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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: UK Traffic Law
Satisfied Customers: 69666
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice.
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My wife has received a letter from a debt recovery team from

Customer Question

My wife has received a letter from a debt recovery team from a solicitors for a parking charge on private land they now want her to pay £275 what is the best course of action when she has completely ignored this charge
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: UK Traffic Law
Expert:  Jo C. replied 1 year ago.
Hi
Thank you for your question. My name is ***** ***** I will try to help with this.
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 arising from an alleged agreement whereby you agree to park for a fee. 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. That is what is in dispute.
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.
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.
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 a small amount for their loss.
Hope this helps. Please let me know if you need more information.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
So should we just ignore the letter and any further letters
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
It says this letter is in accordance with the practice direction on pre action conduct contained In civil procedure rules. Paragraph 4 concerning the courts powers to impose sanctions
Expert:  Jo C. replied 1 year ago.
It depends how much risk you want to take. There is an outside chance they could sue but not likely.
I would just ignore them.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
What does the above paragraph mean
Expert:  Jo C. replied 1 year ago.
There ia pre action protocol but they are not going to enforce it. They know perfectly well that all they have to do issue at the small claims court.
Much like this nonsense about seeking Norwich pharmecal orders demanding delivery up of business documents that they know perfectly well they don't need.

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