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F E Smith
F E Smith, Advocate
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 10398
Experience:  I have been practising for 30 years.
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I've recently received a reuest from BW Legal (who

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I've recently received a reuest from BW Legal (who presumably have purchased a series of debts from a company called Vehicle Control Services Ltd) requesting payment for an alleged parking offence that took place in 2010! I can remember little regarding the offence and I'm not sure if we had lent the car to a colleague who was over from Poland at the time. I certainly disputed it at the time and recall expressing a desire to go to court after which I heard nothing. Now 6 years later this pops up. Is there no statute of limitation that applies to these things or are they just throwing mud at all their new 'prospects' hoping some will stick? The sum involved is currently £175 but obviously may rise in the event it goes to county court. My problem is I won't lie but I really can't remember and I'm not sure I should have to after all this time. Your comments would be much appreciated. Many thanks. John Owen

Does it say that BW have acquired the debt in the letter?

What’s the status of BW? Are they solicitors? It will say so at the bottom of the letterhead. Maybe a trading style.

It unlikely that it is public land/local authority charge. Please confirm it was on private land, supermarket car park or suchlike.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
No they don't specifically say that they have acquired the debt and yes they are solicitors

Thank you. They are trying it on. Write to them and tell them that as the alleged incident (it is not an offence) took place prior to the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012, this parking charge is only enforceable against the driver and not the registered keeper.

Tell them to contact the driver but don’t tell them who the driver was!

If the alleged incident is 6 years ago, you can also tell them that their claim is statute barred under the Limitation Act 1980 and hence, they are out of time to enforce this.

If they are not out of time yet, but will be in a couple of weeks, you might want to acknowledge the letter and tell them that you are investigating and that you will get back to them in due course and then write to them after the six year period ends.

I think they are indeed hoping that some mud will stick.

Can I clarify anything else for you?

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Best wishes.


Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I'm not sure if I was the driver or not . If I was I would have made some point regarding the lack of signage or other valid (in my opinion) reason for not paying but I may be confusing this incident with another so I've simply replied saying that I did not pay at the time for reasons given at the time and assumed they were accepted as no further action was taken. I don't wish to dogmatically say I was not driving as I may have previously indicated otherwise. Incident date was 10 09 10 so 6 weeks to go for Statute barring!

Don’t worry whether you were the driver or not. Don’t say whether you were or not.

Don’t worry who was driving.

Just tell them to contact the driver but don’t give any names. The changed in October 2012 to make these charges enforceable against the registered keeper but before that, they are only enforceable against the driver and you don’t have to say who the driver is. You don’t have to deny it, you just don’t say anything. You don’t have to self incriminate.

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