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  • FIRST POST
    • chica0208
    • By chica0208 7th Feb 18, 1:17 PM
    • 22Posts
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    chica0208
    Letter of Claim received (BW Legal) - help please!
    • #1
    • 7th Feb 18, 1:17 PM
    Letter of Claim received (BW Legal) - help please! 7th Feb 18 at 1:17 PM
    Hi,

    We have received the 'letter of claim' from BW Legal on behalf of VCS, which they have been promising for 18 months. Is this the same as a 'letter before court' which people refer to? It seems to me that this is still the final stage BEFORE that, given the new protocol (chance to settle outside court etc).

    So, my initial questions are:

    1) should we return the reply form? (Box D: I dispute the debt)
    2) is this the point where we should draft a detailed defence to show that we're not backing down? Or keep it short and simple at this stage?

    Long story short - no evidence of who the driver was, VCS didn't adhere to POFA timelines, they "don't use POFA" apparently, and are going after the registered keeper on the assumption that he was the driver given that he didn't provide any evidence to the contrary, oh and surprise surprise they keep quoting Elliot v. Loake at us in all correspondence.

    We only ever argued on the basis that the RK was not the driver at the time, and didn't go into any other detail to do with the actual legality of the ticket (private land, poor signage, etc etc) but I now think we need the most robust defence possible. Can anybody advise please, and/or assist us in drafting the defence in terms of the most common complaints we should refer to?

    It's worth adding that we did ask for proof of authority to give tickets on this land, from the landowner, and on both occasions were denied said documentation, so I guess we should be asking for that evidence again?

    Unfortunately we don't live near the site where the ticket was issued so didn't have any photos of signage at the time (September 2016) - we did go and take some photos this week but of course we don't know if these may have been amended since 18 months ago!

    Thanks in advance for any advice and input!
Page 1
    • Quentin
    • By Quentin 7th Feb 18, 1:21 PM
    • 35,136 Posts
    • 19,238 Thanks
    Quentin
    • #2
    • 7th Feb 18, 1:21 PM
    • #2
    • 7th Feb 18, 1:21 PM
    The Newbies FAQ thread near the top of the forum covers how to deal with a lbcca.

    Go there now (#2 there covers court claims from receipt of the letter before court right through to the hearing)
    Last edited by Quentin; 08-02-2018 at 6:36 PM.
    • The Deep
    • By The Deep 7th Feb 18, 1:30 PM
    • 9,064 Posts
    • 8,761 Thanks
    The Deep
    • #3
    • 7th Feb 18, 1:30 PM
    • #3
    • 7th Feb 18, 1:30 PM
    BWL were especially mentioned in the House of Commons last week as operating colluding with PPCs to operate a scam. They have been reported to the SRA by at least one MP, so hopefully they will be struck off in the near future.

    Yours is a classic case of attempting to obtain monies where no is owed, Watch this

    http://parliamentlive.tv/event/index/2f0384f2-eba5-4fff-ab07-cf24b6a22918?in=12:49:41

    and complain in the most robust of terms to your MP. Let us close these scammers down once and for all.
    You never know how far you can go until you go too far.
    • beamerguy
    • By beamerguy 7th Feb 18, 1:49 PM
    • 7,178 Posts
    • 9,501 Thanks
    beamerguy
    • #4
    • 7th Feb 18, 1:49 PM
    • #4
    • 7th Feb 18, 1:49 PM
    "no evidence of who the driver was, VCS didn't adhere to POFA timelines, they "don't use POFA" apparently, and are going after the registered keeper on the assumption that he was the driver given that he didn't provide any evidence to the contrary, oh and surprise surprise they keep quoting Elliot v. Loake at us in all correspondence. "

    How is the letter headed ??

    BWLegal are just chancers and to this day, they do not
    know who the driver is ....... a dodgy one for them
    to prove, especially as they they use dear old Eliiot v Loake ???

