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  • FIRST POST
    • snorbit
    • By snorbit 19th Apr 17, 9:32 AM
    • 17Posts
    • 3Thanks
    snorbit
    Gladstones Letter Before Action
    • #1
    • 19th Apr 17, 9:32 AM
    Gladstones Letter Before Action 19th Apr 17 at 9:32 AM
    Hi,

    First of all, I have read the Newbies thread, but nonetheless please forgive me if the answer to my basic question is clear.

    My question:

    If I have had a Letter Before Claim from Gladstones, and I make them a settlement offer, do I automatically have to then go to court (i.e. do I lose the chance to settle for the full amount). Parking company is SIP.

    Background:

    I had two tickets from land outside my flat from back in November. One of these was for an overstay, the other was for no ticket. During the time, I was only at the flat about once a week so it wasn't worth me buying month-long or week-long tickets as I had previously: the downside being there were two occasions in November where I overstayed/forgot.

    I have previously paid two PCNs to SIP, and I have numerous 'Paybyphone' app receipts since Feb 2016. I have already spent £750 on this car park (app and PCNs), plus probably the same again on paper tickets the machine (outside my home!).

    I started preparing a letter to SIP over the weekend picking holes in their "Notice to Hirer" letters for the two November PCNs. I also arranged to rent a private space in the basement of the building to stop this happening again... then an hour before I was due to move into the new space on Sunday, I got ANOTHER PCN.

    So I now have a LBC relating to two PCNs in November, and another one from Easter Sunday.

    On the LBCs, they have jacked the amount from £100 each (per the PCN/NTH), to £160, with no explanation.

    I've read through the forums and I understand that, if I were prepared to go to court, I would probably win. However, I already have a stressful commute, I had a car accident last Thursday (not my fault, but still a faff with repairs), and I am about to move job (to avoid the commute and driving altogether!). Therefore, I don't want to go to court.

    I am thinking of offering £100 each for the two PCNs (i.e. the original amount) to make it go away and get on with my life. Its my fault for not challenging these sooner. What chance that they'll accept it though? And if they don't, will they automatically apply for a County Court hearing (i.e. will I lose the chance to "only" pay £160?).

    LBC was dated 12/04/17 but only arrived yesterday.

    The one on Easter Sunday I'm less sure of, given that I still have time to formally appeal.

    Help!
Page 1
    • Fruitcake
    • By Fruitcake 19th Apr 17, 9:47 AM
    • 40,411 Posts
    • 80,717 Thanks
    Fruitcake
    • #2
    • 19th Apr 17, 9:47 AM
    • #2
    • 19th Apr 17, 9:47 AM
    Nobody here will suggest that you pay the scammers.

    Do you own/rent the flat? If so what does your lease/AST say sbout parking/parking permits?
    What did the landowner say when you complained?

    Lease/AST trumps made up rules by a private parkig company.

    There is plenty of advice on how to win at court in the NEWBIES thread, so that is where you should start. If you went to court and lost, it would cost you about £175. If you went to court and won, you would potentially be £95 better off.

    I think I'm right in saying that forum assisted cases have yet to lose to Gladrags.
    Last edited by Fruitcake; 19-04-2017 at 9:49 AM.
    I married my cousin. I had to...
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    • snorbit
    • By snorbit 19th Apr 17, 10:03 AM
    • 17 Posts
    • 3 Thanks
    snorbit
    • #3
    • 19th Apr 17, 10:03 AM
    • #3
    • 19th Apr 17, 10:03 AM
    It is technically open land adjacent to my flat (muddy and potholed), which is mostly used by city-centre commuters. I understand that the land is about to be built on, so the "car park" will "close" in the next couple of months.

