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  • FIRST POST
    • madeye25
    • By madeye25 13th May 18, 6:25 PM
    • 16Posts
    • 1Thanks
    madeye25
    MCOL VCS - Already AOS
    • #1
    • 13th May 18, 6:25 PM
    MCOL VCS - Already AOS 13th May 18 at 6:25 PM
    Hi all,


    Second post, but this time I am more educated and think I am ready to discuss help for my claim which is posted below.


    I am at the MCOL stage, my partner got a Parking Notice from VCS and ignored everything until now, this is the first that I am aware - MCOL stage.


    I have issued an Acknowledgement of Service online within the require time limit. The claim is dated 16.04.2018 so I am working on the basis I have 28 + 5 days, which makes 19.05.2018 my deadline.


    My intention is get my partner to sign a PDF version of the below and email to mcol@hmcts.gsi.gov.uk. Is this acceptable or is a hard copy sent in post required too?


    I intend to write nothing in the MCOL online tool 'Defence' box.


    Any guidance is much appreciated, thank you in advance.




    IN THE COUNTY COURT


    Claim No.: xxxxxx


    Between


    VEHICLE CONTROL SERVICES LTD


    (Claimant)


    -and-


    xxxxxxx


    (Defendant)


    __________________________________________________ _________________________


    DEFENCE STATEMENT


    __________________________________________________ _________________________








    I am xxxxxx, the defendant in this matter and the registered keeper of vehicle xxxxxx.

    I deny I am liable for the entirety of the claim on the following grounds:

    1. The Claim Form issued on the 16 April 2018 by Vehicle Control Services Ltd was not correctly filed under The Practice Direction as it was not signed by a legal person. The claim does not have a valid signature and is not a statement of truth. It states that it has been issued by Vehicle Control Services Ltd and signed by Simon Renshaw-Smith, whos title is not stated. Practice Direction 22 requires that a statement of case on behalf of a company must be signed by a person holding a senior position and state the position. If the party is legally represented, the legal representative may sign the statement of truth but in his own name and not that of his firm or employer. The Particulars of Claim are however signed by Jake Burgess, Associate Legal Representative which further confuses the matter.

    2. This Claimant has not complied with pre-court protocol (as outlined in the new Pre Action Protocol for Debt Claims, 1 October 2017) and as an example as to why this prevents a full defence being filed at this time, a parking charge can be for trespass, breach of contract or a contractual charge. All these are treated differently in law and require a different defence. The wording of any contract will naturally be a key element in this matter, and a copy of the alleged contract has never been provided to the Defendant.

    a. There was no compliant Letter before County Court Claim, under the Practice Direction.

    b. This is a speculative serial litigant, issuing a large number of draft particulars. The badly mail-merged documents contain very little information.

    c. The Schedule of Information is sparse of detailed information.

    d. The Claim Form Particulars were extremely sparse and divulged no cause of action nor sufficient detail. The Defendant has no idea what the claim is about why the charge arose, what the alleged contract was; nothing that could be considered a fair exchange of information. Furthermore, the Claim Form Particulars did not contain any evidence of contravention or photographs. These documents, and the Letter before County Court Claim should have been produced, pursuant to paragraph 6 of the Practice Direction Pre Action Conduct. This constitutes a deliberate attempt to thwart any efforts to defend the claim or to take stock, pursuant to paragraph 12 of the Practice Direction. Again, this totally contradicts the guidance outlined in the new Pre-Action Protocol for Debt Claims (2017), the aims of which are:

    i. Early engagement and communication between the parties, including early exchange of sufficient information about the matter to help clarify whether there are any issues in dispute

    ii. enable the parties to resolve the matter without the need to start court proceedings, including agreeing a reasonable repayment plan or considering using an Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) procedure

    iii. encourage the parties to act in a reasonable and proportionate manner in all dealings with one another (for example, avoiding running up costs which do not bear a reasonable relationship to the sums in issue) and

    iv. support the efficient management of proceedings that cannot be avoided.

    e. The Defence therefore asks the Court to strike out the claim as disclosing no cause of action and having no reasonable prospect of success as currently drafted

    3. The Claimant failed to meet the Notice to Keeper obligations of Schedule 4 of the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012 (POFA 2012). Such a notice was not served within 14 days of the parking event and when the notice was served, did not fully comply with statutory wording. The Claimant is therefore unable to hold the defendant liable under the strict keeper liability provisions:

