To need help with a parking charge!!

(61 Posts)
NipNaps Tue 22-Oct-13 21:55:08

DH and I went to assist on a school trip tonight (6th formers going to laser quest!) and along with some other members of staff, decided to visit the pub next door for a pint afterwards. We parked in the pub car park and went into the laser place then afterwards (approx 1 hour later) we went straight into the pub.

However, the barman took one look at us and told us he wouldn't serve us. We asked why and he said "because you're parked in the car park". We then replied "well yes, we live too far away from here to have walked" and he kept repeating that he wouldn't serve us because we were in the car park. We asked why and he refused to explain and threatened to call the police if we didn't leave. We decided to just go as it was all too bizarre and we were running out of time with our babysitter.

When we got out to the car park, it was very dark and close to empty. There was a parking ticket on the side of each of the teachers' cars, saying that we'd parked there and we weren't authorised (I guess they'd watched us park and then not go straight to the pub). However we were intending to be customers afterwards although I accept they wouldn't have known that.

I think what then happened is that the barman refused to serve us as then we'd have been customers and therefore would have had grounds to appeal the ticket whereas because we weren't allowed to buy a drink, we can't now be classed as customers.

When we arrived at and left the car park, it was really dark and we had to drive around the car park a couple of times when we were leaving before we saw a sign saying parking for customers only but it was impossible to see it unless you shone a light directly at it as it was so dark and hidden.

I know this sounds silly but I rang the local non-emergency police who were actually really interested in it and said that although it is a civil matter and they technically can't help, they told me to approach the ticket company, then the council and then citizens advice.

I just feel that this was a really immoral way for the pub to act. I imagine that the landlord must be fed up of people using the car park and not the pub but we tried to use the pub, and we weren't doing so just to have grounds for appeal...we genuinely intended and attempted to get a drink there! The company wants us to pay £100, reduced to £60 if within 7 days.

Please help! Not sure if I've included all relevant info, so happy to answer questions about it...

NipNaps Tue 22-Oct-13 22:37:59

Great thanks. Is it worth me going back there to take a photo of the sign? I'm kicking myself that I didn't do it tonight. And obviously I'll park elsewhere and go back into the car park on foot ;)

VivaLeThrustBadger Tue 22-Oct-13 22:43:05

Yes. Any evidence you can send in with the popla appeal is good.

JudgeJodie Tue 22-Oct-13 23:01:39

I don't agree with the disproportionate invoice, and agree you shouldn't pay it but, I do think it was a little rude to park there. I bet loads of people use it to visit the laser place and don't pop in for a drink.
I would have thought you could have asked when you parked up and made it clear you were planning on coming back for a drink. They probably would have said yes, and if they had said no they would have warned you then that you would get a fine.

annie987 Tue 22-Oct-13 23:44:47

No, no, no! Don't engage with them in any way. Don't dispute it. The change in the law means nothing. They can only reclaim from you the money they lost out on - and if its a free car park that's nothing. Go straight to money saving expert and read all the advice.

NipNaps Tue 22-Oct-13 23:47:56

The thing is that money saving expert and the aa both recommend appealing the charge with the company and then going to popla to appeal if needed, this is since the change in the law in oct 2012. It doesn't say to ignore it at all. sad

IneedAsockamnesty Wed 23-Oct-13 06:34:43

Annie.

All those sites have stopped saying ignore them.

norkmonster Wed 23-Oct-13 06:46:36

Get photographs immediately of the car park & of the signs - both in daylight and at night to demonstrate that they were not visible in the dark.

VivaLeThrustBadger Wed 23-Oct-13 08:23:45

Annie, there are now people who have ignored it who have successfully been taken to court by Parking Eye firm. Other firms will prob follow soon. Advice is now not to ignore.

NipNaps Wed 23-Oct-13 08:53:37

I've been looking into this and the independent appeals service accepted 80% of the appeals sent in about the company that ticketed us so will try the company first and then go for an appeal if needed... Will also speak to citizens advice this morning about the more suspicious parts of the situation.

Thymeout Wed 23-Oct-13 09:49:29

Sorry but I'm afraid my sympathies are with the pub on this one. It's their car park for their customers. I imagine that the majority of people who leave their cars there and go off and do something else don't later pop in for a drink afterwards. And how would they know your plans? The £60 fine is standard for parking offences in my area. You're lucky you weren't clamped.

Provided there is a notice to that effect, I don't see what grounds you have for an appeal.

whatsthatcomingoverthehill Wed 23-Oct-13 10:01:55

I'm afraid that you cannot just ignore these any more. They are enforceable, and you could get taken to the small claims court. Have a look here:

forums.pepipoo.com/index.php?s=8f1fbf60b0786b77f6aa0983372874b1&showforum=60

There is lots of advice there and there will be people who can help draft your appeal letter.

