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Private parking fine(7 Posts)
I would really like some help or advice if anyone would be so kind.
In November 2014 I forgot to pay for parking in a car park so got a ticket. I thought the charge was stupidly high at the time so appealed it based on:
1, There was 2 signs for the car park, one that said 50p per hour and one that said £2 per hours so was misleading (nothing to do with me not paying but thought I'd point it out)
2, There was only about 3 other cars in the car park so there would have been no lost revenue for example if someone else wanted a space
3, I had paid 50p for this car park before and not got a ticket so assumed this is the correct amount so the amount of the fine (I think £40) was majorly excessive and I couldn't afford it.
Everyone at the time told me to ignore the ticket because it was a private car park and they can't enforce it but I did want to pay because I think it's fair to, I just couldn't afford the full amount at the time.
So there was a couple of letters back and forth then all went quiet until about a week ago so more than a year after the initial incident when I got a letter saying that nearly £200 was due for payment and that if I didn't pay it would go to court. The solicitors phoned me today and again I explained and said I wouldn't pay the full amount but was in a better place financially so could pay the initial fee but they said there was no negotiation and if I didn't pay it would go to court and I would get a CCJ and have to pay court fees.
Is there anything I can do? To be honest I would rather pay a solicitor to fight it than pay because while I accept that I was in the wrong I feel like it's them that's incurring all of these excess fees for solicitors.
I hope I don't sound like I don't feel like I should pay anything, that's really not what I mean. Any help would be appreciated.
I think this is supposed to be a good source for this topic
I'd echo queen's advice but the first thing I would check is whether the solicitor is actually a solicitor. You can do this on the law society website. We had a similar problem (though not this timescale) and found that the solicitor's letter was from a debt collection agency trying to scare us.
These were unenforceable, but are now not, so if you continue not to pay, you are taking the risk that they won't take you to court. If they do, the precedent is that the fine is not unfair.
You could write again and stress that you'll pay the £40 but not the extras, but they are not obligated to take that offer - or you could offer to pay 50%, £100 or so, in an attempt to find a solution. If you get taken to court, you could use this to show the judge that you tried to find a compromise - although it might not mean much, because you didn't pay originally, so it's a late and limited offer.
That's the only advice anyone can give, really. There's a 50% chance that they will take you to court for the £200, and if they do, they'll likely win because the precedent has been set that the charges are not unfair. There's also a 50% chance that they won't bother.
The two signs could probably have got you off this, but if you didn't initially appeal on that basis, it's probably too late almost a year later (unless you got photographic, dated evidence of the signs).
Thank you for all of the replies.
I did not know that they are now enforceable so that's interesting.
I did appeal regarding the 2 signs originally but didn't take photos. The signs are still up as far as I know. I think there was a recent case (in the last year) where someone in a high legal profession got taken to court because she paid the lower amount rather than the higher and she won so I might look that up.
When I asked on the phone if there was any room for negotiation they said no. I could do without the extra anxiety about this.
Forgot to say, the correspondence from a year ago was on my work computer that went pop last month
I got sent a flurry of letters a year or so ago - each one ramping up vague threats of "court" and "CCJ" in bigger and bigger red letters.
They were trying to bully me into paying hundreds for a genuine mistake of a few quid I'd have happily paid - not proportionate at all. And I imagine more vulnerable people are terrified and pay up, which makes me mad.
My letters stopped after a while. Twats. I would have been happy to argue with them in court, shame!
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