Author Topic: Smart Parking - debt recovery for a debt I didn't know I had  (Read 107 times)

0 Members and 0 Guests are viewing this topic.

Innocent_bystander

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 3
  • Karma: +0/-0
    • View Profile
Smart Parking - debt recovery for a debt I didn't know I had
« on: February 09, 2024, 03:24:03 pm »
Hi all,
I am after a bit of help/advice if possible please...

The driver received a debt recovery letter on 5th February 2024, for a parking charge dated 8th December 2023.  This was the first letter received on the subject (and there was no notice on the car or any other attempt at contacting).  I called debt recovery (maybe a mistake) and they tell me a letter was 'sent' (but importantly it was never received) on 28th December - 20 days after the car was parked.  The driver now apparently owes 170, with threats of legal action if that is not paid soon.  I am not sure if this is something anyone else has experienced, and knows what approach I should take?  Just to note we are fair and honest people and (like previous parking charges) would have paid promptly and without question had we been given the opportunity to do so and evidence of wrongdoing.  Many thanks in advance!

Share on Facebook Share on Twitter


b789

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 198
  • Karma: +3/-0
    • View Profile
Re: Smart Parking - debt recovery for a debt I didn't know I had
« Reply #1 on: February 09, 2024, 04:16:34 pm »
Hopefully, you didn't actually reveal the identity of the driver when you mistakenly contacted the debt collector. Under no circumstances should you reveal the drivers identity until we know more about the circumstances of the parking event. Any contact with the parking company should be as the Registered Keeper (RK) as that is who they are communicating with. Unless you revealed the drivers identity, they have no idea who that may be.

The RK and the driver are two separate entities in law. Until we can see a copy of the original NtK/PCN allegedly sent to the RK, we don't know whether only the driver is liable or either the driver and the RK.

What was the location? Which unregulated private parking company is supposed to have sent the speculative invoice that you never received? That info should be on the correspondence you received from the debt collector.

Do not contact debt collectors. They are not a party to the contract between you and the parking company for the alleged breach. Most of these debt collector companies operate on a no-win, no-fee basis and their modus operandi is to intimidate the victim into paying the now enhanced charge.

You can ignore the debt collector as they have no powers to initiate any legal action and all the bluster about CCJs and bailiffs is purely designed to get low hanging fruit on the gullible tree to capitulate and pay up.

For now, you may want to have a look at your V5C registration document. Is your current address up to date on it?

It is a common mistake for many motorists to update their drivers licence details when they move but forget to update the V5C, which is where the parking company gets the registered keepers information from the DVLA. If that's the case, the debt collector probably used a simple credit trace to get the current address.

Which parking company are the debt collectors representing? It is almost certainly too late to appeal to the parking company and, depending on which Approved Operator Scheme they belong to, BPA or IPC, it is also likely too late for a secondary appeal to POPLA or the IAS. Never mind... the whole process is flawed anyway.

Have you tried to contact the landowner where the alleged parking event happened? That is what is known as Plan A and often gets the PCN cancelled. Plans B and C, as already mentioned, are most likely a no-go at this stage. Ultimately, Plan D, a hearing before a judge who will ultimately decide whether you owe the parking company a debt, is the most likely to succeed in seeing this off.

For now, please advise which parking company and the location of the car park and the circumstances that you think may have caused the PCN to be issued.
« Last Edit: February 09, 2024, 04:18:56 pm by b789 »

Innocent_bystander

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 3
  • Karma: +0/-0
    • View Profile
Re: Smart Parking - debt recovery for a debt I didn't know I had
« Reply #2 on: February 09, 2024, 08:11:08 pm »
Thank you for your response.

Hopefully I can answer your questions

Company = Smart Parking Ltd, and it was a retail park, after hours.

My V5C doc is fully up-to-date.


Sorry if I didn't make clear in my original message, but the parking charge itself is not under dispute, it's the fact that I received no notification of it until a debt collectors letter (with a vastly inflated sum) nearly 2 months after the event.

I haven't contacted the landowner, but I certainly can if you think that's worth a try?

b789

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 198
  • Karma: +3/-0
    • View Profile
Re: Smart Parking - debt recovery for a debt I didn't know I had
« Reply #3 on: February 09, 2024, 08:23:36 pm »
As long as you have not revealed the identity of the driver, this is easily disposed of. (not so) Smart Parking don't usually rely on PoFA in their NtKs which means that the RK cannot be liable for the charge. Only the driver can be liable and they have no idea who the driver is, unless the identity is provided to them.

There is no legal requirement for the RK to identify the driver. This is not a "fine". (not so) Smart Parking are not an authority that can compel someone to identify the driver. They are an unregulated private parking company that grew out of clamping operation and all they have done is issue a speculative invoice for an alleged breach of contract.

You appeal as the registered keeper. You do not identify who was driving. You tell them that as they have not issued you, the keeper, with a NtK that is compliant with PoFA 2012, they can only hold the driver liable for any alleged charge. You advise them to pursue the driver. If they do not agree, then they must issue you with a POPLA code and you will submit an appeal which will be upheld by them.

There are examples of wording you can use but just remember, (not so) Smart Parking have no idea who the driver is and they can't rely on PoFA to hold you as the RK, liable for the charge.

