This may be slightly amusing to some (or maybe not), however there is a serious message behind it. I have over the past few years heard many cases of people being charged ridiculous sums of money from private parking companies in Scotland in the form of a ‘debt’ (legally incorrect) or a ‘charge notice’ for overstaying an imposed time limit in a private car park (completely different from a local authority controlled area such as the general street or council car parks etc.). I would like to clarify that I ALWAYS pay for a ticket for an hour or two, however long I am going to be staying in a car park, however when the car park is one which you park in free of charge, obviously there is no real issue, as the company in question can only find themselves in a position of losing the precise sum of £0.00 should anybody overstay the prescribed time.
Following the recent birth of my son in November 2013, I found that I had (unsurprisingly) gone over the 4 hour maximum stay imposed by ‘CP Plus’, a private parking company, and shortly afterword began receiving threatening (I didn’t feel threatened as I know my rights, but they are written in a tone that many unwitting individuals may find themselves feeling threatened by) letters discussing this ‘debt’ (this is the word that was used in the letters) and the charge of £40 that would be pursued via court action if necessary, sent by their ‘sister’ company, rather amusingly enough named ‘Debt Recovery Plus’.
I would normally advise against even contacting these types of companies and let them waste their time chasing people for an unenforceable ‘debt’, however on this occasion I have been irritated enough due to the amount of people (such as from Accident and Emergency, Maternity units, or even more horribly when dealing with issues related to a deceased relative – I have seen tickets on cars outside the morgue) that will have unfairly been scared into paying these charges, that I have lodged an official complaint with NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde about their entirely unsuitable and insensitive policy, and also sent those chasing the ‘debt’ the following email after phoning and having them agree to waive the debt on my producing evidence of the circumstances:
Dear Sir / Madam,
Your reference: 569783
Please find attached scan of original full birth certificate for my child, born on November 8th 2013. As discussed and agreed by your telephone agent during our recent conversation, I now expect this ‘charge notice’ (it is not legally a ‘debt’ as inaccurately worded by your letters sent to me previously) to be cancelled with immediate effect. I would like to make you aware that I have lodged a written complaint with NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde regarding the disgraceful policy in employing a private parking company on hospital grounds – I hate to think of the number of unfortunate people who have unwittingly paid these charges.
I would of course like to profusely apologise that in the midst of losing half of the blood supply in her body and having further complications that my wife could not give birth in less than the four hours necessary to comply with the terms and conditions of the car park in question. This was extremely selfish of her and I will be having words to ensure that she is quicker with any future births she may have.
I expect full written confirmation either by letter or reply by way of this email address within 5 working days that this charge notice has been cancelled. If this is not forthcoming then as per my reasonably set terms and conditions for response, I will be charging your company for the time, effort and other resources necessary for my dealing with this matter further at a rate of £40 per email or letter sent, recoverable by court action if necessary.
I am assuming that they will now keep to their word (they have said that their calls are ALL recorded in case they renege on their agreement, which is a verbal contract), but if they do not, then I will stick true to my word and pursue them further. On the off chance that this is not the case, I will update the blog with any future antics of theirs.