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JimLawyer
JimLawyer, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 17401
Experience:  Senior Associate Solicitor
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I’m being chased for a parking charge by a bailiff company

Customer Question

I’m being chased for a parking charge by a bailiff company even after I’ve proven its a mistake
JA: Where are you? It matters because laws vary by location.
Customer: Cambridgeshire, uk but the car park was in wereham, uk
JA: What steps have you taken so far?
Customer: I’ve spoken to the manager of the hotel as he was the one who let me in the locked car park. I’ve emailed the carpark management company explaining the situation and I’ve emailed and called the bailiff company also explaining the situation. The manager agreed I’m not in the wrong but the carpark company and the bailiff company couldn’t care less
JA: Is there anything else the Lawyer should know before I connect you? Rest assured that they'll be able to help you.
Customer: nothing I can think of
Submitted: 7 days ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  JimLawyer replied 7 days ago.

Hello, this is Jim and welcome to JustAnswer.

I am one of the legal experts on the site and I am a dual-qualified solicitor (UK & Republic of Ireland)

Thank you for the question, I am reviewing the details now and I will aim to resolve it as quickly as possible for you.

Expert:  JimLawyer replied 7 days ago.

Sorry to hear of the issue.
You will find this happens a lot and no matter what you say, the debt collection company doesn't take notice and they continue to harass you for payment.
The manager should speak to the company and pay for the parking charge - as from what I gather, this was the manager's fault.
I would recommend you start off with that and you can continue to refuse to pay anything.
You can tell the manager if you are sued, you will ask them to be a witness for the court - they may prefer not to do this and all it would take is them to speak to the debt collection company and to make payment.

Debt collectors are not bailiffs - they have no powers as such. They will simply try to collect the money their client thinks you owe. You can turn them away if you dispute the debt and they visit you - they can’t enter your home and take goods. They would report back to their client they were unsuccessful and it’s then up to their client whether to take matters further.

They should send a letter before action to you if their debt collection attempts fail - which is required under the pre action protocol to give you the chance to avoid court action. They usually give you 14 days to pay before they will take civil court action.

It is recommended that you reply to this letter given the courts expect parties in a dispute to engage and discuss their dispute, to try and avoid court action.

If they do sue, you will receive court documents (a response pack) which you must complete and return to the court. It is a tick box exercise for the most part and there is a short section to write a defence which is easy enough though please feel free to come back to this site if you need any more help.

You should not ignore the court papers as if you do, the claimant will apply for judgment in default meaning they win and you would not be allowed to defend the claim.

A claim will also take 9-12 months to be decided at court. If you lost then you would get 14 days to pay the judgment before the claimant can enforce the order, and 30 days to pay in full before it is registered with credit agencies. The claimant cannot recover legal costs if they win, in a claim under £10K (a small claim), all they can claim are the court fees and interest.

If the claim has no merit (as in this case) then you have an option (after your defence is filed) to apply to strike the claim out. The court will consider an application if the claim has no merit, or is misconceived. You should first invite the claimant to voluntarily discontinue their claim within 7 days if it gets to this point - tell them if they don't then you will apply to strike out and seek your costs if you are forced to do so. If you have no response or they reply and refuse then you could apply to strike out. The application costs £275 but this is recoverable if your application succeeds. If you are on a low income, have low savings or in receipt of benefits then you can ask the court to waive the court fee. If you won the application, the claim is struck out.

The hearing (if the case gets that far) is likely to be held remotely, it's you, a district judge (who is a practising solicitor or barrister) and someone from the claimant company. The Judge decides and if you lost, you get 14 days to pay the sum. If paid in full within 30 days then nothing goes on your credit record.

But certainly I think you would succeed in a defence, just to be clear.

I can assist you going forwards if it gets to the point they issue a claim.


Expert:  JimLawyer replied 7 days ago.

I hope this helps

Expert:  JimLawyer replied 7 days ago.

It was a pleasure to assist you today and I hope this answers the question.

If you have any follow up questions or if you would like me to clarify anything I have said, please let me know and I will be happy to help.

Many thanks,

Jim

Expert:  JimLawyer replied 7 days ago.

Just a final note that if you would like to reconnect with me at a later date, simply add me as a favourite expert and you can then tag me in a question starting off with @JimLawyer.

I look forward to helping you again soon.

Thanks again,

Jim


Customer: replied 7 days ago.
I can prove i was a paying guest at the hotel and I was instructed to use that carpark by the hotel. (They unlocked the gate and let me park my car) if it goes as far as court I will 100% argue my side as I know I’m in the right. My question is that if it goes that far can I put a counter claim in for damages? Loss of earnings attending court? Solicitor fees etc
Expert:  JimLawyer replied 7 days ago.

Hi, if you are sued then yes, the court sends you papers to fill in a defence and there is another section for a counter claim too. You could claim loss of earnings and solicitor's fees if the claim has no merit - the general rule in a small claims case is each party bears their own costs but the court has discretion so if a claim was brought which had no merit, the court could well award you the costs, yes.