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Author: Subject: Accused of illegally parking my old donor vehicle.
smart51

posted on 18/8/21 at 01:35 PM Reply With Quote
Accused of illegally parking my old donor vehicle.

About 6 months ago, I had a solicitor's letter claiming that a vehicle I once bought as a donor had been parked somewhere and they were chasing me for costs. I replied telling them that the donor had been registered with the DVLA as scrapped years before the parking offence was alleged. I heard nothing for months but then I got an email from them today:

quote:
Thank you for your email. Please provide evidence supporting your claims within 14 days from the date of this email.



Failure to do so may result in our Client issuing court proceedings, without further warning.


I've replied with the history as best as I can piece it together with approximate dates and a suggestion that they contact the DVLA for them to confirm that the vehicle was recorded as dismantled.

I bought the donor in December 2007. The new vehicle was MSVAed, inspected by the DVLA and registered for the road in December 2012. The new vehicle was a total write off by theft in 2015. The insurance company sold it on through Copart. The solicitors are claiming that the original vehicle with the original number plate was parked in (from memory) 2017 or 2018.

What am I to do? I can't prove that the vehicle was scrapped, other than me going to the DVLA and asking them if they will send me something. When we moved house 4 years ago, I got rid of old stuff like those records.

[Edited on 18-8-2021 by smart51]

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40inches

posted on 18/8/21 at 01:40 PM Reply With Quote
Can't you ask them for evidence that it was illegally parked?
Put the reg number on the DVLA check site?or you a check site like this one

[Edited on 18-8-21 by 40inches]

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smart51

posted on 18/8/21 at 01:42 PM Reply With Quote
quote:
Originally posted by 40inches
Can't you ask them for evidence that it was illegally parked?
I have! Is it right that they have to prove guilt, and not me prove innocence?

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40inches

posted on 18/8/21 at 01:48 PM Reply With Quote
quote:
Originally posted by smart51
quote:
Originally posted by 40inches
Can't you ask them for evidence that it was illegally parked?
I have! Is it right that they have to prove guilt, and not me prove innocence?

I believe in this country they have to prove you guilty.

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40inches

posted on 18/8/21 at 02:01 PM Reply With Quote
There may be something in HERE that may be of help?
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loggyboy

posted on 18/8/21 at 02:04 PM Reply With Quote
If its a private car park and they send any more letters reply back telling them you have provided all you can and you won't enter in to further communications. The private parking charges are a largely unenforceable. I parked in a free but private carpark years back amd got letters for ages. I ignored them all and every domoften a new debt recovery agent will buy the fine and I'll get a new letter from a new companty which gets ignored too.
Do you have the full details of where and when it was parked and what the car was. Was it anpr or ticketed? I got sent photos (without asking) of mine.





Mistral Motorsport

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smart51

posted on 18/8/21 at 02:10 PM Reply With Quote
I have kept the original letter, which I recall does give the date the parking was alleged. ISTR it was a couple of years before the letter. The donor vehicle was a scooter. I wonder if there is a ringer out there with the old number plate.

A quick look on the DVLA website shows the tax (SORN) ran out in 2013 so if it was parked in 2018 (or whenever) it had been running around untaxed and unMOTed for years. Do these solicitors do no due diligence before sending out letters?

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Mr Whippy

posted on 18/8/21 at 03:24 PM Reply With Quote
Unless they have dated photographic evidence they have no case. They aren't the police, they have no powers. Ignore them or if you want write back to them informing them of F Off.
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Benzine

posted on 18/8/21 at 06:20 PM Reply With Quote
Fire it into the bin
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jps

posted on 19/8/21 at 06:44 AM Reply With Quote
Dont just ignore it. The law changed a while ago and whilst it was once the case you could chuck private parking fines into the bin now they can take it to court fairly easily and you might end up with a CCJ/debt collection agencies coming after you, etc. I was sent a ticket about 2 years ago and went through the processes to get it cancelled but there was a fair amount of work for me to do.

