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JimLawyer
JimLawyer, Solicitor
Category: Traffic Law
Satisfied Customers: 15453
Experience:  Senior Associate Solicitor
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Parking ticket in Sainsburys car park.... Stayed over by 1

Customer Question

Parking ticket in Sainsburys car park.... Stayed over by 1 hour due to taking a wheelchair user shopping and lunch. Had our blue badges on display. This lady takes a long time to eat and toilet. Feel really upset as we shop at Sainsburys every two weeks. I use my car and work as her personal assistant. I now have a letter asking for £140 pounds. This is a final reminder.
JA: Because traffic laws vary from place to place, can you tell me what location this is in?
Customer: Sainsbury in Keighley, near Bradford.
JA: Was a citation issued? Was a court date set?
Customer: No
JA: Is there anything else the Lawyer should know before I connect you? Rest assured that they'll be able to help you.
Customer: The lady in the wheelchair died recently in hospital. The car is in my husbands name. So the letter is addressed to him. But I'm insured to drive our car.
Submitted: 16 days ago.
Category: Traffic Law
Expert:  JimLawyer replied 16 days ago.

Hello, this is Jim and welcome to JustAnswer.

Sorry to hear of this. You may have a defence if you are a blue badge user.

Expert:  JimLawyer replied 16 days ago.

A parking fine results from breach of contract - either you didn’t pay when you used a car park, or you did but you overstayed. The fine is fairly low initially but will increase for as long as it remains unpaid - with debt collection charges so it can easily double. Whether you pay or dispute the fine depends on the facts. I would say you are justified in refusing to pay, given the facts.

As you are blue badger, my view is that you should reply to them to set out why you dispute the fine - the pre action protocol does state that parties in a dispute such as this one should communicate and try to avoid litigation if possible.

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.

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.

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.

If you lost and if you were unable to pay the full sum owed at that point you can also ask the court to pay by instalments (a simple form is sent in, form N245, and a fee of £14 unless you qualify for a fee exemption so if you are on a low income, have low savings or in receipt of benefits then you would qualify). If the CCJ was not paid in full though bear in mind the credit record would contain the CCJ details for up to 6 years. After that it comes off the credit registers.

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

Expert:  JimLawyer replied 16 days ago.

I hope this answers the question. If you have any follow up questions then please do let me know.

Many thanks,

Jim

Expert:  JimLawyer replied 16 days ago.

Just a final note that I am free most days and would be happy to assist with any other queries you may have.

Best wishes,

Jim

Customer: replied 16 days ago.
It was free parking for two hours. Due to staying over by 1 hour is this considered as a breach of contract? They use number plate recognition, so log you in and what time you leave. Should I go into Sainsburys store and ask if they will waiver the fine as they will be the contractor.
Expert:  JimLawyer replied 16 days ago.

Yes, as if you go over two hours then the parking restrictions kick in - meaning you would have to pay or they would be within their rights to fine you. You could contact them by telephone, yes. And ask them to waive it - it would save you a trip back to the supermarket.