A county court judge has ruled a private ticketing firm exceeded its powers by booking a car on Britannia Quay - a judgement which campaigners hope could lead to refunds for hundreds more drivers.
The man who challenged his £100 fine in court says he hopes the case will open the door for others to fight against the “bully boy tactics” of parking firms.
“Most people just roll over when faced with a parking ticket like this, but they shouldn’t,” said Tim Fail. “I decided to fight it because I thought it was immoral to book people outside their own homes when they aren’t actually committing an offence. It seems the judge thought so too.”
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ES Parking Enforcement took Mr Fail to court after he refused to pay the fine, which rose to £160 on default. The firm was employed by Britannia Quay’s management company Homestead Consultancy Services to regulate parking on the private development off Navigation Way and ticketed his car in June last year at 5.45am.
But Deputy District Judge Tanweer Ikram, sitting at Burnley County Court, dismissed the case saying the company only had authority to control parking in a section of Britannia Quay - covered by postcodes PR2 2XB and PR2 2X - and not where Mr Fail’s car had been ticketed in PR2 2YD.
In addition, he said the notices displayed in Britannia Quay warning parking was only permitted for residents when registered on a database were impossible to comply with because the online process was inaccessible.
Another resident, Mayank Soni, who has been spearheading the residents’ fight for the past year, has also challenged a number of tickets involving his car and that of his wife. His cousin, who was ticketed on a visit to the Soni flat, is due in court on August 17 to argue that fine was also unjust.
Mr Soni said: “We will be using the Tim Fail decision as a precedent and we hope to win. And we will be using a judgement from a case in Lincolnshire where a parking company was ordered to refund all fines wrongly issued. We will be asking for that to apply here.
“I’ve been saying all along that what has been happening here is not right. The company has a claim of £650 against me for three tickets, so I’m looking forward to my day in court.
“I have put in a counter claim of £1,000 per ticket because I believe the company had no authority to get my details from the DVLA for parking in an area they don’t control. In my view that is a serious breach of the Data Protection Act.”
Tim, 42, who works in marketing, has since moved house to Manchester. He added: “I parked my car after 11 at night after a long day at work. There were no parking bays free, so I parked on the road outside. There were no yellow lines or anything so I thought it would be okay.
“They ticketed me at around 5.45 the next morning and expected me to pay £100 for the privilege of parking outside my own home.
“We have argued this before, it is a case of residents being caught in a trap. There aren’t enough parking bays for the number of properties, so someone is always going to miss out and be in danger of getting a ticket.
“I got the penalty notice and I decided, like Mayank, that I would fight it. You’ve got to stand up to these people and not give in to bully boy tactics. Hopefully the judgement in my case will be useful as a precedent for other similar cases and maybe a court will rule that all the fines paid in that area which ES didn’t have authority to issue have to be repaid.”
Both ES Parking Enforcement of Preston and Homestead Consultancy Services from Lytham have been contacted for a comment.
Last year Homestead said ES were only issuing tickets for vehicles which were “inappropriately parked.”