    The Claimant did not comply with POFA 2012 and give the registered keeper opportunity, at any point, to identify the driver. A Notice to Keeper can be served by ordinary post and the Protection of Freedoms Act requires that the Notice, to be valid, must be delivered no later than 14 days after the vehicle was parked. No ticket was left on the windscreen and no notice to keeper was sent within the 14 days required to comply with POFA 2012 only a speculative invoice entitled Parking Charge Notice which was sent outside of the 14 day period, which did not comply with POFA 2012. This would exclude the registered keeper being liable for any charges.

    Henry Greenslade, lead adjudicator of POPLA in 2015 and an eminent barrister and parking law expert, stated that However keeper information is obtained, there is no reasonable presumption in law that the registered keeper of a vehicle is the driver. Operators should never suggest anything of the sort. Schedule 4 also states that the only sum a keeper can be pursued for (if Schedule 4 is fully complied with, which it was not, and if there was a 'relevant obligation' and relevant contract' fairly and adequately communicated, which there was not) is the sum on the Notice to Keeper. They cannot pluck another sum from thin air and bolt that on as well when neither the signs, nor the NTK, nor the permit information mentioned a possible 160 for outstanding debt and damages. The additional costs, which the defendant contests have not been incurred, are none of its concern.

    4. The Claimant has added unrecoverable sums to the original parking charge. I have not received any correspondence from a debt collection agency, so it is simply not credible that 60 debt collections charge were incurred. The Defendant believes that Vehicle Control Services Ltd has artificially inflated this claim. According to Ladak v DRC Locums UKEAT/0488/13/LA the claimant can only recover the direct and provable costs of the time spent on preparing the claim in a legal capacity, not any administration cost. The Defendant denies that the Claimant is entitled to any interest whatsoever.

    5. This case can be distinguished from ParkingEye v Beavis [2015] UKSC 67 (the Beavis case) which was dependent upon an undenied contract, formed by unusually prominent signage forming a clear offer and which turned on unique facts regarding the location and the interests of the landowner. Strict compliance with the BPA Code of Practice (CoP) was paramount and Mr Beavis was the driver who saw the signs and entered into a contract to pay 85 after exceeding a licence to park free. As far as I can ascertain, based upon the very vague particulars of claim and complete lack of evidence and photographs, and without having been furnished with the alleged signage contract, none of this applies in this material case.

    6. In the absence of any proof of adequate signage contractually bound the Defendant then there can have been no contract and the Claimant has no case

    a. The Claimant is put to strict proof at the time of the alleged event they had both advertisement consent and the permission from the site owner to display the signs

    b. In the absence of strict proof I submit that the Claimant was committing an offence by displaying their signs and therefore no contract could have been entered into between the driver and the Claimant

    c. Inadequate signs incapable of binding the driver this distinguishes this case from the Beavis case:

    i. Sporadic and illegible (charge not prominent nor large lettering) of site/entrance signage - breach of the POFA 2012 Schedule 4 and the BPA Code of Practice and no contract formed to pay any clearly stated sum
    ii. It is believed the signage was not lit and any terms were not transparent or legible; this is an unfair contract, not agreed by the driver and contrary to the Consumer Rights Act 2015 in requiring a huge inflated sum as compensation from by an authorised party using the premises as intended
    iii. No promise was made by the driver that could constitute consideration because there was no offer known nor accepted. No consideration flowed from the Claimant
    iv. The signs are believed to have no mention of any debt collection additional charge, which cannot form part of any alleged contract.
    v. The signs are believed to have no mention of any debt collection additional charge, which cannot form part of any alleged contract.

    d. BPA CoP breaches this distinguishes this case from the Beavis case:
    i. The signs were not compliant in terms of the font size, lighting or positioning
    ii. The sum pursued exceeds 100
    iii. There is/was no compliant landowner contract

    7. No standing this distinguishes this case from the Beavis case:
    It is believed Vehicle Control Services Ltd do not hold a legitimate contract at this car park. As an agent, the Claimant has no legal right to bring such a claim in their name which should be in the name of the landowner.

    8. The Beavis case confirmed the fact that, if it is a matter of trespass (not breach of any contract), a parking firm has no standing as a non-landowner to pursue even nominal damages.