    I know I would win at court. I don't want to go to court because I'm already overloaded with other areas of life: my question is whether it is worth me offering something less than the £160x2 that they are claiming, or if that will lead to them going to court anyway.
    • Umkomaas
    • By Umkomaas 19th Apr 17, 11:31 AM
    • 14,871 Posts
    • 23,336 Thanks
    Umkomaas
    • #4
    • 19th Apr 17, 11:31 AM
    • #4
    • 19th Apr 17, 11:31 AM
    If you don't want to go to court then you have to settle this by either paying them the full amount requested or make a sensible offer. Don't expect them to snatch your hand off with the first offer you make. If you can't come to an agreement, expect them to continue with their court claim.

    If you let it proceed to court without defending there will be a default judgment in favour of the PPC for the full amount claimed. If you don't pay that in full you will be the recipient of an unsatisfied CCJ with a crippling trashing of your credit worthiness. Forget a new mortgage, personal loan or even a cell phone contract. It will mess up your life!

    A half-hearted court defence will likely see a loss too - then you're likely to cop for up to the full claim (you might persuade the judge not to award some of the peripheral costs claimed).

    By not wanting to defend this you really are painting yourself into a corner as the wolves approach.
    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.
    • snorbit
    • By snorbit 19th Apr 17, 11:34 AM
    • 17 Posts
    • 3 Thanks
    snorbit
    • #5
    • 19th Apr 17, 11:34 AM
    • #5
    • 19th Apr 17, 11:34 AM
    Simple question though: if I offer to pay £100x2 (and they say no) do I automatically lose the opportunity to pay the £160x2 they are now demanding.
    • Umkomaas
    • By Umkomaas 19th Apr 17, 11:43 AM
    • 14,871 Posts
    • 23,336 Thanks
    Umkomaas
    • #6
    • 19th Apr 17, 11:43 AM
    • #6
    • 19th Apr 17, 11:43 AM
    Simple question though: if I offer to pay £100x2 (and they say no) do I automatically lose the opportunity to pay the £160x2 they are now demanding.
    Originally posted by snorbit
    Not at all. You can settle any time right up to the courtroom door.

    If you do make them an offer, you need to explain why it is a good offer and paint the benefits to them of settling now. Like they will save on advocates fees, there will be no further administration costs to them, all over and done with, they won't have to take a chance on actually losing the case which would almost certainly involve them in paying your costs. Make it an offer they will find hard to dismiss.
    Last edited by Umkomaas; 19-04-2017 at 11:46 AM.
    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.
    • Coupon-mad
    • By Coupon-mad 19th Apr 17, 11:53 AM
    • 50,584 Posts
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    Coupon-mad
    • #7
    • 19th Apr 17, 11:53 AM
    • #7
    • 19th Apr 17, 11:53 AM
    Simple question though: if I offer to pay £100x2 (and they say no) do I automatically lose the opportunity to pay the £160x2 they are now demanding.
    Originally posted by snorbit
    Simple answer. No.

    But none of us see this as the 'opportunity' it is being described as. This is sad to answer because you appear to want to pay even though you know you can win and (apart from the time preparing) court is just a couple of hours in a few months' time; no risk, no CCJ, no effect on credit rating because you'd then pay about £150/£175 (IF YOU LOST).

    It's sad because this is why the industry prospers. It is wrong and worth the fight, even for busy people. Such a shame to see you fall victim to this and that you've already paid them twice for 2 other 'PCNs'. It is nasty and like a protection racket, not something to pay/support.
    Last edited by Coupon-mad; 19-04-2017 at 11:58 AM.
    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.

    • snorbit
    • By snorbit 19th Apr 17, 11:57 AM
    • 17 Posts
    • 3 Thanks
    snorbit
    • #8
    • 19th Apr 17, 11:57 AM
    • #8
    • 19th Apr 17, 11:57 AM
    Hi, thanks for your response.

    I'm not sure I'm quite being clear though: I don't want there to be a "courtroom door", i.e. I don't want it to get to the point where they actually even apply to the court for a hearing.

