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  • FIRST POST
    • Capt Mainwaring
    • By Capt Mainwaring 1st Jan 18, 9:10 PM
    • 37Posts
    • 7Thanks
    Capt Mainwaring
    Help and guidance please
    • #1
    • 1st Jan 18, 9:10 PM
    Help and guidance please 1st Jan 18 at 9:10 PM
    Hi

    This is my first post. I've read through some of the stickies and I've got to admit, my head is spinning a little. I could really do with some help and guidance, as I'm not sure where to go from here. I feel sick as I type this and I just want the whole miserable saga to end quickly.

    Two PCNs have been issued by a well known car parking firm. An appeal was done via their website to address the first one (this was perhaps naÔve but was done without any prior internet research). Unsurprisingly, they were not interested in the rationale. When the appeal didn't work, I then began to consult the various forums dedicated to this subject. Most of the comments I read were unequivocal, in that any further correspondence from the company or any follow up letters from a Solicitor should be ignored. This advice has been duly followed.

    The latest letter is headed - Notice of Pending County Court Claim - I've been fairly bullish to this point, as I don't believe any money is owed to this company (their machines were out of order on both occasions). However, I'm now at a point of what do I do next? Do I continue to ignore the letters and potentially receive a court summons? Should I write them a 'cease and desist' letter, as per the various examples I've seen. Perhaps I should have written to the Retailer that I visited on both occasions, although given the amount of time that has elapsed, I'm not sure if they can help...

    Please can you help, as this is seriously getting me down. Thank you.
Page 4
    • Coupon-mad
    • By Coupon-mad 5th Feb 18, 9:01 PM
    • 53,931 Posts
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    Coupon-mad
    I can't tell from your defence, what your defence is, so I looked back at your OP where you said:

    I don't believe any money is owed to this company (their machines were out of order on both occasions).
    So that should be your first point.

    And add in the words from the Parliamentary debate, where an MP stated that it would be unfair if an operator invited a driver onsite, but all machines were broken and by the time the driver found that out, they were already incurring a PCN unbeknown to them, from being filmed on entry. A cash cow site.
    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.

    • Capt Mainwaring
    • By Capt Mainwaring 5th Feb 18, 9:03 PM
    • 37 Posts
    • 7 Thanks
    Capt Mainwaring
    Thanks Keith.
    • Capt Mainwaring
    • By Capt Mainwaring 5th Feb 18, 9:11 PM
    • 37 Posts
    • 7 Thanks
    Capt Mainwaring
    Thanks CM.

    When I wrote that, I thought there were only two ticket machines (I've genuinely only seen the two on my many visits there) but apparently, there were three. Should I still include your suggestion in my defence?
    • Redx
    • By Redx 5th Feb 18, 9:12 PM
    • 17,319 Posts
    • 21,704 Thanks
    Redx
    I would, its for them to prove their case, not for you to prove otherwise

    just say that as fas as you (or the driver) was aware, all the payment ticket machines were out of order etc , so like CM says
    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
    • Capt Mainwaring
    • By Capt Mainwaring 5th Feb 18, 9:36 PM
    • 37 Posts
    • 7 Thanks
    Capt Mainwaring
    Thanks for that CM and RedX. Third draft...

    It is admitted that the Defendant was the driver of the vehicle in question.
    However the Claimant has no cause of action against the Defendant on the following grounds:-
    I don't believe any money is owed to the Claimant, as their ticket machines were out of order when the car was parked and they had not been working for weeks.

    1. The signage on and around the site did not meet the British Parking Association (BPA) Code of Practice or the Independent Parking Committee (IPC) Code of Practice. In ParkingEye v Beavis, Supreme Court judges found that the Code of Practice is "effectively binding regulation" on parking operators. The Claimant was a member of the IPC at the time and committed to follow its requirements. Therefore no contract has been formed with driver to pay £100, or any additional fee charged if unpaid in 28 days.

