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...

gordyslovesheep Tue 22-Oct-13 21:58:10

don't pay it

BoysBoysBoysAndMe Tue 22-Oct-13 22:01:53

Don't pay it. They can't enforce it

Casmama Tue 22-Oct-13 22:03:09

Don't pay it. If they want to take you to court over a £100 fine then wait till you get a letter with a court date then pay it.
I would bet £100 they won't take it to court.

puntasticusername Tue 22-Oct-13 22:03:52

You don't have to pay it. See [[ http://www.moneysavingexpert.com/reclaim/private-parking-tickets]] for advice.

puntasticusername Tue 22-Oct-13 22:04:24

Ew, that link didn't work...well you get the idea anyway!

TheOriginalSteamingNit Tue 22-Oct-13 22:05:33

Yep, don't pay. Ignore.

Completely ignore it, if you contact them they will hound you. angry

Its not enforceable so ignore it.

londonrach Tue 22-Oct-13 22:07:07

If not council think its an invoice not a bill. Talk to cab or google parking tickets as lot of advice out there. Good luck. Might be an idea to leave feedback on trip advisor to warn others.

SirChenjin Tue 22-Oct-13 22:07:33

Don't pay it. The only people who can issue charges are the Police and the Council. Anything else is an invoice. Ignore it.

Screamqueen Tue 22-Oct-13 22:07:34

Dont pay it and dont contact the company either. They cant enforce it, no matter what they may threaten you with.

mindlessrascal Tue 22-Oct-13 22:07:37

Only political council can enforce payment, them or the police. A private company cannot; my dp went through a lot of hassle with a private company, they will often say if you pay 10 pounds by card etc the ,charges will be forgotten, and send court order type mail. Just ignore they have no legal footing!

mindlessrascal Tue 22-Oct-13 22:09:44

Sorry local council!

IHaveA Tue 22-Oct-13 22:11:03

Follow the advice on MoneySavingExpert expert. The rules have changed and it's nots not always best to simply ignore the ticket. Read up on it and do what they say.

It was a bit silly of you to use the pubs car park when you weren't using the pub but I don't think a £60 invoice (it's not a fine) fits the crime.

No, don't pay it. You will probably get several letters etc but don't be bullied by them. Do read the link above, gives good advice.

I've just had one of these in similar circumstances. All advice is to totally ignore them. There's a good Watchdog item on YouTube where a specialist motoring solicitor says to just make paper aeroplanes from the letters!

I got one outside costa for parking in what I thought was a parent toddler bay but was actually a disabled one next to p/t.
I ignored it as it was a private company. They sent me three demands for payment and a solicitors letter threatening court. Ignored them all and that was a year ago and heard nothing more.
Dh was very cross as it came in his name as I'd been driving his car and kept telling me to pay it. But I'm a rebel wink

NipNaps Tue 22-Oct-13 22:15:58

Thanks for the advice. We have also just had a think about this and there are a couple of things which don't seem right...

The barman knew who we were the moment we stepped into the pub - they were obviously watching out for us and had seen us leave the car there earlier. As soon as we approached the bar he said "I'm not serving you".

Plus...the ticket is in 2 parts, at the top is the ticket itself and then there's a bit that can be torn off the bottom. It's obviously come off a pad of tickets and each ticket has a pre-printed serial-type number at the top which is also printed on the bottom. However the number at the top has been scrubbed out with a biro and replaced with a totally different number. The number at the bottom has not been scrubbed out and stayed the same. So, if I decided to pay by post then I would send the bottom part in with payment but it wouldn't match the top ticket number...?! Not sure if that makes sense!!

Aargh!!

NipNaps Tue 22-Oct-13 22:21:29

Ooooh...also when I spoke to the police, they said that the parking company who issued the ticket are apparently linked in some way to the local council althought they are definitely a private company. Not sure how that worked but she seemed to think that the council used them sometimes to enforce parking at some places?

WestieMamma Tue 22-Oct-13 22:22:06

The law changed on the 1 October 2012. Don't ignore them as the parking companies can now enforce them. Follow this advice on puntasticusername's link.

IHaveA Tue 22-Oct-13 22:25:18

Any advice you take must be up to date!

Do you have legal advice included with your household/car insurance.

NipNaps Tue 22-Oct-13 22:29:29

I'm pretty sure we have it with our car insurance. Anyone got any idea why the ticket number had been changed? Seems suspicious to me.

IHaveA Tue 22-Oct-13 22:31:49

I don't think the changed 'ticket' number has any relevance but I could be wrong.

VivaLeThrustBadger Tue 22-Oct-13 22:34:56

What you now have to do is appeal to the company. You won't win, but ask them for a POPLA number.

