Before October 2012, you could have ignored it, ortold them to contact the driver or suchlike, but for some strange reasonParliament decided to enact the Protection of Freedoms Act, which made theseprivate land parking charges enforceable in the County Court as a contractualdispute against the registered keep.
For some strange reason, all parking chargeswhether these private ones, or local authority ones are enforceable against theregistered keeper. I find that a bizarre thing in English law. It's likesomeone that drives your car having an accident and you the car owner, notinvolved 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 Privateand parking it will give you plenty of reading.
You can of course appeal this on the grounds thatthere is not sufficient signage and it would then be for the court to decidewhether you have made the case or not. To be frank, I have never known one ofthese go to court yet because the cost of enforcing a £60 or £120 charge in theSmall Claims Court is firstly risky (because they lose the court costs if youwin) and secondly not financially viable. If whoever is dealing with it onbehalf of the parking company has to travel from wherever they are based toyour local court and sit around for half a day.
It is small claims court and they will not usuallyget their legal or solicitor's costs back (although than court costs) even ifthey win.
There is a caveat to my last statement and that iscontained in the wording of the signage. If on the wording of the signage, itsays 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 courtcosts and time from you, including their solicitor's costs. Although, if theyspend a couple of thousand pound instructing solicitors (very risky) eventhough they win, you can object to all those costs being awarded on the basisthat their costs are disproportionate to the amount in dispute.
Doesthat answer the question? Can I help further? Can I answer any specific points?
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Guess that means paying up then, I think it would be hard to argue that there wasn't sufficient signage if I have obviously read it in the past and paid! And not sure I want the hassle of small claims court. I may wait and see if another letter comes, with another 'lower offer' of a fee, rather than the higher deferred one, first.
The parkingcompanies see this is a little cash cow and it is unlikely that once they havewritten, you will escape a further letter, possibly with an increased charge.
Presumably, they donot know that you are parked before and you are not under a duty to incriminateyourself unless asked in which case you have to be truthful.
So it really is acase of looking at the signage and deciding whether there is sufficient or not.
As you said, youare aware of the signage and the charge and therefore you actually have nodefence and the only legal solution is for you to pay up.
If you say that youdid not know of the charge because there is not sufficient signage, that wouldbe perverting the course of justice and of course, I cannot advise you to dothat.
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