The money saving expert forum has lots of good information about what you need to do. From memory itll differ depending on who the car park operator is, etc although if the first youve heard is a solicitors letter then its further down the process than I had to deal with. I would suggest at least looking on the MSE site and seeing what their advice is, and following it.

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Theshed

posted on 19/8/21 at 08:55 AM Reply With Quote
I do not think you should ignore the e-mail either. If they do issue a small claim, any judge will take a dim view of a failure to put forward an explanation when invited to do so.

Many 'letters of claim' are a bluff but many are not. If you have any assets (i.e. own a house of earn a wage) it is not a good idea to ignore threats of proceedings. I have acted in a case where a 80 fine for crossing a bus lane racked up a six figure sum in legal costs.

Since 2012 the registered keeper of a vehicle can (in certain circumstances) be liable for private parking charges incurred by the driver of the vehicle. The landowner/parking company must follow a set procedure. There is good online info on that - see 'parkingcowboys'.

You do not tell us the basis of the claim. Was it said to ba a private car park or was the scooted just dumped on somebody's land? If the latter then the claim is in 'trespass' and they would need to show that you dumped it.

Efforts to argue that all private parking charges are unenforcible spectacularly failed in the supreme court (at vast expense to the stubborn man who took it all the way - hats off).

However.....in your case you will be asserting that the vehicle parked (presumably with the reg plate you had) was either not registered in your name at all (i.e. you had properly notified the DVLA that it had been scrapped) OR that the vehicle parked was a ringer (because you had dismantled the original). Your photo archive has compelling evidence of the second point and I would not hesitate to send those photos and any links to posts to the solicitors. If you had taken the engine and back wheel off what was left to park!!

There is no 'guilty or not guilty' in a civil court. Facts need to be proved to the standard where they are more likely than not. The person who asserts a fact needs to prove it. In this case the parking company will assert that a vehicle with the relevant registration was parked on the land. I would assume they have a record or photos of that. You will have to prove that this was not the vehicle registered to you. That said it should not be hard.

I would ask them to produce copies of the original notices that they served. They needed to serve a notice on you in a fixed time if they are relying on a private parking charge.

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SteveWalker

posted on 19/8/21 at 09:03 AM Reply With Quote
I'd resend the information that the vehicle did not exist at that time and why, but also add something along the lines of "As this clearly means that what was my vehicle cannot have been parked there, either a mistake has been made or someone is using false numberplates. In either case, this is nothing to do with me and future correspondance to me will incur a processing fee of xx, plus yy per hour of my time needed." If they persist, keep a track of it all and when it is sorted out, bill them.
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Mr Whippy

posted on 19/8/21 at 09:08 AM Reply With Quote
quote:
Originally posted by SteveWalker

In either case, this is nothing to do with me and future correspondence to me will incur a processing fee of xx, plus yy per hour of my time needed." If they persist, keep a track of it all and when it is sorted out, bill them.


I like it

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loggyboy

posted on 19/8/21 at 09:16 AM Reply With Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Theshed


Efforts to argue that all private parking charges are unenforcible spectacularly failed in the supreme court (at vast expense to the stubborn man who took it all the way - hats off).



Thats the scaremongering case they use. That case was a stupid one to try to defend as it was a paid parking issue. A lot of these 'invoice' based fines are for free parking and set up a very differnt set of criteria to show the 'offence' caused loss of earnings to the land owner, which is the prime reason the case you mention failed. Now im jumping to a conclusion that the OPs invoice is based on a free parking offence. Ive successly defended 2 free parking claims, one by responding and one by ignoring. Both using the moneysavingexpert sites guidance.





Mistral Motorsport

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Charlie_Zetec

posted on 19/8/21 at 10:13 AM Reply With Quote
quote:
Originally posted by SteveWalker
I'd resend the information that the vehicle did not exist at that time and why, but also add something along the lines of "As this clearly means that what was my vehicle cannot have been parked there, either a mistake has been made or someone is using false numberplates. In either case, this is nothing to do with me and future correspondance to me will incur a processing fee of xx, plus yy per hour of my time needed." If they persist, keep a track of it all and when it is sorted out, bill them.


