[Update New figures received for claim awarded]
[Update. ParkingEye have asked for corrections to be made to this post. The Prankster has reviewed the text and accepts that the phrase 'it has been reported the hoax call was made by ParkingEye' should read 'it has been reported the hoax call was made by an associate of ParkingEye'.
The place where this was reported is here, as previously blogged.
To be fair to ParkingEye they also state 'this is not an admission that we agree with your other blog posts relating to ParkingEye.' and so the lack of change to other blog posts should not be taken that ParkingEye agree with The Prankster.]
As reported on pepipoo, on Friday 24 Octover 2014, HHJ Moloney sitting in the small claims appeal court in Norwich heard the appeal of Ransomes v Anderson.
Ransomes hire Proserve to patrol their business park and hand out trespass notices to drivers who stop in the road. Proserve invoice Ransomes between £150 and £250 for each vehicle they manage to photograph while stationary. Ransomes were suing Mr Anderson to recover this money for 10 minutes while he was parked on a double yellow line,
In his judgment HHJ Moloney rules that the signs Ransomes were relying on were gibberish, and could not form a contract with the motorist. However, he did rule that a trespass had occurred. He ruled there was no justification for charging £150 and invited counsels for both parties to agree on a figure.
Sadly Mr Anderson's counsel, with little experience of parking companies, could not persuasively argue that the average cost of processing the paperwork in such an event is around £20. This was established in ParkingEye v Beavis, where HHJ Moloney also presided. HHJ Moloney therefore plucked the figure of £60 out of the air for an initial fee, plus £37.50 to cover extra administration because Mr Anderson did not pay immediately. This total of £97.50 (discounted to £60) is the same as car parking companies charge - although of course Proserve is not a car parking company because if it were then it would not be able to get data from the DVLA unless it belonged to an ATA and ran a proper appeals service. In setting this fee, HHJ Moloney did not appear to take into account the fact that Proserve had already been paid for their services by the estate occupants and this was therefore double charging.
In a bizarre ruling, he also ordered Mr Anderson to pay half the appeal and transcript costs, totaling £570 (so £285 for Mr Anderson). Thus, even though Mr Anderson established Ransomes were not allowed to charge him £150, he still lost more money than if he had simply paid up. Such are the perils of the small claims court.
This leaves Ransomes in a deep financial hole. According to Mr Duff of Proserve, there are more than 700 outstanding cases. Assuming these are all Ransomes cases (although Proserve does operate at other sites so they may not be) then for each case Ransomes either owe or have paid Proserve at least £150, and yet can only reclaim at most £60 from motorists. This leaves them with a hole of £63,000 in their accounts.
Taking into account that motorists would actually have a good case for offering to settle for £20, then the hole may be as large as £91,000. As some drivers are charged £250, then the hole will be even larger. Meanwhile, Mr Duff of Proserve has continued ticketing since he declared 700 cases were outstanding, and so Ransomes plunge even deeper into debt to Proserve.
Meanwhile Ransomes will have shelled out around £5,000 to £10,000 for their counsel, and so this will put a serious dent in their cash at bank.
Proserve are not part of any parking trade associations, such as the IPC or BPA. They obtain driver details from the DVLA on the grounds of trespass. However, they set their fees at whatever they like, unrestricted by the £100 cap, are not bound by any code of practice, and provide no legitimate appeals service.
In light of the ruling, the DVLA might like to consider barring Proserve until they change their signage and reduce their fees, at least to £60, but ideally £20.
It is not yet known if the DVLA are aware of the court ruling.
Report from the courtroom is that Mr Anderson's representative was outgunned by Ransomes barrister. He failed to bring to the attention of the judge the artificial nature of the financial arrangement between Proserve and Ransomes or the other dodgy practices.
At the start of the hearing HHJ Moloney reported he had received letters informing him that Mr Duff of Proserve was under investigation for conducting illegal litigation. He stated he would not comment on this and it would not impact the current hearing.
He also said he had a request to tweet, but in light of the Cambridge hearing he would refuse this. He also stated he was still unaware of who made the prank call.
HHJ Moloney must now be the only person in the country who does not know it has been reported the hoax call was made by an associate of ParkingEye. Additionally, they are both the only people with a motive and the only people who knew enough about the case to make a fool of their own barrister, Mr Altaras.
ParkingEye's motive was that HHJ Moloney refused to change the date of the hearing so they could use their preferred barrister, Jonathan Kirk QC. After the adjournment, Mr Kirk was available for the new hearing date.
The Prankster suggests that HHJ Moloney contact Rachel Ledson, head of legal of ParkingEye, who is fully aware of all available information regarding the hoax phone call and of the names of the two people arrested.
The Parking Prankster