I received a ‘parking ticket’ the other day from a private parking company. The important thing to realise is that it isnt a parking ticket, its an unenforceable invoice for a breach of contract that you never agreed to enter into, and is also an illegal penalty charge on said alleged civil contract. I decided to enlighten them:
Without prejudice, save as to costs
Re. Parking Charge Notice No
Sainsbury’s Car Park, XXXXXXXX
I was very surprised to receive a ‘Parking Charge Notice today at Sainsburys, XXXXXX for my vehicle whose registration number is set out at the top of this letter. I dispute the charge for the reasons set out below. Please note that without prejudice to the fact that I dispute the whole basis of the claim, my main beef is with what I consider to be a disproportionate and punitive level of charge.
1. No contract
There was no contract between myself and either TCP or Sainsburys. I did not see the notices when I parked and at that time had no idea any charge whatsoever was required. Furthermore, had I seen the notices, I would have not agreed to any such charge. So the requirements of forming a contract such as a meeting of minds, agreement, certainty of terms, etc were not satisfied by any means. Had I known when I parked, I would declined to stay and shop at Sainsburys, a fact I will be pleased to inform them about by sending them a copy of this email. For your information, I was in fact diagnosed with cancer in March 2010, which makes me legally disabled as defined in the Disability and Equality Act 2010, entitling me to legally park in disabled bays in cars parks. However, the markings on your car park are meaningless and unenforceable in law anyway, since the Road Traffic Act 1991 does not apply to private land, even though it is painted up in order to commit the deception that they are legally enforceable, itself an illegal act.
If there was no contract, then at most I was guilty of a civil trespass (though this is neither admitted nor denied). If this was the case, I would be liable to damages. Given that I did no damage to the car park and furthermore that the car park was not full when I parked and I believe also when I left, I would suggest that there was therefore no loss at all.
Without prejudice to the foregoing, even if there was a contract (which is denied):
The charge that you are levying is punitive and therefore void (ie unenforceable) against me. The charge of £30 is arbitrary and in no way proportionate to any alleged breach of contract. Nor does it even equate to local council charges (which in any event are a completely different beast). This is all the more so for the additional charge of £30 which you say accrues after fourteen days of non-payment. This would also apply to your mention of any costs incurred through debt recovery unless it followed a court order.
The charge you are levying is an unfair term (and therefore not binding) pursuant to the Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations 1999. In particular, Schedule 2 of those Regulations gives an indicative (and non-exhaustive) list of terms which may be regarded as unfair and includes at Schedule 2(1)(e) “Terms which have the object or effect of requiring any consumer who fails to fulfil his obligation to pay a disproportionately high sum in compensation.” Furthermore, Regulation 5(1) states that: “A contractual term which has not been individually negotiated shall be regarded as unfair if, contrary to the requirement of good faith, it causes a significant imbalance in the parties’ rights and obligations arising under the contract, to the detriment of the consumer” and 5(2) states: “A term shall always be regarded as not having been individually negotiated where it has been drafted in advance and the consumer has therefore not been able to influence the substance of the term.”
The charge you are levying is an unreasonable indemnity clause pursuant to section 4(1) of the Unfair Contract Terms Act 1977 which provides that: “A person cannot by reference to any contract term be made to indemnify another person (whether a party to the contract or not) in respect of liability that may be incurred by the other for negligence or breach of contract, except in so far as the contract term satisfies the requirement of reasonableness.”
Please take this letter to constitute a written appeal in accordance with your Notice. I also make the following points. I would be grateful for answers to all questions raised and in this respect remind you of the obligations set out in the Practice Direction on Pre-Action Conduct (http://www.justice.gov.uk/courts/procedure-rules/civil/rules/pd_pre-action_conduct).
1. Your cause of action: please make this clear. If you claim that I entered into a contract, please send me a complete breakdown of all the terms and conditions of that contract to which you say I agreed.
2. Your loss: please give me a full breakdown as to the actual loss you say was suffered by either yourselves or Sainsburys.
3. The appeal: please send me a copy of the procedure which you follow, along with setting out what factors are taken into account, who is the judge or arbitrator and whether they are independent, whether you require oral submissions, whether it is governed by the Arbitration Act 1996 and any other relevant factors. In addition, please give me disclosure of any arguments being put by yourselves on this matter in the Appeal so that I might reply to any new issues which are raised. If you decide to dismiss the appeal, please send me the full reasoning in relation to each of the specific points raised in this letter.
4. Time for the appeal. Your parking charge notice does not describe a time limit on appeals, therefore it appears i may wait many years before appealing, if i chose to do so, and by extension, can decline to pay whilst i consider if to appeal. Please tell me how this complies with the Practice Direction on Pre-Action Conduct (above)?
