3JD10556 ParkingEye v Pointer (10/04/2014 Coventry). DDJ Salmon ruled that the motorist had purchased a ticket, that his evidence was more believable than ParkingEye's and that there was therefore no case to answer. ParkingEye were also reprimanded for trying to ambush the hearing with new evidence.
Mr Pointer, represented by his son, met the ParkingEye representative before the hearing. She was very friendly and explained how events were likely to proceed.
DDJ Salmon came across as very thorough. He acknowledged he had received a formidable bundle of information and proposed to tackle the main issue first (the ticket) and then other points later (no loss suffered; lack of standing for claimant; no genuine pre-estimate of loss). This was a little nerve-racking for Mr Pointer who hoped the ticket issue was enough to decide the case, and therefore avoid any sparring with ParkingEye regarding the finer (or blunter) points of contract law.
ParkingEye's main argument was that Mr Pointer had not entered the full registration into the machine. She ambushed the hearing with a new 'Reply To Witness Statement' with additional information about the terms and conditions of parking which stated that the full registration should be entered. This document had not been received by either the defendant or the court and had no signature or date; this resulted in a stern and protracted telling of from the DDJ who finished up saying he would not attach much weight to the document as it was not served properly.
Ambushing defendants in court is a common tactic by ParkingEye and should be sternly resisted. Defendants should point out to the judge that the Claimant is a huge company with a legal department who are fully aware of the court procedures and that and documents served after the filing date should be ignored.
By contrast, ParkingEye do their best to scare defendants from updating their own documents.
It seems ParkingEye like to have it all their own way, and think they can ignore court procedures at will, while attempting to rigorously enforce them on unrepresented defendants. Luckily DDJ Salmon gave them short shrift this time.
There then followed much debate about parking machines and signage. Mr Pointer argued that when he parked there it was only possible to put digits into the machine and not letters. Thus it was not possible to enter a full registration. The machines were changed at some point and the whole car park was refurbished. ParkingEye contended that the machines were the new type at the time of parking and referred to evidence from the landowner (Ironically some of it through the defendant's own Freedom of information request.) Mr Pointer stuck to his guns and did and excellent job of persuading the judge that the landowner and ParkingEye were wrong.
Mr Pointer had saved his ticket from the day and also had samples of newer tickets. He went into lots of detail into the differences between old and new tickets and also that he distinctly remembered the old machine.
ParkingEye tried to infer that Mr Pointer was in a rush and did not read the instructions correctly, but Mr Pointer robustly denied that and the judge quashed further argument by pointing out there was 5 minutes between the time ParkingEye's photo showed the car entered the car park and the ticket was purchased.
After some more cross-examination the DDJ said he would ask ParkingEye to sum up, then give Mr Pointer the opportunity to say anything further before moving on to the next points.
However after ParkingEye summed up, he then launched into a summing up of his own; it soon became apparent this was the final judgment.
DDJ Salmon stated Mr Pointer has presented his evidence succinctly, passionately and clearly honestly and that on the balance of probabilities he found his evidence to be the most persuasive, despite the 'evidence' to the contrary from ParkingEye.
There were smiles all round when Mr Pointer asked for parking to be covered in his costs.
Outside, ParkingEye had a quick chat and asked why they had let things get this far. Perhaps the question should really have been asked the other way round. ParkingEye will have spent an estimated £400-£500 chasing up a £1 parking fee which was in any case fully paid.
Perhaps Coventry Health Centre should take a leaf out of Northumbria NHS's books and replace ParkingEye with a solution which is more appropriate.
The Parking Prankster