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County Court Claim - Gladstones

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  • Thank you. FYI - I just wrote to my MP, hopefully, they can help kick up a fuss about these guys. Here's what I sent:
    Dear XXX,
    I'm writing to you in regards to a parking fine I have received. I wouldn't normally bother you with something like this, but I feel the tactics around giving the fine, the amount that they are charging and the measures they are taking to recover are extremely excessive, and would hate for anyone else to go through this.

    The fine was issued for parking outside the Tescos Express in XXX. At the time, there was no demarcation stating which parking slots were for customers, or for private parking (this has since been introduced). The overall signage was lacking, and so I had parked for about 10 minutes to run into the shop, and had no idea of any apparent wrong-doing.

    I received no Notice to Keeper at the time (I understand that legally one is required within 14 days), only a debt collectors letter for £1XX weeks later! I had emailed to dispute at the time, but they had not accepted this and so now I have a county court claim against me for £2XX. I think you'll agree that this is way over the top.

    I have decided to personally defend against the claim, which is taking up so much of my free time at the moment and causing me untold stress. I can only imagine how much worse this would be if I was in a vulnerable position.

    The organisations involved are UK Car Park Management Ltd, Debt Recovery Plus Ltd and Gladstones Solicitors. I understand there have already been objections raised to these cowboys in parliament.

    I hope you can help in some way.
  • Coupon-madCoupon-mad Forumite
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    Read bargepole's thread this week about a win at Guildford v UKCPM - same day as another poster here also won v UKCPM at Guildford.

    No link - it's right here and replied on today, easy to find by looking through the pages for bargepole as the poster.
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  • OK, so if I understand correctly, your initial defence should be fairly brief, and you then have a chance to submit evidence? Based on this, taken from some of Bargepole's posts (with modifications), here is what I have for my defence.

    If you could please let me know if you think this is relevant, as I may have misunderstood the process or some legal jargon (particularly points 3, 4, and 7):

    1. The Defendant denies that the Claimant is entitled to relief in the sum claimed, or at all.

    2. The facts are that the vehicle, registration XXXX, of which the Defendant is the registered keeper, was parked on the material date in an unmarked bay at XXXX.

    3. The Particulars of Claim state that the Defendant was the registered keeper and/or the driver of the vehicle(s);. These assertions indicate that the Claimant has failed to identify a Cause of Action, and is simply offering a menu of choices. As such, the Claim fails to comply with Civil Procedure Rule 16.4, or with Civil Practice Direction 16, paras. 7.3 to 7.5. Further, the particulars of the claim do not meet the requirements of Practice Direction 16 7.5 as there is nothing which specifies how the terms were breached.!

    4. Due to the sparseness of the particulars, it is unclear as to what legal basis the claim is brought, whether for breach of contract, contractual liability, or trespass. However, it is denied that the Defendant, or any driver of the vehicle, entered into any contractual agreement with the Claimant, whether express, implied, or by conduct.

    5. Further and in the alternative, it is denied that the claimant's signage sets out the terms in a sufficiently clear manner which would be capable of binding any reasonable person reading them. They merely state that vehicles must be parked correctly within their allocated parking bay, giving no definition of the term 'correctly parked', nor indicating which bays are allocated to whom.!

    6. The terms on the Claimant's signage are also displayed in a font which is too small to be read from a passing vehicle, and is in such a position that anyone attempting to read the tiny font would be unable to do so easily. It is, therefore, denied that the Claimant's signage is capable of creating a legally binding contract.
    7. The Claimant is put to strict proof that it has sufficient proprietary interest in the land, or that it has the necessary authorisation from the landowner to issue parking charge notices and to pursue payment by means of litigation.

    8. The Defendant has the reasonable belief that the Claimant has not incurred £60 costs to pursue an alleged £100 debt. The Protection of Freedoms Act 2012, in Schedule 4, Para 4(5) states that the maximum sum that may be recovered from the keeper is the charge stated on the Notice to Keeper, in this case £100.

    9. In summary, the Claimant's particulars disclose no legal basis for the sum claimed, and the Court is invited to dismiss the claim in its entirety.
  • Coupon-madCoupon-mad Forumite
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    That's a start but in the facts, I can't see you've said:

    - it was dark, too dark to see any signage or possibly know about any purported contract terms
    - the signs were sparse & unlit, and have since been changed
    - there was no indication that the bay was not for Tesco customers

    And you MUST add a statement of truth, your signature & date, and the usual headings.

