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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: UK Law
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Experience:  Over 5 years in practice.
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Hello, A letter has been recd from euro car parks claiming

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Hello, A letter has been rec'd from euro car parks claiming that a car with our number plate used a car park in birmingham and not paying for a ticket. Their letter shows 2 photos of our number plate entering and leaving
the car park.
I have written back to them rejecting their INVOICE on grounds that we suspect the number plate has been cloned. We do not know who the driver is, we have proof that we were in Istanbul during the period by way of passport stamps, we have written to the west midlands police and to the dvla asking for advice on cloned plates and action to be taken.
Euro car parks have written again insisting on payment and have not answered my questions nor considered anything I said in my first reply letter which rejected their claim. They show no email address, no phone number an no individuals name that I can address. Very interestingly, their first letter to me is , I suspect wrong, as I am not the reg. keeper of a car with the number plate..it is in fact a plate that belongs on my wife's car...and she of course was in Istanbul with me!

Can you please advise how I should proceed from here on...for my wifes sake, we don't need the hassle from them right now as she is recovering thankfully from a long term illness.
Many thanks indeed.
Robert

Jomo1972 :

Hi

Jomo1972 :

Was your plate cloned?

Jomo1972 :

Is it upon a different vehicle?

JACUSTOMER-Customer- :

yes, we suspect it has been. Our car was placed on our drive the whole time we werer on holiday.

Jomo1972 :

Ok. But is the car at this car park similar to yours? Same colour, make ?

JACUSTOMER-Customer- :

yes it is

Jomo1972 :

Ok. You are anonymous on here.

Jomo1972 :

Is this a real clone?

Jomo1972 :

There is a big scam in the UK with cloned number plates but they don't usually put them on cars of a similar kind.

Jomo1972 :

Its safe to be clear with me. Nobody can identify you.

Jomo1972 :

Are you ok?

JACUSTOMER-Customer- :

we do not know what else to think here as no one has use of the car during our absence so we can only suspect a cloning...can't think of how the plate /car could end up in birmingham !

Jomo1972 :

Where do you live roughly?

JACUSTOMER-Customer- :

nuneaton in warwickshire

Jomo1972 :

how close is that to Birmingham?

Jomo1972 :

roughly?

JACUSTOMER-Customer- :

about 30 miles

Jomo1972 :

Have you reported the cloning to the police?

JACUSTOMER-Customer- :

yes and to the dvla...awaiting their advice

Jomo1972 :

Its an interesting case actually.

Jomo1972 :

Its slightly surprising this hasn't arisen before because there is a massive cloning scam in the UK.

Jomo1972 :

In a nutshell, they are probably saying they don't believe it wasn't your car.

Jomo1972 :

All these debt collection letters you are receiving are nothing to worry about and you can just ignore them. They have no legal standing. They will just keep sending them to pester and harass you. They will probably get Graham Whyte Solicitors to write to you as well screaming fire and brimstone. Just ignore them all.

Jomo1972 :

Unless you actually get a court summons, do not engage. They will never agree with you.

Jomo1972 :

There is no longer a defence in saying that you don't know who was the driver.

Jomo1972 :

The Protection of Freedoms Act came into force in october 2012 and you'll find it here

Jomo1972 :

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2012/9/schedule/4/enacted

Jomo1972 :

If you look at S4, it creates a specific defence for stolen vehicles but not for cloned ones!

Jomo1972 :

I suppose though that the argument there would be that a cloned vehicle is not the vehicle in the shot. So its a much more fundamental defence to the effect that it just plain wasn't your car.

JACUSTOMER-Customer- :

okay, but will we be subjected to baliffs etc calling at the door demanding all sorts of things.

Jomo1972 :

Its very unlikely they will sue over this anyway. Its not worth the manpower.

Jomo1972 :

If they do you will have to defence on this basis but, if you've reported it and you have a crime number, and the blow up CCTV of the car is not going to reveal that it was plainly yours or plainly you or your wife driving then overall you would probably be believed on that point.

JACUSTOMER-Customer- :

The fact they wrote to me and I am not the reg keeper of the car..could we not claim that they are chasing the wrong person?

Jomo1972 :

They can only send bailiffs to you if they have a CCJ which they would have to go to court to get.

Jomo1972 :

yes, you could but there's no point. Just ignore them.

Jomo1972 :

If they issue against you, then you would have a defence because you are not the registered keeper or the driver but there isn't any point in telling them about that now.

JACUSTOMER-Customer- :

so, you are saying that we ignore the letter from here on, accept that we may get further harassing letters from them or even from their solicitors to put the frightners on us. I have not rec'e a reply from the west midlands police and / or dvla...should I press them to issue a crime number registering a formal 'suspicion' of cloning?

Jomo1972 :

This is nothing to do with the police of the DVLA. Its just a civil dispute.

Jomo1972 :

If the police havent given you a crime number over the clone though you should chase that up.

Jomo1972 :

Thats really important.

Jomo1972 :

Apart from anything else, if somebody commits a serious offence in this cloned vehicle its going to be quite important to show it wasn't you.

Jomo1972 :

Quite a lot of people who clone vehicles do not do so because they live their lives otherwise in an honest and decent way.

JACUSTOMER-Customer- :

I think for peace of mind i will call them tomorrow and ask what I should do and get at least some record created with them. it can only help?

Jomo1972 :

The police?

Jomo1972 :

yes, absolutely.

Jomo1972 :

Forget this private land nonsense.

Jomo1972 :

If this vehicle is involved in a drive by shooting tomorrow, it will be quite important to be able to prove that it wasn't yours.

JACUSTOMER-Customer- :

yes indded. also, the fact we can positively prove we were in Istanbul on holiday and not back in the country for 10 days after the parking date should be sufficient proof?

Jomo1972 :

Well, it doesn't prove that somebody else didn't have your car on this occasion but I think if you had a crime number combined with the fact that you were away your account probably would be accepted.

Jomo1972 :

They won't sue anyway. Its not cost effective.

Jomo1972 :

I will be amazed if they do.

JACUSTOMER-Customer- :

okay, we will sit tight and see what happens....

Jomo1972 :

No problem.

Jomo1972 :

Please remember to rate my answer.

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