VCS v Rachael Finn (3QZ64216, Sheffield county court 02/04/2014). Claim for £732.81 + costs (multiple tickets)
VCS were facing an impressive line-up for this case. Bargepole prepared the defence packs, Kirkbyinfurnesslad was the lay defendant and Professor Rachael Finn was the defendant.
The Judge decided there were three areas to investigate; standing, signage and the level of the charges.
VCS had not submitted a contract and tried to produce on one the day. Kirkbyinfurnesslad objected to this because it should have been filed 14 days before the hearing. If VCS wanted to use it, then he wanted an adjournment so that he could have time to study it. The Judge said he wanted it done and dusted on the day, so VCS withdrew the contract.
Bizarrely the Judge then ruled that as VCS had a landowner witness statement saying they had to pursue claims in accordance with the British Parking Association code of practice then the claimant had standing.
Signage was also quickly dealt with, the Judge again ruling in favour of VCS.
This left a long time to deal with the knotty subject of costs. Obviously the brains behind the operation were not in on the day VCS prepared their costs document, because they tried to argue that the cost of enforcing each £100 ticket was £160. The judge quite correctly ruled they must be lying and the document was unsatisfactory. If they really operated like this they would be haemorrhaging money faster than Nick Lester trying to avoid the NoToMob.
Cost were awarded to the defendant.
A fuller account of the case can be seen here.
It seems like word of parking companies relaxed attitude to the truth is spreading from Judge to Judge. After the case the Judge remarked that there was going to be a hearing in Cambridge soon regarding ParkingEye. The VCS representative also mentioned that all the parking companies were waiting on the result of this hearing.
There were some obvious falsehoods in the VCS document. They were trying to pretend that the average cost per ticket of preparing for a POPLA case was more than £60. However, as only 1% of cases go to POPLA, this would mean that each actual POPLA case cost £6000 to prepare for. This is absurd.
There were similar nonsensical sums given for debt collection and various other categories.
However, perhaps we should not be too surprised that VCS are not too hot with spreadsheets. Excel Parking, the owners of VCS, failed to turn up to court recently when their legal expert failed to sort his spreadsheet correctly.
Kirkbyinfurnesslad succeeded in tripping up VCS multiple times. You can too if VCS take you to court.
This was the third different explanation for charges from VCS the Prankster has seen. It is absurd that the British Parking Association Ltd let them get away with this. The correct way to do a charges calculation is to estimate your average costs in processing and enforcing a ticket, and then set your parking charge to that amount. The way not to do it is to keep inventing different categories and values which come to the same total as your parking charge and hope that one day you hit on an acceptable combination where the particular items you choose are acceptable to the courts or POPLA.
The Prankster has started a new web page for interesting court cases which do not involve ParkingEye.
The Parking Prankster