    So if I offer say £100x2, can they say "thank you for your response, we reject this and have no option but to apply to the County Court". Then I either have to go to court or pay a settlement which would now include court fees.
    • snorbit
    • By snorbit 19th Apr 17, 12:03 PM
    • 17 Posts
    • 3 Thanks
    snorbit
    • #9
    • 19th Apr 17, 12:03 PM
    • #9
    • 19th Apr 17, 12:03 PM
    In the last 6 weeks, I've had a driver awareness course, a speed awareness course, 3 points, 1x PCN and now this. Oh and a crash last Thursday (no fault).

    I spend 3 hours a day commuting and work 50 hours a week in a very stressful job. Okay, "boo-hoo me", others have it worse sure, but I don't feel I can handle the stress of "just" a few days preparing. Its not that I am intimidated by the court, I just want to get on with my life.

    I hate that this industry prospers too.
    • Coupon-mad
    • By Coupon-mad 19th Apr 17, 12:07 PM
    • 50,584 Posts
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    Coupon-mad
    The added court fee for between £300-£500 is around £50, not huge, and there would only be one claim. You could agree with Gladrags to have the case 'heard on the papers' (no hearing) which we don't recommend normally but would at least give you the chance to submit a defence and argue against the added £60 per PCN. A bit like a formal appeal but letting the court decide.

    Even if you then lost, your argument against the added £60 per PCN would be considered by a Judge - and so for two PCNs you'd be looking (even if you lost, as long as the Judge agreed about the £60 being unrecoverable) at being told to pay £100 x 2, plus £50.

    If so, it's less than is being *offered* now.

    So, although it sticks in my throat/fingers to type this, you could certainly reply to G's now and in response to the LBC, offer £100 per PCN to end the matter and see what they say. And be ready to agree to have the case heard on the papers (this is NOT recommended for other newbies reading this because that's a weak way to *defend* and might not see off the £100 PCNs, whereas in your local court, you would have a good chance).
    Last edited by Coupon-mad; 19-04-2017 at 12:12 PM.
    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.

    • snorbit
    • By snorbit 19th Apr 17, 12:09 PM
    • 17 Posts
    • 3 Thanks
    snorbit
    My post goes to my parents home, which is in another city to my flat/the car park, so I only find out about any of these things (except the crash!) when I get an a*sey text from them, adding to the stress. This also has added to the anxiety.
    • Loadsofchildren123
    • By Loadsofchildren123 19th Apr 17, 12:13 PM
    • 1,247 Posts
    • 2,120 Thanks
    Loadsofchildren123
    The business model of the PPCs involves rejecting any offers for anything less than the full amount, as far as I am aware.

    If you offer £100 x2 and they reject it, no you don't lose the right to make another offer. However, if they issue proceedings in the meantime, added to the £160x2 will be £25 court issue fee and £50 solicitors costs (the max they are allowed to add for costs in a small claim).

    These cases are defendable, as you know. However, as you also know they take time and dedication to defend properly and you also have to give up a day of your time to go to court. I understand entirely your wish to avoid all of this - whilst us forum regulars would like to see everyone defending because people who pay up are perpetuating the scam, you have to make the decision that is right for you.

    At the heart of your dilemma is that you need to incentivise them to accept your offer. As you've started work on a letter picking holes in their case, why don't you:

    1. Respond formally to the letter before claim with this letter, picking holes in their case and, importantly, asking questions. Eg what locus standi do they have to bring a claim - can they please produce a copy of the contract with the landowner which they claim gives them the authority to issue pcns and to pursue proceedings in their own name). Also, ask for a plan of the site showing where all signage was situated at the relevant time and a copy of the signage displayed at the time, and for details of how such signage was displayed (height of sign, size of sign, font used etc). Ask if they had advertisement consent from the Local Planning Authority to display the signs on the land in question at the time of your pcns [they are committing a criminal offence if they didn't].