    How many more times do the courts have to tell them
    it's not applicable.
    Whatever funny stuff BWL are still using, will get them
    into a lot of trouble especially with the SRA.
    The government is now well aware of practices by BWLegal

    Depending on how the letter is headed will depend if you
    should reply
    Last edited by beamerguy; 07-02-2018 at 2:05 PM.
    RBS - MNBA - CAPITAL ONE - LLOYDS

    DISGUSTING BEHAVIOUR
    • chica0208
    • By chica0208 7th Feb 18, 9:51 PM
    • 22 Posts
    • 15 Thanks
    chica0208
    • #5
    • 7th Feb 18, 9:51 PM
    • #5
    • 7th Feb 18, 9:51 PM
    Thanks for all this. I have read the Newbies thread post #2 - I currently have about 25 tabs open on my laptop from this site, Pepipoo and Parking Prankster as well as a long word document with all the advice and notes I've compiled along the way! I just wasn't sure if what we have received warrants a full, robust, detailed, evidenced defence, at this stage?

    It is entitled "Letter of Claim", and includes an information sheet, a reply form, and an income and expenditure form (seriously!?!?) - it says we need to either pay the debt or provide reasons for non-payment by a specific date (35 days from the date of the letter). It says "if payment or a response is not received before xx March 2018, we are instructed to issue a Claim against you in the County Court without further notice. If you dispute this debt, please tell us why so that we can help resolve this matter."

    I know from all my research that VCS (and/or Excel) - by not complying with POFA and therefore no keeper liability but then pursuing the keeper anyway - have lost time and time again, however, it also seems that some judges are better versed in this type of case than others, so I do want to ensure the defence we put together is as robust as possible. Just not sure if we need to detail and evidence everything now, or if there is still another chance to do so (presumably once court papers are actually issued?)

    Also, can somebody explain the "prohibitive signage / no offer of parking therefore no contract can have been entered / therefore trespassing instead etc" element which I keep reading about? I tried to argue this originally but it was refuted. The signage states "permit holders only" so as the vehicle was parked without a permit, I'm not quite sure what this means? Or maybe I'm clutching at straws here :-D

    Thanks in advance! There's just so much to get your head around.
    • Coupon-mad
    • By Coupon-mad 7th Feb 18, 9:53 PM
    • 56,275 Posts
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    Coupon-mad
    • #6
    • 7th Feb 18, 9:53 PM
    • #6
    • 7th Feb 18, 9:53 PM
    I just wasn't sure if what we have received warrants a full, robust, detailed, evidenced defence, at this stage?
    No, you want the letter everyone adapts. The reply to a LBCCC. Not a defence, yet.
    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.

    • KeithP
    • By KeithP 7th Feb 18, 10:22 PM
    • 6,660 Posts
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    KeithP
    • #7
    • 7th Feb 18, 10:22 PM
    • #7
    • 7th Feb 18, 10:22 PM
    Chicka, why on earth are you reading this well out of date thread:
    forums.moneysavingexpert.com/showthread.php?t=4754020

    Your LBC robust reply is in post #2 of the NEWBIES FAQ sticky thread.
    .
    • chica0208
    • By chica0208 7th Feb 18, 10:35 PM
    • 22 Posts
    • 15 Thanks
    chica0208
    • #8
    • 7th Feb 18, 10:35 PM
    • #8
    • 7th Feb 18, 10:35 PM
    Can you see what I am reading!? I didn't realise that was possible!

    Thanks - a quick Google search yielded numerous results but I did notice before seeing your message that this thread in particular was from 2013, hence no longer applicable! I've now read through the two examples on the Newbies thread and will use them as we write a response.

    Quick question then - should we send our own letter, ignoring the 'reply form' that they sent us? Or should we send the whole lot back together?
    • KeithP
    • By KeithP 7th Feb 18, 10:52 PM
    • 6,660 Posts
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    KeithP
    • #9
    • 7th Feb 18, 10:52 PM
    • #9
    • 7th Feb 18, 10:52 PM
    Ignore their forms.

