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Claim Form Received - Met Parking Services and CST Law

Hi all,

Firstly, apologies for the length of this post. If any of the text or images are irrelevant, then please let me know and I shall trim them.

I received a charge from MET Parking Services back in 2021 for an alleged overstay at the Great Cambridge Retail Park in Enfield, EN1. Images of the signs provided state that you can stay for up to 80 minutes. However, it is alleged that my car was in there for 104 minutes, thereby a 24 minute overstay. Still images of my vehicle have been provided entering and exiting the retail park, date and time stamped to show the alleged overstay of 24 minutes.

That section of the retail park compromises of a car park, a McDonald's and a Krispy Kreme, both of which have a drive-through, with the McDonald's having a 'closed off' drive-through that as soon as you enter it you cannot leave until you reach the exit. On the day in question the driver and occupants went through the McDonald's drive through, spending a considerable amount of time though the drive through (slow service/unruly customers) before parking in one of the bays, driver and occupants eating their food and then driving out. The card transaction is shown on the driver's statement showing their purchase on the date at McDonald's. There was also a disabled passenger in the car who has a blue badge (provided at appeal stage) to evidence why they would take longer to eat, though not sure if that still helps. Neither the driver nor any of the occupants left the car at any point.

Believe it or not, the driver parked facing northbound in the north of the car park where no signs could be seen and did not notice any of the other signs at the time. Funny enough, the driver was accompanied by two friends also in their own cars. They neither saw any of the signs and they too received the same charge for the overstay. One of them straight away paid within 14 days at the reduced £60, the second caved in at the debt collector stage and paid £170. So it's just my car now. It's also worth noting that there are various other car parks surrounding this one, with those giving you up to 3 hours to park - something the driver was actually aware of from regular use of those car parks, but did not know this one was limited to 80 minutes. This was raised at the POPLA appeal stage.

I have so far tried my best to follow the advice on here (bar contacting the landowner), using the templates and without naming the driver. Stages have been as follows

Appeal to Met Parking within time limit - rejected
Appeal to POPLA within time limit - rejected
Ignored all debt collector letters.
First LBC from CST Law - DRA sent to MET Parking, received, and replied to LBC within 30 days
Second LBC from CST Law - DRA sent to MET Parking, received, and replied to LBC within 30 days
Third LBC from CST Law - DRA sent to MET Parking, received, and replied to LBC within 30 days

Strangely, I have recently moved address and have yet to update my old address on both my driving licence and V5C and have not told them of my new address, yet they some how managed to send the third LBC and claim form to my new address. I have not got any forwarding system as my previous home is my parents so I still collect the odd letters from there as per usual. So no idea how they found my new address.

I received the claim form two days ago. I am fully aware of when I need to submit the AOS and defence by and ensure I do it all in good time and during business hours

I am now in the process of drafting my defence and would like some feedback on it before submitting. However, just have some questions for it.

1. Is both the NtK and signage POFA compliant?
2. Should I continue with the advice of not revealing the driver at this stage?
3. Is there anything from the defence template that there is no point in me raising/arguing?
4. From what I have stated, is there anything else you reckon I should raise in the defence?
5. Should I give an account of the driver's actions from the point of entry until exit or leave that for the witness statement?
6. Regrettably one of the things I did not do, was contact the landowner. Could I still do that now to try and get the charge cancelled, or is it too late now that the claim has been filed?
7. What are my chances at court?

All relevant images attached below.

Comments

  • Coupon-mad
    Coupon-mad Posts: 129,243
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    edited 13 December 2023 at 4:59PM
    Funny enough, the driver was accompanied by two friends also in their own cars. They neither saw any of the signs and they too received the same charge for the overstay. One of them straight away paid within 14 days at the reduced £60, the second caved in at the debt collector stage and paid £170. So it's just my car now. 

    Good!  For you, not them!

    Wow... I wish people would not cave in and pay 'outrageous scam' PCNs.  You will be the one showing them what they should have done.