    2. Say that under POFA they are not entitled to claim from the RK in the Notices to Keeper any more than was due from the driver at that date (ie the £100). Say that this means that the NtKs (if they sought £160 rather than £100) are not valid under POFA which means that they have no legal basis for pursuing the RK.

    3. Ask for an explanation of what the additional £60 represents and under what legal basis they claim to be entitled to that additional £60 per ticket.

    4. BTW, were they writing you one letter each time about the two tickets, or separately, but now they have joined the two together? If so, then ifthey are entitled to charge admin costs to represent the costs of writing to you (although this is not accepted), then these should be halved in any event because there were not two sets of letters but only 1.

    5. Have you checked that the date they sent the NtKs out is within the POFA time limits (between day 29 and day 56 after the original pcns)? If they are out of time, point this out and say that this also means that the NtKs are invalid under POFA and they have no legal basis to pursue the RK.

    6. Ask for the date on which they obtained the RK's details from DVLA. Say that as you consider the NtKs are not valid under POFA that they have committed a breach of the Data Protection Act which gives you a claim to damages.

    7. SiP is a member of IPC - have a look at their Code of Practice and see if you can find a few breaches of it (you are bound to be able to find some) and include these.

    8. Point out that they are obliged to provide the information you are asking for pursuant to paragraphs 6(a) and (c) and 12 of the Practice Direction - Pre-Action Conduct. And that they are obliged to respond to the points you have raised about the NtKs/POFA, the recoverability of additional charges and their breaches of the IPC CoP. Emphasise your wish to engage in a meaningful dialogue about the claim in order to try to better understand the claim, to narrow the issues and, hopefully, reach a settlement. Warn them that if they do not engage in meaningful correspondence with you about the claim and do not provide the information requested (all of which they would have to produce in any claim, so it is not putting them to any extra trouble or expense) then you will immediately ask the court to stay any claim they bring pursuant to paragraphs 13 and 15(b) of the Practice Direction and will rely on this correspondence.

    Either then wait and see what their response is before you decide what offer to make, or with this letter send a letter headed "Without Prejudice Save as to Costs" and make your offer. You are better waiting if you think that the NtKs were served out of time (ie beyond day 56 after the original pcn) because this is really a killer point.

    I don't know if SIP is an outfit that generally issues claims or if they are one of the PPCs that tends to go away. Other forum users will know the answer to that - you could also check on BMPA's website for this information. If they are one of the ones who tend not to issue proceedings, you are better off writing this letter and not making an offer and waiting to see what they do.

    If you make no offer, worst case is £160 per ticket, plus £75 in court fees/costs. I think it's worth risking the extra £75 (as you say you're willing to pay the £160) to put up an "armchair" fight and to wait and see how they respond.
    • Coupon-mad
    • By Coupon-mad 19th Apr 17, 12:15 PM
    • 50,584 Posts
    • 63,972 Thanks
    Coupon-mad
    My post goes to my parents home, which is in another city to my flat/the car park, so I only find out about any of these things (except the crash!) when I get an a*sey text from them, adding to the stress. This also has added to the anxiety.
    Originally posted by snorbit
    Right so you cover that now in your response to G's.

    You say something like you have only just heard about this matter because your post goes to a different address. As such, you feel you have not had a proper chance to appeal/defend the matter and the signage at that site is woeful so you believe you would win in court.

    However, to end the matter you are enclosing a cheque for £200 as full and final settlement and require the PCN from the other day (mention the number) to be cancelled as a gesture of goodwill. State that by cashing the cheque they agree to these terms and the matter of all PCNs from SIP is closed.

    Please could they confirm acceptance by writing to <new address> which is your address for service.
    Last edited by Coupon-mad; 19-04-2017 at 12:18 PM.
    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.

