Vehicle Control Services (Sheffield) – Case Dismissed
The case was at: 20th December 2019
The case was dismissed (at court) as Vehicle Control Services (Sheffield) had sent me the notice to keeper/driver about 22 days after they stated I had parked on the land they claim they were dealing with.
The rules state that they have a period of time to contact you if no ticket is placed on your car.
They claimed at court that they did not have to comply by the law as they stated they spoke to me at the time. However I did not give my name and address (I was not even asked for it). It was clear they had contacted the DVLA for my details.
As such the case was dismissed.
Vehicle Control Services are not the police. As such they send you a Parking Charge Notice (PCN). This is different to a Penalty Charge Notice that local highways authority or the police may give you (personally I would pay these as soon as you get them unless you believe you have a case not to). If you do not, you could end up owing thousands if things escalate.
Many people suggest it is simply best not to contact these (car parking) firms ever, as once you do, it could be deemed as evidence of guilt. Many suggest it is best just to let them send you a few nasty letters and ignore them.
If it is a private firm, as the law stands today Dec 2019) my understanding is that they have to go after the driver of the car, rather than the owner.
I had contacted Vehicle Control Services (I now wish I had not bothered) to tell them I had been contacted outside the time frame.
If you do not contact these firms, you will probably get three or so letters from them, that seem rather scary, then three more from firms that claim to be solicitors or/and bailiffs, then after that they probably will not contact you again (from my experience).
If you get any letters from the courts, do not ignore. You must reply. Otherwise these firms will probably win by default. It costs them only a few pounds to take you to the small claims court.
My understanding, is that if you go to a small claims court, it is the duty of the ones taking you to court to prove they have a case. And as such, you do not have to prove your innocence (if that makes sense). An example was a friend of mine who was taken to court by a debt collecting agency. They had no evidence that my friend had got a loan (from the company they purchased the debt from), and when he was asked if he had ever taken a loan out, he replied that it was not for him to provide them with any evidence, and as such stated that he would not state if he had ever taken a loan out or not. As such the case was dismissed (also it was outside the six year rule thing).
It is also worth noting that hearsay is often not deemed evidence. So in this case, one could put forward the argument that the statement from the parking attendant was hearsay, as he had no evidence to prove what he had said to me was correct. By this, he had not recorded the conversation. As such, I would have simply asked this evidence to be rejected. That does not mean it would have been rejected, but I would have asked.
Keep all letters these firms send you. It is worth keeping them for ten years. As this is (I believe) classed as a debt. As such they can claim up to six years after you have contacted them (such as in letter or on the phone). I believe the law s different in Scotland, where I think it is less than six years (but you need to check yourself). This is referred to as ‘Statute Barred Debt’. The debt I believe can still exist, but I do not think they can come after the debt in law after this time. It does not mean they will not, however if you go to court, the chances are you can have the case dismissed. This is another reason, why you may not wish to contact car parking firms.
Personally I would not phone them ever, and if you must contact them, do so in writing. But remember by contacting them, you may have no option to state who was driving, giving them a much easier time as they have now evidence of who the driver was.
If you speak to one of the staff, such as a person who is putting tickets on the cars, record all the conversation, just in case they tell lies. It is best to presume they are not honest, rather than trust them, and find out later they have claimed to have said something when they have not. When I say record it, I mean such as film it on your mobile phone. Make a note of all times and dates.
Do not be scared of the letters they send you. They are designed to scare you into paying. Often they will say, ‘we may’ take you to court.
Go online and google as much information as you can, and share it with your friends.
In the vid I have posted a few pics from the evidence Vehicle Control Services (Sheffield) sent me.
I took these in bad light.
I will do another vid with much better pics.
It is also worth taking a note of any witnesses.
Evidence is important.
Something worth noting is that Vehicle Control Services (Sheffield) in the evidence claim they gave me ten minutes. I am not sure if they give everybody ten minutes. However when this ten minutes they claim they gave me started, I am not sure.
In the evidence, they only seemed to provide pics of my car parked at a single time. And I do not believe they had evidence to show, I was parked for ten minutes or more. By this, they had no pics sent to me of the car parked ten minutes or more later or even pics of me leaving the car-park. As such I was simply going to argue that it was hearsay that I was more than ten minutes. However as the case was dismissed, I had no need to put that forward as defense.
Where a contravention is detected remotely (such as by cameras), the landholder may request registered keeper data from the DVLA immediately and must write to the registered keeper within 14 days seeking details of the driver or payment of the parking charge.
- Link: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/9155/guidance-unpaid-parking-charges.pdf
One thing also is that some car parks have cameras film you going in and out. You can find you get a demand for payment even if you think you have parked within the correct time. An example is, you may have one hour parking in a supermarket. You go for 55 mins, but on the way out, go for fuel. Then leave. You may find as you have been longer in this area than one hour, even though you have parked for 55 mins, they send you a ticket.
My advice is simply do not park where they use such car parking firms. I now never shop at these places.