In this case Ms G paid for a parking ticket at Tower Road Newquay, but due to a machine malfunction the registration number was not printed on the ticket. ParkingEye therefore claimed that a breach of contract had occurred.
Ms G didn't reply to ParkingEyes initial charge on April 4th, which accused her of getting a parking charge either because she either hadn't paid for enough parking time or had overstayed. This, together with photos and times of her going in and out was the only data given. There were no other explanations or evidence and as Ms G knew she had paid and left within time she treated it as 'spam'.
Eventually ParkingEye filed a court claim in June. Ms G had to file a defence not knowing what she had done wrong, and asked ParkingEye several times for information without reply. On August 20 they replied to her defence sending a printout which proved, linked with the entry & exit times that she had paid after all but there was a blank space where the VRN should have been.
ParkingEye therefore added a new particular of claim to their reply to defence that the defendant had paid after all, but had breached the contract by not entering a correct VRN.
However, it is not possible to get a ticket without entering a VRN. Ms G went back to the car park prepared to invest £1.50 to prove this. The machines would not issue a ticket unless a VRN was entered.
In court, Ms G was ready to resort to the fact that they had neglected to accuse her of the missing VRN in the first place. (Prankster Note - claimants are not allowed to change the particulars of claim without filing a form and paying a fee. ParkingEye are well aware of this because they include this information in their reply to defence)
However, the judge knew you couldn't get a ticket without entering a VRN and that some blip had occurred. He could see Ms G had stayed for less time than she had paid.
He first asked their representative to explain why this had come to court when Ms G had clearly paid. The guy said something to the effect that 'I think PE were saying it was breach of contract by not putting the number in...'
The hearing was over in 10 minutes and the judge dismissed the claim. The exact reason for machine failure remained an unsolved mystery not central to the judgment.
Although this wa a good win for Ms G, she still felt truly intimidated and bullied by the things ParkingEye wrote - as if she set out to cheat them when the most she could have done was have made an unintentional mistake, and in all probability this was a machine failure.
Modern ticket machines do not let you enter a registration unless the ANPR detects that the vehicle is in the car park. ParkingEye could enable this on their systems, but this would cut down on the number of parking charges they could issue, because relying on mistakes is the central core of their business.
There are a number of known errors with the parking machines ParkingEye and Excel parking use and several recent cases have been dismissed due to machine errors.
The Parking Prankster