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  • FIRST POST
    • billythefish1
    • By billythefish1 7th Apr 17, 3:34 PM
    • 18Posts
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    billythefish1
    APCOA Parking Charge Notice - Swindon Train Station, PCN Received - What are the nex
    • #1
    • 7th Apr 17, 3:34 PM
    APCOA Parking Charge Notice - Swindon Train Station, PCN Received - What are the nex 7th Apr 17 at 3:34 PM
    Dear Valued Members,

    I received in the post today two PCN from Apcoa for not paying for parking at Swindon Train Station. A copy of one of the Notice Letters I have attached. I've read a number of threads on here and Money Saving Expert and I understand that there is a good chance I can successfully appeal both notices by following correct procedures. The problem is that there seems to be a lot of different advice and standard letters to use and I am not sure how/what is the most up to date format/content to use.

    Also, to appeal based on the Railway Land argument do I have to confirm first whether the car park at Swindon Train Station is railway land or is all carparks railway land? Anyway; on the basis that it is, here's the first draft of my letter to appeal to Apcoa/GWR.

    Is some of this information worth including or removing? From memory the signs in Swindon at the parking pay stations are pretty clear. It seems from all the threads that APCOA tend to reject any appeal letters anyway.

    Dear APCOA Parking (UK) Ltd

    Re PCN number: xxxx, Vehicle Registration No. xxxxxx

    I am the keeper of the vehicle and am aware of your alleged 'parking charge' and I challenge this PCN as the keeper of the vehicle.

    I believe that your signs fail the test of 'large lettering' and prominence, as established in ParkingEye Ltd v Beavis. The driver did not see your unremarkable and obscure signs, are in very small print and the terms are not readable to drivers.

    Please provide photos of the signs that you say were on site, which you contend formed a contract with the driver.

    Please provide all photographs taken of this vehicle and provide proof that the timing of any camera or timer used was synchronised with all other cameras and/or systems & machines.

    Do not send debt collector letters and do not add any costs, which would be a thinly-veiled attempt at 'double recovery'. I will not respond to debt collectors and to involve a third party would be a failure to mitigate your costs as well as deliberate and knowing misuse of my data.

    Since byelaws apply to railway land, the land is not relevant land within the meaning of PoFA and so is specifically excluded from 'keeper liability' under Schedule 4 of the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012. As I am the registered keeper I am not legally liable as this Act does not apply on this land. Please provide evidence including documentary proof from the Rail authorities that this land is not already covered by bylaws.

    There will be no admissions as to who was driving and no assumptions can be drawn. You must either rely on the POFA 2012 and offer me a POPLA code, or cancel the charge.

    Should you obtain the registered keeper's data from the DVLA without reasonable cause, please take this as formal notice that I reserve the right to sue your company and the landowner/principal, for a sum not less than £250 for any Data Protection Act breach. Your aggressive business practice and unwarranted threat of court for the ordinary matter of a driver using my car without causing any obstruction nor offence, has caused significant distress to me.

    I do not give you consent to process data relating to me or this vehicle. I deny liability for any sum at all and you must consider this letter a Section 10 Notice under the DPA. You are required to respond within 21 days. I have kept proof of submission of this appeal and look forward to your reply.

    Yours faithfully,
Page 2
    • billythefish1
    • By billythefish1 19th May 17, 7:44 PM
    • 18 Posts
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    billythefish1
    And Part 2:

    6) Non-compliant signage, forming no contract with driver

    The signs in this car park are not prominent, clear or legible from all parking spaces and there is insufficient notice of the sum of the parking charge itself. Entrance signs which are mandatory under the code are not visible and do not follow paragraph 18.2 of the code.

