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Will I unwittingly get a CCJ while abroad?

Hello,

I'm sent to the UK on a year-long work assignment, and I could potentially return to Canada by as early as July 2024.

Late January, I'm notified of two £100 PCNs issued by Euro Car Parks for two "violations" in October 2023 by two rental companies.

Because the rental companies haven't shown me the Notice to Keeper yet, I still can't recall all the details, but the first one is for ~2.5 hours of nonpayment sandwiched between two booked 24 hour sessions, and the second is for ~20 minutes of loading. Ideally, I would like to fight the second PCN. But judging by the leisurely speed both the ECP and the rental companies are replying me, I think there's a risk that I will get a CCJ after returning to Canada with no means to fight it.

Therefore, my questions are:
1. Can I fight the £68 admin charge imposed by the rental companies for "processing" the PCNs?
2. Can a CCJ bite me in the future in case I want to go to a UK graduate school?
3. Should I insinuate to the collection agencies that going after me isn't worth it?

Comments

  • born_again
    born_again Posts: 13,652
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    You can't fight the admin fee, you agreed to that when you hired the car & signed agreeing to the T/C.
    Life in the slow lane
  • troublemaker22
    troublemaker22 Posts: 409
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    Normally we advise a hirer not to respond in any way until they receive the notice to hirer (NTH) because NTHs are easy to defeat, provided you respond only as hirer and don't reveal who was driving. But you seem to have jumped the gun. Let's take this in easy stages. Please answer the following questions.

    1. If you haven't yet received an NTH, why are you writing to ECP- and what have you told them?

    2. When do you plan to relocate out of the UK?

    Once you've answered both questions, we can advise on the right way to protect yourself.  Which could be as simple as the standard response to a NTH, which invariably results in cancellation of the charge, or might need to be something more creative if you've already shot yourself in the foot by admitting to being the driver as well as the hirer in premature pre-NTH correspondence. 

    If these issues are not resolved by the time you depart these shores, you should notify ECP's data protection officer ([email protected]of your new overseas residential address as your only address for service and require the erasure of your previous address(es).  You will need to attach some proof of your new address.  That will oblige them to use the procedure for service outside the jurisdiction if they want to sue (they won't).  And if you later find they broke the rules by suing you at a former UK address and getting a CCJ, you should be able to get it set aside at their expense. 
  • Fruitcake
    Fruitcake Posts: 57,993
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    edited 9 February at 7:41PM
    What does the hire agreement say about parking charge notices from unregulated private parking companies? What it doesn't say is just as important. Note that these are not the same is fines or penalties from an authority such as the police, a council, or a court. Unregulated private parking companies are not an authority, and neither are either of the parking trade associations.

    If there is no mention of parking charge notices, nor paying them, then the hire company had no business charging you for dealing with them.
    I married my cousin. I had to...
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  • Debszzzz2
    Debszzzz2 Posts: 205
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    Are you a UK resident or here on a visa of some sort? Is your permanent residential address in Canada?

    Regarding the £68 processing fee charged by the rental company, you will need to have a read of the small print relating to the payment of "fines" etc. Many agreements do not mention charges from unregulated private parking companies. What you received are not "fines". A fine can only be issued by an authority such as the police or local government.

    Many hire agreements make no reference to charges from private companies. What they received was a speculative invoice from an unregulated private parking company for an alleged breach of contract. All they had to do was transfer liability over to you, the "hirer". There is no other administration for them to do.

    Many hire agreements have a clause that says if the "fine" is appealed and upheld, they will refund the admin fee.

    If the hire agreement is not specific about invoices from private companies then you should tell your credit card company to put ahold on the payment as you are disputing it and explain that your agreement says nothing about invoices from private parking companies and you should not be liable for the admin fee.

    As for the rest, if you are not a UK resident, there should be no way that ECP can chase you for the PCNs. Do you own a property here in the UK? Are you on the electoral register? Has the driver been identified? If not, then they only know the name of the "hirer" and we have yet to see any PPC follow up correctly on an NtH that would nae the hirer liable.
  • Normally we advise a hirer not to respond in any way until they receive the notice to hirer (NTH) because NTHs are easy to defeat, provided you respond only as hirer and don't reveal who was driving. But you seem to have jumped the gun. Let's take this in easy stages. Please answer the following questions.

    1. If you haven't yet received an NTH, why are you writing to ECP- and what have you told them?

    2. When do you plan to relocate out of the UK?

    Once you've answered both questions, we can advise on the right way to protect yourself.  Which could be as simple as the standard response to a NTH, which invariably results in cancellation of the charge, or might need to be something more creative if you've already shot yourself in the foot by admitting to being the driver as well as the hirer in premature pre-NTH correspondence. 

    If these issues are not resolved by the time you depart these shores, you should notify ECP's data protection officer ([email protected]of your new overseas residential address as your only address for service and require the erasure of your previous address(es).  You will need to attach some proof of your new address.  That will oblige them to use the procedure for service outside the jurisdiction if they want to sue (they won't).  And if you later find they broke the rules by suing you at a former UK address and getting a CCJ, you should be able to get it set aside at their expense. 
    Hi @troublemaker22, thank you for your input. I have read the newbies thread beforehand, and I know well enough to never identify myself as the driver, even in replies to the rental companies.

    I should have explained more clearly that I've never written to ECP; I'm simply waiting for the NtH from them addressed to me to arrive in my letterbox. My correspondence has been with my rental companies only.
  • Debszzzz2 said:
    Do you own a property here in the UK? Are you on the electoral register? Has the driver been identified?
    Dear @Debszzz2, no, no and no. Good call for reminding me to ask my credit card company to block these admin charges. I decided to burn the bridge with one of the rental companies but not the other. Thank you again!
  • 1. If you haven't yet received an NTH, why are you writing to ECP- and what have you told them?

    2. When do you plan to relocate out of the UK?
    1. I haven't written to ECP.
    2. There's a small chance I'll stay for longer, but more likely I'll leave by late 2024.
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