    :)
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  • edited 27 November 2018 at 10:36AM
    beanparkingbeanparking Forumite
    29 posts
    edited 27 November 2018 at 10:36AM
    Thank you.
    Where I have photos as evidence, are these presented at a later stage, or now with my defense?

    So in addition to my previous post, does this sound reasonable?
    1. The Defendant never received any Notice to Keeper from the Claimant. The first communication the Defendant received was a letter dated 15/02/2018 (through DRP debt management). The Defendant puts the Claimant to strict proof that it issued a compliant notice to keeper under Schedule 4 of the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012. Absent such a notice served within 14 days of the parking event and with fully compliant statutory wording, this Claimant is unable to hold the Defendant liable under the strict ‘keeper liability’ provisions of Schedule 4 of POFA.

    2. The Defendant denies that any contract was formed between the driver and the Claimant because of Inadequate signage which was incapable of forming any contract would can have bound the driver - this distinguishes this case from the Beavis case:
    a. Lack of site/entrance signage - breach of the POFA 2012 Schedule 4 and the BPA Code of Practice and no contract formed to pay any clearly stated sum.
    b. The car park was too dark to see any signage or possibly know about any purported contract term.
    c. The signage was not lit and any terms were not transparent or legible and placed at ground level, where they are hard to read. The signs have since been moved to a post, indicating that the claimant was aware of poor legibility of the signs.
    d. The parking bays were unmarked, with no distinction between those free to use for Tescos customers and those for private tenants. This has since changed, with markings indicating which bays are for customers, indicating the client was aware that the lack of markings was confusing and inadequate.
    e. The terms on the Claimant's signage are also displayed in a font which is too small to be read from a passing vehicle, and is in such a position that anyone attempting to read the tiny font would be unable to do so easily. It is, therefore, denied that the Claimant's signage is capable of creating a legally binding contract.
    f. any contract which may have been formed is void because its terms are unfair as they were contrary to the UTCCRs (as applicable at the time),
    g. no terms were agreed by the driver
    h. No promise was made by the driver that could constitute consideration because there was no offer known nor accepted. No consideration flowed from the Claimant.
    i. Absent the elements of a contract, there can be no breach of contract.


    I believe that the facts contained in this Defence are true.!


    By the usual headings, do you mean:
    IN THE COUNTY COURT

    CLAIM No: xxxxxxxxxx

    BETWEEN:

    UK CAR PARK MANAGEMENT LTD (Claimant)

    -and-

    xxxxxxxxxxxx (Defendant)

    ________________________________________
    DEFENCE
    ________________________________________
  • Coupon-madCoupon-mad Forumite
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    Yes those are the right headings if your PPC is UKCPM.

    Remove 2f as the UTCCRs were (astonishingly) swept aside by the Supreme Court in their rush to defend the aggressive and anti-consumer business model in ParkingEye v Beavis in 2015.
    Where I have photos as evidence, are these presented at a later stage, or now with my defense?
    Later. You need to read bargepole's summary of what happens when.
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  • Hello,
    I had submitted the above (as had no time before going away). Fingers crossed it will be sufficient.

    I received Gladstones Directions Questionnaire on a letter dated 11/12/18. I, however, haven't received anything from the court, so have nothing to return. Is this unusual? I don't want to miss any deadlines if something has gone missing somewhere.
  • Le_KirkLe_Kirk Forumite
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    KeithP normally posts info about issue dates, AOS etc. and has recently changed his standard post to include: -
    1. ....
    2. ....
    3. ....
    4. ...
    5. ...
    6. ...
    7. Do not be surprised to receive a copy of the Claimant's Directions Questionnaire, they are just trying to put you under pressure.
    8. Wait for your DQ from the CCBC, or download one from the internet, and then re-read post #2 of the NEWBIES FAQ sticky thread to find out exactly what to do with it.
  • KeithPKeithP Forumite
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    More recent versions of the list in post #7 above include:
    • Do not be surprised to receive a copy of the Claimant's Directions Questionnaire, they are just trying to put you under pressure.
    • Wait for your DQ from the CCBC, or download one from the internet, and then re-read post #2 of the NEWBIES FAQ sticky thread to find out exactly what to do with it.
  • Hi, quick question:

    For me, taking the day off to go to court is not really an option at the moment. If this is the case, I assume I should agree with Gladstones request to proceed without an oral hearing?

    Many thanks!
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