Monday, 6 February 2017

Flawed ANPR misread causes 2 years of hell

Excel v Ms X. Liverpool. 1/2/2017

Ms X received a parking fine in January 2015 from Excel.

When she read it she was flabbergasted as it was for a car park in Birmingham - a place she has never visited. She contacted Excel straight away who directed her to contact the police which she did. She received a log number for the call which she passed onto the company. Months passed and she received more letters but took bad advice from forums and ignored them. Unfortunately this was the wrong thing to do. She received court proceedings and filed a defence stating the obvious that it wasn't her; the police informed her that her car must have been cloned.

She appeared in Liverpool County Court and the judge decided to adjourn as Excel's case was that the lady had only produced a report number, not a crime number. The judge awarded £75 in wasted costs to Excel. Ms X was given 2 weeks to come up with a crime reference.

However, when Ms X tried to contact the police they refused to give a crime reference as a crime had not been committed against her by cloning her plates. At this point she began to worry as she had been informed a CCJ could cost her her job at the post office.

At this point Coupon-Mad stepped in and helped create a witness statement which fully explained the situation. Ms X had been at the hairdresser at the time, so she got a photograph of her appointment book plus a witness statement confirming she was at her salon. Luckily enough her father keeps a diary and he had written in it he had collected her to go shopping, so this also formed part of the evidence.

She returned to court on 1st February. The judge was the same as before and when she walked in she could tell he was impressed with the evidence pack. The judge went through the evidence and asked the VCS solicitor how he wanted to proceed and he just shook his head saying "She has proved she wasn't the driver."

Ms X nearly fell off the chair.

The judge then read through the entire case and then asked me if she had anything to say.

"Yes please, I would like to state that for 2 years I have worried about this case, I had a phone call a week before the hearing telling me that they would not accept my witness statement and I should accept an offer to pay a reduced amount with a payment plan."

The BW Legal enforcer then tried to con her that the 'fine' would rise to £500 is she went back to court. He tried to say the judge would not accept her new witness statement and evidence and he had only allowed her to get a crime reference number, which she had not done.

Ms X therefore said that due to all her stress and running around chasing her tail she would like the £75.00 court fees she had incurred written off. The judge once again asked the solicitor what he thought and his answer was "Well sir you did make that order and she did get a second chance."

Once again Ms X nearly fell off the chair!

She asked could she reply and the judge said "No I have this". He then proceed to to reel off the evidence she had supplied, then all the flaws in the VCS witness statement and his final sentence was "and seeing as your company deal with these issues day in and day out, you should have known a crime reference number wouldn't be supplied so you wasted all of our time, so I wipe the costs!"

Ms X nearly did a cartwheel but instead went right up to the judge and shook his hand and thanked him for being understanding and wished him a great day. She walked out 10 foot tall.

Prankster Note

A hat tip to the VCS solicitor they hired on the day for conceding Ms X was not the driver. The Prankster knows some solicitors who would not have done this - for instance the one who tried to argue that although the car was recorded as having an MOT at the time, perhaps the mechanics were not carrying out the MOT in their garage, but in a car park a few miles away.

Congratulations to Coupon-Mad, rescuer of lost causes.

The Prankster also suspects this was not a cloned car after all, but a simple ANPR misread. This would appear much more likely, given the poor accuracy of ANPR. He has not seen the VCS evidence though, so cannot confirm this.

Of course, sometimes your car really is cloned.

The Prankster recommends personalising your car so that there is some unique feature near your numberplates which you can use to identify your car.

Finally, The Prankster would like to highlight the despicable behavior of BW Legal. Phone calls like this drag the legal industry and the parking industry into disrepute.

Happy Parking

The Parking Prankster


  1. "She has proved she wasn't the driver." was a cop out , should have been pressed to show photograpic evidence inc wrong number , then a nice claim for obtaining info from DVLA

  2. I would have considered a counterclaim for negligence causing stress in dealing with the claim, but I am not sure this is legal. Maybe Mr Carrod QC and bar knows?

  3. "Finally, The Prankster would like to highlight the despicable behaviour of BW Legal. Phone calls like this drag the legal industry and the parking industry into disrepute"

    How could the parking industry be dragged into disrepute, they're already fully paid up members!

  4. Excel or VCS? I know they are sister companies, but this tale veers between the two companies.

    1. Understandable. My BW correspondence often confuses VCS and Excel. They can't even pick the correct template letter when they write to me!

  5. PPM Ltd Gladstoned today in Margate.

    Case dismissed 10 seconds into the hearing as claimant not present without notifying defendant (me) more than 7 days before hearing. Lol. C0GF2V53

  6. Methinks that they finally checked the evidence and realised they had the wrong number in the first place ! Otherwise they would have gone for 'keeper liability'. Just because she was having her hair done wouldn't have proved that it wasn't her car. She needs to have a good look at the evidence pack they provided to make sure the number shown on the photos was hers - if not, then it's kerching for a dpa breach.