The way they get around these charges is that by parking there you are entering into a contract. The contract states that it is free if you use the pub, which you didn't do. There are ways to get out of it, for example:

- The notices should be phrased correctly. If they say it is a 'penalty' then it won't be enforceable in general.
- The signs need to be clearly visible, so that you are aware of the contract you are entering into.

nogreythatmatters Wed 23-Oct-13 10:17:49

The chances of having to make a court appearance are minimal.

People who work for Car Parking companies are trash - sending threatening letters, trying to scare old, infirm and vunerable people.

FlapJackOLantern Wed 23-Oct-13 10:23:52

You parked on someone's private land then went off somewhere else. What did you expect the pub to do - welcome you with open arms?

YWBU and cheeky.

SirChenjin Wed 23-Oct-13 10:32:32

Yes - because otherwise they lose business, and with so many pubs closing each week it's not like a pub can afford not to welcome customers with open arms, is it?

FlapJackOLantern Wed 23-Oct-13 11:05:22

Well, they are obviously totally pissed off with people parking in their car park - otherwise they would not have the fines in place, would they?

SirChenjin Wed 23-Oct-13 11:08:24

Yep, they probably are - but the OP and her friends did go into the pub afterwards, and he refused to serve them. Hardly a smart approach to business, is it? He's managed to lose actual business as well as future business, at a time when the car park was practically empty anyway. Idiotic man.

FlapJackOLantern Wed 23-Oct-13 12:44:22

Perhaps trade is so bad he really doesn't care. He'll get more from the fine than from their custom grin

WestieMamma Wed 23-Oct-13 12:58:52

You're lucky you weren't clamped.

No she isn't. The change in the law which has made it easier to enforce these parking charges also banned clamping.

I would appeal it. Given that you tried to buy a drink and were refused you have some good grounds for argument. the sign presumably doesn't say you must immediately be a customer does it?

It is important that people understand that the law has changed in this regard. If you don't pay the ticket the company will get your details from the DVLA and write to the registered keeper. That's what used to happen but if the registered keeper didn't reply then they had nothing to go on. NOW they can proceed against the registered keeper even if they deny it was them driving. Dh is getting letters about one atm. The letters aren't v nice - lots of give us your card number to pay the debt....but it doesn't say how much that is hmm. He says if they take him to court he will pay then. Personally I would rather he'd paid the original £40 but he says you have to stand up to these people hmm x 1000!

NipNaps Wed 23-Oct-13 13:31:00

Well I'm definitely going to appeal it, but the problem is that due to the fact that the barman refused to serve us, we have no evidence that we were customers there...had he served us and we'd paid by card then we could have shown the parking company the transaction but by refusing us, he has taken away any evidence we could have had. If I didn't know better then I'd say it sounded like the pub was getting a cut from the tickets, and that it was a bit of a scam!

IHaveA Wed 23-Oct-13 13:34:47

I think getting a drink an HOUR after parking isn't relevant. The fact is that you used the carpark when you were not customers. Follow the pepipoo/MoneySavingExpert advice.

Thymeout Wed 23-Oct-13 17:55:13

There was a parking ticket on each of the teacher's cars.

Just how many cars were involved? Each taking up a space for over an hour while you were at Laserquest?

I'm not surprised the barman was annoyed. Especially as he had no idea you'd be buying a drink afterwards. Did you apologise at any point during your conversation with him?

NipNaps Wed 23-Oct-13 18:41:30

3 - there were quite a few teachers but we all lift shared.

We couldn't even get into a conversation with the barman - he just went loopy at us the minute we walked in...

"I'm not serving you, have you parked in the car park?"

"Yes, we live too far away to walk here"

"Get out of my pub, I'm not serving you"

"Why, have we done something wrong?"

"I'm going to call the police if you don't get out now"

It was only when we got out that we realised that there were tickets on the cars and that's when it dawned on us that they didn't want us to be customers because otherwise we'd then have grounds to challenge the ticket.

Anyway...as the day has gone on I've made lots of new friends on the Martin's money forum, one of whom lives opposite the actual car park and also happens to know the law about private car parks inside out and as there's no sign saying that there are parking restrictions at the entrance, apparently they cannot legally enforce the fine and any appeal that goes through the independent appeals body will be upheld. I just feel that the attitude of the barman (who has since turned out to be the landlord) was so so horrible that I am going to fight this all the way. What they did was so sneaky and it's not fair. I totally understand that they are fed up with non-customers using their car park but they went about enforcing the rule totally the wrong way and have put off a lot of potential new customers in the process.

IHaveA Wed 23-Oct-13 19:14:04

Lol, I doubt the "Yes, we live too far away to walk here" smart Alec comment helped your course. I'd have gone with a grovelling apology personally. confused

How many parking spots did the pub have?

NipNaps Wed 23-Oct-13 19:26:21

About 50. There were about 40 free spaces, literally the car park was deserted when we got there.

We didn't say it in a snarky way; we had no idea why we were being asked that question at that point.

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