    Just sent the robust response which asks for missing stuff.

    Check the list against what you have received as it would be silly to ask for things they have already sent.
    .
    • Coupon-mad
    • By Coupon-mad 7th Feb 18, 11:14 PM
    • 56,275 Posts
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    Coupon-mad
    Can you see what I am reading!? I didn't realise that was possible!
    Originally posted by chica0208
    No of course we can't, we just knew the thread you were mentioning.
    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.

    • chica0208
    • By chica0208 8th Feb 18, 2:13 PM
    • 22 Posts
    • 15 Thanks
    chica0208
    Thank you. What does "an explanation of the cause of action" actually mean!?

    The letter states "Contravention Description: Parking without displaying a valid ticket/permit" along with the contravention location - is this sufficient or should they be providing more information here?

    I already know from previous correspondence that they are not relying on POFA, and are pursuing as driver - so rather than ask these questions again, would something like this be better?

    2. clarification of whether they are pursuing me as driver or keeper; and if as driver, then please also provide the evidence that I was the driver at the time of the alleged contravention (which I dispute)
    3. written confirmation that they are not, as previously stated in correspondence, relying on the provisions of Schedule 4 of POFA 2012
    • Lamilad
    • By Lamilad 8th Feb 18, 2:46 PM
    • 1,348 Posts
    • 2,695 Thanks
    Lamilad
    clarification of whether they are pursuing me as driver or keeper; and if as driver, then please also provide the evidence that I was the driver at the time of the alleged contravention (which I dispute)
    3. written confirmation that they are!not, as previously stated in correspondence, relying on the provisions of Schedule 4 of POFA 2012
    You don't need to ask these questions if they've already answered them previously but you can certainly tell them that they must have proof of who was driving of they are not relying on PoFA, and you would like to see that proof.
    • chica0208
    • By chica0208 14th Feb 18, 9:47 PM
    • 22 Posts
    • 15 Thanks
    chica0208
    Ok... how's this!? I'm still not clear on what "an explanation of the cause of action" means?


    Dear Sirs,

    I am in receipt of your Letter of Claim, dated (xxx) 2018.

    I!!!8217;m afraid your letter contains insufficient detail of the claim and fails to provide copies of evidence your client is presumably relying upon. As such I must ask you to provide further information as detailed below, before I can decide how to proceed.

    As of 1st October 2017 a new protocol has been applicable to debt claims, known as the Pre-Action Protocol for Debt Claims. I presume that your client, Vehicle Control Services Ltd (hereafter VCS), is aware of this? Since court proceedings have not yet been issued, this new protocol clearly applies and must therefore be complied with, by all parties.

    Your Letter of Claim lacks specificity, and as such I believe it breaches both the requirements of the previously applicable Practice Direction - Pre-Action Conduct (paragraphs 6(a) and 6(c)) and the new Pre-Action Protocol for Debt Claims (paragraphs 3.1(a)-(d), 5.1 and 5.2. Please treat this letter as a formal request for all the currently outstanding documents and information that the protocol now requires your client to provide. Your client must not issue proceedings without complying with that protocol. I reserve the right to inform the court of any failure of the Claimant to comply with the protocol, and furthermore to ask the court to stay the claim and order your client to comply with its pre-action obligations.

    As solicitors, authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority, who specialise in legal recovery, you must surely be familiar with the requirements of both the Practice Direction which was applicable before 1st October 2017, and of the new Protocol which applies thereafter. Your client VCS should also be aware of them. As you (and your client) must know, the Practice Direction and Protocol bind all potential litigants, whatever the size or type of the claim. The objectives of pre-action conduct and protocols are to assist parties in: understanding the claim and their respective positions in relation to it; to make decisions about how to proceed; to try to settle the issues without court proceedings; to consider a form of Alternative Dispute Resolution to assist with settlement; to support the efficient management of those proceedings; and to reduce the costs of resolving the dispute. I therefore find it wholly inappropriate that a firm of solicitors who specialise in legal recovery are sending a consumer (myself) a vague and unevidenced 'Letter of Claim' in complete ignorance of the pre-existing Practice Direction and the new Protocol.

