MIL Collections Ltd of Truro are a company who have bought up alledged outstanding debt from unpaid private parking tickets. It is reported that they have bought the debts at £1 each are attempting to enforce these against motorists in the county court system as small claims. It is likely they have chosen to do this off the back of the Beavis Vs ParkingEye case where the Supreme Court determined that parking companies may issue what would otherwise amount to penalties in certain circumstances.
The logic that MIL Collections use is that whilst they may issue lots of claims, only a few need to be successful to make the scheme worthwhile. Having bought the alleged debt for £1, they then must pay a £30 fee to the court to make the claim. Often the claim is far more than the original ticket, such as £175. So, if 1 in 5 or less pay up, then MIL are making a profit.
The problem MIL Collections have with this scheme:
- Often not provable, and MIL do not have enough evidence to support their claim
- MIL Collections cannot send representatives to court to argue their claim
- It fails on the basis of champerty and maintenance
For point 1, MIL Collections were not involved in the original parking event. To prove a parking case, the claimant must prove there claim on the balance of probability. This would, for example, include being able to produce the original ticket, photographs, correspondence with the keeper/driver, and anything else that shows the defendent is liable. The trick here is to put MIL Collections to strict proof of any aspects of the claim that are denied. If they cannot rebut your defence, then they will find it very difficult to prove their claim.
When responding to a claim, the claim will normally be heard at the court closest to the defendent. MIL Collections are a small company and do not have the resources to send representatives all over the country to fight their claims. Frequently MIL will request the case is heard on a paper hearing only. However, the defendent is within their rights to request a hearing in person, for example if they believe that there are statements in the claim that are in dispute and therefore need to be discussed.
The final point is champerty and maintenance. These are doctrines in common law that are intended to stop frivilous claims being made. The doctrines prohibit a party from litigating for breach of contract when the claimant does not have a direct interest in the claim; they can sell a proven debt, but not merely a right to sue. This case described by Parking Prankster details a case where a claim was dismissed on this basis.
If you are faced with a claim from MIL Collections Ltd of Truro, then we would strongly recommend you fight it.