UK Traffic Law
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Thanks for your question. Please kindly RATE my answer when you are satisfied
Have you contacted the firm yet in any way please?
I haven't myself, my friends dad wrote them a letter in January, he hasn't recieved a reply yet.
Thanks. Do you know what was in the letter in summary?
I can't be certain, but I believe he wrote querying it.
Thanks. Private tickets used to be unenforceable if the registered keeper refused to identify the driver but that changed last year when the Protection of Freedoms Act outlawed clamping and provided enhanced measures for parking companies to enforce private tickets. The PoFA provides that if a registered keeper refuses to identify the driver within 28 days then the registered keeper is liable for the demand.
However the Act has not authorised private parking firms to issue fines. These demands are still nothing better than invoices demanding payment for breach of contract - the contract is formed by the use of signs warning to display tickets/permits or risk a ticket at the advertised rate.
Being a contract the ordinary rules of contract apply whereby they must prove that they displayed adequate signage to enable a driver parking there to know of the requirements; evidence of loss on their part as a result of the breach of contract and evidence that they have attempted to mitigate their loss.
Ok, I personally don't think the sign was clear at all.
The position here is that you were arguably not parked as you were simply dropping off and they have from what you say possibly failed to pay adequate signage and therefore may fail to show that a contract was formed when you entered the car park; they would struggle to show any loss as you barely stopped for any time from what you say. They will attempt to claim admin costs and so on but they would still struggle to demonstrate a loss of any significance compared to the amount they attempt to claim. The doubling of the fee if not paid within a certain period is almost certainly unenforceable in contract law.
Ok so what do you think my next step should be?
Accordingly you may either pay the amount demanded or simply ignore the various threatening letters that will ensue should you fail to do so. All they can do is issue proceedings in the County Court to sue you for the amount demanded plus costs which would be in the order of £35. Historically they almost never did so because they would find it very difficult to win. Now they have a better position in that they can sue the registered keeper under the above act but they must still prove loss and so on as above which is not easy. There is no evidence of large scale claims in the county courts though the Act is still relatively young.
So there is a chance I could have to pay alot? But a small chance?
If they take this matter to court which they may well not even if they win which is questionable at best as above, you can argue that they have not incurred any loss and therefore argue the invoice down. You would be liable for their court fees of £35 and possibly travel costs in attending court but nothing more.
The demands made for private parking fines do not bare any relationship to actual loss and can readily be argued down in court
If it were me I would simply ignore them until they likely give up and if they issue against me argue the matter in court on the basis that I would likely be no worse off even if I were unsuccessful which I would not expect to be but this is a personal choice and not necessarily the right one for you. However the alternative is simply to roll over because someone demands some money from you
Thank you very much, you answers were very helpful. I will ignore them.