Friday, 9 May 2014

Have ParkingEye set Hill Dickinson on MoneySavingExpert?

[Update - see updated message from the forum team below]

The Prankster has noticed a post by the forum team on the parking board of MoneySavingExpert. A small snippet is reproduced.
In recent months, we have again had to deal with complaints about this board. Here at MSE we fight your corner as a consumer so to some extent this comes with the territory. However, you need to understand you are anonymous usernames posting content on a public forum. To you, there is no cost and this is your board. 
We are a small team managing over 150 Forum boards, all requiring resource. In a perfect world we'd have more, but this is what we have and how we operate. So, when people constantly post names and use words like "scam", "cowboys", “rip-offs” etc. it becomes a legal problem and we may have to remove threads and posts to protect the site.
We can support your factual comments, we can’t support personal remarks about others
Although the post does not mention which parking company complained, a number of posts have been removed and all of these have been to do with ParkingEye. One forum member, spacey, has also apparently been banned from the forum.

It is reasonable, therefore, to assume that ParkingEye have set their defamation lawyers, Hill Dickinson, onto MoneySavingExpert - although of course they may have written themselves or chosen a new legal firm.

Although MoneySavingExpert apparently do not consider ParkingEye to be scammers, cowboys or rip-off merchants, The Prankster respectfully disagrees.

Only a cowboy outfit would issue a parking charge for parking in two different car parks

Only a scammer would pursue a parking charge through the court system when they knew the motorist was neither driver nor keeper of the vehicle in question, and therefore there was no legal basis whatsoever for the claim.

Only a rip-off merchant would state their genuine pre-estimate of loss was £100, when their own accounts show the maximum average cost per ticket issued is £17.

Should ParkingEye wish to disagree with this opinion and set Hill Dickinson onto The Prankster, he has provided ParkingEye with the address of his representative in England. The Prankster does not currently live or work in England and is not subject to English law. (He does fly in to do a spot as lay representative now and then).

The Prankster reminds Hill Dickinson that they have not replied to any of his communications and also reminds them that he has previously informed them he will publish on his blog at a time of his choosing any or all letters sent to him which he considers it is in the public interest to publish.

[UPDATE 9/5/2014 14:00]
Andrea modified the notice to reword two paragraphs:

Thank you for your responses everyone.
We've amended two paragraphs in the first post to make our point clearer:
In recent months, we have again had to deal with complaints about this board. Here at MSE we fight your corner as a consumer and we believe much of the private parking industry is a Wild West full of many cowboys ripping off honest motorists, as we’ve seen and heard too many stories to suggest otherwise (and some staff here have been on the end of unscrupulous tactics). However, some firms do also act fairly. 
The problem we face is when people make allegations without evidence against a specific company, calling them “scammers” or “criminals”. Without evidence, this becomes a legal problem and we may have to remove threads and posts to protect the site. We prefer to keep our resources focused on fighting hard for you to fight unfair tickets and keeping that debate unabashed than having to deal with a legal sideshow about ‘is the name-calling fair?’ – so please help us help you by moderating the language not to accuse of illegality.

Happy Parking

The Parking Prankster


  1. MSE are backing the wrong horse. Since when has it been illegal to express an opinion - no matter how bizzare? What happened to freedom of speech? I wonder what our press will say when they discover what some Parking companies may be trying to do.

  2. Looks like Parking Cowboys will have to change his site name now. Or he can simply offer Hill Dickinson a job that involves sex and travel.

  3. The stakes are certainly being raised in this matter, PE are bullies and no mistake. I can't help think that we need a fighting fund to pay for an appeal (perhaps of a case like the Premier Inn one in the previous blog entry). Taunting ParkingEye may be good fun, but what is needed is a resounding victory in a higher court.

    1. Err ... Rob, the previous blog entry was about Premier Park Ltd., nothing to do with Premier Inn or ParkingEye.

      As for the higher court, the Cambridge verdict, and probable subsequent hearing at the Court of Appeal, is going to be the one.

    2. If ever there was a case demanding of an appeal it is that Premier Parking one. It's an outrageous miscarriage of justice that someone gets 'fined' £455 for parking outside their back gate but not within a marked bay?

    3. Of course I realised that the other case didn't involve PE. As regards the Cambridge case I ask the simple question: who is going to fund an appeal barrister? Correct me if I am wrong but the lay representative thing goes out of the door at that point, so who pays the piper? A fund to pay for a test-case appeal would seem to be the best way.

    4. We don't want to get ahead of ourselves here, so let's see the Judgment first, and the grounds on which it is based. If it goes in favour of PE, it will be up to either or both defendants to decide whether they wish to continue the fight. If it goes against PE, they will probably want to appeal, or they may not want to risk getting a binding ruling from a court of record.

      There are a number of options available regarding getting a barrister to represent our side, we'll cross that bridge if and when we get to it.

    5. As the senior people on PPP know, I have amassed a good fund for a legal case already. It was for use in representing a VCS airport case victim but it's unlikely that it will ever get used.
      It's all in pledges of course and some may not be up to it now but I guess a sizable fund could be quickly amassed.

  4. Hill Dickinson are well known as bluff & bluster merchants, making threats which they know have no lawful basis. Just like their clients, in fact.

    I wonder if HD or PE have ever heard of the Streisand effect? Chances are that both these companies are so arrogant and deluded, they think it won't happen to them.

    But it already has.

  5. Words such as "scam", "cowboys", “rip-offs” are factual. You only have to look at past cases.

  6. Martin Lewis has replied to this now, there are currently two threads but it's likely they will be merged