Old subject, re-aired

Discussion in 'Motorhome Chat' started by JayDee, Aug 1, 2014.

  1. JayDee

    JayDee Funster

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    Many times in the past there have been discussions on here about parking and fines. This morning I noticed, whilst browsing the news, this article that originated from the Daily Telegraph. It nicely encapsulates just about everything one needs to know about the subject, so I decided to share it. :Smile:
    I've taken out the pictures and links to keep it reasonably sized.



    Do you have to pay car park fines?


    Millions of parking tickets are issued each year, many for parking on private land. What's the worst that can happen if you don't pay?

    More than 10 million parking tickets were issued in Britain last year, the equivalent of around 890,000 a month or 1,200 an hour.

    Councils are expected to raise more than £600m in parking penalties for the financial year just ended. On top of this, private firms rake in unknown further millions by issuing their own charges to the parking public.

    Private companies are again in the spotlight for unfair and harsh ticketing, accused of chasing car owners for minor infringements or where there were no infringements at all and issuing unreasonably large charges and threats. Do you have to pay? What happens if you don't?


    Our Q&A answers all the fundamental questions you need to know.

    Q. I left my car in a privately-operated car park. When I got back there was a ticket. Is the car park operator legally entitled to pursue me for payment?

    A. If you overstayed, you have broken the terms of the unwritten contract which you entered into when you first parked. That would entitle the car park operator to issue a charge.


    Q . The fine I received looks just like one from the council. Is that allowed?

    A. Yes, but it is confusing and unhelpful. If you overstay in a private car park you haven't broken the law, you have just broken the contract. All the car park operator can do is pursue you for a charge which should be proportionate to the normal advertised costs of parking, or the losses incurred by your car having overstayed. Hence any ticket often called a "Parking Charge Notice", not to be confused with the council's very similar-sounding "Penalty Charge Notice" should probably be quite small, especially for short overstays.


    Q. I choose not to pay a ticket issued by a private car park operator. What happens next?

    A. If you reckon the charge is unfair, or you have some mitigating excuse, you can contact the operator or landowner explaining why you do not want to pay. If they cancel the charge, great. If they don't, you have 28 days from the issue of the ticket to make an appeal against this decision to an independent adjudicator like POPLA (Parking on Private Land Appeals) set up by the British Parking Association (BPA), for its members. Most of the big, private car park operators are part of this adjudication scheme. The car park operator, rather than the driver, pays for POPLA to take on a case (which could discourage companies from pursuing a claim). If POPLA agrees with the driver the charge is cancelled. If the driver's appeal is refused, the company can carry on seeking payment and ultimately has the option of taking the vehicle owner to the small claims court.



    Q. If I lose my POPLA appeal will I have to pay costs? And will my parking charge increase?

    A. No, the parking charge will not increase while you appeal, and there will be no costs or compensation to pay if you lose during the appeal process. If you don't pay after this, though, you could be taken to court.


    Q. What happens if the car park operator isn't signed up to POPLA?

    A. I'm afraid you're on your own. Unfortunately, it is possible for anyone to issue parking charge notices, wholly independently, and pursue them through the courts although they do need your address to do this.


    Q. Which operators can access my address details?

    A. All members of an accredited trade association can access DVLA data, while non-member's can't. However, in practice that is not a significant problem for many independent car park operators. Motorists often can't tell the difference between the parking tickets, and many will simply pay the parking charge, while some will write to the company to complain, and in doing so, provide them with their name and address.


    Q. What happens if I don't pay and simply do nothing?

    A. Firstly, you can expect to get threatening letters demanding payment. Some letters will come from the park operator themselves, others from other agencies or debt collectors. Be prepared: they can sound very threatening and alarming.


    Q. OK, I can live with the threatening letters but how likely is it that the car park operator will actually go all the way and take me to court?

    A. There are no official figures to show how many drivers end up being taken to court.

    It is estimated that half of those who appeal have their charge cancelled, of the remaining proportion, it is unknown how many were pursued through the courts, but it is expected to be relatively small.


    Q. And what is the very worst that can happen if I don't pay a ticket issued by a private firm?

    A. The car park operator can take you to court and win. You then have costs in addition to the original charge. If you refuse to pay, you could find the judgment going onto your credit file and damaging your chances of borrowing or entering into other common contracts, such as for mobile phones. A car park operator cannot put a black mark on your credit file unless the case is taken to court and you lose. This is because the company is not providing credit, but merely involved in a billing dispute for a service.


    Q. If I have paid a charge but now want to appeal, can I do so?

    A. If you have received a fine and paid it, then you have admitted liability and will not be able to appeal.


    ... and here's a recap of the very different scenario of when you get a parking ticket from a council or police officer.


    If a Penalty Charge Notice was issued by the local council, unless you have grounds to appeal, you should pay up. Here you have broken the law. The penalty is just that a genuine penalty or fine not just a "charge".

    According to Citizens Advice, the law says that if you have a compelling, or very persuasive, reason for appealing, the council can use its discretion to decide whether to cancel the notice.

    First, drivers will have to complain to the council in writing, with any witness statements or photographs included.

    If the council accepts your reasons for appealing, your fine will be cancelled and you'll have nothing to pay. If the council rejects your reasons, you will be sent a notice of rejection. You will then have 28 days to make a formal appeal. You can do this at gov.uk/appeal-parking-fine .

    The appeal process has two stages before being referred to the courts.

    So that's it in a nutshell. :wink:


    John
     
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  2. Snowbird

    Snowbird Funster Life Member

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    Hmm, big fines I cant pay and small ones are not worth bothering with.
     
  3. John Laidler

    John Laidler Funster

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    Very useful info. A technique which has been successfully employed is to offer a private car park firm a reduced payment. So if they try and charge you £100 for overstaying half an hour send them a cheque for £10 and say it is settlement of your minor breach of contract. This usually works because as in the OP the charge must be proportionate and they may lose if the court thinks £100 is excessive.
     
  4. JJ

    JJ Funster

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    Been fined?

    Move.



    JJ :cool:
     
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