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BW Legal response to my denial of liability for parking charge

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  • BW Legal response to my denial of liability for parking charge

    I have been receiving letters from Parking Patrol Office and their legal representatives for some time and have been using your excellent forums to help me in dealing with them. However, I’ve now had some correspondence that I can’t find a response to in the forum and am therefore posted this thread in the hope that you can help.

    The letters began with one from PPO in mid-2017 for a parking charge notice for a car which I then owned which was visiting Newcastle airport. The pictures they sent me show a car at the entrance to a roundabout inside the airport with what looks like the driver disembarking. The roundabout and surrounding roads in the photo appear to be empty of any other traffic. The claim that a charge was due was for an alleged breach of the byelaws. The letter says PPO issued the charge pursuant to the Newcastle International Airport Byelaws 2009.

    Following my denial of any debt to PPO they sent a string of letters from Debt Recovery Plus, Zenith Collections, Gladstones Solicitors and most recently from BW legal, who sent me a letter of claim. I responded with the following rebuttal:

    “I am in receipt of your Letter of Claim of 5th November 2018.

    Your letter contains insufficient detail of the claim and fails to provide copies of evidence your client places reliance upon.

    Your client must know that on 01 October 2017 a new protocol is applicable to debt claims. Since proceedings have not yet been issued, the new protocol clearly applies and must be complied with.

    Your letter lacks specificity and breaches both the requirements of the previously applicable Practice Direction - Pre-Action Conduct and the new Pre-Action Protocol for Debt Claims (paragraphs 6 and 7) Please treat this letter as a formal request for all of the documents / information that the protocol now requires your client to provide. Your client must not issue proceedings without complying with that protocol. I reserve the right to draw any failure of the Claimant to comply with the protocol to the attention of the court and to ask the court to stay the claim and order your client to comply with its pre-action obligations, and when costs come to be considered.

    As solicitors you must surely be familiar with the requirements of both the Practice Direction applicable pre-1 October and the Protocol which applies thereafter (and your client, as a serial litigator of small claims, should likewise be aware of them). As you (and your client) must know, the Practice Direction and Protocol bind all potential litigants, whatever the size or type of the claim. Its express purpose is to assist parties in understanding the claim and their respective positions in relation to it, to enable parties to take stock of their positions and to negotiate a settlement, or at least narrow the issues, without incurring the costs of court proceedings or using up valuable court time. It is astounding that a firm of Solicitors are sending a consumer a vague and unevidenced 'Letter of Claim' in complete ignorance of the pre-existing Practice Direction and the new Protocol.

    Nobody, including your client, is immune from the requirements and obligations of the Practice Direction and now the Protocol.

    I require your client to comply with its obligations by sending me the following information/documents:

    1. An explanation of the cause of action
    2. Whether they are pursuing me as driver or keeper
    3. Whether they are relying on the provisions of Schedule 4 of POFA 2012
    4. What the details of the claim are; where it is claimed the vehicle was parked, for how long, how the monies being claimed arose and have been calculated
    5. Is the claim for a contractual breach? If so, what is the date of the agreement? The names of the parties to it and provide to me a copy of that contract.
    6. Is the claim for trespass? If so, provide details.
    7. Provide me a copy of the contract with the landowner under which they assert authority to bring the claim, as required by the IPC code of practice section B, clause 1.1; establishing yourself as the creditor;
    8. A plan showing where any signs were displayed
    9. Details of the signs displayed (size of sign, size of font, height at which displayed0
    10. Provide details of the original charge, and detail any interest and administrative or other charges added

    If your client does not provide me with this information then I put you on notice that I will be relying on the cases of Webb Resolutions Ltd v Waller Needham & Green [2012] EWHC 3529 (Ch), Daejan Investments Limited v The Park West Club Limited (Part 20) ; Buxton Associates [2003] EWHC 2872, Charles Church Developments Ltd v Stent Foundations Limited & Peter Dann Limited [2007] EWHC 855 in asking the court to impose sanctions on your client and to order a stay of the proceedings, pursuant to paragraphs 13,15(b) and (c) and 16 of the Practice Direction, as referred to in paragraph 7.2 of the Protocol.

