UK Traffic Law
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Do you need a permit to park in the car park or was it pay and display?
Were there adequate signs in your view explaining the parking restrictions?
There is one parking notice hardly visible and you need to have a valid permit for a numbered bay.
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 (invoice) 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.
Thank you. What should I do now? They had no loss as its not a pay and display and no one tried to enter the park while I was there.
How you choose to proceed depends on your appetite for risk. You may be able to argue that they failed to provide adequate signage and therefore may fail to show that a contract was formed when you entered the car park or parking area; alternatively or in addition they would struggle to show any loss from your overstay which from what you say was minutes at most. 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 will no doubt attempt to claim - solicitors costs cannot be claimed if they go to court as the matter would be a small claims hearing if it was pursued. Generally a doubling of the fee if not paid (as is often provided for on these claims) within a certain period is almost certainly unenforceable in contract law.
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.
Is there anything above I can clarify for you?
I will do that then. I just found it unbelievable that the contractor was in the car next to me and said nothing. Its just to take money away, although I should not have parked there. I did take pictures of it all.
Thank you very much for your help.
Unfortunately as you say it can be a very cynical enterprise however if you keep in mind they are nothing more than invoices then you can begin to see them for what they are.
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