    The signage is inadequate in terms of the following:

    !!!8226; Lack of clarity and prominence of terms and conditions
    !!!8226; Illegible text due to font size, density, colour and complexity
    !!!8226; Large numbers of confusing and conflicting signs, including signs from other parties, such that it was not clear which signs had precedence
    !!!8226; Lack of relevant terms and conditions, such as the fees for parking
    !!!8226; Inadequate positioning of signs, at unsuitable heights

    On 2 February 2018, Sir Gregory Knight, MP for East Yorkshire addressed the House of Commons regarding the Parking (Code of Practice) Bill. During his speech, he said !!!8211; !!!8216;It is important that those parking on private land who receive a private parking notice are treated fairly and consistently. Motorists should have the certainty that when they enter a car park on private land, they are entering into a contract that is reasonable, transparent and involves a consistent process. Poor signage, unreasonable terms, exorbitant fines, aggressive demands for payment and an opaque appeals process, together with some motorists being hit with a fine for just driving in and out of a car park without stopping, have no place in 21st-century Britain!!!8217;.

    2. As the Claimant failed to make reasonable efforts to make the terms and conditions of the car park clear and prominent, it cannot be assumed that anyone entering the car park was immediately aware of, and agreed, the terms and conditions. The Claimant is put to strict proof that the Defendant saw, read and agreed the terms upon which the claimant is relying on the day in question.

    3. This Claimant has not complied with pre-court protocol. And as an example as to why this prevents a full defence being filed at this time, a parking charge can be for trespass, breach of contract or a contractual charge. All these are treated differently in law and require a different defence. The wording of any contract will naturally be a key element in this matter, and a copy of the alleged contract has never been provided to the Defendant.

    a) This is a speculative serial litigant, issuing a large number of identical 'draft particulars'. The badly mail-merged documents contain very little information.

    b) The Schedule of information is sparse of detailed information.

    c) The Claim form Particulars were extremely sparse and divulged no cause of action nor sufficient detail. The Defendant has no idea what the claim is about - why the charge arose, what the alleged contract was; nothing that could be considered a fair exchange of information. The Claim form Particulars did not contain any evidence of contravention or photographs.

    d) The claimant failed to include a copy of the "contract" as required when seperate Particulars of Claim are served.

    e) The Defence therefore asks the Court to strike out the claim as having no reasonable prospect of success as currently drafted.

    4. It is denied that the Claimant has authority to bring this claim. The proper Claimant is the landholder. Strict proof is required that there is a chain of contracts leading from the landholder to Excel Parking Services Ltd.

    a) Absent a contract with the lawful occupier of the land being produced by the claimant, or a chain of contracts showing authorisation stemming from the lawful occupier of the land, I have the reasonable belief that they do not have the authority to issue charges on this land in their own name and that they have no locus standi to bring this case.


    5. No sum payable to this Claimant was accepted nor even known about by the driver; as they were not given a fair opportunity to discover the onerous terms by which they would later be bound.


    6. The amount is a penalty, and the penalty rule is still engaged, so can be clearly distinguished from ParkingEye v Beavis which the Judges held was 'entirely different' from most ordinary economic contract disputes for the following reasons:-

    a) The Claimant did not follow the IPC or BPA Code of Practice
    b) The Court of Appeal for the Beavis case made a clear reference to the fact that their decision was NOT relevant to pay-per-hour type car parks.

    7. The Protection of Freedoms Act does not permit the Claimant to recover a sum greater than the parking charge on the day before a Notice to Keeper was issued. The Claimant cannot recover additional charges. The Claimant claims a sum of £164.36 as the !!!8216;amount claimed!!!8217;!!!8217; (for which liability is denied) plus the Particulars of Claim include £60 that the claimant has presented as contractual costs pursuant to PCN terms and conditions. In contradiction to this the claimant's solicitor has, however, described the Principal Debt as £100 and solicitor's costs as a further £110 in correspondence with the keeper summarised within the letter titled !!!8216;Notice of county court claim issued!!!8217;. The Defendant also has the reasonable belief that the Claimant has not incurred the stated additional costs and it is put to strict proof that they have actually been incurred. Even if they have been incurred, the Claimant has described them as "Legal representative!!!8217;s costs". These cannot be recovered in the Small Claims Court regardless of the identity of the driver.


    8. If the driver on the date of the event was considered to be a trespasser if not allowed to park there, then only the landowner can pursue a case under the tort of trespass, not this Claimant, and as the Supreme Court in the Beavis case confirmed, such a matter would be limited to the landowner themselves claiming for a nominal sum.


    9. Save as expressly mentioned above, the Particulars of Claim is denied in its entirety. It is denied that the Claimant is entitled to the relief claimed or any relief at all.

