Before October 2012, you could have ignored it, or
told them to contact the driver or suchlike, but for some strange reason
Parliament decided to enact the Protection of Freedoms Act, which made these
private land parking charges enforceable in the County Court as a contractual
dispute against the registered keep.
For some strange reason, all parking charges
whether these private ones, or local authority ones are enforceable against the
registered keeper. I find that a bizarre thing in English law. It's like
someone that drives your car having an accident and you the car owner, not
involved in the accident, being held responsible if they don't deal with it.
Stupid but then again, sometimes the law is an ass.
If you Google Protection of Freedoms Act and Private
and parking it will give you plenty of reading.
You can of course appeal this on the grounds that
there is not sufficient signage and it would then be for the court to decide
whether you have made the case or not. To be frank, I have never known one of
these go to court yet because the cost of enforcing a £60 or £120 charge in the
Small Claims Court is firstly risky (because they lose the court costs if you
win) and secondly not financially viable. If whoever is dealing with it on
behalf of the parking company has to travel from wherever they are based to
your local court and sit around for half a day.
It is small claims court and they will not usually
get their legal or solicitor's costs back (although than court costs) even if
There is a caveat to my last statement and that is
contained in the wording of the signage. If on the wording of the signage, it
says that they are entitled to recover their costs of enforcing the agreement,
then, if it goes to court and they win, they may be able to claim their court
costs and time from you, including their solicitor's costs. Although, if they
spend a couple of thousand pound instructing solicitors (very risky) even
though they win, you can object to all those costs being awarded on the basis
that their costs are disproportionate to the amount in dispute.
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