The Prankster has been informed that ParkingEye (PE) have finally cancelled a parking ticket under pressure from Starbucks. Well done, Starbucks.
The facts of the case were that the motorist was delayed due to a genuine medical emergency. They ignored letters from ParkingEye because that was the prevalent advice at the time. Now of course the new advice is to always appeal to ParkingEye and then to POPLA. ParkingEye do not believe that the BPA code of practice applies to them, but are always put right on this matter by the lads and lasses of POPLA who routinely uphold appeals on grounds of pre-estimate of loss.
ParkingEye, also believing that the established court practices do not apply to them either, issued court proceedings without following pre-court protocol and without issuing a letter before action.
The motorist wrote to the CEO of Starbucks who contacted the manager of the branch. The manager asked PE to drop the case.
ParkingEye said that had the motorist appealed at the time then as they were a genuine customer ParkingEye would have dropped the case. (This was slightly weird as no mention was made of the medical emergency. However, this appears to be their standard template letter in such circumstances). As the sting in the tail, to drop the case now they wanted £50, made up of £2.50 DVLA fee, £2.50 postage, £30 unspecified 'admin' costs and £15 court fee.
The motorist considered this was unreasonable; had they appealed at the time the £2.50 DVLA, £2.50 postage and £30 'admin' costs would still have been incurred. The £15 court filing fee was of course entirely ParkingEye's responsibility for not following established pre-court protocol.
ParkingEye refused to budge so the motorist sent a list of questions which would have been part of the normal pre-court dialogue. One of the questions was 'had I appealed at the time, would you have dropped the case?'
At this point ParkingEye suddenly threw in the towel and wrote a rather weird letter back, stating they had 'received an appeal' and had cancelled the charge 23 days ago as a 'goodwill gesture' and as a result of pressure from their 'client'. Er...nice of them to let the motorist know!
The Prankster notes a few lessons from this tale.
First, always appeal to ParkingEye within the normal appeal timescale. Unlike some other parking companies, they really do cancel a lot of tickets
Second, if they don't cancel, appeal to POPLA. POPLA currently uphold all appeals against ParkingEye if the issue of genuine pre-estimate of loss is raised.
Third, if you didn't do this, and you get a court hearing don't give up. Contact the landowner and ask them to get involved. This case shows that it can be done. This link shows many other similar cases.
Lastly, hardly any of the cases ParkingEye file actually get to court. They file around 500 cases a week yet in the last year only twenty or so made it to a hearing. This is hardly surprising because it costs ParkingEye many hundreds of pounds to go to court, and they don't get anywhere near this money back. Going to court is a loss leader for them so they can post a few victories on their web site and scare people into paying. In reality, they would rather negotiate a settlement. The Prankster is aware of many settled cases with ParkingEye over the last year, ranging from £30 to £100 - nowhere near the amount they are asking for on the actual court papers. Many other cases get thrown out by the court, and in some cases ParkingEye even forget to turn up.
The Parking Prankster