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Playing the parking companies at their own game

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Comments

  • Debszzzz2
    Debszzzz2 Posts: 248 Forumite
    First Post Name Dropper
    Jopkins said:
    They entered into it by sending me letters after I asked them to stop - exactly in the same way that they would argue that you or I enter into a contract with them by using a parking space. Do you think there is a material, legal difference?
    It doesn't matter what we think. It matters what a judge thinks. As has been shown, in a not dissimilar case, it was determined that the actions of the defendant amounted to unreasonable behaviour. You really don't want to risk being found liable for all the costs and more for what is or could be considered a frivolous act that amounts to unreasonable behaviour.

    It's your money, so , if you feel strongly enough about it and don't mind the risk whilst going against the advice, maybe consult an actual lawyer and get another opinion.

    It would, however, be nice if you were successful in getting one one the scammers.
  • Jopkins
    Jopkins Posts: 23 Forumite
    First Post Name Dropper
    The Parking Prankster link I supplied on page one of your thread (this one), shows how expensive it can be to try to 'invoice' a parking firm.

    @Jopkins, such a claim has no legs, creates no agreed contract and has been deemed unreasonable conduct, as the link showed you.

    I also gave you the username links in my reply so you could hop straight to their profiles & go read the threads by pould & Anto_28 which are better argued.
    Sorry I guess I'm just a bit confused at this. Essentially I'm saying I have a few hundred quid I don't mind trying something like this out, and really would like to, and want to get the best possible chance of doing so. The link you sent does have someone trying to charge a parking company, but he clearly WAS being unreasonable - basically trying to "sell" information even though he was the registered keeper. That's clearly unreasonable and the parking company had a right to charge him there.

    I'm not a lawyer, but as far as I'm aware in a contract, five things must be present: Offer, acceptance, consideration, intention to crate legal relationships, and certainty. The parking company would make the argument as below:

    • an offer --> the signage they put in their parking zones
    • acceptance --> parking in a zone allocated to them
    • consideration --> payment made to the parking company in exchange for a space to park
    • an intention to create legal relationships --> probably demonstrated by the signage they create
    • certainty --> ensuring the signage is as clear as possible.

    Therefore, in my case, I'd like to try for a similar contract:

    • an offer --> The notice I sent to the parking company informing them that continuing to contact me would have a cost
    • acceptance --> Their decision to send letters to me anyway
    • consideration --> The request for payment has been made by me, in exchange for undertaking the need to deal with their repeated needless communications
    • an intention to create legal relationships --> I have made it clear to them that I intend for this to be a legal relationship in which they owe me a sum if they send me further letters on this specific parking charge
    • certainty --> I have worded things as clearly as possible and even used the majority of their own wording.
    Essentially the only material difference between my contract and theirs is that rather than acceptance being "used a parking space", it is "sent letters after being asked not to". Most other elements are similar. If there are weak points within this specifically, I'd really like to identify them, to give me the greatest possible chance of success, but so far all I've been told is "it won't work, it's not a valid contract" - not no advice on WHY it isn't, legally speaking, a valid contract, if theirs is.
  • Jopkins
    Jopkins Posts: 23 Forumite
    First Post Name Dropper
    Debszzzz2 said:
    Jopkins said:
    They entered into it by sending me letters after I asked them to stop - exactly in the same way that they would argue that you or I enter into a contract with them by using a parking space. Do you think there is a material, legal difference?
    It doesn't matter what we think. It matters what a judge thinks. As has been shown, in a not dissimilar case, it was determined that the actions of the defendant amounted to unreasonable behaviour. You really don't want to risk being found liable for all the costs and more for what is or could be considered a frivolous act that amounts to unreasonable behaviour.

    It's your money, so , if you feel strongly enough about it and don't mind the risk whilst going against the advice, maybe consult an actual lawyer and get another opinion.

