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  • FIRST POST
    • manwyl
    • By manwyl 6th Nov 17, 12:15 PM
    • 42Posts
    • 35Thanks
    manwyl
    SCS Law & Smart Parking
    • #1
    • 6th Nov 17, 12:15 PM
    SCS Law & Smart Parking 6th Nov 17 at 12:15 PM
    Hi, your advice is requested as my head is spinning after reading through the sticky threads. I've not seen a set of circumstances exactly like below (including the POPLA part) but apologies if I've missed something. I'm not certain on the way to proceed but first I'll explain the background.

    8 months ago our car parked in a car park associated with a Matalan Store but not owned by the store. Matalan offer discounts for the parking cost to their customers. We did not buy anything from the Matalan store that day. They use ANPR cameras and parking machines which require the VRN to be entered. This was incorrectly entered due to some of the keys not working properly (although this has been denied by Smart) and due to being in a rush and the pressure of a queue forming behind. The VRN entered was very similar to the actual VRN. Smart have confirmed there is a payment on their system at the time for a vehicle with a very similar VRN that wasn't in the car park. In short, the correct payment was made but the wrong VRN was entered. Smart rejected an appeal based on the information above and we naively assumed that POPLA would consider the circumstances based on the details above but this too was rejected. We answered all the leading questions and I believe the driver was identified. I realise now that this was a big mistake and was a missed opportunity.

    Since then we have ignored all letters from Debt Recovery Plus until receiving a letter at the end of October from SCS Law (acting on behalf of Smart Parking Ltd) which declares it is an LBC. They are requesting payment of £170 via Debt Recovery Plus to settle the matter. I shall try to supply a link to view the redacted letter -

    dropbox.com/sh/b2c2u24qwppur58/AACTONoflX1KgrOLUgFi3iz6a?dl=0[/url]

    BTW - Matalan have stopped using Smart Parking due to the number of customer complaints.

    I'm unsure on how to proceed as we have shot ourselves in the foot with POPLA already. I'm not sure which advice to follow in case it now doesn't apply. It's such a minefield that we've considered just giving in but I guess this is what they're relying on. My instinct is to fight it but after the POPLA mistake I've lost confidence.

    Any assistance on how to proceed would be greatly appreciated. Please let me know if any more information is required.

    Many thanks
    Last edited by manwyl; 06-11-2017 at 12:20 PM.
Page 3
    • The Deep
    • By The Deep 9th Feb 18, 10:14 AM
    • 9,061 Posts
    • 8,744 Thanks
    The Deep
    As MPs now have these scamsters in their sights, add to their discomfort by complaining robustly to your MP. Kick them while they have their trousers around their ankles.
    You never know how far you can go until you go too far.
    • manwyl
    • By manwyl 9th Feb 18, 6:52 PM
    • 42 Posts
    • 35 Thanks
    manwyl
    My drafted reply is below. I have argued my points and attacked theirs before ending it robustly as advised.

    Dear Sirs,

    I am in receipt of your letter dated xxx xxxxxxxx xxxx.

    You don't appear to have answered my question - "please can you confirm how many tickets were sold to vehicles with similar registrations to my own, but for which there is no record of them entering or leaving the car park on the day/at the time in question?". You have instead sent the transaction report. I know this is incomplete because a Smart Parking employee has already admitted there was a ticket bought for a car registration that wasn't in the car park that day. It was very similar to my car’s registration. This report does not contain the similar registration number.

    Please confirm how often the ticket machines and ANPR cameras were serviced and/or synchronised with each other and the date/time checked for accuracy. You have only provided data from the supposed time entering the car park until 11 minutes before the supposed leaving time. The date and time used to produce the list of transactions may not be accurate e.g. the clocks went forward an hour at the end of March (approximately 6 weeks before the alleged offence). If the clocks on all the equipment wasn't updated automatically or manually then the data produced in the report would be for the wrong period of time. Any time discrepancies could hide a valid transaction. Either way, a ticket was paid for and displayed in the car well within ten minutes of entering the car park.

    Please confirm how many tickets were sold to vehicles with similar registrations to my own, but for which there is no record of them entering or leaving the car park on the entire day in question.

    The photos provided, although clear this time, aren't accompanied with a date and time stamp to show when they were taken. This doesn't prove the signs were present or readable at the time of the alleged offence and without a date stamp the likelihood cannot be determined.

    You have attempted to justify the legitimate interest in controlling parking to ensure parking for Matalan customers however this is contradicted by another sign on display throughout the car park. This sign says "Have you paid & displayed? Refund for Matalan customers". It can be seen on google street maps.