    9. The charge is an unenforceable penalty based upon a lack of commercial justification. The Beavis case confirmed that the penalty rule is certainly engaged in any case of a private parking charge and was only disengaged due to the unique circumstances of that case, which do not resemble this claim.

    10. The Defendant has reasonable belief that the Claimant sent a letter claiming to be a final letter before court action, but then instead sent this to debt collectors. As such the Claimants have artificially inflated the claim value by claiming to involve further debt collectors, the Defendant puts the Claimant to strict proof that all claimed costs were invoiced and paid

    11. Due to the length of time, the Defendant has little to no recollection of the day in question. It would not be reasonable expect a registered keeper to be able to recall the potential driver(s) of the car 11 months later. The burden rests with the Claimant to identify the driver, who is the only party potentially liable in cases where a parking firm is unable to rely upon the POFA.

    The Defendant denies any liability whatsoever to the Claimant in any matter and asks the Court to note that the Claimant has:

    (a) Failed to disclose any cause of action in the incorrectly filed Claim Form issued on 16 April 2018.

    (b) Sent a template, well-known to be generic cut and paste 'Particulars' of claim which ignores the fact that this Claimant cannot hold registered keepers liable in law, due to their own choice of non-POFA documentation.

    The vague Particulars of Claim disclose no clear cause of action. The court is invited to strike out the claim of its own volition as having no merit and no reasonable prospects of success.


    STATEMENT OF TRUTH

    I confirm that the contents of this Defence are true to the best of my knowledge and recollection.



    xxxx
    13 May 2018


Page 1
    • KeithP
    • By KeithP 13th May 18, 7:44 PM
    • 8,637 Posts
    • 8,545 Thanks
    KeithP
    • #2
    • 13th May 18, 7:44 PM
    • #2
    • 13th May 18, 7:44 PM
    ... I am working on the basis I have 28 + 5 days, which makes 19.05.2018 my deadline.
    No. Please read post #6 of your original thread.

    Never will a Defence be due on a Saturday.

    When ready, your Defence should be emailed to the CCBCAQ email address easily found on the court's website.

    In 2a you say there was no LBC. Yet earlier you said:
    I haven't reviewed any correspondence except this Claim Form - I am not sure she kept it but will check.
    Are you sure there was no LBC?

    It was not a good idea to start a second thread.
    Last edited by KeithP; 13-05-2018 at 7:54 PM.
    .
    • Coupon-mad
    • By Coupon-mad 13th May 18, 11:53 PM
    • 60,064 Posts
    • 73,185 Thanks
    Coupon-mad
    • #3
    • 13th May 18, 11:53 PM
    • #3
    • 13th May 18, 11:53 PM
    DEFENCE STATEMENT
    Should read DEFENCE

    My intention is get my partner to sign a PDF version of the below and email to mcol@hmcts.gsi.gov.uk. Is this acceptable or is a hard copy sent in post required too?
    Why would you send it to that email address? Nothing to do with defences. In fact MCOL has just changed its email address for defences and DQs to:

    CCBCAQ@Justice.gov.uk

    There is currently a forward on the old CCBCAQ email address, but it's probably best to start using the new email addy from now on.

    You need to change 'I' to 'the Defendant' throughout (I saw ''I'' at least twice).

    And please ask for your threads to be merged if they are about the same PCN, and stick to one thread throughout. We have no idea of the background to this ticket and have no time to read two threads to find out.

    We don't even know where this was or what the alleged contravention was, and nor does the draft defence seem to cover it for the Judge to understand either.
    Last edited by Coupon-mad; 14-05-2018 at 12:01 AM.
    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.

    • madeye25
    • By madeye25 14th May 18, 6:33 AM
    • 16 Posts
    • 1 Thanks
    madeye25
    • #4
    • 14th May 18, 6:33 AM
    • #4
    • 14th May 18, 6:33 AM
    Thank you for responses.


    I don't think the first thread I started held anything of value or use unfortunately, apologies.


    With regard to LBC - no idea, as my partner literally binned everything, I have asked her and she isn't sure. She just knows she hasn't received anything in the way of pictures or evidence.


