Combined Parking Solutions win court case and hopefully clarify the position of lease/hire vehicles in relation to POFA. (Protection of Freedoms Act 2012)

What was this all about ?

The case was against United Rental Group LTD (URG) and heard in the Wolverhampton County Court on Friday 30th January 2015 (case number: A0JA7786)

The defendant company decided not to defend themselves (although they were in attendance) or use a solicitor but elected to use the services of one of the many private parking company appeals services that seem to be springing up all over the internet – In this case they used David Carrod (also know as “bargepole” on many consumer websites) as their Lay Representative and also in attendance was Mark McAlear (unknown if he posts on any forums) but he is director of a private parking appeals company.

What is the background to this ?

URG is a company that purchases vehicles and then leases them to companies who in turn lease/hire them to other companies or individuals.
URG are the registered keeper of the vehicle as held with DVLA.

The vehicle concerned was on hire from the customer of URG and the driver of the hire company received a parking charge, the charge was not paid and a “notice to keeper” sent to the registered keeper (URG).

URG did not respond as the registered keeper within the timeframe stipulated by POFA (28days) and therefore a county court claim was issued against URG.
[for the sake of clarity URG claimed the notices were never received/logged and it was not just a case of them ignoring – CPS provided proof of postage for the letters and therefore as no post was returned the letters were deemed as ‘served’]

URG claimed that as they were not the “keeper”, but merely the “registered keeper” and as such they had no liability.

The exact wording as per POFA is: “keeper” means the person by whom the vehicle is kept at the time the vehicle was parked, which in the case of a registered keeper is to be presumed, unless the contrary is proved, to be the registered keeper.

It was common ground between all parties that at no time were URG in possession of the vehicle.

So what happened at the hearing ?

As stated the defendant chose to use the services of a lay representative from one of the many private parking appeals companies that claim to have an almost 100% success rate – We would also state that the representatives were polite and professional at all times.
[for the sake of clarity, no private parking appeals company have ever won a court case against Combined Parking Solutions and we continue to have a 100% success rate in enforcing our charges through the courts]

Mr Carrod spoke throughout and claimed that as URG never physically possessed the vehicle then clearly they were not the “keeper”.

Many references and legal arguments were made in relation to POFA, the definition of “keeper”, “registered keeper” and “hirer”

Combined Parking Solutions argued that as the registered keeper they had an obligation to supply the name and address of the hirer/driver and by failing to do so they were automatically liable under statue for the unpaid parking charge.

The defendants argument was that although they are the “registered keeper”, they are not the “keeper” as per the POFA definition and therefore not liable.

It was found as a matter of fact the notices to keeper sent by Combined Parking Solutions to URG were served and correct.

The judge initially found against the claimant by stating although they were correct in law to being an action against URG as they did not know the name of the hirer/driver but that as URG had now shown who was the hirer then liability can be simply transferred to them.
The judge was about to dismiss the claim but award costs against URG (as they had failed to reply within the 28days as stipulated in POFA).

When the matter of what costs were payable by URG were discussed, Combined Parking added that although URG have now stated who was the hirer/driver they were unable to pursue the hirer/driver under POFA as this can only be done within a 28day window.

The judge then reviewed the POFA legislation and changed his mind, due to URG not responding to the original letter then we were unable under POFA to enforce against the hirer/keeper.

The judge concluded that under section 8 of POFA this clearly gives the “registered keeper” a 28day window to respond and name the hirer/driver – once this 28day window had expired then they have failed to discharge the liability as “keeper” and therefore the claimant had no rights to reclaim the charge against the hirer.

In a last ditch effort to turn things around, Mr Carrod argued that we were still able to contact the hirer/driver but this was dismissed by the judge as POFA had strict time limits in place.
[we would add for the sake of clarity that Mr Carrod was technically correct that we could under common law write to the hirer and request they tell us who was driving but they had no obligation to assist and we couldn’t enforce any liability based on statue, just on the balance of probabilities – this was the whole reason POFA was enacted to remove this loophole]

The judge concluded the full charge/liability was the responsibility of the defendant and ordered the full amount of the unpaid parking charge £150 + full costs as applied for (to be paid within 14days)

So what will change ?

Combined Parking Solutions hopes this case will clarify the position and obligations of vehicle keepers – they have a strict timeframe in which to discharge liability and failure to do so for whatever reason will render them liable to unpaid parking charges under POFA.

The law states that any “notice to keeper” must be fully responded to by the “registered keeper” within a certain timescale.

I haven’t seen this reported on the internet forums ?

We too would have hoped to see this report on the internet forums to which the posters are regular members (we suspect if they had won then it would have been posted very quickly) but for some reason it has not appeared, this could be down to the fact the members have been busy and not yet had the time to post or it could be due to the fact they lost a case and do not wish to publicise it !! – We will never know.

The forums will eventually pick up on this post and attempt to mitigate the loss blaming such things as a bad defence, clear signage or that the judge had no other choice to find In the claimants favour, but this begs the question of why this private parking appeals service were involved as surely if the case was hopeless then they had a duty to inform their ‘client’ and not proceed with the defence ?

We also (yet again) question if the forums and these parking ticket appeal companies claim that these parking charges are un-enforceable in law is correct, then irrespective of POFA the charge would be been unenforceable penalty and the claim dismissed on that basis … when in reality as we have stated all along it is a 100% enforceable parking charge.
[for the sake of clarity, it should be noted that charges issued by Combined Parking Solutions are not based on any breach of contract but an explicit offer as detailed on the signage, this is different to the vast majority of other parking companies who claim a breach of contract]

We are sure they will claim a guaranteed win for the next person they help with a court claim, and maybe even boast an almost 100% success rate in matters they deal with – when in reality their success rate against Combined Parking Solutions is actually 0%


Combined Parking Solutions yet again shows that their charges are 100% enforceable – contact us today if you require assistance in resolving your car park issues with a system that is proven to be 100% effective, legally enforceable and free to implement.

For more information and details on how Combined Parking Solutions can resolve your parking issues then call now on 0871 288 4606 or you can email us..