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UKPC / DCB Legal Defence - Feedback please!

Hi all

Thanks for all the great work on this forum - you are all amazing.

I have a Court Claim from UK Parking Control Limited with an issue date of 200 April 2023.  I have previously had a Letter of Claim from DCB Legal.

I have today (26 April 2023) completed by acknowledgement of service via MoneyClaim Online.

I have read the Newbies thread and multiple other threads and have drafted my defense.  I am a bit confused about how bespoke I should make it and how much I should rely on the template provided.  I have used all of the wording included in the template, but added in a number of other paragraphs, based on other defences I have seen on here.  I have not listed out all of the template paragraphs, but will show where they have been used below.  i am not sure if this is overkill or not?

I would be really grateful if people could provide some feedback and guidance.  Many thanks.

IN THE COUNTY COURT

Claim No.:  XXXXXXXX

Between

UK Parking Control Limited

(Claimant) 

- and -  

XXXX XXXX

 (Defendant)

_________________

DEFENCE

 

1.         The parking charges referred to in this claim did not arise from any agreement of terms. The charge and the claim was an unexpected shock. The Defendant denies that the Claimant is entitled to relief in the sum claimed, or at all.  It is denied that any conduct by the driver was a breach of any prominent term and it is denied that this Claimant (understood to have a bare licence as managers) has standing to sue or form contracts in their own name. Liability is denied, whether or not the Claimant is claiming 'keeper liability', which is unclear from the Particulars.

The facts as known to the Defendant:

2.         It is admitted that the Defendant was the registered keeper and driver of the vehicle. 

3.         The Claimant alleges that the Defendant exceeded the minimum stay time at [XXXXX] Retail Park, based on images of the vehicle in transit, entering and leaving the car park in question, taken from the Claimant’s ANPR cameras.

4.         The facts are, on 18 October 2020, the Defendant attended [XXXXX] Retail Park. The driver was a valid patron of the site, utilising multiple retail services offered on site. To the best of the Defendant’s knowledge, they fully complied with the car park’s rules allowing for time to find a parking space, the initial ‘observation period’ allowed by the British Parking Association’s (BPA) Code of Practice and left within the minimum ten minutes ‘grace period’ allowed by the BPA CoP at the end of the parking period.

5.         At [XXXXX] Retail Park, there are no payment machines and no option to pay for extended parking.

6.         The Defendant received a ‘Letter of Claim’ for £170.00 from DCB Legal in March 2023.  The Defendant does not recall receiving any previous correspondence from UK Parking Control Limited for a £100.00 parking charge, which was allegedly set by post in October 2020 – some 29 months earlier.

7.         Upon receipt of the ‘Letter Before Claim’, the Defendant telephoned DCB Legal to query the amount.  DCB Legal were unable to explain or justify the additional £70.00.  The Defendant asked for time to look into the matter, which was agreed.

8.         The Defendant made a further telephone call to DCB Legal in April 2023, upon which the Defendant was advised the balance owed was now £290.40.  Again, no explanation was provided as to how the additional costs were made up or justified.

9.         On multiple occasions, the Defendant asked to speak to a manager or supervisor regarding their case.  Each time, this request was refused.  No further attempts were made to contact the Defendant by letter or telephone call by DCB Legal.

10.       The facts in this defence come from the Defendant's own knowledge and honest belief.  To pre-empt the usual template responses from this serial litigator: the court process is outside of the Defendant's life experience and they cannot be criticised for using, in part, pre-written wording suggested by a reliable online help resource. The Claimant is urged not to patronise the Defendant with (ironically template) unfounded accusations of not understanding their defence. 

Denial of Contract and of any breach or liability

11.       With regard to template statements, the Defendant observes after researching other parking claims, that the Particulars of Claim ('POC') set out a cut-and-paste incoherent statement of case.  In breach of the pre-action protocol for 'Debt' Claims, no copy of the contract (sign) accompanied any Letter of Claim.  The POC is sparse on facts and specific breach allegations, which makes it difficult to respond in depth at this time; however, this claim is unfair, generic and inflated.  

12.     The Defendant denies the contravention due to the alleged overstay being within a reasonable period of time allowed for observation, locating a parking space, parking and leaving the car park.

13.     A BPA article by Kelvin Reynolds, BPA Director of Corporate Affairs, recognises the distinction between ‘grace periods’ and ‘observation periods’ in parking. BPA guidance specifically highlights that there must be sufficient time for the motorist to park their car, observe the signs, decide whether they want to comply with the operator’s conditions and either drive away or pay for a ticket. No time limit is specified. This is because it might take one person five minutes, but another ten minutes depending on various factors, not limited to disability. The BPA’s guidance on the ‘grace period’ is time allowed after permitted or paid for parking. The Claimant has ignored this guidance and therefore not abided by its own BPA’s Code of Practice.

