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WA Parking Fine from Wilson Parking?

Discussion in 'Australian Consumer Law Forum' started by cyphix, 30 April 2018.

  1. cyphix

    cyphix Well-Known Member

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    Hey guys,

    I was parked in a shopping centre car park today and you get 2 hours "free" with a ticket, so I got a ticket and displayed it, however I overstayed my free allotment period past the time on my ticket by a little and when I got back to my car I had a lovely ticket from the fine people at Wilson Parking :)

    Now, I know Wilson is a private company and can't issue you fines and they say as much on the back with:

    "This is not a fine. The operator is claiming the amount due as liquidated damages as a result of you breaching the parking terms The parking terms are displayed at the car park. You accepted the parking terms by leaving the vehicle in the car park. By accepting the parking terms, you agreed to pay liquidated damages if you breached the parking terms."

    The ticket was for $65 and $80 if not paid within 28 days.

    Now, first off, I did not see any parking terms when I entered the car park nor anywhere in there, not saying they aren't there, just that I didn't see them, so how can I possibly agree to something which I did not see? Is this legal? I think I read in NZ they made it legal.

    Secondly, from what I have read, "liquidated damages" basically means a reasonable figure to cover their "losses" and something to the tune of $65 would be seen as a penalty instead.

    Their rates are:

    2 Hours - Free
    4 Hours - $3.00
    Additional Hour - $6.00

    So as you can see, $65.00 seems rather exorbitant.

    The time on the ticket was about 30 mins after my displayed ticket had expired and hence their apparent losses were a couple of dollars at most I would say; however I doubt they experienced any actual losses as there were plenty of bays available when I came and when I left.

    Secondly, as I understand it, the enforcement of "liquidated damages" clause is flimsy, as from what I read for it to be enforceable it the "damages should be difficult to estimate" and "the amount is reasonable and not a penalty".

    From that I would say the damages aren't difficult to estimate, if I in fact caused them to miss out on revenue (which is doubtful) then as I said, it would only be a couple of dollars, but because they provide 2 hours free parking this becomes even more unlikely. Secondly, how can something like $65 be seen as anything more than a penalty and it is certainly not reasonable.

    Now, I am quite happy to pay them for any apparent losses, but $65 is nothing more than a penalty.

    I thought of contacting them with some of this information I have mentioned here (not sure if they can get my address in WA if I just ignore it?) to see if they will drop it, but wanted to get some help first.

    Thanks very much!
     
  2. Clancy

    Clancy Well-Known Member

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    Did you take any pictures showing your car parked and empty bays around it? Although after the fact how could you prove it was the same day?

    Did anything happen in the shopping center where a shops service was slower than reasonable? You can add that in your request for leniency from the car park.

    They may ignore all your arguments and charge you the full 'fine' anyway, so then i don't know? Someone else may now?
     
  3. cyphix

    cyphix Well-Known Member

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    No, no pics were taken and I'm not really trying to get "leniency" from the car park, as that would imply I think I owe them the money and I am merely trying to get them to go easy on me. My position as stated above is I don't believe what they are attempting to do is legal or very flimsy and it's more "scare tactics" they rely on to get people to pay.

    So I was just hoping to get peoples opinion on what I said in my first post on if I should contact them with something like that or should I simply just ignore it?

    Thanks!
     
  4. muz28

    muz28 Well-Known Member

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    cyphix might be worth investigating the Vico v Car Park Pty Ltd (Civil Claims) [2014] VCAT 565 case.

    Category: | Herald Sun
    http://www.carr.org.au/d-vico-v-care-parking.pdf

    here is a basic summary - for more info see Hardy at http://www.trafficlaw.com.au/forum/viewtopic.php?f=30&t=538

    1-don't pay
    2- don't respond to any letters, by doing so you are confirming you were the driver, (see point below)
    3- they have no way of proving that you are the driver they only know who the car is registered to because of the license plate check- and this is another reason they won't bother taking you to court because they will have to prove it was you who parked in the car park and 'breached" their contract.
    4-they can sue you for "breach of contract" but its hardly worth the effort for $88.00 and $77.00 in legal fees (ANCP amounts quoted)
     
  5. muz28

    muz28 Well-Known Member

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    Ok, cyphix, first you need to understand how the appeal process of private parking companies actually works.

