They first appeared on the radar around May 2015, having apparently bought up a lot of parking related debt from some of the dodgier parking companies (clue, the fact that these 'debts' were not paid might mean they never existed).
Although MIL sent out letters purporting to have purchased the debt from another company, this may not have been entirely valid - the company stated did not exist at the time the parking charge was issued.
The letters were extremely aggressive, and in the same envelope was a letter before action stating legal action would commence if the matter was not resolved in 7 days. This is against practice directions.
The motorist replied, querying the legitimacy of the debt assignment.
MIL ignored this, and filed a court claim. The motorist filed a defence. MIL sent some more letters with backdated notices of assignment.
Although this is not valid, they apparently were still worthless anyway. They also contained errors which made it appeal the letters were really written by MIL and not the operator.
MIL then sent an offer of settlement, but this was at the same amount as the original claim and so not particularly appealing, considering the motorist thought they owed £0.
Here is the motorists report of the hearing, from Pepipoo
I recently went to the Civil Court in this claim, and despite what it said on their paperwork, I was greeted by the 'barrister' representing MIL.
I hadn't received any form of pack from MIL prior to the hearing, just a brief challenge of the main points I'd made in my defence, putting their breaches of all of the relevant legislation down to "minor errors" that shouldn't defer from the fact I owed a debt.
He then handed me a copy of the ParkingEye vs Beavis case review for my attention
So at that stage I was not particularly confident that I was going to win if I'm honest.
We went into court, and the Judge just unleashed a raft of questions to their barrister that he simply couldn't answer.
MIL Collections sent a letter rather than attending. The letter had no supporting documents, it wasn't a statement of truth, and it carried no weight whatsoever. The letter even had the audacity to instruct the judge to adjourn if she wasn't happy with its format, at no cost to them it said, so that they may get any evidence she required.
The Judge tied the barrister up in knots, to the extent that I even began to feel sorry for him for a second!!
She concluded by using my defence statement, (which, as instructed here and in the Parking Pranksters guide, I had neatly typed out in numbered paragraphs, with the evidence behind a divider, all in a folder for ease) to show the barrister that this was what she had expected from his client, and that in my defence pack I'd denied the debt. As a result, she wanted evidence of the debt from the Claimant, MIL, however, they hadn't presented any, and so as a result, she could do nothing other than dismiss the case in its entirety, and that was the final decision.
I literally hadn't even spoken once up to that point, until the Judge asked me if it was okay for the case to be dismissed!
The motorist took along a list of costs, which were awarded by the judge.
The Prankster notes the advice given by MIL Collections:
Relying on a technical defence, mitigating circumstances or sending internet forum style letters without first seeking regulated legal advice could result in a court judgment being awarded with additional costs and potentially SIGNIFICANT DISRUPTION to your financial standing.This doe not, on reflection, appear to have been very good advice.
The Prankster suggests MIL get Gladstones Solicitors to help them next time. Based on Gladstone's known record, they still probably won't win, but at least someone involved in parking will make a profit.
The Parking Prankster