Sunday, 26 March 2017

BW Legal discontinue Albert Street claim

VCS v Ms C C8DP37CH. Claim discontinued

VCS have instructed BW Legal to discontinue yet another claim for car parking at Albert Street, Birmingham.

The problem VCS have is that the signage at Albert Street historically was in the name of Excel Parking services.

After discussing the claim with The Prankster, Ms C pointed this out in a robust letter to BW Legal.

Dear BW Legal,

I note that the signage at Albert Street at the time of parking was in the name of Excel Parking Services and not your client, VCS. Any contract made by the driver would therefore have been with Excel. Your client is therefore not a party to any contract and has no standing to bring a claim.

I therefore look forward to receiving your notice of discontinuance within 7 days.

If you fail to cancel the hearing I will ask for my full costs under 27.14(2)g

This will include my full time spent on this matter at the litigant in person rate of £19/hour.

I refer you to the following blog posts, which confirm you are well aware of this matter from other cases.

I will make the court aware of these blog posts should you proceed to a hearing, as well as these cases which you are fully aware of.

VCS v Zozulya A8QZ6666
VCS v Ms M 3QZ53955 

VCS v Ms A C6DP7P37 claim dismissed.

BW Legal took a little longer than the 7 days, but a notice of discontinuance has now arrived.

Future Albert Street motorists can therefore send the same letter to BW Legal, but add in the link to this blog and the claim reference VCS v Ms C C8DP37CH.

Prankster Notes

The Prankster questions the morals of VCS owner Simon Renshaw-Smith for filing claims when he knows he has no standing to do so. Presumably he hopes the motorist will either be scared into paying up, or that if it goes to a hearing, neither the motorist or judge will realise the signage is in the wrong name.

The signage is now in the name of Vehicle Control Services. This matter only relates to historical parking events.

Happy Parking

The Parking Prankster

Coxeter House get rid of UK CPM due to shambolic enforcement.

Coxeter House is a retail site in Abingdon with a number of businesses and a car park of about 40 spaces.

Due the the size of the car park the landowners (Coxeters Ltd) desired that it only be used by genuine customers of the shops, and not by motorists who wished to park and go elsewhere. This is of course a perfectly reasonable desire on the part of Coxeters. There were historical problems with people parking and then leaving the site and customers not then being able to find a parking space.

They therefore contacted UK Car Parking Management who suggested they put in an unmanned solution where ANPR records vehicles entering and leaving, and customers record their genuineness by entering their registration on tablet computers held within the shops. In theory this all sounded fine, but in practice the system proved unworkable.

UKCPM had limited previous experience with systems of this type. The tablets were cheap and cheerful no-brand models and would continually break down. Large numbers of charges were incorrectly issued to genuine customers. The management team contacted the parking company who wrote back agreeing to cancel all incorrectly issued charges if Coxeters asked them to cancel.

However, the situation did not improve, and Coxeters found themselves spending huge amounts of time getting charges cancelled for their customers.

During the short period of 7 months the system was in operation, over 1,500 incorrect charges were issued, including to the directors of Coxeters, their tenants and their customers. This had the potential to harm their business and Coxeters therefore decided that UKCPM could no longer manage the car park. They tried to enter into dialogue, but UKCPM then became unresponsive.

In order to protect their customers, Coxeters turned off the power supply to the ANPR cameras. UKCPM then removed the cameras. After a number of letters threatening to sue, UKCPM backed down - but only for a little while.

There were still a large number of outstanding charges, and it appears the parking company then began to commence court proceedings only against motorists identified as genuine customers, and not those issued to people who should not have parked. To date UKCPM have not provided any evidence that this is not the case.

Aided and abetted by Gladstones solicitors, they are now in the process of taking these customers to court.

This is of course totally against the wishes of the landowners, totally against the brief given to the parking company, and totally against the contents of the communications promising to cancel charges when instructed.