I can confirm that this actually works (to a certain degree)!

To set the background - I had numerous mobile phone contracts taken out in a mixture of mine and other peoples' names, using my address - these were all done in the Midlands, whereas I live in Essex. No surprise, all contracts were cancelled within a day, and the handsets then sold on (at a guess). I had three or four debt collection agencies write to me on behalf of the main mobile networks, and I explained that I was not in the area in question at the time, nor did I have the handsets in question.

After their third letter and my responses, I advised them all that I had provided sufficient evidence to support my claim of innocence, they had failed to carry out due diligence (by checking CCTV in the shops or identification required to take out new contracts), and that any further communications sent to me chasing the debt would incur a 25 charge, plus another 50 per reply. Low and behold, all but one backed off - guess they did their homework (albeit late).

The last one sent me a final "we're sending the boys round" letter, and I replied saying that if they attended my property, I would call the police and press charges for trespass, harassment, and look at taking them to court. Also that they should take this letter as an invoice to the sum of 75, charges as outlined in my previous correspondence. Failure to respond or pay within 28 days would mean legal action for recovery of costs. A fortnight later, cheque received for 75.00, and note saying case closed and no action against my credit rating.

A lot of companies work on the "30 in 3 rule" - about 30% of people pay on the first instance, then another 30% after a second chase, and another 30% on the third letter. Only about 10% of people actually contest charges overall. Shame, as a lot of cowboy companies seem to get away with these tactics, and people sometimes pay unnecessarily, if only to avoid hassle....





Artificial intelligence is no match for natural stupidity!

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Theshed

posted on 19/8/21 at 04:22 PM Reply With Quote
quote:
Originally posted by loggyboy
quote:
Originally posted by Theshed


Efforts to argue that all private parking charges are unenforcible spectacularly failed in the supreme court (at vast expense to the stubborn man who took it all the way - hats off).



Thats the scaremongering case they use. That case was a stupid one to try to defend as it was a paid parking issue. A lot of these 'invoice' based fines are for free parking and set up a very differnt set of criteria to show the 'offence' caused loss of earnings to the land owner, which is the prime reason the case you mention failed. Now im jumping to a conclusion that the OPs invoice is based on a free parking offence. Ive successly defended 2 free parking claims, one by responding and one by ignoring. Both using the moneysavingexpert sites guidance.


The Parking Eye case failed because the Supreme Court held that the obligations to pay the 'fine' were not penalty clauses at all and if they were not unenforcible.

I do not know whether the OP's landowned was a paying car park or ordinary land - that's why I asked. However I would point out that it is not necessary to show a loss of earnings in a case brought in trespass. Tresspass is actionable without proof of loss. The reason most people do not bother is that without loss there are only nominal damages ....but these may be calculated by reference to the use of the land by the trespasser and need not be negligable - ask anybody ever involved in a boundary dispute.

The suggestion of threatening to charge for correspondence is good fun but the OP is recieving letters from a solicitor. A unilateral demand for payment does not give any rights whatsoever - it is a bluff and any solicitor would cheerfully ignore such a letter hoping that it found its way into a trial bundle to prejudice the judge against the mischevious author. Companies subject to regulation (banks mobile phone companies) are fair game as they will be nervous of ombusman.

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SteveWalker

posted on 20/8/21 at 12:58 AM Reply With Quote
A unilateral demand for payment does not mean anything, but one stated to them in advance of further correspondence, when they are clearly targeting the wrong person has a lot more meaning. The wrongly targeted person clearly has done nothing wrong and has no obligation to spend their time dealing with it, so having been advised that they've got the wrong person, continuing to chase them, after warning, does give rise to a valid claim for payment.
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Theshed

posted on 20/8/21 at 08:13 AM Reply With Quote
Sorry to be so emphatic but....No it does not. It is not possible to impose a contract unilaterally. It is necessary for the terms offered to be accepted. A solicitor continuing to conduct correspondence with a person who has sent such a letter is in no sense whatsoever accepting an obligation to pay.

