Parking charge dispute

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Discussion

Ocho

Original Poster:

525 posts

217 months

Monday 13th December 2021
quotequote all
Hello all

Probably a frequent topic but every case is different...

We drove through Gatwick airport earlier this year in two cars (lots of kids) to collect my daughter and my partner didn't realise that there were new restrictions there meaning that you have to pay just to drive through (i.e. pick up), even if you don't stop, which she didn't - I was the one picking up.

She then got a penalty charge notice through from NCP for £100 but with this reduced to £15 as a goodwill gesture as it was a recently changed parking setup there and first infringement. However, her car is leased so the notice was forwarded from them (Zenith) and we were told not to pay it yet but to wait until the notice was sent through again in her name. This never came and the next thing we knew was when we got a letter from NCP telling us that we now had to pay the full £100.

We called NCP (5th Nov) and had a long chat explaining - they were unsure as they couldn't initially find all the right details, but asked us to email them plus to lodge online (which we did) plus the agent we spoke to gave us a reference for our call where he would also go away and investigate under this reference.

We then received a letter (dated 18th Nov) from their collections company (BW Legal) informing us that it had been referred to them and we now owed £160. We called NCP again and it turns out that we had been given the wrong information on the last call to them and hence our email would never have been seen or addressed (hence the case being moved to their collections company. We therefore forwarded the email to the new supposedly correct email address. This has never had a response.

We have just received a reply from the online appeal lodged on 5th Nov (which referenced the call to their agent) stating that any further correspondence regarding this notice will need to be with BW Legal as NCP can no longer accept appeals or payments regarding this notice.

So what can I do now - I'm assuming that the debt has passed to BW legal and they have one interest only - getting as much money as they can from us with no interest in the circumstances of the PCN. Any thoughts or help much appreciated.


Trax

1,453 posts

212 months

Monday 13th December 2021
quotequote all
Tell BW Legal the debt is in dispute, and they need to pass it back to Parking company.

Ocho

Original Poster:

525 posts

217 months

Monday 13th December 2021
quotequote all
Trax said:
Tell BW Legal the debt is in dispute, and they need to pass it back to Parking company.
Is that likely to work? Do you speak from experience?

Trax

1,453 posts

212 months

Tuesday 14th December 2021
quotequote all
Ocho said:
Trax said:
Tell BW Legal the debt is in dispute, and they need to pass it back to Parking company.
Is that likely to work? Do you speak from experience?
Don't see why not, they are only a debt collection company, from what you said, the debt is in dispute.

Mrr T

10,409 posts

245 months

Tuesday 14th December 2021
quotequote all
So can I clarify the situation. Based on your post.

1. A parking charge notice (PCN) was sent by NCP to Zenith, I assume it was addressed to them?

2. Your wife has NOT received a PCH from NCP address to her?

Please confirm.

PF62

2,660 posts

153 months

Tuesday 14th December 2021
quotequote all
Ocho said:
We drove through Gatwick airport earlier this year in two cars (lots of kids) to collect my daughter and my partner didn't realise that there were new restrictions there meaning that you have to pay just to drive through (i.e. pick up), even if you don't stop, which she didn't - I was the one picking up.
Neither the Gatwick website - www.gatwickairport.com/to-and-from/picking-up-drop... nor the T&Cs - www.gatwickairport.com/terms-conditions/drop-off-c... say you will be charged for just driving through.

The T&Cs specifically refer to a “parking tariff” and “Parking Charge Notices”.

So if she genuinely didn’t stop but just drove through, then perhaps raise it with Gatwick Airport themselves.

Realistically it is hard to see how they could defend charging for a ‘drive through’ without stopping, as the parking rules require clear signage which you can obviously read after you have parked, but having clear signage which you could read as a driver as you approached without stopping would be impossible to achieve.

silverfoxcc

7,271 posts

125 months

Tuesday 14th December 2021
quotequote all
OP

Have a word on pepipoo, they know about these Airport 'rules'

TonyF1

93 posts

32 months

Tuesday 14th December 2021
quotequote all
I’ve used Gatwick Airport Parking a lot and they are receptive to waving charges and being generally reasonable so I’d try them to see if they can help to get it waved.

The charge does refer to ‘using’ the drop off zone so more likely operating as a toll road rather than only for physically stopping and letting someone out.

