The Prankster contacted the Co-op to check if the reason they issued the recent 'authority to issue charges' letter was that they had made a deal so that CEL would drop all cases against Co-op employees. The Co-op have written back to confirm that this is not the case, that cases against Co-op employees are still active, and that the two test cases in Bristol are still going ahead.
The Prankster is happy to set the record straight but is still no wiser as to why the letter was issued, or why the Co-op would wish to throw its genuine customers to the wolves. Although Mr ones states the reason for parking contraol is to prevent people from parking there all day, practically all CEL victims who have contacted The Prankster were genuine customers who overstayed by a small amount and none were from people who had parked there all day.
CEL are using the letter to try and pressure motorists whose cases have already been struck out. This thread on MoneySavingExpert detail the case of a motorist whose case was struck out on April 1st.
Recently the motorist received a letter from CEL containing the co-op letter and stating that they must pay £250 or face costs of £530
Drafting of claim/witness statement £70
General file attendance £45
Hearing Fee £25
Preparation for hearing £65
Claimant attending court/travel £125
To this total they have added the fees of £200 of their previous attempt at court which was struck outNotwithstanding the fact that it is extremely unlikely that a judge would allow the case to be re-instated since CEL have no good reason why they did not pay the £25 hearing fee, the fees listed are also totally inappropriate.
Of these fees, only the hearing fee is a genuine cost which would be allowed in court if they won their case. The previous court fees are entirely their own fault for not paying the fee. Drafting of claim/witness statement, general file attendance and preparation for hearing are not fees which are allowed. The claimant is not allowed fees for attending court because that is part of their job. They are allowed travel fees, but only fees which are actually incurred. if they send a solicitor on their behalf, travel would not usually be appropriate as a solicitor local to the court should be used. As they put exactly the same amount on each letter (£125) this has no basis in fact. In the rare events that CEL do send a representative it is usually Ashley Cohen. Ashley Cohen lives in Hendon, London, so would be able to claim reasonable travel expenses from there.
The letter is therefore a bullying bluff, and The Prankster questions whether CEL have even asked for the case to be re-instated, since this will cost them £155 in court fees.
In addition, The Prankster has received a number of witness statements signed by Ashley Cohen which are for all intents and purposes exactly the same. To claim £70 for drafting a witness statement may therefore be fraudulent on the part of Mr Cohen as the cost has not actually been incurred.
Civil Enforcement Limited are currently the subject of criminal proceedings in Aberdeen and The Prankster has been made aware that there is interest in these witness statements. If you have received a witness statement signed by Ashley Cohen, together with a letter claiming it cost £70 (or anything) to draft, and are willing for this to be used as evidence in any criminal case against CEL/DEAL, please forward copies of letter and statement to The Prankster together with a statement that these can be passed on along with your email address.
Ashley Cohen has a long history of having problems with witness statements, having signed them without apparent authority on behalf of many companies such as the Co-op, Scottish Widows, Fosters and may others.
The link between CEL and DEAL has also now been further confirmed and as well as Ashley Cohen's confession to the Solicitors Regulatory Authority there is also this thread on LegalBeagles. In one case where DEAL was asked to pay the motorist the cheque was actually signed by CEL.
Gary Wayne, Ashley Cohen and Simon Abraham are apparently the main business partners and controlling minds in Creative Parking Solutions, Creative Parking, StarPark, Civil Enforcement and DEAL. They use straw men as the directors filed with Companies House. According to one source they use different companies so that bad publicity does not overlap. Bemrose Mobile is another associated company.
The Prankster has been informed that Gary Wayne, Ashley Cohen and Simon Abraham are all multi-millionaires but has not been able to confirm this. Apparently this contrasts with most people based at their headquarters who are on minimum wage. They do however hold extravagant Christmas parties and it was very popular to bring potential clients to private members clubs.
According to the Royal Mail postcode finder, the address of their headquarters is 126 Colindale Avenue, North London. Although most of their correspondence lists their address as Manchester, this is a maildrop.
The Parking Prankster