    Until your client has complied with its obligations and provided this information, I am unable to respond properly to the alleged claim and to consider my position in relation to it, and it is entirely premature (and a waste of costs and court time) for your client to issue proceedings. Should your client do so, then I will seek an immediate stay pursuant to paragraph 15(b) of the Practice Direction and an order that this information is provided.”

    I have just returned from a business trip to find the following response from BW legal:

    “Our Client: UK Parking Patrol Office Limited
    Account number: xxxxxxx
    Balance £160.00 ("the Balance")

    We write in reference to the above matter and your recent correspondence.
    • Our Client's cause of action is that you breached the terms and conditions of the contract which you entered into by parking your vehicle in a prohibited area.
    • Our client is pursuing you as the registered keeper of the vehicle.
    • Our client does not intend to reply on Schedule 4 of Protection of Freedoms Act 2012.
    • The details of the claim are that your vehicle parked in a prohibited area.
    • The Parking Charge Notice (PCN) which you have been issued with is for a breach of contract. The only right which you have to enter the land in question are on the terms and conditions which apply. It is unnecessary to apply an analysis of offer, acceptance and consideration quite simply because the contract was formed on mutual promises. By parking your vehicle in the car park you have entered into a unilateral contract with Our Client. Acceptance does not have to be communicated, the act of parking your vehicle is acceptance.
    • This is not a claim for trespass.
    • Please be aware that the contract between Our Client and the landowner is a legally privileged document which you have no right to inspect. However, should this matter progress to court, the contract will be adduced as evidence.
    • Our client is under no obligation to provide this.
    • As established members of the Independent Parking Committee, Our Client adheres to their Code of Practice for Private Enforcement on Private Land and Unregulated Car Parks (‘Code of Practice’). This Code of Practice gives recommendations in regards to the signage within the Car Park. The signs within the car park comply with the recommendations in the Code of Practice and are therefore deemed reasonable.
    • £100.00 remains unpaid for the Parking Charge Notice. Additionally, you are also liable for our £60.00 instructions fee as your file has been passed to us.

    Accordingly, the full balance is Due.

    Please contact us within 14 days of this letter on 0113 487 0432 to discuss repayment.

    Yours sincerely
    BW Legal

    Apart from the fact that they have refused to supply all the information I asked for, their letter keeps referring to a car park, despite the fact that the vehicle is clearly stopped whilst entering a roundabout. Their photographs are actually titled ‘C33 Roundabout’.

    Also, the original letter from PPO said they were pursuing me for breaching a byelaw but now say it is for a breach of contract, so I’m not sure which it is, or whether these are both the same thing.

    I’m not sure how legally relevant the distinction is but it seems odd that they are chasing me for something that they allege happened in a car park, as I would not have though that such a description applied to an access road. I also cannot find any reference in the Newcastle International Byelaws 2009 that suggests that a road is a car park as their own definition of ‘Airport car parks’ says this “means together the Short Stay Car Park, the Short Stay Fast Track Car Park, the Long Stay Car Park, the Pick Up and Drop Off Car park, the south side parking and the Park and Fly Offsite car Park.” Further, it does not seem possible to presume that any pick up and drop off area can be regarded as a ‘car park’ when the Byelaws clearly define ‘Pick up/Drop off areas’ as “the areas designated from time to time for the picking up and dropping off of passengers”, which the roads and roundabouts are clearly not examples of. Finally, can a brief stop to alight a vehicle be considered as ‘parking’ and if that happens on an access road is that ‘a prohibited area’?