Knowing how careful some people are wIth money I’d expect to see people leaping from moving vehicles to save a couple of quid if it only covered physically stopping. It would liven the place up a bit though.

PF62

2,660 posts

153 months

Tuesday 14th December 2021
quotequote all
TonyF1 said:
The charge does refer to ‘using’ the drop off zone so more likely operating as a toll road rather than only for physically stopping and letting someone out.
The T&Cs specifically refer to “enforcement of parking restrictions” not enforcement of a toll road.

If there were two different charges, one for using the road and one for parking, then they would be correct in arguing that someone hadn’t paid to use their toll road. However it is a hell of a stretch for them to argue that someone whose car hasn’t stopped moving has ‘parked’ and they should pay a parking fee.

Sure they might have difficulty in keeping track of whether someone has stopped for 10 seconds to let someone jump out and whether someone had to slow down due to congestion as they were passing through, but that is their problem.

You can’t just put cameras up on a road and argue that everyone driving along that road has ‘parked’.

Ocho

Original Poster:

525 posts

217 months

Tuesday 14th December 2021
quotequote all
Mrr T said:
So can I clarify the situation. Based on your post.

1. A parking charge notice (PCN) was sent by NCP to Zenith, I assume it was addressed to them?

2. Your wife has NOT received a PCH from NCP address to her?

Please confirm.
The first PRN she received in her name was the one for £100, when the previous one to Zenith was discounted to £15. We are (reluctantly, given it was a mistake to drive through there and she never event parked up) OK to pay the £15, but not the £100 which has now gone up to £160.

PF62 said:
Neither the Gatwick website - www.gatwickairport.com/to-and-from/picking-up-drop... nor the T&Cs - www.gatwickairport.com/terms-conditions/drop-off-c... say you will be charged for just driving through.

The T&Cs specifically refer to a “parking tariff” and “Parking Charge Notices”.

So if she genuinely didn’t stop but just drove through, then perhaps raise it with Gatwick Airport themselves.

Realistically it is hard to see how they could defend charging for a ‘drive through’ without stopping, as the parking rules require clear signage which you can obviously read after you have parked, but having clear signage which you could read as a driver as you approached without stopping would be impossible to achieve.
This makes sense - I presume (unless you have history yourself with Gatwick) that you have only just today looked these up, so they theoretically should reflect the current situation?

silverfoxcc said:
Have a word on pepipoo, they know about these Airport 'rules'
Never heard of pepipoo - will have a look, thanks

TonyF1 said:
I’ve used Gatwick Airport Parking a lot and they are receptive to waving charges and being generally reasonable so I’d try them to see if they can help to get it waved.
I've tried and their position now is that they cannot intervene as the case/debt has been passed to BW Legal.


TonyF1

93 posts

32 months

Tuesday 14th December 2021
quotequote all
You’re taking the word parking out of context in those T&C’s but I guess you know that already.

PF62

2,660 posts

153 months

Tuesday 14th December 2021
quotequote all
TonyF1 said:
You’re taking the word parking out of context in those T&C’s but I guess you know that already.
Not sure how you can take the concept of ‘parking’ out of context.

Ask 1,000 people whether a car driving along and not stopping at any point whether it was *parked* at any time, and I cannot see that anyone would consider it was.

And it isn’t as if the concept of ‘toll roads’ is new or unusual, so if they really want to charge a fee for driving down that road then it would be really easy to include in the T&Cs.

But they didn’t. They only referred to ‘parking’ which means the fees only relate to *parking* so anyone driving through without stopping isn’t liable to pay.

Ocho

Original Poster:

525 posts

217 months

Tuesday 14th December 2021
quotequote all
PF62 said:
Not sure how you can take the concept of ‘parking’ out of context.

Ask 1,000 people whether a car driving along and not stopping at any point whether it was *parked* at any time, and I cannot see that anyone would consider it was.

And it isn’t as if the concept of ‘toll roads’ is new or unusual, so if they really want to charge a fee for driving down that road then it would be really easy to include in the T&Cs.

But they didn’t. They only referred to ‘parking’ which means the fees only relate to *parking* so anyone driving through without stopping isn’t liable to pay.
Just checking again PF62, did you take this from the current Ts&Cs?

Mrr T

10,409 posts

245 months

Wednesday 15th December 2021
quotequote all
Ocho said:
Mrr T said:
So can I clarify the situation. Based on your post.

