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MET Parking fine going to mediation.

Hi, all. Hope everyone is having a lovely start to the year.

I hope you can all guide me in regards to a court order against me for not paying a MET Parking fine. 

Backstory: A place I used to work for in 2017 had given me a permit to park behind the store. I had parked there for 3 years until I left that job and had never received a parking ticket barring the one. The ticket was given to me stating that I had no displayed my permit properly in the car and I spoke to the parking person who issued the ticket then that this is a mistake as it seems like the ticket slipped down into the vents when I closed my car door and these things can happen but the permit was there and you can see it. Only the expiry date at the bottom of the permit got lodged in the vent. Upon talking to the guy who issued the fine, he said he can't take it back and to talk to the management or owner of the private land, so they could get MET to cancel the fine. I spoke to the Ops manager of the mall at the time and he took the ticket off me and said not to worry, he'd sort it out. 

I have not heard anything from MET after that, and only recently in 2023 have they brought it to the court. 

I have given my defence and have also obtained a SAR from MET. It seems like they sent me 3 letters during after the PCN was issued and nothing else. I should also state that while the SAR states 3 letters, I didnt receive a single one. I used to live in apartments and our mail was delivered to postboxes in the basement with everyone elses. 

After filing my defence, MET sent me emails of without prejudice to get me to pay - this was done through DBS legal. I issued them a drop off hands and they didnt accept and we are now currently at the mediation point. I should have read the newbie posts earlier and declined mediation but unfortunately accepted it. Furthermore, I've now been sent an email from court about the mediation date and that I need to it reply soon as. 

What should I do? Please help. They are charging me over £350 for this nonsense. 
«1345

Comments

  • Fruitcake
    Fruitcake Posts: 58,012
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    edited 12 January at 5:16PM
    It is not a fine.

    You may be able to cancel the mediation, but you would need to check with the court if that is acceptable.

    Can you contact your former employer or whoever gave you the permit, and the landowner, and ask them why the charge wasn't cancelled? You should also complain to your MP.

    If you are forced into accepting mediation, you must resist all attempts by the mediator to make you pay any amount at all because the charge was issued unfairly. 
    You will pay zero, or see the claimant in court, and that is your full and final offer.
    You were displaying a permit and presumably showed it to the parking operative at the time, so they knew it was valid. The claimant is required to narrow the issue to avoid court, and the operative was required to mitigate their employer's loss, which they failed to do by cancelling the spurious charge.

    Do you have photos of the site and signage, or are google streetview images available from around the time of the event? If so, does it say, display a permit, or display a permit with the date showing? If the former, you complied. If the latter, you complied by showing it to the parking operative.

    You should also ask that the parking operative be called as a witness, and/or their notebook to be provided as per (I think) Part 33 Miscellaneous Rules for Evidence of the court pre-action protocol. If they operative is not present at the court hearing, and/or the notebook is not produced, then it is your word against theirs that you showed their employee the permit.
    I married my cousin. I had to...
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  • Thank you so much for your reply, I am truly grateful. 

    I no longer work at the place this happened as this was in 2018 and have now moved cities as well as have been through a fair few jobs since then. I no longer have contact with the Ops manager who said he would take care of it unfortunately. 

    I do remember the sign saying that permits should be clearly visable but it did not specify expiry or any date.  

    Furthermore, I've contacted the mall trying to get ahold of the Ops manager and he has too moved on. I also asked to be sent a picture of the signage from the area and it looks like the mall has changed their parking management company from MET to UKPC and MET signs are no longer valid there. 

    I am certain they have taken the court approach as the PCN is nearing 6 years which I believe will become harder to claim through court due to statutory rights or something along those lines, if I've read correctly. 

    I will do as you say and offer to pay nothing during mediation and tell them that I am happy to go to court for a judge to decide. 
  • Fruitcake
    Fruitcake Posts: 58,012
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    Six years only applies if a court claim has not been made in that time. Once a claim has been issued then you are stuck with it.

    Have you looked at Google Streetview to see if there are any historic images that might help.

    Where and when precisely did the alleged event occur? It may have cropped up here before.
    I married my cousin. I had to...
    I don't have a sister. :D
    All my screwdrivers are cordless.
    "You're Safety Is My Primary Concern Dear" - Laks
  • Coupon-mad
    Coupon-mad Posts: 129,533
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    Cancel the Mediation and - as long as you aren't using Cardiff court - there will be no hearing because DCB Legal (I assume it's them) will discontinue.

    Or is it CST Law? They sometime discontinue.

    What exactly did your defence say? Verbatim.

    Have you read the second post of the NEWBIES thread and are getting ready to do your WS & evidence?
    PRIVATE 'PCN'? DON'T PAY BUT DON'T IGNORE IT (except N.Ireland).
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  • Fruitcake - I have tried to locate historical images of signatures through google but not been able to find anything unfortunately. 

