MIL Collections v Hamilton 27/1/17 Colchester
As reported on MSE
Mr Hamilton has a flat in a private estate that he rents out. It comes with a parking space. The management company for the estate contracted New World Facilities Essex to patrol the estate and 'ticket' anyone parking without authority. Last year, between tenants, he was parked in his space to do repairs and came out to find a £100 ticket on my car. He had a notice in his car window to say that he was the owner of the flat, so the attendant knew that it was his space.
He therefore considered the charge was not valid.
Eventually the parking company sold the alleged debt to MIL Collections, who processed to issue a claim.
The representative of MIL turned up and the usher encouraged parties to negotiate in a side room, to cut down court business. Mr Hamilton asked "So what are you offering?" to which the reply was "Nothing, I guess you're not either?" Mr Hamilton retorted "No, I'm happy to sit here all day to be heard" and they both left the side room..
Once called for the hearing, the judge hadn't read the witness statements so both sides sat there for ten minutes whilst he went through them.
MIL's chap was given first chance to speak and he mumbled through a bit of the beginning of his case, but was interrupted by the judge asking him was he aware about primacy of rights regarding my enjoyment of my parking space and that the management company couldn't make a contract to take this away. MIL wasn't sure about this but was pressed a few times. The judge said that was the deciding factor.
As an aside the judge was a bit miffed about the bit in Mr Hamiltons witness statement listing the previous dropped or uncontested cases and said that it shouldn't be there. Mr Hamilton replied that it seemed relevant as they rarely ever won a case and just used the threat of court to extract money that wasn't due. The judge was satisfied with this explanation.
Full costs were awarded to Mr Hamilton.
The MIL representative was very pleasant and was happy to chat outside. He confessed he wasn't surprised to lose as he loses every MIL case he goes to. He didn't seem to have prepared particularly.
It is a quirk of the British Legal System that a company can exist and make a tidy profit pursuing debts which do not exist and whose representatives lose every hearing they go to.
This is because they vast majority of the British public are scared witless of the court system, do not understand it, and are happy to make bad decisions on that basis. They fear the loss of their "credit rating" to the point of irrationality, and do not realise that is is perfectly possible to lose a court case without it affecting their rating; only if they lose and do not pay up is any effect had.
Lastly they fear "costs" and do not realise that costs are strictly limited on the small claims track.
Clever and unscrupulous people play on these fears, continually escalating charges with fictitious costs they know will not be upheld if the claim gets to a hearing. Enough people pay up at inflated levels as soon as a claim is issued that the actual basis of the claim is immaterial.
Companies like MIL for instance, only bother to check with the parking company what the claim is about a few weeks before the final hearing. The initial claim is worded using bland template statements which do not state the basis of the claim. They then throw together a template witness statement at the last minute and trot off to court hoping the defendant does not turn up, or that they have failed to research their company.
What a strange world we live in.
Data Protection Claim
It is likely Mr Hamilton has a valid data protection claim against the parking company and MIL for misusing his personal data to pursue a parking charge which did not exist. The sum of £250 would seem to be the going rate.
The Parking Cowboys web site has a good article on this topic.
The Parking Prankster