On the 5 October 2015 Mr L was working as a meter reader in the area of Lloyd George Avenue in Cardiff reading meters of the residents of the flats. There is a barrier controlling access for residents only parking and before that space for about 6 cars. He parked in one of the 6 spaces. The only visible signage regarding these 6 spaces was on the bin storage building and just states ‘CAR PARK’. There were no other terms and conditions listed. Mr L. has worked in this area for 5-6 years with no previous problems.
After reading the meters he returned to his vehicle and noticed his car had a charge from Link Parking. The Link Parking warden was still present and he pointed out a sign hidden at the back of the bin storage building where it would not be seen by any arriving vehicles. Additionally, the sign was as high up as possible, contained a tiny font and was not immediately obvious that it was concerning parking conditions
The warden agreed with Mr L that he was working there and was a legitimate visitor and asked him to ring Link Parking's owner to have the PCN cancelled. Mr L therefore immediately rang Link Parking while he was still at the site with the warden and spoke to the Link Parking owner Martin Gardner who agreed with the warden that the PCN should be cancelled. He stated Mr L would need to send a quick email to them with his details and appeal it. Sadly Mr Gardner is not a man of his word as the phone call turned out just to be a ruse to get Mr L.'s details and save the £5 DVLA fee.
Mr Gardner turned down the appeal.
Mr Garner then used a typical parking company trick of writing to the wrong address several times. Whether this is because he is incompetent or has no morals is not known, but this trick is very useful for parking companies. If they can get all the way to a CCJ then it is very difficult and expensive for the motorist to unwind a claim which has reached that stage.
Luckily for Mr L. the claim, (filed by Gladstones Solicitors) despite being incorrectly addressed, did reach him in time to file a defence, which he did with the assistance of the Prankster.
Amongst the paperwork was a fraudulent document from Mr Gardner claiming keeper liability existed. Mr L. contacted the DVLA who confirmed that the keeper details had never been requested, and therefore that there was no keeper liability. Mr L. complained to Link Parking they had sent a fraudulent document, but Link refused to accept they had done anything wrong. Mr L therefore escalated the complaint to the IPC. He pointed out that Gladstones and the IPC are owned by the same two people, Will Hurley and John Davies. He therefore stated that there was a clear conflict of interests and asked that in line with the IPC's complaints procedure that the complaint be dealt with by an external body.
Will Hurley and John Davies clearly have no more morals than Mr Gardner and are obviously happy for their customers to send out fraudulent documents as they refused to uphold the complaint. They also refused to let it be heard by an independent body. One wonders what needs to happen before they consider that a 'conflict of interest' has occurred.
Gladstones asked for the hearing to be held on paper as they felt the issues were trivial. Mr L. wrote to the court rejecting this, stating that he had not yet received any proper particulars for the case He pointed out that Gladstones were known to be incompetent and regularly file incorrect information in court, and also that they always abuse the court process by filing their entire case at the last minute so there was not time for any rebuttals. It was therefore necessary to have an oral hearing so that he could rebut any evidence. He also send in a list of cases where Gladstones had either deliberately lied to mislead the court, or in the best case were completely incompetent.
Shortly before the hearing Gladstones served a witness statement containing the usual pack of lies, misrepresentations of the truth, and dodgy legalese which are typical of the shoddy work Gladstones churn out.
Mr Gardner did not turn up to the hearing. This was possibly a wise move as deliberately lying in court is perjury. Perhaps also he did not want to be quizzed by Mr L as to why he had agreed over the phone to cancel the charge but this turned out to be false. Obviously in court once you have been shown to be a habitual liar, your chances of success are slim.
Instead they sent a solicitor, Mr Singh from Bristol. Mr Singh asked for a word beforehand but Mr L refused, stating that he was upset that Mr Gardener was not there as he wanted to see him face to face.
The hearing did not go well for Link Parking. Their evidence, as is typical of evidence prepared by Gladstones, was awful and was roundly criticised by the judge. The aerial views of the area were not labelled well enough to show where the signs were and the judge said that he did not know what the yellow blobs meant. Mr Singh had no idea either. The one photograph of signage on the date in question was blurred and unreadable, so all further photos or signage that either Mr L. or Link Parking supplied in evidence may have been different.
Contrary to Mr Gardner's lies in the witness statement, the judge found was no visible entrance signage. Mr Singh stated as he didn't know the site he could not help at all
Ironically, Gladstones sealed their clients fate by claiming that a contract existed by performance as per Vine v Waltham Forest (200)
Normally the presence of notices which are posted where they are bound to be seen, for example at the entrance to a private car park [...] will lead to a finding that the car driver had knowledge [...].
Mr L. also pointed out that the site was labelled as "visitor parking" in the Link Parking landowner contract supplied as evidence, and proved he was was a visitor with evidence supplied from his work and that he had a legal right to check meters there. Neither judge nor solicitor had seen this and they were shocked it was called visitor parking in the actual contract.
Mr Singh asked Mr L if he had a parking ticket in his car window. Mr L. explained that there is no pay and display machines anywhere on the site. Mr L Also I stated that he has friends living on the site and there is no such thing as a visitor permit. It was therefore impossible to have a permit. The judge then joked that he did not have a disabled badge either as he was not disabled.
The judge found that due to the lack of signage there was not contract with the motorist and the claim was dismissed.
It is is disgrace that Link Parking are operating a visitor parking system where it is impossible for visitors to park.
It is a disgrace that Will Hurley and John Davies have approved a signage system where there is no entrance signage the only sign is hidden behind a building high up on the wall
It is a disgrace that Will Hurley and John Davies have filed a court claim to support a man who cannot seem to tell the truth when it matters
It is a disgrace that Will Hurley and John Davies have filed a witness statement filled with lies, inaccuracies, half truths and dodgy legalese.
The Prankster considers that as Will Hurley and John Davies clearly do not have a competent grasp of the legal issues surrounding parking they should not be offering their services to parking companies. In this respect they are no better than scammers. They have cost Link Parking many hundreds of pounds in taking this claim to court, and while The Prankster is not sympathetic to Link, he considers that Will Hurley and John Davies should not be lining their own pockets at the expense of their clients for cases which should clearly never go to court.
Sadly the Prankster realises that by publishing this information this is likely to increase Will Hurley and John Davies bank balances. This is because there appears to be no shortage of parking companies willing to use unethical methods in the race to the bottom, and therefore will be attracted to the kind of cheap, shoddy service Gladstones supply.
However, The Prankster believes that it is necessary to expose Gladstones practices so that motorists know what they will be up against should they decide to fight their corner.
As a final note The Prankster would like to ask Mr Gardner why he has resited the sign which the previous car park management company had on the front of the bin storage building, where it can be clearly seen, to the rear, where it cannot?
This streetview photo from 2008 shows the previous sign.
The Parking Prankster