    Nobody, including your client, is immune from the requirements and obligations of the Pre-Action Protocol for Debt Claims. As such, I require VCS to comply with its obligations by sending me the following information/documents:

    1. an explanation of the cause of action
    2. The evidence they have that confirms that I was, as they claim, the driver at the time of the alleged contravention (which I dispute)
    3. what the details of the claim are; where it is claimed the vehicle was parked, for how long, how the monies being claimed arose and have been calculated
    4. Is the claim for a contractual breach? If so, what is the date of the agreement? Please provide the names of the parties to it along with a copy of that contract.
    5. Is the claim for trespass? If so, provide details.
    6. Provide me a copy of the contract with the landowner under which authority to bring the claim is asserted, as required by the IPC code of practice section B, clause 1.1: !!!8220;establishing yourself as the creditor.!!!8221;
    7. a map showing where any signs were displayed, including those upon entering the business park where the alleged contravention took place
    8. details of the signs displayed (size of sign, size of font, height at which displayed)

    As your client has previously stated in prior correspondence, they are not relying on the provisions of Schedule 4 of POFA 2012, and therefore cannot claim keeper liability. As such, I can only assume they are pursuing me as the driver, and I would like to see their evidence of who was driving the vehicle. As PATAS and POPLA Lead Adjudicator and barrister, Henry Michael Greenslade, clarified in 2015 with regards to keeper liability: !!!8220;there is no !!!8216;reasonable presumption!!!8217; in law that the registered keeper of a vehicle is the driver, and operators should never suggest anything of the sort.!!!8221;

    If your client does not provide me with the above information, then I will ask the court to impose sanctions on your client and to order a stay of the proceedings, pursuant to paragraphs 13 ,15(b) and (c) and 16 of the Practice Direction, as referred to in paragraph 7.2 of the new Protocol.

    Until your client has complied with its obligations and provided this information, I am unable to respond properly to the alleged claim and to consider my position in relation to it, and it is entirely premature (and a waste of costs and court time) for your client to issue proceedings in the meantime.

    Yours faithfully, (etc etc)


    Thank you in advance!
    • Coupon-mad
    • By Coupon-mad 15th Feb 18, 1:05 AM
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    Coupon-mad
    I'm still not clear on what "an explanation of the cause of action" means?
    An explanation of what happened, that gave rise to a charge, which in turn gives rise to a claim.
    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.

    • chica0208
    • By chica0208 19th Feb 18, 2:21 PM
    • 22 Posts
    • 15 Thanks
    chica0208
    Any further suggestions or advice on the above letter, or am I good to go? Should I just send it as is? Thanks!
    • Coupon-mad
    • By Coupon-mad 20th Feb 18, 1:32 AM
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    Coupon-mad
    Yes, send it in the morning, ordinary 1st class (NOT SIGNED FOR). Don't go to a postbox, instead get a FREE certificate of posting from your local PO Counter, a receipt, and keep it in your file.
    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.

    • chica0208
    • By chica0208 26th Mar 18, 10:08 PM
    • 22 Posts
    • 15 Thanks
    chica0208
    Quick update - we have received a very quick response from BW Legal, writing off the majority of our concerns from this letter.

    However, a few days later they also very helpfully sent "the information I have requested" - basically a copy of a parking ticket, photographs of a parked car (outside and inside) from various angles... but here's the best bit, we've never seen this vehicle before in our lives, nor were we in the location they state on the ticket, on the date the ticket states... Basically, they have sent a whole bunch of "evidence" presumably intended for somebody else's case, to us! Or else, they've mixed up their evidence files.

