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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 71445
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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This is an issue re payment for parking: location - a car

Customer Question

This is an issue re payment for parking: location - a car park adjacent to an Underground station; car park managed by NCP on behalf of London Transport.
Last September I used the car park whilst visiting London. I choose to use the car park when using the underground at weekends as the cost is low - £2 or less. I had the cash to pay, as I usually do. There are two machines for payment, one for cash, one for card.
Unfortunately the machine would not take the cash and there were no instructions as to what I should do if the cash-machine was out of order. I was not familiar with using the alternative card-machine, having always previously paid by cash.
I attempted to pay using the card-machine but, as I have subsequently found, failed. As a 78-year-old I was not brought up with using electronic machines and often have difficulty in using them correctly.
After the event I received a parking fine from NCP. I replied with an explanation of what had happened. I heard nothing more and assumed that my explanation had been accepted.
Then, later, I received a letter from solicitors acting on behalf of NCP claiming that I owed £196.
It seems that the issue of the broken cash-machine with no alternative guidance hasn't been considered. Should I continue with the case? County Court proceedings are threatened but, it seems that, so far, no real consideration has been given to the facts of the case.
I can deal with costs of £196 (very very reluctantly!) but the threats of paying a solicitor's legal costs concern me.
Thank you for any help that you can give.
Submitted: 3 months ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 months ago.

Hi, welcome to JustAnswer. My name is*****’m a barrister with 12 years of experience and I am happy to help with your question today.

are you asking if this is enough as a defence?

Customer: replied 3 months ago.
I think so. Also wanting to know the implications of whatever choice I make.
Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 months ago.

Thank you.

The short answer is that it depends what the signs at the location say. probably they say that you must display a valid ticket and there is no way around the fact that you did not.

Therefore, there would not be a legal defence in principle.

However it is worth studying the signs of half the time they are void.

In any event, they do not have a claim for their costs. If they went to court they would get roughly the sum of the fine plus £35 in costs and maybe £55 in fixed solicitors costs. It is not very cost-effective for them to so and so the chances that they will are fairly low.

It depends whether you want to run the risk. It is probably about 10%.

Can I clarify anything for you?

Jo