    Refunds for Matalan customers. Therefore no refunds for non-Matalan customers. Therefore customers and non-customers can use the car park. A true legitimate interest in ensuring parking was available for customers would mean parking for Matalan customers only. Beavis does not apply.

    Did you and Smart Parking enjoy the Parliamentary debate recently, exposing the outrageous conduct of debt collectors and robo-claim solicitors cosily nestling with the rogue parking firms, where Smart Parking were named and shamed? If you proceed, I will bring the will of Parliament to the attention of the court to show the conduct of this reportedly 'out of control' rogue ticketer who have been sacked by Asda and Matalan in the past year alone, for aggressively ticketing customers.

    https://hansard.parliament.uk/commons/2018-02-02/debates/CC84AF5E-AC6E-4E14-81B1-066E6A892807/Parking(CodeOfPractice)Bill

    I will be complaining to my MP to ensure their backing to end this scam!

    I expect a reply within 7 days informing me this matter has been concluded.
    • manwyl
    • By manwyl 12th Feb 18, 4:53 PM
    • 42 Posts
    • 35 Thanks
    manwyl
    Hi all, I'll get my draft sent tomorrow and post an update once I get a reply unless anyone feels it needs changing or adding too? Many thanks
    • Coupon-mad
    • By Coupon-mad 12th Feb 18, 8:40 PM
    • 56,207 Posts
    • 69,863 Thanks
    Coupon-mad
    I would remove the exclamation mark after 'scam' at the end. Better with no exclamation mark.

    And I would remove this as I just can't follow the logic, and it almost reinforces their 'legitimate interest' for you to draw attention to their 'attempt to justify it':

    You have attempted to justify the legitimate interest in controlling parking to ensure parking for Matalan customers however this is contradicted by another sign on display throughout the car park. This sign says "Have you paid & displayed? Refund for Matalan customers". It can be seen on google street maps.

    Refunds for Matalan customers. Therefore no refunds for non-Matalan customers. Therefore customers and non-customers can use the car park. A true legitimate interest in ensuring parking was available for customers would mean parking for Matalan customers only. Beavis does not apply.
    PRIVATE PCN? DON'T PAY BUT DO NOT IGNORE IT TWO Clicks needed for advice:
    Top of the page: Home>>Forums>Household & Travel>Motoring>Parking Tickets, Fines & Parking - read the 'NEWBIES' FAQS thread!
    Advice to ignore is WRONG, unless in Scotland/NI.

    • logician
    • By logician 12th Feb 18, 11:44 PM
    • 194 Posts
    • 76 Thanks
    logician
    I will be complaining to my MP to ensure their backing to end this scam! to highlight how your client operates and provide details of my situation

    I expect a reply within 7 days informing me this matter has been concluded.
    Originally posted by manwyl
    I would remove the word "Scam" altogether and use the wording above.

    if this gets before court and a judge - it is better to have a more 'moral' stance.

    Calling it a "Scam" may not go down too well before a judge.
    • Coupon-mad
    • By Coupon-mad 12th Feb 18, 11:49 PM
    • 56,207 Posts
    • 69,863 Thanks
    Coupon-mad
    Hi all, I'll get my draft sent tomorrow and post an update once I get a reply unless anyone feels it needs changing or adding too? Many thanks
    Originally posted by manwyl
    Wait and see what any other regulars with over 1000 posts say, first.
    PRIVATE PCN? DON'T PAY BUT DO NOT IGNORE IT TWO Clicks needed for advice:
    Top of the page: Home>>Forums>Household & Travel>Motoring>Parking Tickets, Fines & Parking - read the 'NEWBIES' FAQS thread!
    Advice to ignore is WRONG, unless in Scotland/NI.

    • logician
    • By logician 12th Feb 18, 11:58 PM
    • 194 Posts
    • 76 Thanks
    logician
    Wait and see what any other regulars with over 1000 posts say, first.
    Originally posted by Coupon-mad
    You seem to have an obsession with members and the number of posts they have made.