    There was neither contract nor agreement on the 'parking charge' at all. It is submitted that the driver did not have a fair opportunity to read about any terms involving this huge charge, which is out of all proportion and not saved by the dissimilar 'ParkingEye Ltd v Beavis' case. For a contract to be formed, one of the many considerations is that there must be adequate signage on entering the car park, and furthermore a Notice is not imported into the contract unless brought home “so prominently that the party ‘must’ have known of it” and agreed terms. I contend that this is not the case, and question the fact that the driver saw any sign specifying the amount of the ‘fine’ that would be due, and so there was no consideration or acceptance and no contract agreed between the parties

    In the Beavis case, which turned on specific facts relating only to the signs at that site and the unique interests and intentions of the landowners, the signs were unusually clear and not a typical example for this notorious industry. The Supreme Court were keen to point out the decision related to that car park and those facts only:


    In the Beavis case, the £85 charge itself was in the largest font size with a contrasting colour background and the terms were legible, fairly concise and unambiguous. There were 'large lettering' signs at the entrance and all around the car park, according to the Judges.

    Here is the 'Beavis case' sign as a comparison to the signs under dispute in this case:



    This case, by comparison, does not demonstrate an example of the 'large lettering' and 'prominent signage' that impressed the Supreme Court Judges and swayed them into deciding that in the specific car park in the Beavis case alone, a contract and 'agreement on the charge' existed.

    Here, the signs are sporadically placed, indeed obscured and hidden in some areas. They are unremarkable, not immediately obvious as parking terms and the wording is mostly illegible, being crowded and cluttered with a lack of white space as a background. It is indisputable that placing letters too close together in order to fit more information into a smaller space can drastically reduce the legibility of a sign, especially one which must be read BEFORE the action of parking and leaving the car.

    It is vital to observe, since 'adequate notice of the parking charge' is mandatory under the POFA Schedule 4 and the BPA Code of Practice, these signs do not clearly mention the parking charge, which is hidden in small print. Areas of this site are unsigned and there are no full terms displayed - i.e. with the sum of the parking charge itself in large lettering - at the entrance either, so it cannot be assumed that a driver drove past and could read a legible sign, nor parked near one.

    This case is more similar to the signage in POPLA decision 5960956830 on 2.6.16, where the Assessor Rochelle Merritt found as fact that signs in a similar size font in a busy car park where other unrelated signs were far larger, was inadequate:

    ''the signage is not of a good enough size to afford motorists the chance to read and understand the terms and conditions before deciding to remain in the car park. [...] In addition the operators signs would not be clearly visible from a parking space [...] The appellant has raised other grounds for appeal but I have not dealt with these as I have allowed the appeal.''

    From the evidence I have seen so far, the terms appear to be displayed inadequately, in letters no more than about half an inch high, approximately. I put APCOA to strict proof as to the size of the wording on their signs and the size of lettering for the most onerous term, the parking charge itself.

    The letters seem to be no larger than .40 font size going by this guide:



    As further evidence that this is inadequate notice, Letter Height Visibility is discussed here:



    ''When designing your sign, consider how you will be using it, as well as how far away the readers you want to impact will be. For example, if you are placing a sales advertisement inside your retail store, your text only needs to be visible to the people in the store. 1-2” letters (or smaller) would work just fine. However, if you are hanging banners and want drivers on a nearby highway to be able to see them, design your letters at 3” or even larger.''

    ...and the same chart is reproduced here:



    ''When designing an outdoor sign for your business keep in mind the readability of the letters. Letters always look smaller when mounted high onto an outdoor wall''.

    ''...a guideline for selecting sign letters. Multiply the letter height by 10 and that is the best viewing distance in feet. Multiply the best viewing distance by 4 and that is the max viewing distance.''

    So, a letter height of just half an inch, showing the terms and the 'charge' and placed high on a wall or pole or buried in far too crowded small print, is woefully inadequate in an outdoor car park. Given that letters look smaller when high up on a wall or pole, as the angle renders the words less readable due to the perspective and height, you would have to stand right in front of it and still need a stepladder (and perhaps a torch and/or magnifying glass) to be able to read the terms.

    Under Lord Denning's Red Hand Rule, the charge (being 'out of all proportion' with expectations of drivers in this car park and which is the most onerous of terms) should have been effectively: 'in red letters with a red hand pointing to it' - i.e. VERY clear and prominent with the terms in large lettering, as was found to be the case in the car park in 'Beavis'. A reasonable interpretation of the 'red hand rule' and the 'signage visibility distance' tables above and the BPA Code of Practice, taking all information into account, would require a parking charge and the terms to be displayed far more transparently, on a lower sign and in far larger lettering, with fewer words and more 'white space' as background contrast. Indeed in the Consumer Rights Act 2015 there is a 'Requirement for transparency':

    (1) A trader must ensure that a written term of a consumer contract, or a consumer notice in writing, is transparent.
    (2) A consumer notice is transparent for the purposes of subsection (1) if it is expressed in plain and intelligible language and it is legible.