    Therefore I ask the court to respectfully strike out this claim with immediate effect.
    I believe that the facts stated in this Statement of defence are true.
    • Coupon-mad
    • By Coupon-mad 5th Feb 18, 9:38 PM
    • 53,931 Posts
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    Coupon-mad
    I don't believe any money is owed to the Claimant, as their ticket machines were out of order when the car was parked and they had not been working for weeks.
    Should be your first numbered point of defence, and never use slang like ''don't'' in a defence. I am also concerned that you say ''they had not been working for weeks'' because you can't prove that. Better to only talk about the day in question, or just add that this is a common issue with these machines which are frequently out of order.

    This is not the bit about machines. Search the Hansard Transcript for 'machines':
    On 2 February 2018, Sir Gregory Knight, MP for East Yorkshire addressed the House of Commons regarding the Parking (Code of Practice) Bill. During his speech, he said: It is important that those parking on private land who receive a private parking notice are treated fairly and consistently. Motorists should have the certainty that when they enter a car park on private land, they are entering into a contract that is reasonable, transparent and involves a consistent process. Poor signage, unreasonable terms, exorbitant fines, aggressive demands for payment and an opaque appeals process, together with some motorists being hit with a fine for just driving in and out of a car park without stopping, have no place in 21st-century Britain.
    Last edited by Coupon-mad; 05-02-2018 at 9:40 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.

    • Capt Mainwaring
    • By Capt Mainwaring 5th Feb 18, 9:42 PM
    • 37 Posts
    • 7 Thanks
    Capt Mainwaring
    I added the comment about the duration, as the machines were not working when the two events took place, which was just a few days short of one month.
    • Capt Mainwaring
    • By Capt Mainwaring 5th Feb 18, 9:46 PM
    • 37 Posts
    • 7 Thanks
    Capt Mainwaring
    Second Draft of my second defence letter - I am the registered keeper. The driver's identity has not been revealed.

    It is admitted that Defendant is the registered keeper of the vehicle in question.
    However the Claimant has no cause of action against the Defendant on the following grounds:-
    1. I do not believe any money is owed to the Claimant, as their ticket machines were out of order when the car was parked, which is a common issue with the machines in the car park in question.

    2.. The registered keeper has not been proven as the driver, as such the keeper can only be held liable if the claimant has fully complied with the strict requirements.
    3. The Protection of Freedom Act 2012 Schedule 4 has not being complied with.
    a) Notwithstanding that the Claimant claims no right to pursue the Defendant as the registered keeper under PoFA, the Claimant has failed to meet the conditions of the Act and has never acquired any right to pursue the Defendant in this capacity if it cannot identify the driver.

    b) The keeper can only be held liable if the Claimant has fully complied with the strict requirements including 'adequate notice' of £100 charge and prescribed Notice to Keeper letters in time and with mandatory wording.

    c) The claimant has no right to assert that the defendant is liable based on !!!8216;reasonable assumption!!!8217;. PATAS and POPLA Lead Adjudicator and barrister, Henry Michael Greenslade, clarified that with regards to keeper liability, "There is no !!!8216;reasonable presumption!!!8217; in law that the registered keeper of a vehicle is the driver and operators should never suggest anything of the sort"(2015).


    4. This case can be distinguished from ParkingEye v Beavis [2015] UKSC 67 (the Beavis case) which was dependent upon an undenied contract, formed by unusually prominent signage forming a clear offer and which turned on unique facts regarding the location and the interests of the landowner. Strict compliance with the BPA Code of Practice (CoP) was paramount and Mr Beavis was the driver who saw the signs and entered into a contract to pay £85 after exceeding a licence to park free. None of this applies in this material case.

    5. The signage on and around the site did not meet the British Parking Association (BPA) Code of Practice or the Independent Parking Committee (IPC) Code of Practice. The Claimant was a member of the IPC at the time and committed to follow its requirements. The claimant was also formerly a member of the BPA, whose requirements they also did not follow. Therefore no contract has been formed with driver to pay £100, or any additional fee charged if unpaid in 28 days.