    Surely quality over quantity when appropriate advice is given should be the order
    • manwyl
    • By manwyl 13th Feb 18, 8:04 AM
    • 42 Posts
    • 35 Thanks
    manwyl
    And I would remove this as I just can't follow the logic, and it almost reinforces their 'legitimate interest' for you to draw attention to their 'attempt to justify it':
    Originally posted by Coupon-mad
    I'm no expert on this so please forgive me if I'm wrong. I was hoping to point out the difference between my situation and the case (Beavis) they seem to be relying on so far. As far as I understand it, in the Beavis case it was a free car park with limited staying times to encourage a churn of customers and increase the opportunities for genuine customers to park there. In my situation, it would appear due to the signs on display, the car park is for anyone to use. Not just Matalan customers. This contradicts their statement "controlling parking to ensure parking for Matalan customers". Total BS. If the whole of Cheltenham Town FC turned up, filled this car park and went to a match (if they paid they'd be entitled to do so) then there wouldn't be any room for customers. A genuine control of parking for Matalan customers would surely be backed up by the car park being for customers only. It isn't, so their only potential loss is if someone didn't pay for a ticket. So once they reveal the tickets bought for cars that didn't enter the car park (and finding the one that 99% matches my registration) it should highlight that there is no loss to them and therefore the penalty has no legitimate purpose.

    If this is correct shouldn't I make them aware that I am aware of it and this will form part of my defence?
    • nosferatu1001
    • By nosferatu1001 13th Feb 18, 9:20 AM
    • 2,281 Posts
    • 2,707 Thanks
    nosferatu1001
    Logician - Its more, quality posts tend to be proven over time
    As opposed to yours, which are just suspect over time.
    • Johnersh
    • By Johnersh 13th Feb 18, 9:39 AM
    • 958 Posts
    • 1,839 Thanks
    Johnersh
    The o/p may need to tighten up his wording, but it seems clear that as a straightforward proposition, where there is a PAY AND DISPLAY parking conditions (with no further restriction eg. for matalan customers only), then parking is open to everyone.

    All the o/p needed to do was to purchase a ticket and then he had a licence to remain on the private land for the parking period purchased. The existence of a refund scheme for Matalan customers is to encourage customers of that store to visit - it has no material impact on those parking who were not customers, save that some visitors may choose not to park there.

    Beavis will always apply insofar as it is authority for whether the damages sought are a penalty term and whether there is legitimate aim (once the Court has determined whether the o/p was in breach of contract for failing to purchase a ticket and/or displaying it.)
    "The best advice I ever got was that knowledge is power and to keep reading."
    DISCLAIMER: I post thoughts as & when they occur. I don't advise. You are your own person and decision-maker. I'm unlikely to respond to DMs seeking personal advice. It's ill-advised & you lose the benefit of a group "take" on events.
    • Coupon-mad
    • By Coupon-mad 13th Feb 18, 12:19 PM
    • 56,207 Posts
    • 69,863 Thanks
    Coupon-mad
    That's a better explanation.

    It was the use of the words 'You have attempted to justify the legitimate interest in controlling parking', that I felt gave too much credence to the other side. Let's not acknowledge any legit interest.
    PRIVATE PCN? DON'T PAY BUT DO NOT IGNORE IT TWO Clicks needed for advice:
    Top of the page: Home>>Forums>Household & Travel>Motoring>Parking Tickets, Fines & Parking - read the 'NEWBIES' FAQS thread!
    Advice to ignore is WRONG, unless in Scotland/NI.

    • logician
    • By logician 13th Feb 18, 3:32 PM
    • 194 Posts
    • 76 Thanks
    logician
    Logician - Its more, quality posts tend to be proven over time
    As opposed to yours, which are just suspect over time.
    Originally posted by nosferatu1001

    Nosferatu - perhaps if you had anything helpful to add to assist the OP that would be useful, since you replied making an unsubstantiated attack on me, then clearly not.

    My advice regarding altering the wording about "Scam" still stands.

    I am sure that I do not have to remind you that judges sit on these cases and I cannot recall any of them calling these "scams"
    • Coupon-mad
    • By Coupon-mad 13th Feb 18, 4:11 PM
    • 56,207 Posts
    • 69,863 Thanks
    Coupon-mad
    I am sure we all know a rip-off, aggressive, nasty rogue company when we see one.