    • Loadsofchildren123
    • By Loadsofchildren123 19th Apr 17, 12:21 PM
    • 1,247 Posts
    • 2,120 Thanks
    Loadsofchildren123
    o if I offer say £100x2, can they say "thank you for your response, we reject this and have no option but to apply to the County Court". Then I either have to go to court or pay a settlement which would now include court fees.
    Originally posted by snorbit
    If they say no, between that and them issuing you can offer the £160. Court fees are not incurred until the claim is actually issued.


    I would put in a couple of hours of effort to write to them as I've suggested and wait and see what they do before you make an offer. Or if you really can't bear this any more, make the offer at the same time. Personally I think making the offer at the same time shows weakness and they are more likely than not to respond with two fingers and a demand for payment of £160 in full.


    I've just checked the court fee. For a claim between £300 and £500 (which this is) it's £35 - so the maximum that can be added to this claim on top of the £160 per ticket is £35 plus £50 in costs. So £85 rather than the £75 I originally said in my post above. Plus a very small amount of interest (8% of £320 per annum at a daily rate).
    • Loadsofchildren123
    • By Loadsofchildren123 19th Apr 17, 12:22 PM
    • 1,247 Posts
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    Loadsofchildren123
    I like the idea of enclosing a cheque with any offer letter. And yes, make sure it includes the new pcn.
    • snorbit
    • By snorbit 19th Apr 17, 1:56 PM
    • 17 Posts
    • 3 Thanks
    snorbit
    I don't have a chequebook and won't be able to get one in time.

    I do not want to risk having to pay more than £160. This is already extorionate. "Just" another £75 is not just "just" - it is extra that I want to avoid. It still seems they may choose to pursue this to court if I make an offer that they don't accept.

    From what I have read, SIP is a company that does pursue these things to court.

    My POFA letter focusses on the fact I am the hirer not the keeper. They did not include the necessary docs (e.g. hire agreement) when sending me their (supposed) "Notice to Hirer". I gave up on this approach once the Gladstones letter arrived.
    • DoaM
    • By DoaM 19th Apr 17, 2:20 PM
    • 3,306 Posts
    • 3,347 Thanks
    DoaM
    http://www.bmpa.eu/companydata/SIP_Parking.html

    They've become much more litigious in 2017 ... probably being goaded into it by Gladstones.
    Diary of a madman
    Walk the line again today
    Entries of confusion
    Dear diary, I'm here to stay
    • Loadsofchildren123
    • By Loadsofchildren123 19th Apr 17, 2:44 PM
    • 1,247 Posts
    • 2,120 Thanks
    Loadsofchildren123
    I don't have a chequebook and won't be able to get one in time.

    I do not want to risk having to pay more than £160. This is already extorionate. "Just" another £75 is not just "just" - it is extra that I want to avoid. It still seems they may choose to pursue this to court if I make an offer that they don't accept.

    From what I have read, SIP is a company that does pursue these things to court.

    My POFA letter focusses on the fact I am the hirer not the keeper. They did not include the necessary docs (e.g. hire agreement) when sending me their (supposed) "Notice to Hirer". I gave up on this approach once the Gladstones letter arrived.
    Originally posted by snorbit

    Appreciate that. Was just trying to show you your bottom line.


    The POFA point is one to run in your letter. POFA has to be complied with. It's not a suggestion or best practice, compliance with the 4 conditions is a requirement for keeper liability. If you want to settle for less than the £160, you must give them a reason to settle.
    • snorbit
    • By snorbit 19th Apr 17, 3:13 PM
    • 17 Posts
    • 3 Thanks
    snorbit
    So if I did challenge this (i.e. no offer to settle), what would be the best way to include the "new" PCN within this (given that the November ones are now being dealt with by Gladstones)? Or is that best being dealt with separately?
    • Loadsofchildren123
    • By Loadsofchildren123 19th Apr 17, 3:15 PM
    • 1,247 Posts
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    Loadsofchildren123
    With your offer to settle I think


    So, yes, separately. Put up a fight with these ones, followed by an offer to settle incorporating all 3. You say the same defences apply to the third ticket.
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