    The event happened on the 10th of october 2018. 

    Coupon mad - Are you sure I should cancel the mediation? And no, I believe the court order was from Northampton Business Center and most probably if this went to court it would be at a court in West Midlands. And yes, its DCB legal. 

    My defence explained how I did infact have a ticket on display and that I've worked and parked at the vicinity for 3 years without issue. Along those lines. 

    I currently haven't started on my witness statement as I can't get a hold of my previous collegues or the OPs manager of the mall. 

    For evidence, I currently have the SAR and new company signage only. 

    I am going to start collecting evidence today and have also text my previous employer to give me a written statement of employment and grant of using the parking permit. 

    Any make advice will be greatly appreciated. Ive never been to court before so I have no idea how to go about things.

  • Coupon-mad
    Coupon-mad Posts: 129,533
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    edited 13 January at 3:47PM
    100% cancel Mediation. WE ALL AGREE.  

    There is no question - you DO NOT try Mediation when defending a parking scam.

    Read the second post of the NEWBIES thread.

    THEN read @Umkomaas thread of DCB Legal discontinuance.

    Did you know your case will never make it to a hearing if you do what we tell you to do? 
    PRIVATE 'PCN'? DON'T PAY BUT DON'T IGNORE IT (except N.Ireland).
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  • Perfect. I shall now reply to the email sent from the mediation team from the court to cancel the upcoming mediation. 

    Furthermore, I have now been able to contact the Ops Manager and my former Employer for witness statements. They are drafting an email and will be sending them to me this week. 

    The Operations Manager has confirmed he had asked MET to remove the fine and they failed to do this whilst being employed by himself and his organisation. They have also severed ties with MET Parking due to their constant issuing of tickets for no reason and have now hired UKPC as their parking management. 

    I have already given my defence but have now I realised I have done it in the wrong manner - as this is my first legal and court situation I had no idea how to go about it. Being as it's so late into the proceedings, am I still able to change my defence and send them the template from the Newbie thread or should I just leave it now. 

    As for the witness statements and evidence, what should I collect to present to the court? 
  • Coupon-mad
    Coupon-mad Posts: 129,533
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    edited 13 January at 5:02PM
    No you can't change your defence.  What did it say, verbatim?

    We need to see to help you with your WS & evidence bundle to kill the case off.

    You will know what a good WS and evidence bundle looks like after you've read the NEWBIES thread second post that I told you to read first!

    I give everyone an a-f list of evidence tips.
    PRIVATE 'PCN'? DON'T PAY BUT DON'T IGNORE IT (except N.Ireland).
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  • I will copy and paste the defence. 

    Please take into consideration that at the time I was unaware of what to do and had no guidance, and took the initiative to write whatever came to mind - in hindsight, this was very wrong of me. I've only just found the MSE forum yesterday and apologise whole heartedly for my stupidity. 

    Also - I have asked the Ops Manager, as the ticket was issued on private land, to reach out to MET Parking and dismiss the case against me. He will be CC'ing me into the email. As they were under contractual obligation to the Ops Manager, they should follow through and dismiss this (hopefully). 

    The defence: 

    I, the defendant xxx, refuse any liability for the
    charges brought against me for the following reasons:

    A) I worked as a manager for xxx at the Stratford
    Centre E15 1NG from 2017 to 2019, where I was provided with a
    parking permit on behalf of my employer xxx (Owner of
    the business). The permit legally permitted me to park in the
    vicinity and I have done it for the whole duration of my
    employment.

    B) I was never issued a parking fine barring this one for the 2
    years I parked in the same location, which was due to negligence
    on behalf of the parking officer for not seeing my permit 
    roperly. When confronted, the parking officer said
    he was sorry for wrongfully issuing a ticket but that he could not
    remove it due to it being already filed in the system and to take
    it up with the Centre's management team. The PCN was issued at
    night on 23/10/2018. I chased this up with Mr xxx who was
    the operations manager for the Stratford Centre as well as Mr
    xxx, who was the night shift manager for Stratford Centre. They
    agreed this was done by mistake and that they would ask the
    parking company hired on behalf of Stratford Center to remove it.
    I have photographic evidence of my car having the parking permit
    on the windshield even though I no longer own the car. I'm more
    than happy to forward this to the court and judge.

    C) As stated above, I have parked in the vicinity for my full
    employment term and was never issued a ticket barring this one,
    which was said to be given by mistake by the parking official and
    the Centre that employs the Parking Company in question. I give
    the court permission to speak to my employer regarding my
    employment terms and valid permit, as well as the Stratford Centre
    management team for further evidence.

    D) I have not received any correspondence from MET Parking
    services Ltd in regards to the PCN over 5 years and
    I handed in my wrongfully issued PCN to the Operations Manager
    of the Stratford Centre the next day to rectify
    the issue, but have now received a claim form out of the blue on
    the 19th of September 2023. I believe this is very unethical on
    part of the MET Parking Services Ltd.