    Notwithstanding that, how should I respond to the BW Legal letter? I have seen some posts that suggest that I should send a SAR. Is that the best response, or should I respond to BW Legal’s refusal to supply the information I asked for and, if so, what it the best approach to that?

    Many thanks in advance for any advice you can offer.
    Tags: None

  • #2
    They have probably changed from byelaws to contract because the can take no action under byelaws after 6 months, though the can't chop and change. You could ask them what created the contract, where and when.

    An access road could not be considered private as it is subject to road traffic acts by being available for access by visitors.

    Yes, pleas issue a SAR to PPO and tell BWL to stop processing until the SAR has been fully responded to.


    • #3
      This makes for an interesting read + a useful Youtube video. Is it the case they don't want to do ByeLaw as that means they get nothing?



      • #4
        Byelaws and airport plan @2009 available here; https://www.newcastleairport.com/abo...rport-byelaws/


        • #5
          The Byelaws are well out of date and not representative of them having employed a PPC. The plan also shows 5 roundabouts so which one are they harping on about.


          • #6

            Many thanks for all the advice, which is excellent and has helped me a lot. I've written to my MP complaining strongly about the disgraceful presence of this firm at the airport and asked them to support any upcoming legislation to control the illegal and disgraceful activities of cowboy firms like Parking Patrol Office Ltd and to ask them to intervene to get PPO to stop harassing me. I've also written letters of complaint to the airport's CEO, its COO and the three non-executive members of the airport's Board who are also the leaders of the three local councils. I also sent a letter to the data Protection Officer of Parking Patrol Office Ltd for a subject access request that included the following specific request for information:
            1. Copies of ALL photos taken and that will be used as part of your case should this matter go to court, including a plan showing where any signs were displayed and close up images of the signs on the day in question together with the size of the signs, the size of font, and the height at which each sign was displayed
            2. Evidence that you have paid a debt collector
            3. All letters/emails sent and received, including any appeal correspondence earlier
            4. A record from the associated Pay and Display Terminal (PDT) machine record of payments made on the day of the alleged event
            5. All data held, all evidence you will rely on, and a full copy of the PCN, NTK
            6. All evidence you have that any contract for parking exists, the details of the circumstances which brought this about and where and when this alleged contract was entered into
            7. If the claim is for a contractual breach, provide me with the date of the agreement, the names of the parties to it and a copy of that contract with the landowner under which you assert authority to bring the claim, as required by the IPC code of practice section B, clause 1.1; establishing yourself as the creditor
            8. What the details of the claim are; where it is claimed the vehicle was parked, for how long, how the monies being claimed arose and have been calculated
            9. A list of all PCNs you consider are outstanding against me and/or this VRN. Please note that that any claim you are making against me must be for all PCNs in one claim, not several separate claims.
            Additionally I sent a further letter to BW Legal about their reply to me in which I said:
            Your letter fails to comply with my request for the full information relevant to your claim and which you are obliged to supply. Until your client has complied with its obligations and provided this information, I am unable to respond properly to the alleged claim and to consider my position in relation to it, and it is entirely premature (and a waste of costs and court time) for your client to issue proceedings. Should your client do so, then I will seek an immediate stay pursuant to paragraph 15(b) of the Practice Direction and an order that this information is provided.

            I have also sent your client a Subject Access Request (SAR) requiring them to provide me with information. I therefore require a restriction of data processing and your case should therefore be ‘put on hold’. You are therefore requested to stop all processing until the SAR has been fully responded to.

            Finally, I note that you allege that your client’s cause of action is that I breached the terms and conditions of a contract I entered into. This is denied and this letter is a formal request for you to explain what evidence you have that such a contract exists, the details of the circumstances which brought this about and where and when this alleged contract was entered into.

            I have so far had a response from one of the airport Board members saying they have asked the airport CEO to review the issue as a matter of urgency and see if there is scope "to resolve this matter amicably" and a letter from the airport's customer service department asking for details of the car and PCN reference number so they can investigate the case.