That said, chasing for debts which are not due can, in extreme circumstances (and I mean extreme) contravene the Protection from Harassment Act - this case will warm the heart.

https://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWCA/Civ/2009/46.html

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SteveWalker

posted on 20/8/21 at 05:12 PM Reply With Quote
But after sending a letter warning that they have got the wrong person and advising of charges if they continue to send correspondence that needs to be dealt with, further correspondence could be deemed accepting that contract - just as parking in a car park is deemed contractual acceptance of the rules on the notice on the wall.

Obviously this would not apply to efforts targeting the right person, who was just trying to avoid paying, but an innocent party having to spend time dealing with this has a right to be compensated for any effort they make after the sender of the letters has been informed of their mistake, but continues to fail to properly check into their information.

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smart51

posted on 20/8/21 at 08:19 PM Reply With Quote
I'm back home after a few days away. The DVLA are living down to their usual standards of competence.

quote:
Originally posted by Theshed
You do not tell us the basis of the claim. Was it said to ba a private car park or was the scooted just dumped on somebody's land? If the latter then the claim is in 'trespass' and they would need to show that you dumped it.


The original letter is dated 29th April 2021. In summary:

Client: Euro Parking Services Ltd.
Claimed amount: 160.00 including 60 "for time / resources spent facilitating the recovery of the unpaid parking charge notice(s)"
Date of charge: 11/12/2019
The schedule of unpaid parking notices dives a PCN Number and a street name (though not a town)

It also includes a loveley phrase: "Our client is satisfied it has sufficient evidence to support any Court proceedings". I'm sure they are



quote:
Originally posted by Theshed
I would ask them to produce copies of the original notices that they served. They needed to serve a notice on you in a fixed time if they are relying on a private parking charge.


Would this letter count as the original notice?

The DVLA

They got back to me the next day to ask me for my middle name. Then the day after to say I am the registered keeper of the vehicle and I cannot inform them of its destruction by email. The forms were submitted for it's scrapping at the same time as the forms for the new vehicle were submitted. Odd then that they haven't chased me for tax or SORN in all these years.

On a separate note, the new vehicle was MOTed up to last year and is currently on SORN. It's nice to know the little beast has been used over the last few years.

I've asked the DVLA to check the new vehicle, first to see if there is a link on their system to the donor vehicle and second to check that they don't still have me as the registered keeper.

If the DVLA have told the solicitors that I am still the registered keeper of the donor vehicle, it does put me in a situation. I'd love to see what photos they have of "it". What would you advise asking the solicitors in order to get their "evidence" from them?

[Edited on 20-8-2021 by smart51]

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Theshed

posted on 20/8/21 at 09:23 PM Reply With Quote
quote:
Originally posted by SteveWalker
But after sending a letter warning that they have got the wrong person and advising of charges if they continue to send correspondence that needs to be dealt with, further correspondence could be deemed accepting that contract - just as parking in a car park is deemed contractual acceptance of the rules on the notice on the wall.

Obviously this would not apply to efforts targeting the right person, who was just trying to avoid paying, but an innocent party having to spend time dealing with this has a right to be compensated for any effort they make after the sender of the letters has been informed of their mistake, but continues to fail to properly check into their information.


No, sorry not a hope in hades that this would crate a contract.

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Schrodinger

posted on 20/8/21 at 09:35 PM Reply With Quote
quote:
Originally posted by smart51


If the DVLA have told the solicitors that I am still the registered keeper of the donor vehicle, it does put me in a situation. I'd love to see what photos they have of "it". What would you advise asking the solicitors in order to get their "evidence" from them?

[Edited on 20-8-2021 by smart51]


I would ask for a copy of the photo they are using to identify the vehicle. The chances are it's on a car and you are the registered keeper of a scooter.

[Edited on 20/8/21 by Schrodinger]





Keith

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Theshed

posted on 20/8/21 at 09:39 PM Reply With Quote
quote:
Originally posted by smart51
I'm back home after a few days away. The DVLA are living down to their usual standards of competence.

quote:
Originally posted by Theshed
You do not tell us the basis of the claim. Was it said to ba a private car park or was the scooted just dumped on somebody's land? If the latter then the claim is in 'trespass' and they would need to show that you dumped it.