    D) On further due diligence, both the claimant and their lawyers
    have several negative feedbacks of applying malicious tactics to
    steal money from civilians, and I believe I am also being targeted
    now.

    E) Parking permits issued to xxx are still being
    utilised to this day and my previous employer has made certain
    this is the case, you are free to contact him and the Stratford
    centre in this regard.

    F) You may go through my records and credit history, and see that
    I have never had any issues in regards to parking fines etc. The
    only other time I was issued a PCN was in Brighton and that was
    due to my own fault which I had paid in full on the day. I am a
    hard-working individual who always strives to abide by the laws
    and regulations, and pays his dues. I feel this is an unfair claim
    against me and I refuse to pay for MET Parking Service's parking
    officer's mistake. I am also infuriated by the company not
    contacting me in the last 5 years and taking me to court for their
    negligence.


    Due to the following, I refuse any liability for the PCN and if a
    CCJ has been issued against me, I will be taking legal action
    against MET Parking Services LTD and their legal firm DCB Legal
    Ltd.

    I advise the company to retrain their parking officials so that
    such issues do not arise again.


    End. 


    As I have never fought a court case in my life - I believe I have made an enormous blunder writing the above defence. I wrote it more as a conversation than anything. Stupid stupid me. 




  • Coupon-mad
    Coupon-mad Posts: 129,533
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    edited 13 January at 6:14PM
    You are not stupid. That's far better than most!  You denied liability, explained the basis of a strong defence and that gives you lots to build in in your WS now.  Pretty positive!

    The court won't do this:

    "I give the court permission to speak to my employer regarding my employment terms and valid permit, as well as the Stratford Centre management team for further evidence."

    Evidence is for you to provide. The court won't go looking or asking.

    But YOU WILL provide all that evidence, in a decent WS bundle that will knock this claim out of the park!

    Exemplar WS wording and an a-f list of evidence to include is in the NEWBIES thread.

    ...and one favour please: 

    THIS WEEKEND - a job for you if you are minded to join us to stop this abuse of the court system by bulk litigators:

    Please find time to do this new Justice Committee Inquiry before it closes - help us to try to STOP this abuse of the system:

    https://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/discussion/comment/80375249/#Comment_80375249

    Consumer groups have said:

    "
    “Looking ahead, this inquiry should be a stepping stone to a full-scale commission on civil justice with the needs of consumers as its heart.”

    The Committee invites evidence on:

    • What the current level of delay in the County Court is

    • The ways in which the County Court engages with litigants in person, and how this could be improved

    • The causes of action giving rise to claims in the County Court

    • What future reforms to the County Court should be considered.


    Show the Committee your claim form from months ago, and tell them how long this scam is taking to be heard and that these court letters are written in unacceptable legalese, burying the vital info so it is not surprising that many consumer Defendants are missing defending altogether and getting unfair CCJs from dodgy wheelclampers.

    Tell them you had NO IDEA how to defend this, did it without help and 'blind' to what would happen next and you had NO IDEA until you googled and finally found the MSE parking forum this week that you will 99% likely win your case and that there is a second submission stage (witness statement and evidence) that the court claim doesn't mention.

    There is no step by step user-friendly info provided for victims of parking claims - sorely needed, to protect consumers - and the MCOL system supports rogue parking firms (letting any old claim through with no checks) and lets consumers down.  This is a disgrace that the Justice Committee should tackle.

    Please also state that private parking firms and their bulk litigators are the main problem as far as small claims delays are concerned, as they dominate the court's work. Parking court claim numbers are rising every year and will make up close to a third of all small claims in 2023, based on the 2022 figures that the MoJ divulged in the DLUHC's recent Parking Code of Practice draft Impact Assessment.

    The MoJ must now urgently separate parking cases with a new pre-action protocol.  The DLUHC must put in place an ADR to resolve disputes, instead of letting bulk litigators loose to add money and race to court.

    It should be a last resort but it seems from what we see every year, that litigation is one of the first aims of bulk parking case litigators. The whole system is broken - how has the MoJ let small claims/the CNBC get brought to its knees by known scammers?

    The courts (and consumers) are being used and abused by firms making a mint (and it's not just the parking operators, it is mainly the bulk litigators).  
    This is a national scandal affecting hundreds of thousands of people every year.  Yes it is that many.  There are c1.5m small claims per annum and about HALF A MILLION are parking claims.

    Please tell the Justice Committee the above in your own words when answering their questions (you don't have to answer them all).

    Add that the private parking legislative framework needs to be removed from the county court altogether., to protect consumers. These rogue parking cases should NEVER go to county court and on principle, no parking 'ticket'- statutory penalty nor private parking charge - should ever be able to affect people's credit rating. Only in the UK...

    Please add your voice about the above.

    Interested parties have until 17 January  to make a submission to the committee.





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