Newcastle County Court, B3GF344V Park With Ease Ltd -v- Mr D
Trebles all round for Gladstone Solicitors as they managed to convince yet another hapless parking company to use their services. With Gladstones scoring fees for the legal profession for filing the claim and preparing the witness statement, not to mention the legal representative used in court, the parking company will have shelled out 3 times to various legal firms for the pleasure of being trounced.
The matter concerned a parking charge initially for £25 invoiced by Park With Ease. This case will have cost an estimated amount of £300 in legal fees alone. As this is not reclaimable in the Small Claims track, the Gladstone sales team are presumably experts in their field to convince parking companies it is worthwhile to fork out 12 times the initial charge. Gladstones are fast become the joke of the parking industry with a series of high profile losses in court, and no reported wins against any defence, let alone a substantive one, so the sales force are no doubt experts in the persuasive arts.
The motorist had paid the correct parking charge, but his wife had entered the registration incorrectly. Park With Ease's own evidence showed the machines were unreliable and had 3 false payments with no matching registration numbers around the time of the parking event.
The defendant also pointed out that TripAdvisor and other web forums showed a number of other motorists being scammed in the same manner.
The Park With Ease representative quibbled about the defence witness statement, trying to insinuate there was an anomaly and that the motorist had not really paid.
The judge spent some time asking detailed questions about the technicalities of the number-plate recognition system & the payment machine. (Prankster note - most likely the Park With Ease representative would not be able to answer these questions correctly, as they were a hire-by-the-hour lawyer bussed in for the day)
The judge ruled that the case hinged on whether the motorist had paid or not, and that the burden of proof lay with Park With Ease to show that the motorist hadn't. As he felt they hadn't been able to show that without any doubt the claim was dismissed.
Another well deserved win for Gladstone Solicitors sales team as they trouser bucket-loads of cash from the ill-advised parking company, and of course a well deserved win for the motorist in getting the claim dismissed.
It is perfectly possible to install parking machines that work properly and only accept valid registration numbers. Park With Ease would be well advised to use this type of machine rather than waste their money persecuting motorists because their own system is flawed.
At some point no doubt parking companies will wake up and smell the coffee and realise that Gladstones are taking them for a ride.