This sorry state of affairs began in 2014 when Ms O purchased a ticket to park in Albert St, Birmingham. Unfortunately, due to one or other of the well-publicised flaws in their Metric parking machines, the ticket did not register back at head office and Ms O was issued a parking charge notice. She disputed the charge for several years until eventually BW Legal filed a claim on behalf of VCS.
Ms O filed a defence stating that she had purchased a valid ticket and that in any case the signage at the car park was in the name of Excel, not VCS. VCS therefore had no rights to bring a claim. Ms O also filed a counterclaim for £250 for breaches of s13 of the Data Protection Act 1988.
BW Legal bluffed and blustered, filing a 3 point reply to defence stating they found it embarrassing.
VCS sent a local solicitor. Ms O had a lay representative from the British Motorist Protection Association.
Ms O's representative, who we will call Mr Happy introduced himself to VCS's representative, who we shall call Mr Angry. Mr Angry told Mr Happy that VCS were discontinuing the claim. Mr Happy expressed his delight and said that just leaves the counterclaim then. Mr Angry flew into a rage and said the counterclaim was preposterous and had no merit and should be struck out. Mr Happy said, backing off, that he would rather leave all that to the judge, and bade his farewell until the hearing.
The Allocation Hearing
Employment Judge Hodgson accepted the discontinuance notice and asked if Ms O still wanted to counterclaim. She did. He then went through the particulars of claim with a fine tooth-comb, picking up some areas which he wanted clarifying. He then ordered that new improved particulars of counterclaim be filed, VCS to file a new defence to the counterclaim, and the case be allocated to the small claims track in February 2017.
It is hilarious that BW Legal, the masters of the non-compliant particulars of claim, are calling a detailed 7 page defence embarrassing. Obviously it was so embarrassing they felt the need to discontinue the claim before a judge got their teeth into it.
This is now the 3rd claim regarding the Albert St car park where VCS have filed a claim and then discontinued when the defendant pointed out that the signs were in the name of Excel Parking.
VCS v Zozulya A8QZ6666
VCS v Ms M. 3QZ53955
VCS v Ms O C8DP9D8C
VCS did eventually get round to changing the signs. The Prankster is not sure of the exact date. However, all motorists taken to court by VCS for alleged contraventions at this car park should raise the point that the signage is not in the name of VCS, and so there can be no contract with them, and should also consider a counterclaim for data protection breaches.
Filing a counterclaim stops VCS grandstanding you and then pulling out at the last moment, trying to avoid costs.
The Parking Prankster