Parking Fines

There are lots of issues I could write about in this section and many of you will wish to add your own. Today I want to ask for comments on parking fines, something which most of us have received at some time. The usual occurrence involves us having parked somewhere we shouldn't, perhaps for a short time thinking we will get away with it. Sometimes we were over time on a paid meter and had forgotten. These straight forward matters end up with us paying, grudgingly, but without any real grounds for complaint.

Not so, however, for overstaying the two hour free period in a supermarket or motorway service station car park. .In these circumstances the punitive fine seems very unfair and

indeed it may be just that. I have recently read that we are within our rights, first of all, to question the issuing of the fine and secondly its severity. Should that get you nowhere then sending a self-assessed fine of around £10 which may represent the loss to the car park owner maybe the best approach. Only do that once you have checked that there are not adequate signs informing you of the limits applying to the park. In fact one such unfortunate person wrote the following letter to Aldi which accompanied the £10 “reasonable compensation”

“ I do not consider I entered into a contract with you /your client as I was unaware of the time restrictions on the site. I now consider the signage, informing motorists, to be inadequate given the site’s relatively cramped nature.

Preoccupations of safe driving should take precedence when entering the site. As a new customer of your client I did not have prior knowledge of the restrictions. I believe provision under the Unfair Contracts Terms Act 1977 is applicable because I am being asked to pay a disproportionately high sum in compensation. As several other parking spaces were available during the time I was using the parking area I do not believe you/your client suffered a pecuniary loss. I also believe a court would award only “reasonable compensation” if it were shown a contract existed. Should you choose to persist in further demands for payment, consideration must be given to an offence of harassment under the Protection from Harassment Act 1997 “ 

I understand the agency dealing with it dropped the action immediately. I am certainly keeping a copy of this letter for future reference should I need it.

Perhaps some of you would like to share your experiences on this topic and how you resolved them.

Most recently there has been a lot of comment in the press about the Protection of Freedoms Bill and Clause 56. This Bill is proposing to let car park owners pursue car owners for parking fines whether or not they were responsible for parking the car there. In other words, you as a separate legal entity who took no part can be prosecuted as the car owner and be prosecuted for all parking fines whether or not it can proved that you where responsible. Motorists are concerned that the recipients of these powers, British Parking Association potentially has a new and effective revenue stream to add to their already bulging coffers.

There is a growing campaign to stop clause 56 and I have included a link to a relevant website for more information and for the opportunity to sign up for the e.petition. It is well worth reading the arguments even if you don't end up supporting them. 

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