The original letter is dated 29th April 2021. In summary:

Client: Euro Parking Services Ltd.
Claimed amount: 160.00 including 60 "for time / resources spent facilitating the recovery of the unpaid parking charge notice(s)"
Date of charge: 11/12/2019
The schedule of unpaid parking notices dives a PCN Number and a street name (though not a town)

It also includes a loveley phrase: "Our client is satisfied it has sufficient evidence to support any Court proceedings". I'm sure they are



quote:
Originally posted by Theshed
I would ask them to produce copies of the original notices that they served. They needed to serve a notice on you in a fixed time if they are relying on a private parking charge.


Would this letter count as the original notice?



The DVLA

They got back to me the next day to ask me for my middle name. Then the day after to say I am the registered keeper of the vehicle and I cannot inform them of its destruction by email. The forms were submitted for it's scrapping at the same time as the forms for the new vehicle were submitted. Odd then that they haven't chased me for tax or SORN in all these years.

On a separate note, the new vehicle was MOTed up to last year and is currently on SORN. It's nice to know the little beast has been used over the last few years.

I've asked the DVLA to check the new vehicle, first to see if there is a link on their system to the donor vehicle and second to check that they don't still have me as the registered keeper.

If the DVLA have told the solicitors that I am still the registered keeper of the donor vehicle, it does put me in a situation. I'd love to see what photos they have of "it". What would you advise asking the solicitors in order to get their "evidence" from them?

[Edited on 20-8-2021 by smart51]


Based on what you say it appears to be an attempt to levy a private car park charge. Such charges can be enforced against the registered keeper if they do not confirm the name of the driver or say that the vehicle was stolen. But....Your situation appears very different. Somebody appears to be using the registration of a scrapped vehicle whether or not you remain the registered keeper.

As posters above have said - one option is to grit your teeth and ignore this - sometimes this will work. Issuing proceedings costs money and if defended costs can only be recovered in limited circumstances. But.... if they do issue - the judge will expect you to have raised your defence in correspondence. The 'tell them you will charge them' advice is fun and frankly tempting - but is pointless. If you are concerned by this I would send the longest and most detailed letter you can giving the history of your ownership of the scooter and sending all of the photos of what became of it. You should say that insofar as any vehicle is running around with those plates it is a ringer and nothing whatsoever to do with you. I would politely but firmly say that if their client issues proceedings you will defend them. In the same letter I would suggest that you ask for details of all notices sent and photos they will deploy. You should say that if they issue proceedings without disclosing this Information you reserve the right to raise the mater in any subsequent costs application (a rare beast in the small claims court). A full, polite but firm response is my advice.

[Edited on 20/8/21 by Theshed]

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gremlin1234

posted on 21/8/21 at 03:22 PM Reply With Quote
I suspect it is a much simpler explanation.
using ANPR (number plate recognition) will often misread plates*. and if they only check that its a 'valid' plate, they can very easily go after the wrong target.

* typical reasons for misreading plates:
https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/909024/ANPR_-_Evaluation_Approved_Version_2.0.pdf


"
Reason for misread plate
Number plate partly out of field of view
Fixings (inappropriately located)
Fixings (damaged or rusting)
Mud
Delamination
Cracks
Water damage
Illegal font
Illegal character spacing
Illegal spacing
Illegal background
Illegal plate layout
Illegal logos
Foreign plate
Different reads in visible and IR images
Character appearance alterations (blacktape, IR-absorbing tape, ink etc.)
Alterations to retroreflective properties of
background or characters
Other
"

[Edited on 21/8/21 by gremlin1234]

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smart51

posted on 24/8/21 at 08:01 AM Reply With Quote
Finally, the solicitors have sent me a photo of the parking indecent. It shows a large white transit van parked on double yellow lines, and not a small silver scooter. They clearly didn't do even the most basic due diligence in checking that the vehicle in the picture was the one I used to own.

I have asked them to confirm in writing their clients mistake and that there will be no further action in this case.

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