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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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I have parked in a Parking Eye car park that I use regularly,

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I have parked in a Parking Eye car park that I use regularly, and simply forgot to pay this time. So my husband received a letter with photo evidence showing leaving and entering, and asking for £60. I know a lot of sites say don't pay Parking Eye for private land as they are unenforceable, but this is often when people have no idea there is even a fee to pay to park, e.g. when free for 2 hours or similar. In my case I know there is a fee, and they will find records against our reg number that we have paid in the past. Its for £100, reduced to £60. I ignored the first letter, and another identical one has arrived with the same fees on. My husband is the owner, I am the driver. I've not contacted them at all, nor has he. Should I pay up?

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 4 years ago.

Guess that means paying up then, I think it would be hard to argue that there wasn't sufficient signage if I have obviously read it in the past and paid! And not sure I want the hassle of small claims court. I may wait and see if another letter comes, with another 'lower offer' of a fee, rather than the higher deferred one, first.

The parking
companies see this is a little cash cow and it is unlikely that once they have
written, you will escape a further letter, possibly with an increased charge.

Presumably, they do
not know that you are parked before and you are not under a duty to incriminate
yourself unless asked in which case you have to be truthful.

So it really is a
case of looking at the signage and deciding whether there is sufficient or not.

As you said, you
are aware of the signage and the charge and therefore you actually have no
defence and the only legal solution is for you to pay up.

If you say that you
did not know of the charge because there is not sufficient signage, that would
be perverting the course of justice and of course, I cannot advise you to do

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