    It would, however, be nice if you were successful in getting one one the scammers.
    You say it's a not dissimilar case, but I think it's verydissimilar. For one; he was the defendant, and it was intended as a line of defence. I am interested in taking this forward as a claimant, not a defendant. Secondly; trying to "sell" information that the parking company likely had a right to know is very clearly unreasonable. Thirdly, the defendant was liable to be charged as he was the registered keeper, as it was his responsibility.

    The second point there is important; he was attempting to charge the company for something which they had a right to know. My point here is that the company DON'T have a right to send me these letters after I've asked them not to - but they have continue. I COULD possibly pursue harassment if I wanted, but instead, I have opted to charge them for doing the thing I have asked them not to do (just as they would charge me for doing what they've instructed me I don't have a right to do - park in a space). If they have a legal right to send me these letters regardless, then I don't have a leg to stand on, much like how they couldn't charge me if I have a legal right to park where I did (which I did, via the permit). However, as far as I know, they don't have a right to do that, so I'm trying to test whether I am able to charge them as a result.
  • MacPingu1986
    MacPingu1986 Posts: 170 Forumite
    First Post First Anniversary Name Dropper
    There's no contract because there's no acceptance. The parking company corresponding with you via letter isn't acceptance of your invoice. 
  • rigolith
    rigolith Posts: 2,615 Forumite
    First Anniversary First Post Name Dropper
    The was a case some years ago where someone fed up with letters from TV Licencing sent them a similar letter, requiring payment for further letters sent to them for no purpose other than to harass and intimidate. IIRC they won by default and managed to get a CCJ in place, which was paid.
  • Jopkins
    Jopkins Posts: 23 Forumite
    First Post Name Dropper
    There's no contract because there's no acceptance. The parking company corresponding with you via letter isn't acceptance of your invoice. 
    I don't know how legally this would be true, unless they have a legal right to send me letters even after I have asked them not to. They are sending an agent onto my private property to deliver a letter which they are aware I don't consent to receive. I could argue "I didn't accept their terms by parking on private property" - but I wouldn't be successful. They can argue "I didn't accept his terms by sending him more letters" - so what is the legal distinction about why they would be successful? The only thing I can think they'd say is that they had a legal right to do so, which I don't see how they would.
  • Debszzzz2
    Debszzzz2 Posts: 248 Forumite
    First Post Name Dropper
    Jopkins said:
    You say it's a not dissimilar case, but I think it's verydissimilar. For one; he was the defendant, and it was intended as a line of defence. I am interested in taking this forward as a claimant, not a defendant. Secondly; trying to "sell" information that the parking company likely had a right to know is very clearly unreasonable. Thirdly, the defendant was liable to be charged as he was the registered keeper, as it was his responsibility.

    The second point there is important; he was attempting to charge the company for something which they had a right to know. My point here is that the company DON'T have a right to send me these letters after I've asked them not to - but they have continue. I COULD possibly pursue harassment if I wanted, but instead, I have opted to charge them for doing the thing I have asked them not to do (just as they would charge me for doing what they've instructed me I don't have a right to do - park in a space). If they have a legal right to send me these letters regardless, then I don't have a leg to stand on, much like how they couldn't charge me if I have a legal right to park where I did (which I did, via the permit). However, as far as I know, they don't have a right to do that, so I'm trying to test whether I am able to charge them as a result.
    I think that many of us would like to see you get one over on the scammers. However, many legally trained professionals would appear to have a "glass half empty" attitude when it comes to advice before taking legal action.

    Haver you tried sending them an invoice yet for their breach of contract? Have they responded to that? Have you sent them the ubiquitous reminders? Have you added a fee to the invoice as it has now been handed to your internal debt recovery department? Have you sent them a Letter of Claim?

    I would love to read about how this progresses. If you have a few hundred £ that you can afford to risk, I'm sure there are many on here who would wish you good luck. Have you thought about maybe trying to crowdfund so you can get proper legal advice before moving on to actual legal action?
  • It’s always good to see anyone trying to stand up to a parking company and this forum is a good place to consider your options and get advice and opinions from others.