    Either way - can we respond to this now to blow them out the water and hopefully prevent a court summons!? Something along the lines of "the evidence you have supplied only serves to confuse me further, I can categorically state that I have never driven nor indeed seen the vehicle (reg. no.) in my life" etc etc?

    As an aside, they have stopped referring to Elliot v. Loake as their 'case in point' which supposedly proves that they will win in court, and are now using 'Combined Parking Solutions vs. AJH Films Ltd.' (I think this is the employer/employee one, right? e.g. not applicable in our case!)

    Any advice on how to proceed here? Should we just sit tight and wait for a court summons now, or should we be responding in some way to (a) their first letter sent in response to our letter (questioning their methods, the pre-action protocol etc, as above), or (b) their second letter with all the incorrect evidence included!?!?

    Thanks in advance for any wisdom! :-)
    • Coupon-mad
    • By Coupon-mad 27th Mar 18, 12:23 AM
    • 56,275 Posts
    • 69,906 Thanks
    Coupon-mad
    However, a few days later they also very helpfully sent "the information I have requested" - basically a copy of a parking ticket, photographs of a parked car (outside and inside) from various angles... but here's the best bit, we've never seen this vehicle before in our lives, nor were we in the location they state on the ticket, on the date the ticket states... Basically, they have sent a whole bunch of "evidence" presumably intended for somebody else's case, to us!
    Woah! A DPA breach. Marvellous.

    Now send a formal complaint to:

    - BW Legal
    - VCS
    - the IPC (yes you will have to register to make a complaint)
    - the DVLA
    - the SRA (Solicitors Regulatory Authority)
    - your MP

    and ask how on earth can a 'law firm' like BW Legal have been so lax as to send you someone else's data, photos, name & address, car VRN, the lot, and just before the advent of GDPR? Rant and ask, how often is this happening, they need investigating by the SRA, the firm should not be allowed to handle the millions of robo-claims they deal with, their processes are failing and in your experience and opinion not GDPR-ready, you fear they've shared your data with someone else and can't trust them, etc. As such, you await the outcome of a full investigation by all parties and have copied in your MP, and will also be making a formal complaint to the ICO once you have the results of the investigation, and therefore BW Legal had better report their clear breach to the ICO first!

    they have stopped referring to Elliot v. Loake as their 'case in point' which supposedly proves that they will win in court, and are now using 'Combined Parking Solutions vs. AJH Films Ltd.' (I think this is the employer/employee one, right? e.g. not applicable in our case!)
    Yep, Excel v Smith (on appeal) debunked that, as mentioned in this ranty letter I wrote for someone:

    http://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/showthread.php?p=74071023#post74071023

    Copy anything you want from that one, if applicable.


    Should we just sit tight and wait for a court summons now,
    No, seize this chance to cause major problems. The first thing most PPCs do when sussed for data mishandling is to cancel a PCN to try to brush it all under the carpet. This could help you.
    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.

    • The Deep
    • By The Deep 27th Mar 18, 10:24 AM
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    The Deep
    Please do not "brush this under the carpet". You have an opportunity here of causing this low rent law firm some serious harm. Many of us would love to be in your shoes.
    You never know how far you can go until you go too far.
    • chica0208
    • By chica0208 27th Mar 18, 7:57 PM
    • 22 Posts
    • 15 Thanks
    chica0208
    Thanks Coupon-Mad. Happy to give this a go, certainly! Just wanted to clarify though - they didn't send us any personal identifiable information (such as name and address) - the cover letter was correctly addressed to my husband, it's just all the photos that followed which were somebody else's. No way of us actually identifying the other driver/registered keeper. So, I suppose it's not technically a breach of data protection - is this sufficiently bad for us to still make all these complaints as you've suggested? Obviously I can go down the "how do I know you haven't shared my information from somebody else, how do we know these breaches aren't even more personal" etc, but what do you think? Still grounds?
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