            BW Legal have replied to my most recent letter (above) to say:
            Please note that we are acting on Our Client's instructions to recover the above balance which remains due and owed by yourself to Our Client.

            Information about the right to restrict processing is available on the Information Commissioner's Office website www.ico.org.uk. The right to restrict processing only applies in certain limited circumstances. We are not of the view that the right to restrict processing is applicable in this case. Your data is processed for the lawful purposes set out in the Privacy Notice, a copy of which is enclosed and available on www.bwlegal.co.uk. Whilst we acknowledge that you have made a request for information with Our Client it is important to note that this does not affect the validity of Our Client's Claim meaning that Our Client has an overriding legitimate interest to recover the sums due to them.

            As such, your account will not be suspended from further collections activity unless we are instructed to do so by our Client. Please contact us to reach a suitable resolution.

            We trust this is satisfactory and clarifies Our Position. Should you be dissatisfied with our response you may raise a complaint with the Information Commissioner's Office.

            Do you have any advice on whether and/or how I should respond to BW Legal on this?

            No other responses to my letters yet, but I'll keep you posted.


            • #7
              The following local authorities own 51% of Newcastle Airport - Durham County, Gateshead, Newcastle, Northumberland, North Tyneside, South Tyneside and Sunderland Councils - the other 49% is owned by AMP - a large Austrailian concern.


              • #8
                I could only see Board representatives for Newcastle, Durham and South Tyneside, so the other councils maybe do not have non-Executive appointments.


                • #9
                  Have you looked at this https://beta.companieshouse.gov.uk/c...18128/officers

                  Newcastle - Cllr Nick Forbes
                  Gateshead - Cllr Martin Gannon
                  Durham - Cllr Simon Henig
                  Northumberland - Cllr Peter Jackson
                  North Tyneside - Cllr Norma Redfearn
                  South Tyneside - Cllr Iain Malcolm
                  Sunderland - Cllr Graeme Miller


                  • #10
                    Great, thanks. I've now sent letters to all the ones I missed.

                    Do you have any advice on how I should best respond to the most recent letter from BW Legal?


                    • #11
                      Parking isn't my area but I note they seem not to have told you where "Roundabout 33" is - looking at the airport map there are only 5 roundabouts and none of them are marked. They also state you were parked in prohibited area but don't appear to say where that was or if they have any photographic proof of same.

                      I'm not sure where you have addressed your letters to but for a quicker response they are better sent to each Council direct rather than the address stated within the Companies House record. For want of a better word the most senior figures amongst them in no particular order are Nick Forbes, Simon Henig, Martin Gannon & Peter Jackson.


                      • #12
                        Yes, I made sure that I checked addresses online, as several of them were different to the company house log and I'd recommend anyone using this approach to do the same to avoid the possibility of long delays in delivery times caused by changes to individual's political situations and appointments (such as becoming a Mayor, for example).


                        • #13

                          Today I received a response from the Compliance Officer at Parking Patrol Office in reply to my SAR letter (post #6 above):

                          About your Subject Access request (SAR)

                          This letter confirms that you have made a SAR to UK Parking Patrol Office Limited.

                          The General data Protection Regulations (GDPR) came into play on 25 May 2018 and replaced the data Protection Act 1998 (DPA)
                          GDPR gives certain rights to data Subjects (DS) in accessing personal data that is about them or where they are identified.

                          It also places obligations on Data Controllers (DC) in relation to the security of the personal data that we hold not to divulge this personal data to individuals or organisations that should not normally have access to it.

                          We therefore need you to confirm your identity by providing us with two pieces of documentary evidence. We don’t need to see original documents (a clear photocopy or photograph of the document will suffice) and it is advisable to redact (blank out) any financial information that may be contained in the document.

                          Some examples of documents we can use to verify your identity can be found below:

                          Driving License.
                          V5 Vehicle Registration Document.
                          Utility Bill.
                          Council tax Bill.
                          Mortgage or Rent Document.
                          Bank statement (or other financial statement).
                          HMRC document.