    The Beavis case signs not being similar to the signs in this appeal at all, I submit that the persuasive case law is in fact 'Vine v London Borough of Waltham Forest [2000] EWCA Civ 106' about a driver not seeing the terms and consequently, she was NOT deemed bound by them.

    This judgment is binding case law from the Court of Appeal and supports My argument, not the operator's case:



    This was a victory for the motorist and found that, where terms on a sign are not seen and the area is not clearly marked/signed with prominent terms, the driver has not consented to - and cannot have 'breached' - an unknown contract because there is no contract capable of being established. The driver in that case (who had not seen any signs/lines) had NOT entered into a contract. The recorder made a clear finding of fact that the plaintiff, Miss Vine, did not see a sign because the area was not clearly marked as 'private land' and the signs were obscured/not adjacent to the car and could not have been seen and read from a driver's seat before parking.

    So, for this appeal, I put APCOA to strict proof of where the car was parked and (from photos taken in the same lighting conditions) how their signs appeared on that date, at that time, from the angle of the driver's perspective. Equally, I require APCOA to show how the entrance signs appear from a driver's seat, not stock examples of 'the sign' in isolation/close-up. I submit that full terms simply cannot be read from a car before parking and mere 'stock examples' of close-ups of the (alleged) signage terms will not be sufficient to disprove this.

    7) Breach of DVLA’s KADOE contract

    The DVLAs KADOE contract is the enabling mechanism for the DVLA to release data to APCOA. It states that they can only use the data released to seek recovery from the driver, or the keeper if the procedure in Schedule 4 of the Protection of Freedoms Act is used. Since PoFA cannot be used under byelaws, for contract-based parking tickets, only the driver could be held liable. In such a situation the parking company might still write to the keeper to ask them to nominate the driver, but they cannot infer they have any liability.

    This illegal obtainment of the keepers’ details and implication of liability is a serious breach of the Data Protection Act and as such I shall be notifying both the DVLA and ICO accordingly. I shall also be seeking damages from APCOA for £750.00

    8) Lack of standing / authority from landowner!

    Section 7 of the British Parking Association (BPA) Code of Practice requires parking operators to have the written authority from the landowner to operate on the land. Section 7.1 states:

    “If you do not own the land on which you are carrying out parking management, you must have the written authorisation of the landowner (or their appointed agent). The written confirmation must be given before you can start operating on the land in question and give you the authority to carry out all the aspects of car park management for the site that you are responsible for. In particular, it must say that the landowner (or their appointed agent) requires you to keep to the Code of Practice and that you have the authority to pursue outstanding parking charges”.

    Section 7.3 states: “The written authorisation must also set out:

    a. the definition of the land on which you may operate, so that the boundaries of the land can be clearly defined!

    b. any conditions or restrictions on parking control and enforcement operations, including any restrictions on hours of operation

    c. any conditions or restrictions on the types of vehicles that may, or may not, be subject to parking control and enforcement!

    d. who has the responsibility for putting up and maintaining signs!

    e. the definition of the services provided by each party to the agreement.''

    I do not believe that APCOA’s mere site agreement as a contractor issuing PCNs and letters 'on behalf of' a TOC gives the parking firm any rights to sue in their own name. This is insufficient to comply with the BPA Code of Practice and not enough to hold me liable in law to pay APCOA (not that a keeper can be liable anyway on non-relevant land and APCOA cannot enforce byelaws themselves, only the Train Operating Company (TOC) or site landowners can, by requiring the driver ONLY, to answer to a real fine at a Magistrates Court). APCOA have no title in this land and therefore have no standing to enforce 'parking charges' or penalties of any description in any court. No evidence has been supplied lawfully showing that APCOA are entitled to pursue these charges in their own right.