Coxeters wish to assist any genuine customers who have been caught up in this debacle. If you are a customer threatened with legal action, or who has a court claim, please contact

Prankster Notes

Although there are about 200 parking companies registered with the trade associations, The Prankster only gets complaints about a very few. Sadly UKCPM are one of these, and it looks as if Coxeters picked a dud. Had they picked a different company, things could have turned out better. Meanwhile Coxters have turned to a manual patrol system operated by rhemselves and this seems to be working well.

Happy Parking

The Parking Prankster

Michael Schwartz suspended for 5 years

The full report is here

Previously the SRA ordered that Mr Schwartz be suspended from practice as a solicitor for a period of 5 years from 9 September 2016, but that the suspension be suspended for 5 years from the same date subject to compliance with the following restrictions imposed by the Tribunal on the
Respondent’s practice as a solicitor.

Mr Schwartz failed to keep to the restrictions, and during the course of giving live oral evidence to the Tribunal during the hearing which took place on 22 December 2016 Mr Schwartz admitted:

  • that he had deliberately and knowingly breached the restrictions on 14 September 2016;

  • that he had then lied about having done so in a witness statement provided to the SRA and to the Tribunal at the December hearing.

The Tribunal therefore decided to activate the 5 year suspension.

Mr Schwartz is therefore suspended for 5 years from 9 September 2016

Prankster Notes

The issue of whether Mr Schwartz actually signed any of the witness statements he claimed to on behalf of Civil Enforcement Limited remains unresolved

The issue of whether Mr Schwartz invoiced for and was paid £50 to file numerous claims on behalf of Civil Enforcement limited remains unresolved

The issue of whether Mr Schwartz took any part in filing claims on behalf of Civil enforcement Limited remains unresolved
Happy Parking

The Parking Prankster

Saturday, 25 March 2017

Overstone Court test case adjourned due to a procedural issue

The test case to examine whether tickets issued by Link Parking to residents and visitors parking in their own spots at Overstone Court, Cardiff was heard on 24/3/2017 at Cardiff Court, being listed for an all day hearing.

There were three defendants, two represented by John Wilkie and one by themselves. Martin Gardner of Link Parking attended and was represented by Mr Nash. Mr Nash, although legally qualified, did not possess rights of audience and was therefore appearing as a lay representative, charging Link £450 + VAT.

The hearing was in front of DDJ Pratt in Cardiff.

Rights of audience were discussed. DDJ Pratt ruled that there was no impediment to a lay representative charging for their time, and Mr Nash was therefore allowed to continue.

The next item was a procedural matter to do with one of the defendants. The court had failed to deal with this, despite this being filed back in January and served on the court, Link Parking, and their solicitors, Gladstones. The defendant's father testified in the witness box that he had served the papers on the court by hand, and on Link and Gladstones by first class post.

DDJ Pratt decided he did not have enough evidence to decide on the matter, and therefore adjourned the hearing for the parties to submit more evidence. The hearing was rescheduled for the next available slot in 35 days time, reserved to himself. Costs were reserved.

Prankster Notes

This is not the first time in these related cases that Cardiff court have failed to deal with procedural matters raised. In fact, this is at least the third time. There have now been 4 hearings, all of which could easily have been avoided if Cardiff court had got their act together and dealt with them prior to the hearing. This has caused a huge amount of wasted court time, and also wasted time and expense for the claimant and defendants. This is of course, taxpayers money which has been wasted, and there has now been around one and one half valuable court days thrown away by Cardiff court.

It is noted that the behaviour of Link and Gladstones have not helped, being obstructive at all times, even when previous similar matters have been decided against them. In a similar case, a DJ in Cardiff was extremely critical of Wright Hassall for not using case management to combine dozens of similar parking cases.

The hearing was adjourned because DDJ Pratt decided the issues raised by all defendants were interlinked, and he could not stop hearing one case while continuing with the other two.

The Prankster considers this to be an error. For instance, there have been and are still many cases concerning Overstone Court still continuing in Cardiff court, also raising the same issues in defence, and DDJ Pratt did not seek to make an order staying or combining those cases.

