How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Jo C. Your Own Question
Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: UK Traffic Law
Satisfied Customers: 69983
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice.
Type Your UK Traffic Law Question Here...
Jo C. is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

Hi.....another extortion attempt by APCOA at Luton Airport! I

This answer was rated:

Hi.....another extortion attempt by APCOA at Luton Airport!

I am writing on behalf of my daughter. She has been 'fined' for picking someone up outside the allotted 'drop/pick-up' zone.
The guy she was collecting was Hungarian and not only had poor grasp of written/spoken English but was also unfamiliar with Luton Airport and this was the root cause of the problem.
She had paid and parked in the correct drop/pick-up zone. However, her colleague managed to get lost in the terminal and the delay meant that her parking time expired. She left the zone to circle around and pay for a second time but as she approached she saw him standing at the side of the road but not in the correct place. She stopped to tell him to move up to the zone but he didn't understand and just jumped in the car. It was all over so quickly, what was she to do?
This was the basis of the appeal we made to APCOA which, surprise surprise, has been rejected.
In the meantime, I have come across this website and note that your advice to others is to effectively ignore the letter and not to admit who was driving. Unfortunately, this advice is too late for her, so what now?

We would be very grateful for your advice on how best to proceed from here.

Thank you


Thank you for your question and welcome to Just Answer. My name is XXXXX XXXXX I will try to help with this.

order to give you an answer tailored to your circumstances, I will just need to ask you some preliminary questions so that I can consider your position from all angles.

Is this the first time you have encountered this?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Yes. This was my daughters first visit to Luton Airport.

Ok. I'm not sure what you want to do about this. She has paid now so its too late?

In fact, the law has changed so its not safe to ignore them now necessarily.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

No, she's not paid the 'fine'.


We made the appeal against it and have had it rejected. What to do next is the advice we need please.


For instance, can she ignore the demand on the basis that only police and the council can issue parking fines...I think this is private land (?)


This is a private land fine. They are not parking fines whatever they may look like. I realise that many of them mimic those issued by the council or the police but they do not have the same authority.
A private land firm is not an emanation of the state. It does not have the right to punish you for the manner of your parking any more than your neighbours do.
This is essentially an invoice arising from a civil dispute. They say that you accepted a contract by parking there and breached it by staying too long or otherwise parking at variance with the contract.
Private land fines used to be very easy to escape by refusing the details of the driver. They only have a contract with the driver. Unfortunately the Protection of Freedoms Act came into force in October 2012 and it makes the registered keeper liable for the penalty if he does not disclose the details of the driver within 28 days.
All that means is that the claim runs against the registered keeper. It just makes it easier to find the person against whom there should be enforcement.
The chances are high that they will not sue. Even though the law has recently changed in their favour and they were quite aggressive in the beginning, they do not sue in the majority of cases.
If they do sue then they would only have a claim for the sum of the original fine plus about £35 in costs. They will send you debt collection letters in which they will threaten to sue you for their debt collection costs. Do not be intimidated by that. They have no claim for that.
Even if they do go to court, they would still have to prove that the signs are adequate and clear. Quite often they are not.
Also, they will have to prove that they have suffered loss. They may be able to claim a very small amount in administration costs but it is going to be the sum they are trying to claim from you. Their loss would seem to amount to no more than about £5.
They will send you some very nasty letters though. You will get debt collection letters making threats of legal action. They will probably get Graham Whyte solicitors to write to you as well. None of these are anything to worry about. It will not impact upon your credit history and it will not add to the costs.
Unless you actually get a court summons, none of these correspondences have any legal basis. If you do get a court summons then you can always part admit the claim and offer £5 for their loss.
Hope this helps. Please let me know if you need more information.
Jo C. and other UK Traffic Law Specialists are ready to help you

Related UK Traffic Law Questions