Excel Parking V Booth. C6DP9P15 24/1/17. Bury CC.
Mr Booth parked in a car park but did not ralise it was pay and display. The signage was hidden behind a van. Excel Parking disagreed and filed a court claim.
Excel Parking Services Ltd 0 Versus Booth 1
Mr Booth represented himself. He had a number of lines of defence, but focussed on the poor signage in the car park. Excel Parking used BW Legal who hired a local solicitor to turn up. She wasn't that well prepared and had not bothered to bring printed copies of the case. When the Judge asked her to refer to defence photographs provided of poor signage she used her phone.
Mr Booth admitted that he never bought a ticket - but this was because he never saw the signage signage in the first place and so no contract was entered into.
Excel provided pictures of the signage, date stamped for August 2015, but the event was in March 2015. They also provided at the last minute a witness statement from the landowner stating he gave authority, date stamped September 2015. The PCN they sent in their Witness statement was a photocopy and completely blurred and illegible.
Mr Booth's arguments were that;
1. Poor signage - there were "staff only" parking signs on the building wall next to where he parked - he questioned the claimant's right to sue someone parked against these bays
2. He questioned their authority to act on behalf of the landlord
3. He questioned whether the signage had planning consent.
The Judge followed this through with Excel's representative: "Did they have a contract which said these bays were exempt or not exempt from Excel issuing tickets on the vehicles parked?
As Excel had not bothered to supply a copy of the actual contract, the solicitor could not confirm either way.
Regarding. planning consent, Mr Booth had an email from the town planning officer stating that in his opinion the signage would require planning consent, and that there was no planning application on file. The judge said if Mr Booth had only brought this point up he may have found differently.
The judge clearly had doubts about the signs where any reasonable person would think the same and that the "staff only" signs would not lead them to think there was a requirement to buy a ticket.
He took a recess for 10 mins then made his judgment.
Claim refused - the parking signs cause confusion , and there was prof there was a contract which allowed the charges claimed.
He went on to state that he was staggered that serial claims companies like Excel do not take a photo of the signs at the time of erection. Why do they wait until litigation to take photos. There was no evidence that the signs were there at all on the date.
Mr Booth was too excited and trying his best not to grin from ear to ear that he forgot to ask for costs.
The Parking Prankster