Offering to pay these ex-clamper scammers is not advised unless you want to be marked by them as a "mug". No one here doubts you are "fair and honest people". However, these unregulated private parking companies are "rogues and scammers" (Hansard) and care not one bit about your integrity.
« Last Edit: February 09, 2024, 08:26:56 pm by b789 »

DWMB2

  • Moderator
  • *****
  • Posts: 646
  • Karma: +17/-0
    • View Profile
Re: Smart Parking - debt recovery for a debt I didn't know I had
« Reply #4 on: February 09, 2024, 09:22:27 pm »
Quote
If they do not agree, then they must issue you with a POPLA code and you will submit an appeal which will be upheld by them.
Given the OP has received a debt collection letter it'll be past their arbitrary appeal deadline, so they'll probably not issue a POPLA code.

b789

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 198
  • Karma: +3/-0
    • View Profile
Re: Smart Parking - debt recovery for a debt I didn't know I had
« Reply #5 on: February 09, 2024, 09:32:36 pm »
Quote
If they do not agree, then they must issue you with a POPLA code and you will submit an appeal which will be upheld by them.
Given the OP has received a debt collection letter it'll be past their arbitrary appeal deadline, so they'll probably not issue a POPLA code.
True... however, what is your interpretation of s23.8 of the updated BPA CoP here: https://www.britishparking.co.uk/write/Documents/AOS/NEW%20Redesigned%20Documents/Version91.2.2024Highlight.pdf

It could be argued that the appellant must be allowed an opportunity to appeal outside of the 28 day period due to the exceptional circumstance of no NtK having been received in the first place. It is incumbent on the operator, according to BPA CoP s23.8 for them to re-issue the NtK and restart the 28 day period.

If the appellant can claim that nothing was received prior to the DRA correspondence, they could, in an ideal world, put the operator to strict proof of having posted the original NtK, which we know they cannot provide as they choose not to use a "proof of posting" facility. On the balance of probabilities, the original NtK was either not posted, sent to an incorrect address or just lost in the post. Based on this assertion, the operator should, according to their ATAs CoP, re-issue the NtK and start the process again.
« Last Edit: February 09, 2024, 09:37:53 pm by b789 »

H C Andersen

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 511
  • Karma: +15/-0
    • View Profile
Re: Smart Parking - debt recovery for a debt I didn't know I had
« Reply #6 on: February 10, 2024, 12:28:54 pm »
As long as you have not revealed the identity of the driver, this is easily disposed of. (not so) Smart Parking don't usually rely on PoFA in their NtKs which means that the RK cannot be liable for the charge.

Sorry, but it is not 'easily disposed of'. It might be winnable in court within the next 6 years after a potentially drawn-out process, but this is hardly easily disposed of.

OP, you must submit an appeal, to do otherwise would not enhance your case. IMO, you do not have time to go through the SAR process. You need to get your facts in front of the creditor ASP:
Away from: **** - *****;
Found letter from *** dated 5 Feb. regarding a parking charge;
Spoke to *** who informed me that *****, including that it is too late to appeal;
This may be their opinion, but the fact remains that even if a PCN had been delivered I was not able to appeal in time, neither was anyone else on my behalf(you might need to expand on this) because I had nothing to appeal because a PCN was not found in my mail and therefore for whatever reason it was not delivered.
I therefore ask that you consider my exceptional circumstances and re-send the PCN and allow me a suitable period in which to submit a proper appeal.

Don't get all Perry Masonish about this: just a simple statement of your circumstances.

b789

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 198
  • Karma: +3/-0
    • View Profile
Re: Smart Parking - debt recovery for a debt I didn't know I had
« Reply #7 on: February 10, 2024, 03:26:10 pm »
“Easily disposed of” is, I agree, not useful terminology. Perhaps it would have been better if I’d pointed out that Smart Parking do not have a particularly good track record of claims that are properly and robustly defended proceeding to an actual hearing.

They rely on gullibility of their victims to pay up or wait until the process has proceeded to DRA stage, where many capitulate under the threats of CCJs and bailiffs. Their track record of actually continuing a claim through to an actual hearing is minimal, certainly according to the MSE forum.

If the PPC is going to argue that it is too late to appeal, they must complain to the PPC (not appeal) that they have not been given an opportunity to appeal and, after receiving a response to the complaint, they must then complain to the BPA who, hopefully, would be able to instruct their member invoke the new part of their CoP, s23.8.

H C Andersen

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 511
  • Karma: +15/-0
    • View Profile
Re: Smart Parking - debt recovery for a debt I didn't know I had
« Reply #8 on: February 10, 2024, 05:54:08 pm »
I don't think they can complain yet that it's too late to appeal because they haven't tried through proper channels, they've just spoken to the 'debt' company.

I won't predict the outcome, but IMO they should at least try. IMO, the form of any complaint to the BPA would be contingent upon the creditor's reply.
Like Like x 1 Agree Agree x 1 View List

Innocent_bystander

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 3
  • Karma: +0/-0
    • View Profile
Re: Smart Parking - debt recovery for a debt I didn't know I had
« Reply #9 on: February 11, 2024, 01:35:12 pm »
Thank you all, I appreciate your time/attention.

I am disappointed that "Smart" Parking decided not to following the "industry best practice" referenced in section 24.4 of the BPA code of practice - I didn't receive the original PCN, never mind the notifications or reminders mentioned here! They look like such lovely people on their website too :)

I have submitted an appeal direct to Smart Parking, hoping they will do the noble thing. But if as expected they will not, I will take it to the next step to see if I get anywhere.

b789

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 198
  • Karma: +3/-0
    • View Profile
Re: Smart Parking - debt recovery for a debt I didn't know I had
« Reply #10 on: February 11, 2024, 01:57:43 pm »
Are you reading the latest version of the BPA CoP, v9 February 2024? This link takes you to the version with changes/additions highlighted:

http://www.britishparking.co.uk/write/Documents/AOS/NEW%20Redesigned%20Documents/Version91.2.2024Highlight.pdf

Have a read of 23.8 and see if you can figure out how to use that to get the PCN/NtK reissued and the clock reset.