The Prankster has been helping a motorist with advice on two ParkingEye court claims, and has now received the desired result; both claims cancelled.
The motorist's family visited a shopping centre with two cars, spent some time shopping, then as is their regular custom, visited McDonalds to round the trip off and have some food. This resulted in a 20 minute overstay.
After a few letters, ParkingEye filed court claims.
The Prankster firmly believes the best way to win at court is never to get there in the first place. One of the most successful ways to get a claim cancelled, as advised by the British Parking Association Ltd, is to contact the landowner. Unfortunately ParkingEye know this too, and prising the landowner name out of them is harder than getting a tax refund.
The Prankster's guide suggests strategies for finding and contacting the landowner, but here is an actual example.
10 Feb 2014. Email from motorist to Mcdonald's
Hi Nicola, In regards to our conversation on 10/02/2014: reference the potential cancellation of the Parking eye penalty charge and small claims county court letter, A total of 6 people in two cars visited the retail park on 14/08/2014, purchasing items from pound stretchers and B&M bargains totaling £13.95, finishing their visit by enjoying a meal at McDonald's, of the purchases, one was made via debit card totaling £11.95 which should be easily confirmed by your receipt system should you deem necessary.
I’d like to take this opportunity to thank you for your help in hopefully resolving this issue; all parties involved cannot be more appreciative. If it would not be too much trouble I would be grateful of a further correspondence following the outcome.
14 Feb 2014 Email Mcdonald's to ParkingEye
From: McDonalds21 Feb 2013 Email ParkingEye to McDonald's
Sent: 14 February 2014 15:44
Subject: Customers fines
To whom it may concern Please can the following two fines be cancelled, they are for two of my customers and they are in the process of county court proceedings. Please can you confirm by email that they have been cancelled.
From: Enforcement [Enforcement@parkingeye.co.uk]
Sent: 21 February 2014 13:55
Subject: FW: Customers fines
Hi Nicola, Just to introduce myself: My name is Jade and I am one of the Enforcement Officers at ParkingEye and I oversee the enforcement process including any court proceedings we issue. I have just looked into this matter. The motorists in question has received at least 4 letters, all of which gave them the opportunity to appeal to us and let us know their reason for overstaying on site on the date of the Parking Event. As you can imagine we certainly do not want to be issuing court proceedings to those with a legitimate reason for parking on site, but unfortunately we were unaware that this was the case in both these instances. Unfortunately at this stage we have encountered further costs that amount to £50, and due to the inaction of the motorist we would require payment of this (for each case) in order to cancel the Parking Charges and Court Claims. The last thing we would want - and no doubt you would feel the same - would be for it to become common that motorists ignore all correspondence until the final hour and then inform us that they had a genuine reason for parking on site. We can send them a letter explaining this and outlining the above. Also, would you please be able to inform why they appear to have ignored our correspondence to date? Please let me know if this would be a satisfactory way to resolve this situation and situations such as this going forward?
21 Feb Email McDonalds to ParkingEye
Sent: 21 February 2014 15:18
RE: Customers fines
Hi Jade I completely understand your point however I can only deal with the information I have. They are a couple of regular customers (and are related) and came to me with their fines on the day I emailed you, they were quite distressed. As far as I am aware they have appealed as they came to me with some documentation. After speaking to a manager for the landlord a month or so ago I was informed that these fines where not supposed to affect genuine customers and he advised me that if they appealed and I could support their claim they would be cancelled. I fear that some customers are already deterred from returning to the restaurant from the great deal of negative feedback I receive weekly and I do not want to lose any more custom. Is there no other way to resolve this situation as a one off?
ParkingEye then stopped communicating. Having tried their best, McDonalds had to admit failure. The best they could do was get the charges reduced to £50 each.
24 Feb 2014. Email, motorist to McDonalds
From: motoristNow in possession of the landowner's agent contact details, the motorist proceeded with further phone calls and emails.
Sent: 24 February 2014 10:07
Re: Customers fines
Hi Nicola, thanks for trying, the reason for not replying to them was simple, they do not posses the legal right to charge for parking on the land, only the land owner does, and the disproportionate charge amounts to nothing more then daylight robbery. I'd like to thank you for you support throughout the matter, I would also ask one final favour, are you in possession of the contact details of the land owner?. As I would like to contact them directly to ascertain if they feel they have suffered any financial loss due to the 22 minute overstay with the intention of resolving the matter with the them, the only persons with the legal right to bring such a charge.
Hi Helen, reference on phone conversation this morning, To briefly explain, I know the land owner is Thread needle pensions Ltd, I have been advised that Parking eye do not have locus standi to pursue any persons that park on the land, and have been advised to contact thread needle pensions as they are the only ones who are capable of bringing any charges towards my wife and sister in law with regards to the 22 minute overstay, where my wife,sister in law,three children (one of which was 2 years old at the time) and elderly grandmother with arthritus, who has also undergone a hip replacement visited the Churchill way retail park, where they did some shopping, purchasing items and finally enjoyed a meal within the premises.
I have visited the retail stores on site and discussed the issue with the respective store managers, all of which stated they do not feel they suffered financially for the 22 minuets overstay, in fact due to purchasing items in store they profited from the visit and were kind enough to to give details of their head offices for correspondence, I might add, their responses all had a similarity, that customers may be driven away and 2 hours is not enough time to shop and eat.
As I mentioned I have been advised to contact the land owner to ascertain if they feel they have suffered a financial loss due to the overstay and negotiate a settlement for this matter with them directly, and if they feel they have not then I will ask them to order parking eye to cease the pursuance of what amounts to nothing more then harassment for their own financial gain, I have also been advised to inform the land owner that, should parking eye continue, I will be applying under CPR (civil procedure rule) seeking replacement of parking eye with thread needle ltd as they are the principle, at which point all details appertaining to this case will be offered out the the local and national media, in an attempt to bring an end to the ongoing targeting of the general public by companies such as parking eye, if you briefly check the internet you will see, is not far off gaining the notoriety of the private wheel clamping escapades a few years back, and will surely attract the media attention warranted.
As with all things in life, I believe there is an order, a chain to follow, and as you are the contracting agency assigned to manage the land I think it only fair to allow you the opportunity to stop this matter prior to involving the landowner. Parking eyes response stating £50 costs for both cases is a lie, previous cases thrown out of court clearly state the charges do not amount to a pre-estimate of loss, and are merely the cost of running a business their in house solicitor, Rachael Ledson is employed to deal with all of their legal matters, therefore her employment is a cost of running the business and not a sufficient pre-estimate of loss. I apologize if this correspondence seems harsh, and my frustration is not directed to you personally but I am furious, as the stress from the illegal harassment by parking eye is now adversely affecting my wife's medical condition, and for this reason I intend to have this quashed, or pursue all persons involved through the courts, irreverent of the financial cost to myself, as i'm sure you can understand, when somebody causes stress and harm to your loved ones it must not be tolerated and be met with a firm stance.
This had the desired effect and the charges were cancelled. True to form, ParkingEye sent several letters to the motorist informing them of this, but they never arrived. The managing agent had to request ParkingEye to resend the letters.
It is clear from this correspondence that ParkingEye's claim to be a necessary component of the shopping process inflicted on the motorist to ensure turnover of parking spaces is not upheld by large numbers of retailers, who are losing custom and customer goodwill each time a parking charge is issued.
The Parking Prankster