    Any words used by MPs in Parliament about this dross industry, are fair enough for us to use:

    https://hansard.parliament.uk/commons/2018-02-02/debates/CC84AF5E-AC6E-4E14-81B1-066E6A892807/Parking(CodeOfPractice)Bill

    ''Rip-offs from car park Cowboys must stop''; unfair treatment; signage deliberately confusing to ensure a PCN is issued; ''years of abuse by rogue parking companies''; bloodsuckers; ''the current system of regulation is hopeless, like putting Dracula in charge of the blood-bank''; extortionate fines; rogue operators; ''sense of injustice''; unfair charges and notices; wilfully misleading; signage is a deliberate act to deceive or mislead; ''confusing signs are often deliberate, to trap innocent drivers''; unreasonable; a curse; harassing; operating in a disgusting way; appeals service is no guarantee of a fair hearing; loathed; outrageous scam; dodgy practice; outrageous abuse; unscrupulous practices; ''the British Parking Association is as much use as a multi-storey car park in the Gobi desert''; and finally, by way of unanimous conclusion: ''we need to crack down on these rogue companies. They are an absolute disgrace to this country. Ordinary motorists and ordinary residents should not have to put up with this''.
    PRIVATE PCN? DON'T PAY BUT DO NOT IGNORE IT TWO Clicks needed for advice:
    Top of the page: Home>>Forums>Household & Travel>Motoring>Parking Tickets, Fines & Parking - read the 'NEWBIES' FAQS thread!
    Advice to ignore is WRONG, unless in Scotland/NI.

    • IamEmanresu
    • By IamEmanresu 13th Feb 18, 4:32 PM
    • 2,263 Posts
    • 4,008 Thanks
    IamEmanresu
    MP's can say what they like in Parliament as they have parliamentary privilege. Most choose not to repeat those words outside the chamber.

    Whether an OP wishes to make statements like that without parliamentary privilege is up to them but will carry some risk - unless it is simply a reference to Hansard.
    Idiots please note: If you intend NOT to read the information on the Notice of Allocation and hand a simple win to the knuckle dragging ex-clampers, then don't waste people's time with questions on a claim you'll not defend.
    • Coupon-mad
    • By Coupon-mad 13th Feb 18, 4:36 PM
    • 56,207 Posts
    • 69,863 Thanks
    Coupon-mad
    True, it can be worded as a quote from Hansard, which gives it somewhat more clout anyway.
    PRIVATE PCN? DON'T PAY BUT DO NOT IGNORE IT TWO Clicks needed for advice:
    Top of the page: Home>>Forums>Household & Travel>Motoring>Parking Tickets, Fines & Parking - read the 'NEWBIES' FAQS thread!
    Advice to ignore is WRONG, unless in Scotland/NI.

    • manwyl
    • By manwyl 13th Feb 18, 11:03 PM
    • 42 Posts
    • 35 Thanks
    manwyl
    Thanks to everyone for your advice. I have edited my reply. Draft below. I will get this sent tomorrow -

    Dear Sirs,

    I am in receipt of your letter dated xxx xxxxxxxx xxxx.

    You haven’t answered my question - "please can you confirm how many tickets were sold to vehicles with similar registrations to my own, but for which there is no record of them entering or leaving the car park on the day/at the time in question?". You have instead sent the transaction report. I know this is incomplete because Smart Parking has already admitted there was a ticket bought for a car registration that wasn't in the car park that day. It was very similar to my car’s registration. This report does not contain the similar registration number.

    Please confirm the details of tickets sold to vehicles for which there is no record of the vehicle entering or leaving the car park on the entire day in question and provide the time and registration information.

    You have only provided data from the supposed time entering the car park until 11 minutes before the supposed leaving time. The date and time used to produce the list of transactions may not be accurate e.g. the clocks went forward an hour at the end of March (approximately 6 weeks before the alleged offence). If the clocks on all the equipment weren’t updated then the data produced in the report would be for the wrong period of time. Any time discrepancies could hide a valid transaction.

    Please confirm when the ticket machines and ANPR cameras were serviced and/or synchronised with each other and the date/time checked for accuracy in the build up to the day in question.

    The photos provided, although clear this time, aren't accompanied with a date and time stamp to show when they were taken. This doesn't prove the signs were present or readable at the time of the alleged offence and without a date stamp the likelihood cannot be determined.

    Please confirm exactly when all of the photos provided were taken.

    In the Beavis case it was a free car park with limited staying times to encourage a churn of customers and increase the opportunities for genuine customers to park there. Matalan Cheltenham’s car park is for anyone to use, not just Matalan customers. Some of the additional signs in the car park highlight this fact "Have you paid & displayed? Refund for Matalan customers". This contradicts your statement "controlling parking to ensure parking for Matalan customers". A genuine control of parking for Matalan customers would be accompanied by the car park being for customers only. It isn't, so Smart Parking’s only potential loss is if someone didn't pay for a ticket. A ticket was paid for and displayed in my car well within ten minutes of entering the car park. Smart Parking have conceded a ticket was bought for a registration number very similar to my own that wasn’t in the car park. This was established within a few minutes during the first phone call with them after receiving the PCN. This highlighted that there is no loss to them and therefore the penalty has no legitimate purpose. Smart Parking still chose to proceed and are being intentionally punitive.

