How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site. Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • Go back-and-forth until satisfied
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask JimLawyer Your Own Question
JimLawyer
JimLawyer, Solicitor
Category: Traffic Law
Satisfied Customers: 15479
Experience:  Senior Associate Solicitor
97337639
Type Your Traffic Law Question Here...
JimLawyer is online now

I returned to my car to buy another day’s parking fee for £8

Customer Question

I returned to my car to buy another day’s parking fee for £8 but, due to a tram delay, was an hour late. The parking officer had just issued the ticket and I spoke to him….in a friendly manner! I wouldn’t have minded paying, say, 200% of the cost ie £16 but they want £100, reduced to £35 by a payment within 24hours discount. This sounds excessive and oppressive to me and out of line with fines levied by courts. Has the level of a PCN ever been challenged?
JA: Because traffic laws vary from place to place, can you tell me what location this is in?
Customer: In Manchester, levied by SIP Parking.
JA: Was a citation issued? Was a court date set?
Customer: No…just a ticket printed out by the parking supervisor.
JA: Is there anything else the Lawyer should know before I connect you? Rest assured that they'll be able to help you.
Customer: Only that I’ve paid the £35 to avoid being hit by the £100 full sum….it feels very heavy handed and aggressive to only give 24hrs to do so.
Submitted: 20 days ago.
Category: Traffic Law
Expert:  JimLawyer replied 20 days ago.

Hello, this is Jim and welcome to JustAnswer.

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

Expert:  JimLawyer replied 20 days ago.

There has been case law on this subject, which I will set out - the £35 sounds excessive however if you did not pay, it would reach around £160 with debt collection charges - if they sued, they add on £35 for the court fee, £25 for a hearing fee and also interest so it can end up being well over £200 if you lost.
The term "fine" is a misnomer however, as it is not a criminal fine but a civil damages case. There is a case involving another parking company and a defendant named Mr Beavis.

The Beavis case concerned the initial £100 "fine", court fee and expenses.

SIP pursued you as they believe you are in breach of contract and are due damages.

The above case concerned the reasonableness of the fee (the amount) for an overstay. It hinged on whether the claimant parking company had actually lost that money due to the defendant's conduct.

In a free car park, there is no "loss" to speak of. In a paid car park, there is a loss as it is private property subject to parking restrictions.

It comes down to contract law. 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.

As to whether the case applies to you, it may well do but each case is different and depends on its own facts. In a free car park (to a certain point) the damages would be little or nothing - I do not know if the car park you were in was free for a certain length of time or not. If is was, my view is you could challenge this fine.
I realise you have also paid the £35 now - my view is that this is not worth challenging.

I presume that the car park you were in was not free for a certain period of time as you mentioned using a tram - the car parks are usually paid from the moment you use it.

Expert:  JimLawyer replied 20 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 20 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 20 days ago.
No, it is not free. There is a scale going up to the £8 per day I invariably pay. The time in appealing doesn’t concern me but I don’t want to end up paying more to them. There is a principle eg what if it was £1,000 or £10,000? Paying an extra day at £8 for an hour over the time sounds much more reasonable. The £35 isn’t,
Et alone the £100.
Expert:  JimLawyer replied 20 days ago.

Thanks, ***** ***** say, they can do this if the contract says so - as it's a damages claim. I appreciate your thoughts on the matter and if you wanted to you could report it to Trading Standards (who can be contacted via this site: Contacts).

Expert:  JimLawyer replied 20 days ago.

It's a way to enforce payment - i.e. a way to deter non-payers. Most private parking companies levy fines around that figure too.

Customer: replied 20 days ago.
I think I will report them to Trading Standards….at least it will give them some admin to do to ‘earn’ their £35!
Expert:  JimLawyer replied 20 days ago.

No problem, thank you and good luck