You then appeal to POPLA, ask on Martin Lewis forum how to word the popla appeal. But you will win this. By virtue of the fact their sign was small and high, by virtue of he fact you tried to be a customer and mainly because the fine is out of proportion for any loss they may have incurred.

VivaLeThrustBadger Tue 22-Oct-13 22:37:30

I get tickets so frequently that TPS don't even bother writing to me anymore. So I don't have to appeal. I ignore the ticket on my car. If they were to then write to me I'd appeal but the last few they haven't bothered following the ticket up. I think they realise that it just costs them money and I'm never going to pay.

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.

NipNaps Wed 23-Oct-13 19:28:03

And of course we would have apologised had we known he'd seen it that way. As far as we were aware we were customers who'd parked where we wanted to drink. I initially thought he was going to go off on one about drink-driving when he asked about cars.

WestieMamma Wed 23-Oct-13 19:30:44

Sorry but I don't think the landlord is being sneaky at all. From his perspective you parked in his carpark without his consent as you weren't customers. You were ticketed for doing this. You then try to be customers but he doesn't want your customer as he probably thought you were trying to take the piss to get out of the tickets.

As far as I can see the only grounds for appeal that you have is the fact that the parking restrictions/fines weren't clearly displayed.

NipNaps Wed 23-Oct-13 19:33:15

Yes Westie I can totally see that point and I probably would have felt that way if I were the barman but to be honest I think I would have explained the situation rather than going nuts and threatening to call the police about people who at that point did not know the full situation nor the assumption that the landlord had made.

IHaveA Wed 23-Oct-13 19:52:41

OP, I am all for you appealing this as I have the same disdain for parking companies as the posters on MoneySavingExpert ...however, having looked at the pub on street view, you are mistaken to say that the signs in the carpark were not clear. confused They are in an obvious position and are big and bright yellow. shock. You can almost read them on StreetView. I find it hard to believe that no one in your group saw them.

.** assuming that the signs haven't changed since the streetView shots were taken hmm **.

There is also an NCP carpark around the corner. You have to admit that it would be really irritating for the pub landlord. You can see how he must think that you were simply trying to avoid paying for parking.

Having said that, I still think you should appeal as the parking companies are generally scumbags but I also feel sorry for the pub.

NipNaps Wed 23-Oct-13 20:09:44

IHaveA are you stalking me or do you know me in real life? I haven't named the city, pub nor the laser place (it is not actually called "laser quest"). Where are you thinking we are?

IHaveA Wed 23-Oct-13 20:19:48

Lol, no I am not a stalker grin but I am on the mse parking threads a lot Hence my earlier advice at the beginning of this thread to follow the info given MSE.

NipNaps Wed 23-Oct-13 20:25:46

Aha right well my thread on there has been pretty hot all day! I just looked at the pic on street view and it is totally different to how it looks now - it must have been taken AGES ago as the signs are hidden in the middle of a massive bush plus there is no lighting in the car park so it really did take us doing a couple of laps on full beam to spot it afterwards. In fact the car park was so dark that one of my colleagues had her car bumped into as well when a customer was leaving in his car sad plus the car park has been extended since then so some of the signs have maybe moved or been taken down and not all of them put back. It honestly looks quite different now!

LaGuardia Wed 23-Oct-13 20:26:56

Do not pay it. Ignore it. They are just trying their luck. You will not end up in court. I promise.

SleepingWithABrokenHeart Wed 23-Oct-13 20:38:26

Its private land, they can't do fuck all. They can give you a parking charge but they can't enforce it!!

They can take you to court but they can only claim back their loss.. which is this case is jack shit! Ignore them and they'll go away, appeal and you'll have them on your back for months. I made that mistake!

I tried to appeal and I had letters from debt collectors and solicitors, funny enough when I didn't reply to solicitors letter they threatened to take it back to debt collectors.. after them going back and forth and realizing they wasn't going to get a penny from me they stopped contacting me.

DO NOT PAY!!!!!!!!

IHaveA Wed 23-Oct-13 20:49:47

Fair enough. I thought that may have happened.
They may have had to change the signs because of the legislation changes or the Pub may have recently changed the parking enforcement company.

The MSE posters are really helpful if a bit snarky at times I find it a fascinating forum nearly as interesting as GardenLaw grin

The parking companies have a history of being nothing short of thugs. I have no sympathy with them. I would appeal the invoice if I were you.

NipNaps Wed 23-Oct-13 21:10:44

IHave I think they have only recently brought in the enforcement company who apparently kick up a stink about putting up their own signs rather than working with what is already there.

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