    The signage is inadequate in terms of the following:

    !!!8226; Lack of clarity and prominence of terms and conditions
    !!!8226; Illegible text due to font size, density, colour and complexity
    !!!8226; Large numbers of confusing and conflicting signs, including signs from other parties, such that it was not clear which signs had precedence
    !!!8226; Lack of relevant terms and conditions, such as the fees for parking
    !!!8226; Inadequate positioning of signs, at unsuitable heights

    On 2 February 2018, Sir Gregory Knight, MP for East Yorkshire addressed the House of Commons regarding the Parking (Code of Practice) Bill. During his speech, he said !!!8211; !!!8216;It is important that those parking on private land who receive a private parking notice are treated fairly and consistently. Motorists should have the certainty that when they enter a car park on private land, they are entering into a contract that is reasonable, transparent and involves a consistent process. Poor signage, unreasonable terms, exorbitant fines, aggressive demands for payment and an opaque appeals process, together with some motorists being hit with a fine for just driving in and out of a car park without stopping, have no place in 21st-century Britain!!!8217;.


    6. As the Claimant failed to make reasonable efforts to make the terms and conditions of the car park clear and prominent, it cannot be assumed that anyone entering the car park was immediately aware of, and agreed, the terms and conditions. The Claimant is put to strict proof that the Defendant saw, read and agreed the terms upon which the claimant is relying on the day in question.


    7. No evidence has been provided that a valid ticket was not purchased. Photographs of the keeper!!!8217;s vehicle entering and exiting the car park does not constitute a proven contravention of the parking conditions. No ticket was placed on the vehicle and the Claimant has failed to provide any evidence that a valid ticket was not on display.


    8. It is denied that the Claimant has authority to bring this claim. The proper Claimant is the landholder. Strict proof is required that there is a chain of contracts leading from the landholder to Excel Parking Services Ltd.

    a) Absent a contract with the lawful occupier of the land being produced by the claimant, or a chain of contracts showing authorisation stemming from the lawful occupier of the land, I have the reasonable belief that they do not have the authority to issue charges on this land in their own name and that they have no locus standi to bring this case.


    9. No sum payable to this Claimant was accepted nor even known about by any driver; as they were not given a fair opportunity to discover the onerous terms by which they would later be bound.


    10. The amount is a penalty, and the penalty rule is still engaged, so can be clearly distinguished from ParkingEye v Beavis which the Judges held was 'entirely different' from most ordinary economic contract disputes for the following reasons:-

    a) The Claimant has no commercial justification
    b) The Claimant did not follow the IPC or BPA Code of Practice
    c) The Claimant is not the landowner and suffers no loss whatsoever as a result of a vehicle parking at the location in question
    d) The amount claimed is a charge and evidently disproportionate to any loss suffered by the Claimant and is therefore unconscionable.
    e) The Court of Appeal for the Beavis case made a clear reference to the fact that their decision was NOT relevant to pay-per-hour type car parks.

    11. The Protection of Freedoms Act does not permit the Claimant to recover a sum greater than the parking charge on the day before a Notice to Keeper was issued. The Claimant cannot recover additional charges. The Claimant claims a sum of £163.94 as the !!!8216;amount claimed!!!8217;!!!8217; (for which liability is denied) plus the Particulars of Claim include £60 that the claimant has presented as contractual costs pursuant to PCN terms and conditions. In contradiction to this the claimant's solicitor has, however, described the Principal Debt as £100 and solicitor's costs as a further £110 in correspondence with the keeper summarised within the letter titled !!!8216;Notice of county court claim issued!!!8217;. The Defendant also has the reasonable belief that the Claimant has not incurred the stated additional costs and it is put to strict proof that they have actually been incurred. Even if they have been incurred, the Claimant has described them as "Legal representative!!!8217;s costs". These cannot be recovered in the Small Claims Court regardless of the identity of the driver.


    12. If the driver on the date of the event was considered to be a trespasser if not allowed to park there, then only the landowner can pursue a case under the tort of trespass, not this Claimant, and as the Supreme Court in the Beavis case confirmed, such a matter would be limited to the landowner themselves claiming for a nominal sum.


    13. Save as expressly mentioned above, the Particulars of Claim is denied in its entirety. It is denied that the Claimant is entitled to the relief claimed or any relief at all.

    Therefore I ask the court to respectfully strike out this claim with immediate effect.
    I believe that the facts stated in this Statement of defence are true."
    • Coupon-mad
    • By Coupon-mad 5th Feb 18, 9:46 PM
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    Coupon-mad
    I added the comment about the duration, as the machines were not working when the two events took place, which was just a few days short of one month.
    Originally posted by Capt Mainwaring
    So state that too. Don't leave the Judge guessing, spell it out.
    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.