5. Your ‘Parking Charge Notice’: what do you say is the status of this document? Do you claim it is an invoice pursuant to a contract (in other words an invoice which would generally get declared to the Inland Revenue) or does it have some other status? If it is the latter, please clarify exactly what you say it is?
6. Your status. Your Parking Charge Notice simply mentions ‘Town and City Parking’. Please tell me who exactly is making this charge? Are you a limited company? If so, why is this not indicated on either the Notice or your website (www.townandcityparking.co.uk) along with your company registration number? In this respect, I note that the Companies Act 2006 and the Business Names Act 1985 provides that every UK company should list on its website: its name, its company registration number, its place of registration and its registered office address. If you are not a company, then I assume this is run by an individual or individuals and I would appreciate knowing exactly who is making the claim and in what capacity. Are you VAT registered? Your website mentions Bernie Dickson, Malcolm Holland, Elaine Montgomery, John McLean, Simon Fraser, Gavin Mullen, Andrew Busby, Alan McNaughton, Stephen Crowther, Barry Nelms, and Ken Stone is this or are these the person running Town and City Parking? Which are the Directors or major shareholders?
7. Sainsburys. A member of staff in Sainsburys suggested that running the car park had nothing to do with them. Please can you tell me who owns the car park and what is the relationship between Sainsburys and yourselves? Please explain any involvement at all of Sainsburys with yourselves as well as specifically with the Parking Charge Notices. I am also sending them a copy of this email
9. A photograph was taken of the vehicle by your employee. Please send me a copy of your company’s Data Protection procedures. Furthermore, pursuant to section 7 of the Data Protection Act 1998 please send me a copy of any such photo along with a copy of any other data which you hold relating to me.
10. Please send me details of any Codes by which you claim to comply and any governing body or other such organisation of which you are a member, including your membership and registration details of the BPA and the SIA.
11. Please provide me with the name and address of your solicitors (if any) in order that I may copy them into this correspondence.
12. For the avoidance of doubt (and without suggesting that you would), please do not do the following:
a. Send me any document purporting to be from the County Court unless it is a valid Claim Form duly issued.
b. Write to me threatening to send round bailiffs without first going through the process of issuing a Claim Form and obtaining judgment.
c. Send me any standard letters either from yourselves or debt-collectors without addressing the specific points raised in this response.
13. If you want to make a claim , for your information you can issue online or I am sure that Lincoln County Court would also be very happy to give you a form. My address for service is available on request from this email address. If you do decide to issue:
a. I reserve the right to add further arguments to my Defence.
b. Please rest assured that I will be more than happy to attend any court mediations which might be offered.
14. For your information, I will be putting a copy of this correspondence on my blog, along with any replies and other documents from you or your representatives.
I very much look forward to hearing from you.
Now, the donk who replied clearly couldn’t cope with all the trisyllable words, he wrote back:
Subject: RE: Parking Charge Notice
Date: Tue, 22 May 2012 15:04:20 +0000
Please submit your appeal/dispute/query to the postal address provided or by the below web portal,
Interim ANPR Appeals Co-ordinator
Ohhhh ‘Interim ANPR appeals coordinator’, scary. Clearly I need to make it a bit less subtle:
Sent: 22 May 2012 18:16
To: Gary Baird
Subject: RE: Parking Charge Notice
Read the email, note the contents, respond as instructed.
Any further communications outside the scope of my previous email will be regarded and harassment under S.2 of the Protection from Harassment Act 1997and S.125(2) of the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005, and will be reported to the police.
For The Avoidance of Doubt:
The elements of the section 2 offence are:
a course of conduct;
which amounts to harassment of another; and
which the defendant knows, or ought to know amounts to harassment of another.
Or section 1(1A), as inserted by section 125(2) of the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005 (SOCPA)
a course of conduct;
which involves harassment of two or more persons; and
which the defendant knows or ought to know involves harassment of those persons;
by which he intends to persuade any person (whether or not one of those mentioned above)
not to do something that he is entitled or required to do; or
to do something that he is not under any obligation to do
I am under no obligation to pay the unsolicited invoice placed on my vehicle, as explained in my previous email.
To which Mr Baird took fright!:
We do not accept email correspondence in regards to the Parking Charge Notices,
If you are not willing to submit this by post or via the web portal then we cannot help you,
I shall not be responding to any further emails,
Interim ANPR Appeals Co-ordinator
Town & City Parking Ltd, 5 South Inch Business Centre, Shore Road, Perth, PH2 8BW
Excellent. Fuck off then and dont you dare attempt to harass me any further.
Ill keep you all posted if the donk returns.