The full story is on Pepipoo.
ParkingEye initially got a default judgment and then a CCJ against the motorist by the common parking company tactic of writing to the wrong address - a house where the motorist once lived. Once they obtained the CCJ they then used a tracing agency to find the correct address, and attempted to enforce the judgment.
The reason the wrong address was used was that when the motorist attempted to update their address, the DVLA lost the letter and their records were never changed. Technically the motorist should have checked with the DVLA after receiving no reply. Although the motorist was in theory at fault for not updating his address with the DVLA, this does not excuse ParkingEye. If no replies have been received to any letters, it is industry best practice to assume that the address may be incorrect, and to use a tracing agency to confirm the address before issuing any court claim.
Up to the point of using a tracing agency parking companies have had no confirmation the address they are using is correct, or even that the car belonged to the motorist at the time. The DVLA can take up to 6 weeks to update vehicle data and so the parking companies have no grounds for believing their data is correct.
Data obtained from the courts show that in November 2014 around 1 in 3 ParkingEye hearings was a set-aside request, showing that this is a sizable problem. Having a CCJ against your name can cause serious financial repercussions, including house purchases falling through and not being able to get a mobile phone contract.
As ParkingEye are well aware of the problem, especially given the number of set-asides which occur, then any motorist who has lost out financially due to their actions may well have a case against them. In this particular case ParkingEye were acting as agents for Morrisons, so the motorist may also have a claim against Morrisons.
The motorist requested a set-aside hearing. ParkingEye filed a barrage of nonsense, claiming there was no good reason to allow a set aside. In the set aside hearing the judge disagreed, and ruled the motorist had a case. The set aside was granted.
In this particular car park, there is a maximum stay of 2 hours, for which a charge of £1 is made. This is refunded in store if more than £5 is spent. Parking charges are issued for staying over 2 hours, returning within an hour, parking on yellow lines, parking outside a bay, parking in a loading bay, parking in a parent and toddler bay without a toddler or parking in a disabled bay without a blue badge.
The motorist was charged £85 for staying 1 hour 27 minutes.
A careful examination showed that this is not a contravention which results in a parking charge. The motorist duly pointed this out when they filed their new defence.
In the Claimant’s Reply to Defence dated 24th April 2015, they provided a site map and copy of the two signs present at the car park setting out the terms of the contract (enclosed). The two types, 1a and 1b, have the same wording.
The sign says: “Pay & Display Car Park, for use only whilst shopping in store, £1 for 2 hours parking, 2 hour maximum stay.” But the next part below is crucial. It says: “Failure to comply with the following will result in a Parking Charge of: £85”. They then list below what would allow them to charge the £85 according to this alleged contract: “Parking limited to 2 hours (no return within 1 hour), Park only within marked bays, Parent and toddlers only in marked bays, Blue badge holders in marked bays – P&D tariffs apply, Strictly no parking within loading bays, Strictly no parking on double yellow lines.”
If this sign does form a contract with the driver, as claimed, then it does not allow the Claimant to charge £85 if a driver parks for 1 hour 27 minutes without paying £1.
The use of the phrase “Failure to comply with the following” means that I have not breached this alleged contract in any way. This alleged contract only allows the £85 charge if I had parked longer than two hours, and the Claimant already stated I only parked for 1 hour 27 minutes. If they wanted to charge £85 for failing to pay £1, this should have been clearly listed below the phrase “Failure to comply with the following”. But this term was not included in the alleged contract.ParkingEye will have been well aware that at this point they had no case. Several judges have already ruled that this type of wording means that no contravention has occurred. The cases of ParkingEye v Lemon and Harris and ParkingEye v Collins-Daniel are both excellent examples of this, and the transcripts should be required reading for anyone facing this situation.
Even if a future judge thinks the working is open to interpretation, consumer law kicks in. The Unfair Terms in Consumer Contract Act 1999 (soon to be replaced by the Consumer Rights Act 2015, regulation 69), states at regulation 7:
7(2) If there is doubt about the meaning of a written term, the interpretation which is most favourable to the consumer shall prevail but this rule shall not apply in proceedings brought under regulation 12.As two judges have already found doubt about the meaning of this type of signage, it is not open to other judges to state there is no doubt. (Therefore the transcripts for the above cases should be taken to any hearing).
ParkingEye sneakily offered the motorist to settle the claim for £60. The motorist refused the offer and ParkingEye then pulled out, discontinuing the claim.
Now that ParkingEye have dropped the claim, the motorist should claim for their set aside fee of £155 and also for loss of work in attending the set-aside hearing.
The Parking Prankster