Subject: Advice about a parking ticket
I received a ticket for parking in a Mcdonalds Car park and not using the restaurant. I did use the restaurant.
I sent the receipt to them but after it had been sent to a Debt Recovery agent. (Debt recovery Plus ltd)
I am now being harassed for £150 and threaten with court appeal. i cannot risk court as i am in the process of applying for a mortgage.
What can i do?
Is that the exact reason stated on the ticket/demand? Quite often the tickets are for staying longer than the allowed period. I’ve not of a ticket issued at a McDonalds for leaving the site. If it is, and you still have the receipt then you should be confident to stand your ground.
I’ve written a seperate piece on ‘debt collectors‘ such as Debt Recovery Plus so won’t repeat it again here. The key point is that debt collectors have no special powers, and they alone cannot affect your credit rating. Debt collectors buy debt from parking companies and attempt to intimidate people into paying since people think of them as bailiffs – which they most certainly are not. A debt collector cannot turn up at your property and remove goods.
You have two ways options in dealing with Debt Recovery Plus; a) continue to ignore them, their letters will eventually stop, or b) deny the alleged debt. If you deny the debt (see template letter on debt collectors page), then they cannot persue you and must return your case to the parking company. If you ignore then you will continue to receive letters until they eventually give up. The alleged debt may be returned to the parking company who could attempt to sue you in the county court to enforce payment.
With respect of your mortgage application and your credit rating, you should remain calm – this matter is within your control. Again I have written quite a long piece on credit ratings, so won’t repeat it all again here. The key point is that your credit rating will only be affected by non-payment of a private parking ticket if:
- The parking company (the alleged creditor) formally issue a claim against you in the county court
- AND – You either fail to respond to the claim and the claim is upheld by default -or- you lose the claim in court
- AND – You fail to pay the judgement within 28 days, and so the county court judgement (CCJ) gets recorded
At this stage, none of those statements are true. If they do issue a claim, then there is plenty of help out there on the forums, or via companies like Private Parking Appeals who can write your defence for you.
One thing to be wary of if you move house is to make sure that your DVLA record is updated. Many people have had default judgements registered against them because the claim has been made to their old address, and so they never received the claim form. However, in this case they should be able to apply to have the case set aside and reheard once this is known.
As a final point, I would write a very strongly worded letter to both that McDonalds restaurant’s manager, and their UK Managing Director. They need to know that genuine customers are being harassed by these bottom-feeding companies. They should be able to get this ticket cancelled. If they do not, I would consider whether I would want to use their restaurants ever again.
Best of luck, PC