I had to get to Reading from Sunbury-on-Thames. The nearest station that we would usually take the train from is Feltham. However, yesterday, engineering works meant that there was a partial service only and so we had to take the train from Hayes & Harlington, outside our borough and not an area that we are familiar with. I looked on Google maps to find out where the station was and, to avoid the risk of getting a ticket, to confirm that there was a designated drop-off and pick-up area in the turn-around in front the station which there was and which was clearly marked on the road.
As we drove down the station approach road, it became clear that the turn-around was screened off, meaning that we would have to make a 3-point turn at the end of the road. Not being sure where the station entrance now was, I said to my wife that we would jump out before she made the turn in order to drive back out. We were stationary for less than 30 seconds (no exaggeration) after which my wife turned and drove off. There were no other cars in the road stationary or moving at the time and we were not causing an obstruction. As I got out of the car, though, I noticed a security guard taking a photo of my wife’s car. When I approached him to ask if there was a problem, he replied that there was and issued me with a ticket. There were parking company signs along the side of the road although the wording was too small to be easily read from a distance. There were also a number of temporary parking bays down the side of the road although I failed to notice these at the time simply because they were all empty and I had been trying to figure out the options once it was clear that we weren’t going to be able to get into the turn-around.
I am inclined to ignore the PCN and accept that I am likely to receive a deluge of demands and threats. However, I was wondering if there is any precedent that would suggest that this is not a wise course of action. I have always been willing and ready to pay up on the rare occasions when I have received a penalty notice in the past, only ever from the local Council. However, this seems like a petty means to generate revenue without any real consideration for the consequences.
How can I help with this please?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I just need to know whether it is wise to ignore the PCN as described in my original submission.
Ok. Are you willing to risk being sued?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
If you mean them taking the matter to the Small Claims Court, then I guess, yes, I am willing to take that risk. Based on information that I have read up about online, though, it would appear that the likelihood of this happening is a small one.
I wouldn't take much notice of what you read online. I lot of it is hopelessly out of date and optimistic even when it was in date. The reality is that private land fine companies have always had a perfectly valid claim in law. They say that parking at variance with the terms and conditions amounts to a breach of contract and there is case law in their favour. It used to be possible to challenge them on the basis of the identity of the driver but the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012 has brought an end to that. What they have is a claim that is not particularly cost effective to enforce. For one single fine alone it isn't really cost effective to sue. However, they do sometimes. Whether they will in your case cannot be predicted. If I were making that decision I would target repeat offenders who offer claims of high value but not all decision makers do apply good sense. If you do ignore them then you are taking a risk. It is still not particularly high but it is a risk. If you are comfortable with receiving all the threatening letters then it is probably a safe bet to ignore them. They will keep writing. They will probably pass it onto debt collectors and get solicitors to write to you. Unless you actually receive a court summons it is nothing to worry about. Can I clarify anything for you? Jo
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Would it be safer to follow the appeals process (directly with the issuing company and then through IPC with whom they are an accredited operator) in the first instance even if I, then, elected to either comply with or ignore further communication if both rulings went against me? I guess I don't have much faith in appeals processes in instances such as this. However, if I went down the appeals route, I could at least make a fairly strong argument that we weren't parked and so the issuing of a Parking Charge Notice is inappropriate (coupled with the fact that signage wasn't exactly clear or, indeed, legible from a distance). Would appealing in any way prejudice my position?
No, their appeals procedure is a complete waste of time.It is either ignore them and contest the matter in court or pay up.
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