    She believes the ticket was issued back when she left her vehicle in a car park overnight, she picked it up the following morning just after the stated time on the signs - 8am - 6pm Mon - Fri (the 'offence' was committed Monday 29th May, which was a bank holiday). One thought I had is that the weekend times Sat/Sun state 9am - 6pm, is it possible that these apply on a bank holiday? She picked the car up by the 9am deadline, which is what she thought was applicable.
    • Coupon-mad
    • By Coupon-mad 14th May 18, 4:59 PM
    • 60,064 Posts
    • 73,185 Thanks
    Coupon-mad
    • #5
    • 14th May 18, 4:59 PM
    • #5
    • 14th May 18, 4:59 PM
    Show us your new draft then, with ''I'' changed to 'the Defendant'.

    And put something at the top to say the Defendant has no idea what this charge is about, what contravention is alleged, and will now be disadvantaged due to the Claimant's robo-claim model failing to set out clear and full Particulars of Claim.

    The Defendant should also send a SAR* after 25th May (GDPR enactment day) to the private parking firm direct, stating the car VRN and asking for everything - data, notes, letters, photos - held about him/her and the car.

    They must then provide all information and photos free, within 40 days.



    *Google it.
    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.

    • madeye25
    • By madeye25 29th May 18, 8:55 AM
    • 16 Posts
    • 1 Thanks
    madeye25
    • #6
    • 29th May 18, 8:55 AM
    • #6
    • 29th May 18, 8:55 AM
    The claim is now defended, I have a form which i intend to complete and return.

    I will complete a SAR template I have found online and send to VCS. Is ot acceptable to email?
    • Umkomaas
    • By Umkomaas 29th May 18, 9:01 AM
    • 18,885 Posts
    • 29,730 Thanks
    Umkomaas
    • #7
    • 29th May 18, 9:01 AM
    • #7
    • 29th May 18, 9:01 AM
    I will complete a SAR template I have found online and send to VCS. Is ot acceptable to email?
    Only VCS can tell you whether it is acceptable by email. If you're unsure then send it via first class post, with free Certificate of Posting from your Post Office counter, no need for expensive Sgned For/Recorded/Registered as the Cert of Posting is considered legal proof that the item was delivered by the second working day after posting.
    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.
    • KeithP
    • By KeithP 29th May 18, 1:36 PM
    • 8,637 Posts
    • 8,545 Thanks
    KeithP
    • #8
    • 29th May 18, 1:36 PM
    • #8
    • 29th May 18, 1:36 PM
    The claim is now defended, I have a form which i intend to complete and return.
    Originally posted by madeye25
    ...using the guidance offered in post #2 of the NEWBIES FAQ sticky thread I hope.
    .
    • madeye25
    • By madeye25 3rd Jun 18, 7:03 AM
    • 16 Posts
    • 1 Thanks
    madeye25
    • #9
    • 3rd Jun 18, 7:03 AM
    • #9
    • 3rd Jun 18, 7:03 AM
    Yep I've done that thanks Keith.

    VCS have sent me their own Directions Questionnaire- is this standard and no indication that they will discontinue or follow the case through to court?
    • KeithP
    • By KeithP 3rd Jun 18, 1:03 PM
    • 8,637 Posts
    • 8,545 Thanks
    KeithP
    Read point 4 in Bargepole's walkthrough linked from post #2 of the NEWBIES FAQ sticky thread.

    You too must send your completed DQ to the court and the claimant.
    .
    • The Deep
    • By The Deep 3rd Jun 18, 2:51 PM
    • 9,969 Posts
    • 9,764 Thanks
    The Deep
    This is an entirely unregulated industry which is scamming the public with inflated claims for minor breaches of contracts for alleged parking offences, aided and abetted by a handful of low-rent solicitors.

    Parking Eye, CPM, Smart, and another company have already been named and shamed, as has Gladstones Solicitors, and BW Legal, (these two law firms take hundreds of these cases to court each year). They lose most of them, and have been reported to the regulatory authority by an M.P. for unprofessional conduct

    Hospital car parks and residential complex tickets have been especially mentioned.

    The problem has become so rampant that MPs have agreed to enact a Bill to regulate these scammers. Watch the video of the Second Reading in the HofC recently.

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

    and complain in the most robust terms to your MP. With a fair wind they will be out of business by Christmas.
    You never know how far you can go until you go too far.
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