                          When we receive you identity documents, we will then collate any personal data we hold on you and will endeavour to provide it to you within the prescribed timeframe of once calendar month.

                          We won’t retail these documents and will delete or securely destroy them once your identity has been verified.

                          You can send a copy of your ID (not the original) via post to the address below or by email to appeals@parking-tickets.co.uk

                          You might find this link from the Information Commissioners Office (ICO) website helpful in relation to your rights and our obligations regarding complying with a SAR under GDPR.

                          That last link they give is the familiar one to the ICO website page. However, that particular page on the ICO website has the instruction …

                          “When making a subject access request, include the following information:
                          • Your name and contact details.
                          • Any information used by the organisation to identify or distinguish you from other people with the same name (account numbers etc).
                          • Any details or relevant dates that will help it identify what you want.”

                          In my SAR letter I included my name and contact details and the Reference Number from the original Parking Patrol Office letter to me, all of which they do of course already have, together with the registration of the vehicle in question. I therefore feel disinclined to provide any further information to them on the grounds that they have all the information they require to identify me.

                          Is it likely that a court (if it gets that far) would see this as a reasonable response or, with that potential audience in mind, should I reply to them differently?

                          Are they able to refuse my SAR if I respond as I’ve suggested and, if so, what are the likely consequences?

                          Once again, very many thanks for any advice.


                          • #14
                            Go back to them and bring their attention to what ICO webpage states is necessary.

                            Then add that if they are unsure of your identity , why are they chasing you for an alleged debt.
                            Don't they ensure they are pursuing the correct person?

                            Now you require the info


                            • #15

                              I received a gracious letter today from the airport's Head of Commercial, arguing that the original notice had been issued "correctly and legally" because "the airport circulation roads are on private land owned by Newcastle International Airport Ltd" and "we are legally entitled to implement traffic control measures within Airport Byelaws, including the issue of PCNs."

                              It seems to me that there is are several issues here that involve the relationship between (amongst other things) Byelaws, the Road Traffic Act and who may or may not impose charges of any kind for an alleged infringement of the law as it applies to vehicles stopping, for whatever purpose, on a public access road and whether it matters at all who owns the land the road is on. Others may wish to take these things into account when contesting PCNs at this and other airports; and others far more experienced than I may be able to provide detailed advice on such things.

                              In my case, the rest of the airport's letter includes a note that I had raised "several inconsistencies" ... "relating to varying terminology/reasons for issue of the PCN" and thanked me for identifying these. The letter went on to say that "as a gesture of goodwill, on this occasion, we are prepared to cancel the PCN".

                              I'm not sure if I would have received this letter if I had complained to the airport earlier in the process, as of course these inconsistencies were in part generated by the different firms that Parking Patrol Office used over the previous 18 months and their collective inability to keep their story straight. When rebutting a PCN it may therefore pay to let the letters run for a while, especially if more than one firm of solicitors, debt collectors or other flaky firms get in touch, to provide opportunities to make use of any such inconsistencies.

                              But it does go to show that increasing the pressure on firms such as Parking Patrol Office can pay off and end up costing them money rather than making it, which is the most powerful weapon we have in undermining their business model.

                              I am tempted to chase Parking Patrol Office about the SAR, just to create more hassle for them, but am in the mean time very grateful for all the help people on this site have given so feely in guiding me to achieve this happy outcome. I shall of course write back to the airport to thank them for their help in allowing me to continue to use the airport. The moral seems clear to me; if you get a PCN do not pay, do your homework, keep sending the letters as advised by Beagles on this site, keep the pressure on those issuing the PCN and make it more trouble than it's worth and, most of all, don't give up. These things can take while, so it's illegitimus nil carborundum! (or, for those unfamiliar with it, 'Don't let the b******s grind you down!')


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