Sunday, 22 January 2017

Credit Services Association uphold complaint against MIL Collections

The Credit Services Association have upheld a complaint regarding MIL Collections.

When MIL were contacted by telephone to inform them of a change of address, MIL's operative became aggressive and provided false information regarding the court process, trying to imply that bailiffs would call round even before a court claim was filed.

MIL defended the complaint on the grounds the information was given in good faith. However the CSA ruled that the agent should not have answered the questions raised and should have made it clear at the start of the call he could not offer legal advice, and pointed the caller to free advice sources.

MIL stated that the essence of what was said was not oppressive or misleading. However the CSA ruled the agent was not following best practice and their comments could be construed as threatening in nature. The CSA therefore upheld this part of the complaint.

Prankster Notes

Best advice when contacting MIL Collections or any other debt collector by phone is therefore;

1) Don't. Avoid the phone if possible because you can be subject to bullying and false information
2) If you have to call, record the call. Although you may not be able to play this to a 3rd party, you can make a transcript
3) If they are rude, aggressive or give you false information, make a complaint to the Credit Services association

The CSA code of practice and complaints process can be downloaded from their web site.

Happy Parking

The Parking Prankster

Saturday, 21 January 2017

UKPC and POPLA fail to understand registration numbers with spaces

The Guardian has reported that both UKPC and POPLA fail to understand registration with spaces in them.

The motorist paid by phone using Parkmobile.

"She inputted the registration number with a space on it, as it appears on a car. As a result we were sent a £100 fine".

The motorist appealed to POPLA, who failed to understand that paying by phone means there is not ticket to display.

The ticket was only cancelled as 'a gesture of goodwill' after the Guardian intervened. The Guardian commented that this shows how useless POPLA has become.

Prankster Notes

The Prankster has not seen the POPLA appeal or verdict, but if the Guardian has reported this correctly, he would have to agree that this is an example of how useless POPLA is.

Anybody who owns a car can check their registration document - it will contain a space. They can also go and look at their car - the registration plates will contain a space. It is therefore perfectly reasonable to enter a space when asked to input your registration.

Given that the Parkmobile app allows spaces to be entered, then the fault seems entirely that of UKPC and not the motorist.

The Prankster considers that UKPC had no valid reason to get keeper data from the DVLA database and the motorist should consider making a claim against UKPC for a breach of the data protection act. A claim in the region of £250 to £750 would seem to be appropriate.

Meanwhile, POPLA should reconsider whether a space is a valid character or not; and if it is not, why is the Parkmobile app allowing it?

Happy Parking

The Parking Prankster

Friday, 20 January 2017

Gladstones claim struck out - utterly hopeless particulars

Parking & Property Management Limited v C Limited C6GF02Z5 19/1/2017 Birmingham. DJ Musgrave 

PPML imagined some parking slight or other had occurred. C Limited did not agree. PPML therefore instructed Gladstone Solicitors to file a claim.

As with all these Gladstone claims, the particulars were a nonsense. Gladstones do not believe they need to obey practice directions. As their solicitor Helen Cook explained a while back:

We issue on a vast majority of claims, majority of which are not defended and therefore it is time consuming and not financially viable to send further particulars of claim

C Limited were not in the habit of wasting time with bogus claims and so filed for a strike out. They submitted that the claim should be struck out pursuant to CPR 3.4(2)(b) insofar as the statement of case is an abuse of the court’s process or is
otherwise likely to obstruct the just disposal of the proceedings.

They also pointed out that there was a clear conflict of interest as the IAS and Gladstones were run by the same body. A potential conflict of interest therefore exists between the Claimant’s Solicitors and their client. In effect the Claimant’s solicitors have the potential, to exert influence via their formulation of the appeals process and appointment of adjudicators (whose identities are deliberately withheld), over the extent to which appeals are allowed. This in turn is likely to have the consequence of generating more litigation for them to undertake on the IPC’s members behalves.

There is also the potential for the Claimant’s solicitors to compromise the supposed independence of the IAS to suit the broader interests of parking management companies who are both its clients and the members of the trade association it operates

C Limited sent an employee to the strike out hearing. PPML sent a man called Mr Blake, who introduced himself as a director even though he does not appear to be according to Companies House.

The hearing was short-lived.

The claim was struck out and variously described by District Judge Musgrave as 'poor', 'utterly hopeless and inadequate' and 'an abuse of process'. He did not require submissions in respect of the matters raised in C Limited's statement and the matters raised therein did not form the basis of his judgement.

PPML were ordered to pay £341 in costs.

Prankster Note

Hiring cheap shoddy solicitors does not always save money. If your solicitors believe that it is not financially viable to obey practice directions then you probably either need to change solicitors or not file the claim.

Parking & Property Management Limited - you've been Gladstoned!

Happy Parking

The Parking Prankster

Thursday, 19 January 2017

UKPC cancel £1500 of residential charges

UKPC have cancelled a court claim and a number outstanding parking charges totaling £1500 against a resident, Mr L for parking in his designated parking bay.

This follows a long running battle to get the charges cancelled. The resident pointed out his tenancy agreement lease allowed him to park without restriction. SCS Law, acting for UKPC, demanded to see it. Mr L obliged. SCS Law responded 'There would be an additional clause for the management agency to state you need a permit pass'. This appeared to be either wishful thinking or the ability to read invisible ink. Mr L, unable to read invisible ink, could see no such clause.