The Prankster considers that the case could still have gone ahead with two defendants, thereby avoiding the waste of court time. In the interest of efficient case management the court could have removed the third defendant. Thus all the major issues could have been dealt with on the day and without wasting court time.

The specific issues raised by the third defendant, which are only applicable to them, could then have been dealt with in a short second hearing if the parties wished to continue based on the results of the first hearing.

As a general note, Link Parking are a huge burden on Cardiff court. In 2016 the court with the most parking cases heard by any one court for any one parking company was Cardiff, hearing 94 Link Parking cases. The next biggest number was ParkingEye, with 49 cases in Manchester.

As these Link cases are mostly for the same sites with the same issues raised in defence The Prankster considers that Cardiff are missing a trick by not using their case management powers to combine hearings.

Happy Parking

The Parking Prankster

Thursday, 23 March 2017

UKPC announce new bonus scheme

This video explains UKPC's new bonus scheme.

Bonuses based on quantity of tickets issued are banned by the BPA.

9.4 Effective from 1st October 2015, the practice of offering financial incentives to AOS parking attendants/wardens which relate to the quantity of PCNs issued by them, should be prohibited within all new employee contracts

UKPC appear to be trying to get round that restriction by basing the bonus on the number of tickets issued, less the costs of incorrectly issued tickets. UKPC also appear to be trying to get round the regulations by referring to the scheme as profit related pay, rather than number of tickets issued.

Of course, the main and only real way a warden can influence profit is by issuing as many tickets as possible. In the video, UKPC explain how a warden can do this by using head office statistics to find the car parks and times when they can issue the most tickets. They also explain how to maximise tickets issued by minimising journey time between sites.

The new bonuses scheme allows wardens to increase their salary by paying a percentage of the revenue generated, minus costs. Of course, the only way to increase revenue, is to issue more tickets.

As long as tickets are correctly issued, costs are almost completely out of control of the warden. Each warden is their own profit centre, with costs of appeals and POPLA and legal action against UKPC deducted. Expenses are also deducted. Other costs are wages, wallets and printer rolls, sending paperwork, and DVLA enquiries. For correctly issued tickets, these are out of control of the warden.

No other way of increasing the bonuses other than maximising tickets issued is discussed, and it is therefore clear to the Prankster that the new scheme falls foul of the BPA code of practice as it is based primarily on relating to the quantity of PCNs issued.

The scheme is described as the "biggest shift in the history of UKPC".

Wardens can increase salary from £14,950, to £19,940.

The Prankster notes a clever psychological trick is used when these figures are shown to wardens. The £19k figure is displayed as £19,940.44. Because the number has more digits, this make it look like a much larger figure than the previous one.

Happy Parking

The Parking Prankster

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Link parking lose Lakeshore case. Permit was displayed

Link Parking v H C5GF86CX. Bristol 20/3/2017

Mr H parked at his own residence and displayed a permit. He appeal, but the appeal was ignored. He also responded to the letter before claim, but was ignored.

Link Parking decided to take him to court anyway.

The Hearing

The judge ruled that they had broken their own procedures in not engaging with Mr H.

The case rested on whether or not placing the permit in the rear windscreen was a violation of the parking terms. The judge ruled it wasn't.

Prankster Note

There are a large number of Lakeshore residents who have been the victim of Martin Gardener's unscrupulous and underhand tactics.

Although Link Parking were not specifically mention in yesterday's debate in parliament, it is clear that MPs are worried about the practices of companies such as Link Parking and their owner Martin Gardener.

Happy Parking

The Parking Prankster

ES Parking Enforcement lose in Bury. Court protocol not followed

ES Parking Enforcement v Mr X. 22/3/17 Bury.

Defendant Court Report

When I got to court it was not busy as Bury court closes on Friday and moves to Bolton.
There were 6 cases listed for 2 judges.

The case before me was also against ES Parking Enforcement through Gladstones and I chatted to him. He went in first and came out less than 5 minutes later. I don’t think he won.