    You will be using the hharry worded defence linked in the Template Defence third paragraph.
    PRIVATE 'PCN'? DON'T PAY BUT DON'T IGNORE IT (except N.Ireland).
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  • fisherjim
    fisherjim Posts: 5,916
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    If those signage images are the ones evidenced to POPLA not one of them should be accepted, the top ones are office copies, the photos will be the original photos when the site was fitted out, not one is date stamped so cannot be evidence of  anything currently on site.
  • Hi all, just finalising my defence to submit today/tomorrow. I won't include any bits of the template, but just the bits I have edited for my own wording, if I could just get some feedback on that. I have used both the template defence and the parts from the hharry defence where relevant. Points 5 - 7 are the only ones that I have edited from hharry's case to be relevant to my case.

    Claim heading
    Points 1 - 3
    Images of the CEL vs CHAN transcript
    Point 4*
    All of the above taken from Coupon-mad's post here: https://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/discussion/6474840/met-parking-taking-me-to-court-n1-received-help/p4

    Points 5-7 below then added by myself:

    5. The Defendant vaguely remembers on the day in question he and family/friends had gone to get some food from the McDonald’s restaurant using its drive-through service. Once the food had been obtained and the car had driven out of the drive-through, the Defendant’s car stopped in one of the bays so that the Defendant and other vehicle occupants could eat the food. The car then drove out. The Defendant and vehicle occupants remained with the vehicle at all times.

    6. The land in question does not only compromise of a car park, but also of a drive-through for both the McDonald’s and Krispy Kreme restaurants. The McDonald’s drive-through, in particular, is closed off. This means that once a vehicle enters the drive through, it is unable to leave it until driving the whole length of the drive-through and reaching the exit on the other side. As such, it is blocked off from the exit by all the vehicles ahead of it queuing to use the restaurant’s drive-through services.

    7. The Defendant had not noticed any signage in the drive-through nor close to where the vehicle was parked, showing the terms and conditions for use. The Defendant was not aware of any restrictions that applied in the car park due to obscure signage which was impossible to read from where the defendant’s car was parked. The small signage was not suitable to alert motorists. Due to the age of the alleged breach of contract which is 2.5 years old, the Defendant is unable to recall the exact reason for the PCN(s).


    Statement of Truth, dated and signed

    *Just a question on point 4. I have not revealed at any stage who the driver is, though note @Coupon-mad has stated to add 'and driver' if the defendant was the driver and hence reveal who the driver was. Is that the advice even if the claimant does not know who the driver is?
  • KeithP
    KeithP Posts: 37,073
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    What is the Issue Date on your Claim Form?

    Upon what date did you file an Acknowledgment of Service?
    Your MCOL Claim History will have the definitive answer to that.
  • Coupon-mad
    Coupon-mad Posts: 129,243
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    No.  If the D doesn't know who was driving they state exactly that.

    Defence looks fine but I would add that driving through a drive-thru is not part of any reasonable definition of a parking period.


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  • KeithP said:
    What is the Issue Date on your Claim Form?

    Upon what date did you file an Acknowledgment of Service?
    Your MCOL Claim History will have the definitive answer to that.
    Hi KeithP. My issue date was 07/12/23. The MCOL website shows that my AOS was submitted on 22/12/23 and received on 28/12/23. I am aware that I need to submit my defence by 09/01/24 and so will now have to do it during working hours tomorrow.

    No.  If the D doesn't know who was driving they state exactly that.

    Defence looks fine but I would add that driving through a drive-thru is not part of any reasonable definition of a parking period.


    Just to clarify for this case - the D does know who the driver was, but the C does not know as the RK/D has never revealed it. If the D was the driver, should they now add to the end of point 4, 'it is admitted that the Defendant was the registered keeper and driver'? Or should the driver still not be revealed?

    I have added the following line to the end of point 6:

    Driving through a drive-through is not part of any reasonable definition of a parking period.
  • Coupon-mad
    Coupon-mad Posts: 129,243
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    Ok - I would leave it unsaid at this stage. 
    PRIVATE 'PCN'? DON'T PAY BUT DON'T IGNORE IT (except N.Ireland).
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