County Court Claim from Watford in Aug 19 - need to file a defence TODAY!
Wonder if I could pick the collective brains of this forum. First of all - nobody's fault but mine that I have left it until today to file a defence. Combination of behaving like an ostrich and resenting having to spend time and effort on this, to say nothing of yours as well!
But - the issue is that I parked for somewhere between 5 and 10 minutes (DEFINITELY not longer than 10) in a square outside a block of flats while I went to a shop on 17 Sep 2019 and only now am I getting sued for it (!) This was at a time when I was going to this shop every morning on my way somewhere. There WERE signs in the car park saying it was private property and subject to parking control. Interestingly, about a week or so earlier – I really can’t remember – I had parked in the same place and someone who (I assume) worked for the private parking people (UK Car Park Management Ltd) came up to me when I got out of my car. He asked ‘do you live here?’ and I answered ‘no, but I’m just quickly going to the shop’ whereupon he said ‘oh, you’re just going to the shop? That’s OK’ and walked off.
I did not get given any paper ticket on 17 Sep 2019 and the first I knew of this matter was a letter in the post a few weeks or months later – unsure what date, or whether I kept the letter. I ignored this and the subsequent blood-curdling letters from various parking companies / solicitors / debt collectors over the subsequent months and years, until this County Court claim form (claimants = Gladstones Solicitors) arrived in early Oct.
They have claimed £100 for the PCN, £70 'contractual costs pursuant to the Contract and PCN Terms & Conditions', statutory interest of £40.73 at 8% PA, continuing at £.0.04 per day plus the £35 court fee and £50 'Legal Representative's Costs'
I duly filed an Acknowledgement Of Service but have until COP today to file a Defence. So – where do I go from here? I want to dispute the level of the charge - £100 is exorbitant in the first place, to say nothing of all the other charges they have added on – are these legal?
If anyone has any advice / guidance / can signpost me in the appropriate direction I would be extremely grateful.
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