1. A parking charge notice (PCN) was sent by NCP to Zenith, I assume it was addressed to them?

2. Your wife has NOT received a PCH from NCP address to her?

Please confirm.
The first PRN she received in her name was the one for £100, when the previous one to Zenith was discounted to £15. We are (reluctantly, given it was a mistake to drive through there and she never event parked up) OK to pay the £15, but not the £100 which has now gone up to £160.

PF62 said:
Neither the Gatwick website - www.gatwickairport.com/to-and-from/picking-up-drop... nor the T&Cs - www.gatwickairport.com/terms-conditions/drop-off-c... say you will be charged for just driving through.

The T&Cs specifically refer to a “parking tariff” and “Parking Charge Notices”.

So if she genuinely didn’t stop but just drove through, then perhaps raise it with Gatwick Airport themselves.

Realistically it is hard to see how they could defend charging for a ‘drive through’ without stopping, as the parking rules require clear signage which you can obviously read after you have parked, but having clear signage which you could read as a driver as you approached without stopping would be impossible to achieve.
This makes sense - I presume (unless you have history yourself with Gatwick) that you have only just today looked these up, so they theoretically should reflect the current situation?

silverfoxcc said:
Have a word on pepipoo, they know about these Airport 'rules'
Never heard of pepipoo - will have a look, thanks

TonyF1 said:
I’ve used Gatwick Airport Parking a lot and they are receptive to waving charges and being generally reasonable so I’d try them to see if they can help to get it waved.
I've tried and their position now is that they cannot intervene as the case/debt has been passed to BW Legal.
Thanks wanted to check the PCN had been issued. Can you confirm the dates of the drive through and the PCN.

You now have a choice fight it and likely win, which will involve some effort, or give up and pay.

If you choose to pay then only pay the charge no added fees. The fees cannot be collect in court so they are just a try on.

If you do not want to pay then you can ignore BW Legal. They will issue all kinds of threats but there is nothing they can do accept take you to the small claims court. You only need to respond if you get court documents.

It is worth doing a bit of research now.

The claim is in law of contract so the question was a contract formed between the driver and the parking company. Ignore the discussion above about T&C what matters is any notices on the road side. In particular any notices before you start driving through. For a contact to be formed these must be clearly read by a driver with out stopping. If you live close then a drive, with some one to take pictures, around the route in and take pictures of any signs before you enter the would be a good idea.

One big point if it does go to court and you lose the worst is you have to pay the charge. So long as you do that there is no effect on your credit rating.


Ocho

Original Poster:

525 posts

217 months

Wednesday 15th December 2021
quotequote all
Mrr T said:
Thanks wanted to check the PCN had been issued. Can you confirm the dates of the drive through and the PCN.

You now have a choice fight it and likely win, which will involve some effort, or give up and pay.

If you choose to pay then only pay the charge no added fees. The fees cannot be collect in court so they are just a try on.

If you do not want to pay then you can ignore BW Legal. They will issue all kinds of threats but there is nothing they can do accept take you to the small claims court. You only need to respond if you get court documents.

It is worth doing a bit of research now.

The claim is in law of contract so the question was a contract formed between the driver and the parking company. Ignore the discussion above about T&C what matters is any notices on the road side. In particular any notices before you start driving through. For a contact to be formed these must be clearly read by a driver with out stopping. If you live close then a drive, with some one to take pictures, around the route in and take pictures of any signs before you enter the would be a good idea.

One big point if it does go to court and you lose the worst is you have to pay the charge. So long as you do that there is no effect on your credit rating.
Thank you. So by ignoring BW Legal as you say, I will either hear nothing from them (or just more hot air), or potentially a summons to the SCC. Only at this point do I need to do anything, correct?

And I'll likely hear nothing more from NCP given that they have passed it to BW Legal?

Ocho

Original Poster:

525 posts

217 months

Thursday 16th December 2021
quotequote all
Mrr T said:
One big point if it does go to court and you lose the worst is you have to pay the charge. So long as you do that there is no effect on your credit rating.
I've heard elsewhere that this may not quite be true. I have been told...:

"They will almost certainly claim they've incurred additional 'debt collection' costs (£60-£70) which is not true - and is challengeable.

However, if you lost then you also have to pay fixed court costs on top of the charge. The claim fee (£35), hearing fee (£25) and solicitor's (£50) - they will almost certainly claim ex-gratia interest @ 8% pa too."