When I went in I was surprised it was in the full court with the judge in isolation on the bench.

DJ Osborne asked me if I was the Defendant and I said yes. He already knew the solicitor as I think she’d just won the previous case to me for ES Parking.

He asked her to open and she said the case rested on the fact that I was presumed to be the driver and that I had failed to pay and display a valid parking ticket in the windscreen despite clear and prominent signage. As I had chosen not to to name the driver I was still liable as by using my car it implied permission was given to accept all the terms of the contract. She asked to judge to award in their favour.

The judge then asked me clarify the main reasons I disputed the claim saying I didn’t need to read my statement as he’d read it. I began by saying that I was not the driver and did not know who the driver was. I had provided proof that I was elsewhere at the time.

The signage was inadequate in any case.

The claim form was deficient in the particulars of claim and I could not defend it.

I had not received a letter before claim and that my request for information was not only ignored but treated as an appeal.

The judge then asked questions about why I thought the signage was deficient.

I explained that much of the signage had gone up after the date of the incident and referred him to clear dated photos which showed that the signs they claimed were there on the date from their Google aerial view were only put up 14 days after.

The judge said although the photos clearly showed this it did not alter the fact that in the photo on the NTK there was a large and prominent sign saying "Have you paid and displayed" which the driver, whoever that may have been could not have failed to have seen.

However the signs with the terms and conditions were, he agreed, put up so high as to be difficult to read and the payment figure was not prominent. So they did not comply.

He moved onto the claim form which brought up some interesting points.

He said that it was not uncommon for online claims from Northampton to give such little information.

 In the particulars of claim and that letters I had been sent such as the notice to keeper detailed the claim and as I had it as an exhibit I could reasonable be expected to know what the claimant was claiming for.

He said he was concerned about the lack of response to my request for information and noted I had included proof of posting in the bundle. He said this was not unusual for these companies to ignore them. (He did not comment on why they had sent a letter of rejected appeal instead)

He then asked me to confirm that I had not received a LBC and mentioned that I was not under any kind of oath in this court. He was quite concerned that I had not received a LBC and as Gladstones had provided no proof that it had been sent he had no reason to disbelieve me that I had not received one.

He said then that this did not comply but would rather now move onto why I thought I was not liable as the RK. I referred him to the exhibits proving my whereabouts and that I could not have been the driver.

He asked the solicitor if she had them and she agreed and said again that as I had chosen not to to name the driver I was still liable as by using my car it implied permission was given to accept all the terms of the contract.

The judge asked me about how many people used the car and why anyone else would use it.
How many were on the insurance and how many others were likely to drive it

The claimants solicitor again said that although I had provided evidence that I was not the driver at the time they relied on the fact that I was liable as the RK. As I had chosen not to name the driver.
The judge looked at me and I repeated that I was not the driver and really did not know who it was.

I then referred the judge and solicitor to my exhibits of the Popla 15 Keeper Liability and the Excel v Lamoureux case and he said that although the Lamoureux case wasn’t binding he saw no reason to dispute it’s valid judgement and agreed with it.

I was then asked if I’d like to say anything else.

I asked why, if there were so many photos taken of the car, was a ticket not affixed and a photo taken of this for evidence. The judge said that he wondered why as well and it was not unusual for these companies to do this so as to go after the keeper and this company in particular was well known for this. From this I took that he had come across ES previously.

He commented that I had a very comprehensive and well laid out bundle and all the information was easily accessible.

In summing up he said there was no point arguing any other possibly valid points as he was confident the claim was defective as it had not followed the correct protocol, but he didn’t elaborate on that, and the case was dismissed.

Prankster Notes

Putting together a well laid out and indexed bundle is always a good plan. Gladstones are well known for their incompetent and slipshod approach to cases, and it is not advised to sink to their level. In this claim it appears Gladstones lost the case for their client by not following the correct protocol.

Happy Parking

The Parking Prankster