    Your appeal letter turns up in their office. The gorilla sitting at a desk in a scruffy wooden hut on a scrap yard full of cut and shut cars and stolen war memorial plaques opens it and passes it and all the others to another gorilla sitting on another desk. The second Gorilla screws each letter up into a ball a lobs it 8 metres into the waste bin. he never misses, cos he had lots of practice doing this. He then prints off a standard 'appeal rejected' letter and sends it off to you.

    What such companies operate is called a Misrepresentation of Authority Fraud. You have almost grasped it, but haven't the courage of your convictions.

    First of all, as you almost guessed, it isn't a fine, they have no power to fine anyone, they are a private company. It's a really a speculative invoice, an invitation to pay a charge that otherwise they are not entitled to ask for and have no ability to enforce.

    The only way they get people to pay this charge that they have no right to is to lie to you and to try and fool and scare you into paying. They will make all sorts of legal threats and claim they can do everything except seizing your cat. Do not fall for this.

    They cannot make you pay because you legally owe them nothing. They cannot enforce this mythical debt in court, they get spanked and ejected by the court in Jedi quick time. There nothing they can do, but they WILL try and scare the bejeezus out of you and convince you all sorts of bad things will happen if you don't pay.

    It's all very convincing, and a complete load of rubbish. It's complete bollox.

    So, the only plan you need have is to ignore the rubbish they send you in the post. There nothing they can do, because you owe them nothing.
     
  6. muz28

    muz28 Well-Known Member

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    The most confusing part for consumers is TMS’s request to display a valid parking ticket when parking is free for two hours and there are no boom gates like there are at legitimate car parks or ticket machines nor ANPR at the entrance – but you still need to display a ticket...

    TMS's operations are misleading, unconscionable and deceptive and when they come to collect their "penalties", they often make false and misleading representations, engage in all sorts of unsavory practices such as undue harassment and coercion of the public, overzealous and aggressive toned letters from questionable lawyers; and maybe even indulge in blackmail of motorists.

    In short, private carpark companies can claim compensation – but only for the business loss, it suffered when you broke the rules. In this case, there is a free parking period, therefore it is completely impossible for them to say they suffered a "loss" because technically they could receive no revenue at all from operating the carpark. ONLY enforcement agencies i.e. local councils can "enforce" parking time restrictions NEVER EVER private companies.

    Another issue is is that car park inspectors have issued "penalties" while people walk to purchase a ticket; that is, they have got out of their car intent on buying a ticket, but have been fined before they could do so, then there is the issue of small, hidden and/or unreadable signage. Some inspectors have even indulged, and have been caught out, writing up fraudulent "penalties". The behaviour of these car park inspectors leaves a nasty taste in the mouth of many a private car park patron.

    There is a simple solution to this and it’s not the work of a genius, BOOM GATES! Boom gates and a ticket machine right at the gate allow people to be reasonably charged for staying longer than the given free time. No display model either. It’s a simple solution and has been used for years. TMS’s current method, in my opinion, is a scam on the public, they’re a greedy organisation who are simply trying to shakedown unwary consumers; basically, they are scum concentrating their efforts on debt collecting rather than parking management that they were hired to do by owners in the first place.
     
  7. cyphix

    cyphix Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for your posts Muzz - much appreciated. Thus far I have simply ignored them and will continue to do so.

    What I found amusing though is they clearly state on their ticket that if you want to appeal, the ONLY way to do so is via their website, I assume this is to make sure they get your information when they do so, I have to take a guess they ask you for all sorts of information during this process haha...... sneaky bastards!
     
  8. muz28

    muz28 Well-Known Member

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    cyphix, it's all part of the scam, tricking motorists into giving them their contact details like that. Good work ignoring them !!!
     
  9. Rod

    Rod Well-Known Member

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    And reasonable administration costs. Otherwise I agree with your posts.
     
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