Today, letters arrived in respect of some if not all of the stayed cases.
Wright Hassall seem to already have prejudged the cases, stating that the Supreme Court 'confirmed that a PCN is necessary to endure proper use of a car park, and also to ensure that there is a commercial justification for the car park operator to manage the car park.'
The sentence of course not only does not make sense, but is a false interpretation of the Supreme Court judgment. The Supreme Court themselves were at pains to tweet that the judgment was only applicable to the 'use of this particular car park & clear wording of the notices'.
There is a 7 day deadline to reply, starting from 7th April and expiring on Thursday 14th April. If you have not received your letter today The Prankster recommends you assume it has got lost in the post, and email your case to Wright Hassall anyway. It may well be that Wright Hassall are trying to pull a fast one, and get cases pushed through during the Easter holiday season when people are away and will not have a chance to reply. The Prankster cannot understand why after waiting more than a year, motorists suddenly have a 3 day deadline to reply to a letter.
The Prankster recommends the following:
1) Email your full original case to Wright Hassall and ask that all appeal points be considered, not just those pertaining to GPEOL
2) If you have not received an evidence pack from the operator point this out to Wright Hassall.
I have not received an evidence pack from the operator. I therefore assume the operator has decided not to contest the case. As the operator has not provided any evidence that the alleged event occurred, or explained how a contact was formed, or if the charge is contractual, for breach of contract or trespass, or that the signage was adequate to form a contract by performance, or that in line with the Beavis judgment, the wording was clear and the charge brought prominently to the motorists notice, I submit there is no case to answer to. This would be in line with previous POPLA decisions where the operator submitted no evidence.
'The Assessor’s reasons are as set out.
The Operator should now cancel the parking charge notice forthwith.
Reasons for the Assessor’s Determination
It is the Appellant’s case that the parking charge notice was issued incorrectly.
The Operator has not produced a copy of the parking charge notice, nor any evidence to show a breach of the conditions of parking occurred, nor any evidence that shows what the conditions of parking, in fact, were.
Accordingly I have no option but to allow the appeal.
As a belts and braces I would also recommend raising a complaint with the BPA that you have not received an evidence pack from the operator. The email address is firstname.lastname@example.org
3) If you have received an evidence pack, but it just treats Beavis as a silver bullet without attempting to justify the charge, then you should point this out to Wright Hassall if the case is not to do with an overstay at a free car park.
The Operator has not attempted to relate their case to that of ParkingEye v Beavis, and to therefore justify their charge. It is their responsibility to make there case. As they have not, there is therefore nothing for me to rebut. I content it is not the assessors job to make the case on behalf of the operator.
The Supreme Court made it perfectly clear that the judgment was not a silver bullet which justifies all parking charges. On Nov 4th they tweeted that the judgment was taking in account use of this particular car park & clear wording of the notices'.
4) If you disagree that signage was sufficient, point this out.
Here are a few of the references to signage from the judgment:
Para 100: “The charge is prominently displayed in large letters at the entrance to the car park and at frequent intervals within it” and “They must regard the risk of having to pay £85 for overstaying as an acceptable price for the convenience of parking there.”
Para 108: “But although the terms, like all standard contracts, were presented to motorists on a take it or leave it basis, they could not have been briefer, simpler or more prominently proclaimed. If you park here and stay more than two hours, you will pay £85”
Para 199: “What matters is that a charge of the order of £85 (reducible on prompt payment) is an understandable ingredient of a scheme serving legitimate interests. Customers using the car park agree to the scheme by doing so.”
Para 205: “The requirement of good faith in this context is one of fair and open dealing. Openness requires that the terms should be expressed fully, clearly and legibly, containing no concealed pitfalls or traps. Appropriate prominence should be given to terms which might operate disadvantageously to the customer.”
Para 287: In so far as the criterion of unconscionableness allows the court to address considerations other than the size of the penalty in relation to the protected interest, the fact that motorists entering the car park were given ample warning of both the time limit of their licence and the amount of the charge also supports the view that the parking charge was not unconscionable.
The signage in this location is clearly deficient compared to the signage in the Beavis case. This brings both the penalty issue back in play, and also the unfair contract terms argument.
I therefore content that when the signage is taken into consideration, the charge is both a penalty and an unfair contract term.
5) If you have receoved an evidence pack, then you should email in a rebuttal.
The Parking Prankster