14.     Furthermore, the Claim of an alleged debt arising from the driver’s alleged breach of contract is denied. It is further denied that there was any agreement to pay the Claimant a punitive £100 ‘parking charge notice’ (PCN) for the lawful conduct described in this defence.

15.     In a 2019 Court of Appeal decision, in the case between NCP (Appellant) and HMRC (Respondent), it was made clear that the offer and acceptance of a parking contract can only take place once the payer has inserted payment into the machine and pressed the green button to obtain a ticket.

16.       It is clear from this decision, that a contract cannot possibly begin upon driving into the car park, not least because at that point the driver has not has the opportunity to read the terms and conditions that may or may not be entered into. Nor was the Defendant able to enter into a contract by inserting payment into a machine, as no machines exist at the location.

Excess Charges

[Paragraphs 6 - 14 of template]

26.       In addition to the original parking charge, for which liability is denied, the Claimant has artificially inflated the value of the claim by adding purported Legal representative’s costs of £50.00 which have not actually been incurred by the Claimant.

27.       Whilst £50.00 may be recoverable in an instant where a Claimant has used a legal firm to prepare a claim, no such expenditure has occurred in this case. The Claimant has a Legal Team with salaried in-house solicitors and does hundreds of similar ‘cut and paste’ claims per month, not incurring any charges per cost. The Defendant puts the Claimant to strict proof of the contrary.

28.        According to Ladak V DRC Locums UKEAR/0488/13/LA, a Claimant can only recover the direct and provable costs of the time spent preparing a claim in a legal capacity, not any administrative costs allegedly incurred by already renumerated clerical staff.

POFA and CRA breaches

[Paragraphs 15 - 17 of template]

ParkingEye v Beavis is distinguished (lack of legitimate interest/prominence of terms)

[Paragraphs 18 - 21 of template]

Lack of standing or landowner authority, and lack of ADR

[Paragraphs 22 - 23 of template] 

38.       In relation to parking on private land, it is settled law that for any penalty to escape being struck out under the penalty rule, it must be set at a level which already includes recovery of the costs of operating the scheme. However, this Claimant routinely claims (as in this case) a global sum of £170 per alleged PCN. This figure is a penalty, far exceeding the charge in the ParkingEye Ltd v Beavis [2015] UKSC 67 case and falling foul of the binding authority in ParkingEye Ltd v Somerfield Stores [2012] EWCA Civ 1338.

Conclusion

[Paragraphs 24 - 27 of template]

Statement of Truth

I believe that the facts stated in this defence are true.  I understand that proceedings for contempt of court may be brought against anyone who makes, or causes to be made, a false statement in a document verified by a statement of truth without an honest belief in its truth.

Defendant’s signature:

Date:


«134567

Comments

  • B789
    B789 Posts: 3,441
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    You are trying to be clever and not using the standard template with the additional points to counter the usual abysmal PoC in a UKPC/DCB Legal claim, signed by Yasmin Mia. Here is a sample defence you should be using where you only have to edit paras #2 and #3:

    https://www.dropbox.com/s/5r7vbqttho3q948/2023 defence.pdf?dl=0

    I will eat my hat if the PoC in your claim state:

     The Claimant alleges that the Defendant exceeded the minimum stay time at [XXXXX] Retail Park, based on images of the vehicle in transit, entering and leaving the car park in question, taken from the Claimant’s ANPR cameras.
    They absolutely DO NOT state that in their Claim so why give them something to use that they have not "claimed". Irrespective of what they put in their PCN, they have failed miserably with their PoC and the example template provided above covers that issue.

    Also, what are you going to do if the Claimant denies ever having spoken with you on the telephone? That is why we never advise anyone to telephone anyone involved in these scams. You must ALWAYS, use email or post in order to have a traceable record of any communication. You could leave the fact that you did phone them in your defence but you should be prepared just in case they deny it. Do you have a recording of the calls or at least contemporaneous notes?
  • Hi B789 - thank you so much for your response.  Your assertion that I am "trying to be clever" is probably giving me far too much credit!  I am feeling rather stupid rather than clever.  Like I said, I have read a lot of other defences and threads, but got a little overwhelmed with all of the information, so appreciate your specific response.

    You are indeed right, their POC does not give anything close to what you have stated.  In fact it states:

    "1. The Defendant (D) is indebted to the Claimant (C) for a Parking Charge(s)issued to vehicle [reg] at [address].  2. The PCN details are [date] [PCN #]. 3. The PCN(s) was issued on private land owned or managed by C.  The vehicle was parked in breach of the Terms on Cs signs (the Contract), thus incurring the PCN(s). 4. The driver agreed to pay within 28 days but did not. D is liable as the driver or keeper.  Despite requests, the PCN(s) is outstanding.  The contract entitles C to damages.
    AND THE CLAIMANT CLAIMS
    1. £170 being the total of the PCN(s) and damages. 2. Interest at a rate of 8% per annum pursuant to s.69 of the County Courts Act 1984 from the date hereof at a daily rate of £0.02 until judgement or sooner payment. 3. Court Costs and court fees".

