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Kasare, Solicitor
Category: Traffic Law
Satisfied Customers: 1305
Experience:  Solicitor, 10 yrs plus experience in civil litigation, employment and family law.
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I have received a parking charge notice from euro car parks

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I have received a parking charge notice from euro car parks for my vehicle overstaying the maximum free parking time of 2 hours at the Interchange retail park at Ipswich, Suffolk on Sunday 25th August. They are asking for a parking charge of £50 in 14 days, £90 after 28 days. My wife was using the car that day, she met family for a coffee, visited shops on the site and finished with lunch at Pizza Hut. She overstayed by 75 minutes without realising it, she did move the car to Pizza Hut for lunch. Do I have to disclose who was driving? Do I have to pay this penalty? It seems a great deal of money in a "free car park" on a Sunday!
Hi, thanks for your question, I will assist you with this.

Is this car park council run or private? What is the ticket you have received - a PCN or a PPC?
Customer: replied 6 years ago.

I guess would be that it is privately run as the retailers on the site include Tesco, Mothercare, Burger King, PC World, Costa, Currys.

It says that it is a Parking Charge Notice on the paperwork.

Who is the issuing body? - it should say on the ticket - you must read it carefully. A PCN is a ticket given by the local council, whereas a private land fine is a PPN, but they usually design these to look similar to council and police tickets.
Customer: replied 6 years ago.

The ticket has been issued by euro car parks who have been appointed to manage the car park at Interchange Retail Park. The details on the back of the notice say it is a Parking Charge Notice. There is no mention of the local authority on the letter.

Thank you for the additional information. I have also had a quick look to check out the "Euro Car Parks" etc. This is a private land company/fine.

A local council "PCN" is a "penalty charge notice" - obviously to try and mislead people they have renamed their notices parking charge notice to adopt the PCN acronym given by the Council. Therefore this is a private land fine, not a parking fines - however they try to make them look. Whilst many of these companies try and mimic those issued by the council or the police, they do not have the same authority.

A private land firm does not (unlike the police or council) have the right to punish you for parking any more than your neighbour does. Essentially this is an invoice arising from a civil matter/contract dispute.

They will say that you accepted a contract by parking there and breached it by staying too long.

Whilst such private land fines used to be very easy to escape by refusing the details of the driver, as these companies only have a contract with the driver, the law changed in October 2012 when the Protection of Freedoms Act came into force in and this makes the registered keeper liable for the penalty if he does not disclose the details of the driver within 28 days.

However, all this means is that the claim runs against the registered keeper (i.e. you if you are the registered keeper rather than your wife, the driver on this occasion).

The likelihood is that this company will not sue, but this cannot be guaranteed. Whilst the law has recently changed in their favour and initially they were quite aggressive with legal proceedings, they tend not sue in the majority of cases.

The reason for this is that if they do commence proceedings then they would only be able to claim for the sum of the original fine - if the court deemed this was a reasonable charge for the period your wife overstayed - plus a very small amount of legal costs.

They will undoubtedly send you debt collection letters in which they will threaten to sue you for their debt collection costs (often they try and state these will be hundreds of pounds, they are not!). Do not be intimidated.

If they proceed and do go to court, they would still have to prove that the signs are adequate and clear, which quite often they are not. In addition, they will have to prove that they have suffered loss (do they have a ticket for people who wish to stay longer than 2 hours?).

They will send you some very nasty letters though. You will get debt collection letters making threats of legal action. Do not respond to any of these. Unless you actually get a court summons, none of these correspondences have any legal basis. If you do get a court summons then you can always part admit the claim and offer a nominal sum of say £5 for their loss.

I hope this assists. If you require any further assistance, please do let me know.

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