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Stuart J
Stuart J, Solicitor
Category: UK Traffic Law
Satisfied Customers: 22388
Experience:  PGD Law. 20 years legal profession, 6 as partner in High Street practice
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My wife collected me at Luton Airport in July, and by error

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My wife collected me at Luton Airport in July, and by error drove into the special car park, a Apcoa person told her she had been photographed and a fime was payable, she explained she had driven in error and as leavimg the area. I got a letter from Apcoa asking for details of the river as I am the keeper, and there is aparking fine of £80. I ignored it as it I don't think I am legally bound to disclose the information to a private company, and also they do not have a legal right to enforce a fine. I have had a letter from a debt collection agency, that I ignored, and today received a solicitors letter asking for payment in the sum of £207.25. It also threatnes legal action if I fail to pay. I would appreciate your advice
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 they win.
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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Customer: replied 3 years ago.

I think i might just ignore, but need your advice

Some people do and never hear anything.

I must admit, I have never yet known one of these go to court but that does not mean that there is no liability.

I must admit that charging you for driving in and immediately driving out I think is taking a bit of a liberty regardless of what the signs say !

I'm sorry to nag, but please don't forget to positively rate my answer service or I don't get any payment/credit. the thread does remain open if you want to follow up any questions even though the site gives you the impression it will close. It does not.

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