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Stuart J
Stuart J, Solicitor
Category: UK Traffic Law
Satisfied Customers: 22624
Experience:  PGD Law. 20 years legal profession, 6 as partner in High Street practice
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Stopping on a private road. I stopped on a road that I did

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Stopping on a private road.
I stopped on a road that I did not know was a private road in a way that was carefully not obstructing anyone, but on a double yellow line. I checked my map and drove off within a minute or at most 2 minutes. There was a small sign which I did not see saying no stopping with illegibly small text saying that if you stop you have to pay £100. I do not consider that I have entered into any contract with this company seeking the charge of £100 for a brief stop which caused no inconvenience to anyone. Even if I had implicitly agreed to a contract, I certainly did not agree to pay £100 for a 1 minute stop. The claim they made only had a photo of my car but no specific location or duration of the stop. I asked for evidence of signs or cctv and offered them some days in which to provide the evidence and gave notice that if they did not do so, it meant acceptance that they had no case and owed me £500. They did not turn down the offer so I sent them the bill. IMHO, my notice of contract was far clearer than theirs.
So the question is this, do I actually owe them money or do they owe me money?

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

Who issued the fine?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
A private company called Vehicle Control Services. It was not a fine but a "Parking Charge Notice"

This is a private land fine.

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.

However, their claim here is probably not in breach of contract but in trespass which is valid I'm afraid.

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.

In terms of your counter claim, I'm afraid it is not valid. Continuing to communicate with you to chase in a legitimate claim which does ultimately have the support of the law does not amount to accepting a contract. Even if it did, you haven't provided £500 worth of consideration.

Hope this helps. Please let me know if you need more information.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

If they can claim administration costs so can I if their claim is unreasonable and unproven. Do I have a contract with them or not?
I'm afraid I think a court would say that you do.

In any event, they can drop down on trespass which is made out here.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
I am not sure why this is an issue of trespass. This is a "public road" en route to a public transport hub (Liverpool Airport). It is just apparently owned by a private company. They say no stopping, but you have to stop at the road junction, so it is not as simple as that. Do they not have to give me evidence when I request it? They gave me notice by me driving past one sign 12 foot in the air on a dual carriage way. By that they claim I am in a contract. I gave them notice that they were in a contract with me if they did not provide evidence of their claim. How is that not as acceptable a contract as what their claim is?
Ok. Best of luck in court with this then.

I've given you my view of this and I'm obviously not making it sufficiently clear so I'll opt out to see if others can help.
I am afraid that Felthouse v Bindley says that they a party cannot be deemed to accept by silence.
they owe you nothing and will lose in court.
If you wre correct I could sedna lillion letters out saying that you owe me £500, if you dont reply by X date, i will take that as an acceptance of that and sue you! it simply doesnt work like that.
You owe them money and they owe you £0.
Whethere they will take you tocourt for the £100 or so remains to be seen. It isnt finacially viable for them to do that. expect nasty letters from debt collections cos threatening all sorts but I wouldnt pay anything unless they issue proceedinsg.
If you do, you might want to pay up as you will lose in court. Sorry.
Stuart J, Solicitor
Category: UK Traffic Law
Satisfied Customers: 22624
Experience: PGD Law. 20 years legal profession, 6 as partner in High Street practice
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