    So, I appreciate your point around including more info than is included in the POC (e.g. photos from ANPR etc).  I will get rid of that.

    With regards to the contact, I guess I was trying to make clear that I have tried to resolve this rather than just burying my head, but I appreciate that that is not provable and probably wouldn't actually form part of my defence anyway, so I am happy to get rid of that.

    I will rewrite using the template you have provided.  But before I do, may I ask another couple of questions...
    1. I was probably the driver of the vehicle, but it could have been my wife as we are both drivers of the car.  Should I admit to being the driver?  Does it make any difference at this stage?
    2. Paragraph 8 on the template you posted states " The claim has been issued via Money Claims Online...".  How do I know if that is the case? This seems to be pretty integral to the defence used in paragraphs 9-11, so want to make sure this is correct if I am using this in my defence.
    Many thanks
  • KeithP
    KeithP Posts: 37,028
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    edited 26 April 2023 at 6:41PM
    1. Paragraph 8 on the template you posted states " The claim has been issued via Money Claims Online...".  How do I know if that is the case? This seems to be pretty integral to the defence used in paragraphs 9-11, so want to make sure this is correct if I am using this in my defence.
    The fact that the Claim came from the County Court Business Centre confirms that.
    Or perhaps it came from somewhere else?
  • KeithP said:
    1. Paragraph 8 on the template you posted states " The claim has been issued via Money Claims Online...".  How do I know if that is the case? This seems to be pretty integral to the defence used in paragraphs 9-11, so want to make sure this is correct if I am using this in my defence.
    The fact that the Claim came from the County Court Business confirms that.
    Or perhaps it came from somewhere else?
    No, you are right, that is where it is from, thank you
  • B789
    B789 Posts: 3,441
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    Forumite
    1. I was probably the driver of the vehicle, but it could have been my wife as we are both drivers of the car.  Should I admit to being the driver?  Does it make any difference at this stage?
    Who is named on the claim? Is it the driver or the RK? Assuming they are different people in your household. It is too late to change the defendant now but you need to be clear how that Defendant is defending... as the driver or the RK.
  • B789 said:
    1. I was probably the driver of the vehicle, but it could have been my wife as we are both drivers of the car.  Should I admit to being the driver?  Does it make any difference at this stage?
    Who is named on the claim? Is it the driver or the RK? Assuming they are different people in your household. It is too late to change the defendant now but you need to be clear how that Defendant is defending... as the driver or the RK.
    I am named on the claim.  I am the registered keeper and was probably the driver on the day, but like I say, it could have been the wife.  For the ease, i was simply going to accept I was driving, but wanted to check that didn't raise alarm bells.
  • B789
    B789 Posts: 3,441
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    edited 26 April 2023 at 4:15PM
    In which case, as it this is a claim from the bottom-dwelling duo of UKPC and DCB Legal, you use the Johny86 Defence, an example of which is here:

    https://www.dropbox.com/s/5r7vbqttho3q948/2023 defence.pdf?dl=0

    As we are not sure if the PCN was PoFA compliant and you have a bit more protection as the RK, use the defence including para #4 about PoFA and do not admit to being the driver. Just say you don't know who was the driver on the unremarkable date several years ago.
  • Thanks B789.  Is that link you posted correct?  That seems to be a link to a judgement, so I am assuming that is the wrong link?  If not, I am even more confused!

    When you refer to the Johny86 defence, do you mean this?:
    https://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/discussion/6425559/ukpc-court-claim/p3

  • Ok, to simplify things, I now plan to use to Template linked by B789 in the first reply in this thread, with the following for paragraphs 2 and 3:

    The facts as known to the Defendant: 

    2. It is admitted that on the material date the Defendant was the registered keeper of the vehicle in question, but liability is denied. 

    3. The Defendant doesn’t know who the driver of the vehicle was as it goes back many years. The Defendant has no knowledge of the parking contravention and has no record of receiving any notice of parking charges or letters from the claimant.

    Having done a bit more research and looking at the wording on the initial letter, I do believe that this is POFA compliant, so I will leave out paragraph 4.  

    Other than paragraphs 2, 3 & 4, this would seem to replicate the Johny86 defence referenced.  Is it really that simple?!
  • Yes you have found the correct Defence and it is that simple.

    Someone will be along soon, I'm sure, to critique your paragraphs 2 and 3. 
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