HOW TO FIGHT A PRIVATE PARKING CHARGE
I have had a slow trickle of messages from people asking for advice regarding private parking charges so I figured it’s time I wrote up a blog on this subject.
During my time I have racked up 100’s of private parking charges, many times I have parked in private car parks and not even bothered to buy a ticket…on a few occasions I have done it in full view of the parking attendant and laughed off his warnings about getting a fine. I personally think it is a scandal that the government allow this racket to go on unchecked.
So here are a few myths busted.
They are not fines they are invoices
They have no effect on your credit rating; after all did you sign a credit agreement or service contract?
Since 2012 it has been illegal to clamp a car on private land in the U.K (excluding Northern Ireland) unless at a Railway station/airport car park…or where a special bylaw is in place (which is extremely rare and you would see council signs to indicate this)
Your car cannot be towed away on a private car park (subject to the same exceptions as clamping)
Anybody can issue a private parking charge, that’s how silly they are…I could issue YOU a parking charge for the time you spent on my blog…so pay me £1000 or else I’ll send the boys to your house ;-)
Some private companies may tell you that if you do not pay you are liable to be prosecuted for trespass….this is a total crock of errr poo
So here’s how it works, when you drive onto a private car park you enter into an unwritten contract, if you breach the implied terms of this unwritten contract then the landowner or his designated agent have the right to issue an invoice for the financial loss your breach inflicted on them. So now you have to ask yourself if the amount of the charge really reflects the financial loss they have suffered by you being late back to your car or not buying a ticket at all…of course it doesn’t.
The whole private parking system is a total money making racket designed to increase profits of companies already being paid to administer car parks! These people say all kinds of nonsense to scare you into paying up, in many cases they even design their fine notices to look like council parking notices in order to confuse you and in a few cases they even print them on paper with a police letterhead for added fear factor. You would think this would be illegal and it is…but nobody will do anything about it (trust me I’ve tried that route).
So before I move on to fighting these charges here are the dos and don’ts
DON’T PAY ANY MONEY ON THE SPOT, INSIST THEY SEND YOU WRITTEN INVOICE, IF THEY ARE LEGITIMATE THEN THAT WON’T BE A PROBLEM AND IF THEY AREN’T THEN THEY ARE ACTING ILLEGALLY AND YOU CAN CALL THE POLICE
DON’T TAKE THE CHARGE NOTICE FROM THEM IF THEY TRY TO HAND IT TO YOU THIS IS A TRICK TO GET YOU TO ACCEPT LIABILITY, INSIST IT BE SENT BY POST.
DON’T SIGN ANYTHING IF THE ATTENDANT ASKS YOU TO.
DON’T EVER USE THE WORDS “I AM APPEALING THE CHARGE/FINE/PENALTY” IN ANY LETTER OR PHONE CALL. BY DOING SO YOU ARE ADMITTING THE INVOICE IS LEGITIMATE
DON’T USE THE PARKING COMPANIES APPEAL PROCESS OR ANY OTHER APPEAL PROCESS FOR THE SAME REASON AS I HAVE GIVEN ABOVE
DON’T ADMIT THAT YOU OWE THEM ANYTHING VERBALLY OR IN WRITING
DO THREATEN TO CALL THE POLICE AND REPORT THEM FOR FRAUD IF THE CAR PARK HAS BARRIERS THAT WON’T LET YOU OUT WITHOUT PAYMENT…IN THIS INSTANCE JUST KEEP INSISTING ON BEING SENT AN INVOICE BY POST. YOU HAVE A LEGAL RIGHT TO DO SO AND THE POLICE WILL SIDE WITH YOU ON THIS MATTER (I KNOW BECAUSE I’VE DONE IT).
DO LOOK AT THE PAYMENT ADDRESS ON THE NOTICE AND GOOGLE IT TO ENSURE IT IS NOT A COUNCIL PARKING FINE, AS PERSONALLY I’D RECOMEND YOU PAY THE COUNCIL SINCE FIGHTING THEM IS TOUGH AND HAS MIXED RESULTS
So companies like this are merely looking to easily make a little supplementary income and although they may threaten to take you to court the reality is that once they realise you know your rights they will back away since they are targeting people who don’t, I have a letter you can download from here that will have just that effect.
Remember when I said that once you drive onto a private car park you enter into an unwritten contract?
Well now that’s the problem with unwritten contracts isn’t it?…they are unwritten. They can’t be held up in court as a document, they bear no signature, no consent, no witnesses and no small print. In this unwritten contract were you given the chance to read or digest the terms? Were the signs visible before you had entered the car park and had already accepted the terms by implication? Did you give your written or verbal consent to the unwritten contract? …the answer is no isn’t it?
And there is the chink in their armour
You didn’t know the terms of the unwritten contract before you by implication accepted them therefore that is classed as unfair terms within contract
So just send this letter to the private parking company…I have added stars to the parts where you need to enter your own details and the charge amount. Most of these sharks will simply go silent but that small 1% will still send letters but it is only hot air…they have no claim or legal standing
Here is the link
So now you’ve made it clear you aren’t going to roll over and pay up like a tame sheep get on with your life and enjoy that great feeling of making a stand!!!
The following message forms no part of my advice so you don’t need to read it since it is just a little addition from me.
If I make spelling, syntax or grammar mistakes it is purely because I have limited time and have to try to do things quickly, I’m also a terrible proof reader
I get a lot of messages for advice about all sorts of things, I know my blogs are published in a patchy fashion but I am a working single father, my priority is my son and my job so I often find it hard sitting down to put these things together since I have many demands on my time.
I have to spend time making certain that my advice has not become invalid due to new laws and other changes in the landscape…so please bear in mind I am doing this for free on my spare time but yes for those of you who have pointed this out directly or indirectly I do indeed get a little kick out of it. Some people have mentioned that my blogs have an element of vanity to them…in answer to that I have to confess that there is indeed! I like that people take an interest in my thoughts and I take pleasure from it so sue me! If you think I have gotten certain things wrong then by all means point that out and I will never be hostile to comments like this…just be polite as I will be to you
I try to keep in my mind that I’m not as smart as like to think I am and I’m part of a growing movement known as consumer activism. Having said that I only write blogs about things that I have personally tried out myself so I know they work instead of trusting some random stranger on the net.
Final paragraph I promise
This blog is quickly reaching a natural end for the simple reason that I have detailed all the things I have first-hand knowledge of. I do know lots of other small ways around all sorts of life issues but none of them really would fill an entire blog. Please don’t be afraid to message me personally for advice, I will never be hostile, judge you or ignore you. I may take a little time to reply but please don’t take this as indifference….I’m just very busy.
Thank you for reading J