    Did you and Smart Parking enjoy the Parliamentary debate recently, exposing the outrageous conduct of debt collectors and robo-claim solicitors cosily nestling with the rogue parking firms, where Smart Parking were named and shamed? If you proceed, I will bring the will of Parliament to the attention of the court to show the conduct of this reportedly 'out of control' rogue ticketer who have been sacked by Asda and Matalan in the past year alone, for aggressively ticketing customers.

    https://hansard.parliament.uk/commons/2018-02-02/debates/CC84AF5E-AC6E-4E14-81B1-066E6A892807/Parking(CodeOfPractice)Bill

    Giles Watling (Clacton) (Con) “In my view, that is an outrageous scam, and it is still going on. It enables Smart Parking to issue tickets and therefore collect fines.”

    Peter Wishart “That car park is operated by the John Wayne of all the cowboys, the appalling and loathed Smart Parking, a company that blights communities throughout Scotland, including Inverness, in the constituency of my hon. Friend the Member for Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey (Drew Hendry). It distributes fines like confetti, and its so-called smart technology seems almost designed to frustrate motorists and harvest fines from them.”

    Stephen Doughty (Cardiff South and Penarth) (Lab/Co-op) “I also want to highlight the firms of solicitors that work with those companies. We might refer to such firms as “roboclaims” firms, and they often have a close and cosy relationship with the parking companies.”

    I will be complaining to my MP to ensure their backing to end this “scam”.

    I too expect a reply within 7 days to provide the information requested and/or informing me this matter has been concluded.
    • johjames
    • By johjames 21st Feb 18, 10:13 PM
    • 25 Posts
    • 16 Thanks
    johjames
    Thanks so much Coupon-m. I've done so. I'm unclear as to the protocol here, but would it be worth my posting my draft letter for others to see, anonymised of course?
    • Coupon-mad
    • By Coupon-mad 21st Feb 18, 10:20 PM
    • 56,207 Posts
    • 69,863 Thanks
    Coupon-mad
    On your own thread, yes! Not here.
    PRIVATE PCN? DON'T PAY BUT DO NOT IGNORE IT TWO Clicks needed for advice:
    Top of the page: Home>>Forums>Household & Travel>Motoring>Parking Tickets, Fines & Parking - read the 'NEWBIES' FAQS thread!
    Advice to ignore is WRONG, unless in Scotland/NI.

    • manwyl
    • By manwyl 28th Feb 18, 11:15 AM
    • 42 Posts
    • 35 Thanks
    manwyl
    Good morning all. We have had another reply from SCS. This one contains photos of the signs in the car park along with the date/time stamps. I can upload them all if you would like.

    dropbox.com/sh/5pb6c0wkqw9z3ji/AABvJYDswnFhUqMA0HhJEYzza?dl=0

    They haven't clarified whether the registrations on the transaction log match up with the ANPR cameras (was the car in the car park or not).
    The date/times on the photos are dated 11mths prior to the alleged offence.
    The second to last paragraph is of most interest. Total BS in my opinion. The signs contradict their argument about ensuring parking for customers. Simply not possible if anyone can park there.

    I look forward to any suggestions on how to reply. Your help is always invaluable and greatly appreciated.

    Many thanks
    Last edited by manwyl; 28-02-2018 at 11:26 AM.
    • Umkomaas
    • By Umkomaas 28th Feb 18, 12:55 PM
    • 17,307 Posts
    • 27,256 Thanks
    Umkomaas
    https://www.dropbox.com/sh/5pb6c0wkqw9z3ji/AABvJYDswnFhUqMA0HhJEYzza?dl=0

    I think you have enough posts under your belt to post live links now.

    They have stated that at 14:46 there was a vehicle with a VRM similar to yours. Notwithstanding what they said (get it wrong, break the rules), it might be worth checking out whether a vehicle with that VRM actually exists. There was a case very recently where no actual vehicle currently had the incorrectly entered VRM attached to it. Could be useful if this ever gets to court.

    Use this tool:

    https://vehicleenquiry.service.gov.uk

    How far 'out' was the entered VRM compared with your own? Transposed digits? Letter O used instead of a zero?
    We cannot provide you with a silver bullet to get you out of this. You have to be in for the long run, and need to involve yourself in research and work for you to get rid of this. It is not simple. We will help, but can't do it for you.

    Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day; show him how to catch fish, and you feed him for a lifetime.
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