    If you are considering making a claim for breach of contract, you would need to be able to support your arguments with case law.  Others have suggested that sending a letter does not amount to acceptance.  Have you been able to find any relevant case law on this?

    I think you would also have difficulty with the ‘consideration’ element of a contract.  It means that both sides must receive something of value.  What did they get of value?

    Litigation is a risky business and can be more costly that you anticipate. 

    When I successfully sued a parking company for data breaches, they tried to claim costs of more than £17,000 from me because they had offered to settle for an amount higher than my claim.  I was able to prove that the reason the case hadn’t been settled was due to their unreasonable behaviour not mine.   

    Do you want to take this sort of financial risk?

  • MacPingu1986
    MacPingu1986 Posts: 170 Forumite
    First Post First Anniversary Name Dropper
    edited 14 February at 1:14AM
    English law generally tries to take a common sense, practical view on when offer/acceptance of contracts takes place. In the context of parking that's why if there's a clear sign setting out terms for a designated spot of land and someone parks their vehicle there it's generally viewed as a statement of acceptance. There's also a wider practical/public policy angle where if parking your car in a parking space *wasn't* viewed as acceptance, then there would be no contractual remedy available to operators of car parks - everyone would just park for free and say "no contract". That's why parking in a parking space is generally treated as acceptance of a contract to park your car.

    You don't need a "legal right" to send someone a letter - you can just send a letter. correspondence and receiving letters is a very different scenario from managing car parking- there are *some* occasions where a contract might be inferred from a course of dealings or implied acceptance between parties, but issuing these sorts of unilateral fee schedules for receiving correspondence isn't one of them and they are not looked on kindly by the courts (If there are any exceptions to this they will be incredibly specific).

    Rigolith's post above didn't relate to any court finding in favour of this - in that case (from 2014) TV licensing forgot to file a defence so the claimant automatically won (irrespective of any lack of legal merits) and TV licensing paid because it was much cheaper than getting the default judgment set aside.

    You already have a legal remedy against nuisance correspondence - a claim for harassment where the conduct reaches that criteria.

  • Jopkins
    Jopkins Posts: 23 Forumite
    First Post Name Dropper

    It’s always good to see anyone trying to stand up to a parking company and this forum is a good place to consider your options and get advice and opinions from others.

    If you are considering making a claim for breach of contract, you would need to be able to support your arguments with case law.  Others have suggested that sending a letter does not amount to acceptance.  Have you been able to find any relevant case law on this?

    I think you would also have difficulty with the ‘consideration’ element of a contract.  It means that both sides must receive something of value.  What did they get of value?

    Litigation is a risky business and can be more costly that you anticipate. 

    When I successfully sued a parking company for data breaches, they tried to claim costs of more than £17,000 from me because they had offered to settle for an amount higher than my claim.  I was able to prove that the reason the case hadn’t been settled was due to their unreasonable behaviour not mine.   

    Do you want to take this sort of financial risk?

    Thank you! This is really helpful.

    Absolutely, I need to support my case. So far, I have found no case law, although I'm not sure where to start with that. Two other users have referred to a case against the TV Licensing people, but I've not found anything online despite looking at that.

    In terms of consideration, it is not only that they get something of value - it could be that there is a detriment to me (https://digestiblenotes.com/law/contract/consideration.php#:~:text=So a benefit or detriment must be suffered by one party). I believe that I can demonstrate this, as I have had to sort through their letters, consider them and deal with the hassle of it - which has been the basis of some harassment claims brought against them and similar companies, which I think would demonstrate a detriment.

    I certainly don't mind throwing a few hundred quid at this, but I wanted to keep this entirely to the small claims court (and I'm not sure how the subject of unpaid invoices wouldn't be?) As far as I know it certainly wouldn't be typical for a company to claim thousands of pounds of costs over unpaid invoice claims.

    What do you think?
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