    • Capt Mainwaring
    • By Capt Mainwaring 5th Feb 18, 9:55 PM
    • 37 Posts
    • 7 Thanks
    Capt Mainwaring
    Does this sound ok?

    1. I do not believe any money is owed to the Claimant, as their ticket machines were out of order when the car was parked, which is a common issue with the machines in the car park in question. As was the case on 13 May 2017 and 9 June 2017 when the alleged contraventions took place.
    • Coupon-mad
    • By Coupon-mad 5th Feb 18, 9:58 PM
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    • 67,605 Thanks
    Coupon-mad
    Yes that's very clear right at the start.

    Make sure you email a signed & dated copy (scan a signed paper version and attach to your email).
    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.

    • Capt Mainwaring
    • By Capt Mainwaring 5th Feb 18, 10:30 PM
    • 37 Posts
    • 7 Thanks
    Capt Mainwaring
    Thanks a lot CM.I feel a lot better now

    I'll email my letters to work tomorrow, so I can scan them after signing. I'll then email them on to the Court.
    • Lamilad
    • By Lamilad 5th Feb 18, 10:56 PM
    • 1,294 Posts
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    Lamilad
    Still nothing attacking the PoC? Did you read any CEL defences or the Johnersh one in newbies? You could have easily copied and pasted wording from either source.

    If you plan to request your case is heard at Skipton then attacking the PoC is a must as the Judges there have expressed their frustration on more than one occasion about Excel's woefully inadequate particulars.... But (as I discovered recently) if you don't mention it in your defence they (probably) won't hold the claimant to account... and they get an easy let off.
    • Capt Mainwaring
    • By Capt Mainwaring 5th Feb 18, 11:07 PM
    • 37 Posts
    • 7 Thanks
    Capt Mainwaring
    Hi Lamilad

    Is this what you meant from Johnersh?

    1. The Particulars of Claim lack specificity and are embarrassing. The Defendant is prejudiced and is unable to prepare a full and complete Defence. The Defendant reserves the right to seek from the Court permission to serve an Amended Defence should the Claimant add to or expand his Particulars at a later stage of these proceedings and/or to limit the Claimant only to the unevidenced allegations in the Particulars.

    2. The Particulars of Claim fail to refer to the material terms of any contract and neither comply with the CPR 16 in respect of statements of case, nor the relevant practice direction in respect of claims formed by contract or conduct. The Defendant further notes the Claimant's failure to engage in pre-action correspondence in accordance with the pre-action protocol and with the express aim of avoiding contested litigation.
    • Lamilad
    • By Lamilad 5th Feb 18, 11:15 PM
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    Lamilad
    Yes but you may need to remove the stuff about failing to engage in pre action correspondence unless to have a specific example to reference such as no letter of claim.
    • Capt Mainwaring
    • By Capt Mainwaring 5th Feb 18, 11:24 PM
    • 37 Posts
    • 7 Thanks
    Capt Mainwaring
    Shall I just insert paragraph one in to both of my defence letters or I should I be looking for more info?
    • Lamilad
    • By Lamilad 5th Feb 18, 11:41 PM
    • 1,294 Posts
    • 2,562 Thanks
    Lamilad
    Insert both paras but remove the last sentence about pre action correspondence
    • Johnersh
    • By Johnersh 6th Feb 18, 8:14 PM
    • 815 Posts
    • 1,550 Thanks
    Johnersh
    I'm not sure you can reasonably argue that you both bought a ticket and that the machines weren't working.

    I'd put the claimant to strict proof through disclosure of maintenance logs or otherwise that the machines were regularly serviced or operated.

    You can start by saying no contract because signs were unclear (if that is correct) and plead at the same time the below as a secondary argument.

    In the alternative, in the event that the Court finds that there was a contract formed as between the driver and PPC when the vehicle was parked, the defendant contends that such contract was void by reason of impossibility. The claimant provided no working means of payment and the driver was unable to pay.

    In practice, your best approach may be to keep it simple and not argue every argument you can conceivably think of, but only the good ones. Target it. It makes it easier to argue and less like a generic template.
    "The best advice I ever got was that knowledge is power and to keep reading."
    DISCLAIMER: I post thoughts as & when they occur. I'm unlikely to respond to DMs seeking personal advice. It's ill-advised & you lose the benefit of a group "take" on events.
    Your home is at risk if you don't meet mortgage payments or other loans secured on it
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