Mr L. pointed out that the Management Agency had directed UKPC to cancel the charges. SCS Law refused as it was 'the legal stage'. Mr L pointed out the Management Agency had requested this before the claim was filed.

Eventually Mr L. sent a Letter Before Action to the Management Agency demonstrating they could be held liable as UKPC work on their behalf. The claim was magically cancelled.

Prankster Note

The only reason SCS Law don't cancel at the legal stage is so they can trouser more money from their client. In reality, courts expect parties to settle right up to the courtroom door.

Mr L now has a potential claim against UKPC for breach of the Data Protection Act for pursuing charges when none were lawful. He has 6 years to make his decision.

Mr L. has passed on the information and knowledge gained from this experience to other residents. The Prankster wonders how long UKPC will decide to remain once residents start suing in droves.

Happy Parking

The Parking Prankster

Resident counterclaims against UKPC for £1000. Score draw

UKPC v Mr McCarthy 15/12/2016 Luton

Mr McCarthy's vehicle was often to be found parked in common residential areas. This behaviour was allowable under his lease agreement. UKPC attempted to unilaterally impose new terms and conditions which Mr McCarthy ignored, resulting in the issue of a number of parking charges.

UKPC filed a claim for £840. Mr McCarthy filed a counter-claim for £1,000 for harassment.

The Hearing

The claim was partially dismissed and the counterclaim partially allowed. The judge awarded amounts which cancelled each other out.

Prankster Note

A score draw.

The Prankster suspects that if McCarthy had used different arguments it would have been a clear home win, and UKPC would have been sent packing. So next time, use 4-3-3, not 3-3-4.

An analysis of the legal issues around residential parking is here.

It is clear that parking companies have no idea of the laws which govern their own industry. This sad state of affairs has been compounded by unscrupulous shysters of the likes of Will Hurley and John Davies who cruelly convince parking companies they have a valid case, while actually the reverse is true. Instead of guiding the companies to be within the law, they actively encourage sharp practices and the issuing of tickets in situations where they cannot, in the Prankster's opinion, possibly be valid.

The case of ParkingEye v Beavis revealed that something like 80% of tickets are not valid. While not all of these will give rise to an enforceable claim against the parking company, it is likely that a good percentage will.

A total of 16 million keeper enquiries were made in 2015 and 9 million in the first half of 2016. Extrapolating these figures would mean that something like 29 million parking charges have been improperly issued over the last 2 years. If each driver managed to get £250 per ticket, this would mean that parking companies are in the hole for around £7 billion.

Claims can go back up to 6 years, which would mean the actual liability is substantially more.

Given that driverless cars may substantially alter the way we park over the coming years, The Prankster thinks that anyone investing in a parking company right now may be throwing their money away.

Happy Parking

The Parking Prankster

UKPC - West Cumbria Hospital

Guest Blog 

Here we seem to have a variation on a theme from UKPC. Regular readers will be aware of the doctoring photographs scam where times of photographs are altered to make it appear that cars have been parked for longer than has been paid for. Readers may also note the failure of the sun to move during the day in UKPC managed car parks.

At West Cumbria Hospital one motorist paid for the correct length of stay but the ticket machine printed a ticket with fewer hours parking registered on it than had been paid for

Visiting the hospital for a baby delivery - you know how long these things take - anxious Dad paid for 24hrs parking. Well you never know with these things do you? UKPC do offer a charge of £3 for 3.5hrs but the little woman refused to guarantee a delivery to such a tight timetable? Women hey ...what can you do? Put in £5 to get a longer duration (4x£1 and 2x50p)

Got ticket - put on dashboard - dash to ward (well as much as a lady in labour can dash) and of course proud Dad didn't check the ticket. Well it's an NHS car park and they have our trust and we believe in their integrity don't we?

Happily a father later that day, proud Dad was brought back to earth with a bang when he left the hospital the same day he parked even though he had paid for 24 hours parking. Yes he had a charge stuck to his car because the ticket printed by the machine only gave him four hours parking despite paying for 24 hours.

Anyone else also caught out by a faulty machine at West Cumbria Hospital have a rant at the new CEO  and point out just how faith in the integrity of his Trust could be diminishing by the day whilst they keep with UKPC.

This won't be the last disgruntled motorist using this car park. You see I can see into the future.

Prankster Note

The Prankster gets a large amount of mail from people who purchased valid tickets but due to some fault or other of the ticket machine still get issued a parking charge. it seems the worse maintained the machines are, the larger the profits of the parking company.

UKPC are not the worst company for this - Excel Parking Services appear to run the shoddiest ship.

Happy Parking

The Parking Prankster

BW Legal discontinue Liverpool Business Park claim. Is there an echo?

BW Legal have discontinued another claim relating to briefly stopping at Liverpool Business Park.

Is there an echo in the room?

It appears they have now accepted that VCS charges are not lawful, and therefore that it is prudent to discontinue.

It would appear the motorist now has a valid claim against VCS for a breach of the data protection act, in using his personal data in a way that was not fair or lawful.

It has already been established on this site that a claim for £250 has been awarded to a motorist by a judge.

Happy Parking

The Parking Prankster