    I require APCOA to provide a full copy of the contemporaneous, signed & dated (unredacted) contract with the landowner. I say that any contract is not compliant with the requirements set out in the BPA Code of Practice and does not allow them to charge and issue proceedings for this sum for this alleged contravention in this car park. In order to refute this it will not be sufficient for APCOA merely to supply a site agreement or witness statement, as these do not show sufficient detail (such as the restrictions, charges and revenue sharing arrangements agreed with a landowner) and may well be signed by a non-landholder such as another agent. In order to comply with paragraph 7 of the BPA Code of Practice, a non-landowner private parking company must have a specifically-worded contract with the landowner - not merely an 'agreement' with a non-landholder managing agent - otherwise there is no authority. I put APCOA to strict proof of compliance with all of the above requirements.



    I therefore respectfully request that my appeal is upheld and the charge is dismissed.



    Yours sincerely,
    • Coupon-mad
    • By Coupon-mad 19th May 17, 8:32 PM
    • 51,575 Posts
    • 65,183 Thanks
    Coupon-mad
    Great effort!

    Just remove #3 entirely (GPEOL was thrown out by the Supreme Court Judges, in their infinite wisdom, when they effectively laid the foundations for a very, very predictable scumbags' feeding frenzy by this nasty industry, in the ParkingEye v Beavis case in 2015).
    PRIVATE PCN? DON'T PAY BUT DO NOT IGNORE IT TWO Clicks needed for advice:
    Top of the page: Home>>Forums>Household & Travel>Motoring>Parking Tickets, Fines & Parking - read the 'NEWBIES' FAQS thread!
    Advice to ignore is WRONG, unless in Scotland/NI.

    • billythefish1
    • By billythefish1 19th May 17, 8:37 PM
    • 18 Posts
    • 5 Thanks
    billythefish1
    Thanks - anything else that should be amended or shortened?
    • Coupon-mad
    • By Coupon-mad 19th May 17, 8:55 PM
    • 51,575 Posts
    • 65,183 Thanks
    Coupon-mad
    Nothing to add that I can see - you will win - nice research!

    PRIVATE PCN? DON'T PAY BUT DO NOT IGNORE IT TWO Clicks needed for advice:
    Top of the page: Home>>Forums>Household & Travel>Motoring>Parking Tickets, Fines & Parking - read the 'NEWBIES' FAQS thread!
    Advice to ignore is WRONG, unless in Scotland/NI.

    • Fruitcake
    • By Fruitcake 19th May 17, 11:23 PM
    • 40,480 Posts
    • 80,864 Thanks
    Fruitcake
    A very good effort, and sure to win. Remove the out of date GPEOL as advised then fire it off.
    I married my cousin. I had to...
    I don't have a sister.

    All my screwdrivers are cordless.
    "You're Safety Is My Primary Concern Dear" - Laks
    • billythefish1
    • By billythefish1 20th May 17, 8:56 AM
    • 18 Posts
    • 5 Thanks
    billythefish1
    Thanks all - any advice on filling in on line - do you ignore some of the boxes and just upload as a pdf?
    • Umkomaas
    • By Umkomaas 20th May 17, 9:27 AM
    • 15,565 Posts
    • 24,305 Thanks
    Umkomaas
    Thanks all - any advice on filling in on line - do you ignore some of the boxes and just upload as a pdf?
    Originally posted by billythefish1
    Depends whether ignoring a drop-down box prohibits the submission of the document. You need to be careful with drop-downs, especially the one which tries to fish out the driver's identity. Also watch if you change anything in the document as the 'driver's' drop-down box often defaults back to 'I am the driver' - be careful.

    If you struggle with avoiding some of the drop-downs, check to see if the PPC will accept other methods of appeal. If you find that the online version is the only method, come back for more advice on specific drop-down difficulties.
    We cannot provide you with a silver bullet to get you out of this. You have to be in for the long run, and need to involve yourself in research and work for you to get rid of this. It is not simple. We will help, but can't do it for you.

    Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day; show him how to catch fish, and you feed him for a lifetime.
    • Redx
    • By Redx 20th May 17, 12:06 PM
    • 16,570 Posts
    • 20,730 Thanks
    Redx
    with POPLA choose other and upload the appeal as a pdf , from the KEEPER (explained in the NEWBIES sticky thread and lots of other threads on here)
    Newbies !!
    Private Parking ticket? check the 2 sticky threads by coupon-mad and crabman in the Parking Tickets, Fines & Parking Board forum for the latest advice or maybe try pepipoo or C.A.G. or legal beagles forums if you need legal advice as well because this parking forum is not about debt collectors or legal matters per se
    • Umkomaas
    • By Umkomaas 20th May 17, 12:42 PM
    • 15,565 Posts
    • 24,305 Thanks
    Umkomaas
    Depends whether ignoring a drop-down box prohibits the submission of the document. You need to be careful with drop-downs, especially the one which tries to fish out the driver's identity. Also watch if you change anything in the document as the 'driver's' drop-down box often defaults back to 'I am the driver' - be careful.

    If you struggle with avoiding some of the drop-downs, check to see if the PPC will accept other methods of appeal. If you find that the online version is the only method, come back for more advice on specific drop-down difficulties.
    Originally posted by Umkomaas
    Sorry OP - I hadn't re-read the thread and I thought your question was in relation to an initial appeal to the PPC.

    Thanks to Redx for giving you the correct procedure regarding submission to POPLA.
    We cannot provide you with a silver bullet to get you out of this. You have to be in for the long run, and need to involve yourself in research and work for you to get rid of this. It is not simple. We will help, but can't do it for you.

    Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day; show him how to catch fish, and you feed him for a lifetime.
    • The Deep
    • By The Deep 20th May 17, 1:04 PM
    • 7,382 Posts
    • 6,426 Thanks
    The Deep
    Just remove #3 entirely (GPEOL was thrown out by the Supreme Court Judges, in their infinite wisdom,

    But was it? MUIT in many circumstances it can still be used, i.e. in "own space cases, at hospitals and universities, where full payment has been made and where time spent is not an issue, (i.e. all day parking), where it is obviously a penalty, (upside down ticket, wheel a few cms over a line, wrong registration entered).

    Have I grasped the baton waywardly?,
    You never know how far you can go until you go too far.
    • Coupon-mad
    • By Coupon-mad 20th May 17, 1:08 PM
    • 51,575 Posts
    • 65,183 Thanks
    Coupon-mad
    I'd say you have grasped the baton correctly, not that all Judges agree, sadly. There are cases where you can argue along the lines that a charge still falls foul of the penalty rule and is extravagant and disproportionate the the level of 'legit interest' (if any).

    I would shy away from the words 'GPEOL' and certainly not use the wording the OP showed us about GPEOL, which was old and ignored the Beavis case.
    PRIVATE PCN? DON'T PAY BUT DO NOT IGNORE IT TWO Clicks needed for advice:
    Top of the page: Home>>Forums>Household & Travel>Motoring>Parking Tickets, Fines & Parking - read the 'NEWBIES' FAQS thread!
    Advice to ignore is WRONG, unless in Scotland/NI.

    • billythefish1
    • By billythefish1 20th May 17, 8:48 PM
    • 18 Posts
    • 5 Thanks
    billythefish1
    I just submitted my appeal and realised that I entered the POPLA Verification No in the PCN Box - what should I do as I cannot go back and edit it? My appeal letter had the correct details in there Will they just throw it out?
    • Coupon-mad
    • By Coupon-mad 20th May 17, 9:26 PM
    • 51,575 Posts
    • 65,183 Thanks
    Coupon-mad
    Nope, that's just there to help the idiot parking firm match the case up. A POPLA code is unique to your case.
    PRIVATE PCN? DON'T PAY BUT DO NOT IGNORE IT TWO Clicks needed for advice:
    Top of the page: Home>>Forums>Household & Travel>Motoring>Parking Tickets, Fines & Parking - read the 'NEWBIES' FAQS thread!
    Advice to ignore is WRONG, unless in Scotland/NI.

    • billythefish1
    • By billythefish1 27th May 17, 8:28 AM
    • 18 Posts
    • 5 Thanks
    billythefish1
    HI All, Just to let you know Apcoa has confirmed they do not wish to contest the three appeals and therefore all three have been success. I just like to thank everyone on this website for all the great advice and worth it. Ironically, the wife has just received one for hospital but I'll raise under a new thread.
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