At risk of getting a Penalty Charge Notice for parking in the East Finchley station car park?

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Egg Centric

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I haven't got a PCN yet but I think I'm at significant risk of getting one for parking my wife's car at East Finchley last Sunday, where you pay on leaving the car park.

Neither of the payment machines worked - they took neither cash nor card. I have a video of them refusing to take payment as it seemed wise to me to get photographic evidence. I was perfectly willing to pay at the time and as the correspondence shows contacted NCP (who manage the car park on behalf of TFL) later the same day. Never used the paybyphone app but not really sure why I should have done when I tried to pay by three other means, all of which were advertised. Still happy to pay the couple of quid for the parking but no interest in paying any PCN.

Here's my correspondence so far - have I done the right thing / do I need to do anything? It occurs to me on re-reading it I never gave them my registration number but also not sure if I should.

Of course it's possible no PCN will appear but I want to protect my position if there's anything else I can do!

Me on 11 April said:
Hi, I was at East Finchley station car parking today. On getting back to the machines they both refused to take payment saying come back later. I've also tried to pay online with the car registration but it cannot be found in the system. There was no parking attendant. What am I supposed to do? Egg Centric

NCP replying yesterday said:
Dear Egg Centric



Case Reference ******



Thank you for your email received 11/04/2021.



I am sorry we were not able to respond in a timely manner. I hope you were able to successfully resolve the issue by other means, if not please contact our telephone line for further advice.



At East Finchley it is possible to make payment for your parking up to 04:30 the day after exiting the car park. If you are not able to use the machines in the car park it is possible to make payment via the company PaybyPhone by calling -0330 060 4252 and providing your vehicle registration and the site location of - 801605. It is also possible to do this via the PaybyPhone website - https://m2.paybyphone.co.uk/parking



Unfortunately if no payment was made for your parking a Parking Charge Notice will be issued to the registered keeper of the vehicle for non payment.



Should you experience similar situations in future please contact our customer service telephone line at 03450 50 70 80 Opt.5. This line is open from 8am to 8pm Monday to Saturday. Should you require an immediate response we would advise calling or us using our web chat function.

I am sorry for the inconvenience this has caused you. If you require any further assistance, feel free to contact us.

Me today before I thought about posting this thread here said:
Hi,

For obvious reasons, I shall not be paying any penalty charge notice when I contacted you on the same day. Your customer service line wasn't open as it was a Sunday. Please confirm that you will not be issuing one.

Thanks,

Egg Centric
 
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RunawayTrain

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I see that NCP claim that the car parking fee could alternatively be paid by phone , or on a website. Were there signs in the car park stating this?
 
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Tallguy

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This is very simple to deal with. Not sure if you are the registered keeper of the car but at some point a PCN is likely to be issued. Not all PCN’s are issued correctly and your situation is ‘frustration of contract’ where you wanted to pay but the machine was broken. It’s all very well saying pay by phone but what if you don’t have your mobile with you.....

Once the PCN arrives go to pepipoo.com and post up details including the PCN in the private parking forum and those there will help you get it cancelled. Do not enter into correspondence with NCP or their agents until you have received advice and do not ignore the PCN.
 

Snow1964

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Just wait, there is a chance they won’t issue anything if they know all machines were out of service. They might suspend the issuing on penalties until they fixed machines.

Unless there is a sign at entrance saying that a phone or app is required then your contract will not be enforceable.

Normally the contract terms to park are displayed at entrance, and you legally have a chance not to accept. As it is not practical to reverse out of most car park entrances, you can therefore drive out without paying (just put ticket in exit barrier). It is usually 5 or 10 minutes (depending on how close exit is) to drive out again free of charge. I have never seen the free period advertised but every car park I have ever tried it at it has worked.

If you want to know more about the displaying of contract, and being allowed to drive to exit free, it is in famous legal case Thornton vs Shoe Lane Parking, heard by Master of the Rolls Lord Denning 50 years ago.
 
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Hadders

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I would call NCP, I had an issue at High Barnet station car park recently and they were very helpful and sorted the issue out swiftly.
 

Tallguy

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I would call NCP, I had an issue at High Barnet station car park recently and they were very helpful and sorted the issue out swiftly.
A particularly bad idea. Only ever correspond in writing. The OP needs to wait and see if some form of PCN is sent first of all. Don’t wake a sleeping bear, these things can easily end up in court but are easy to deal with if dealt with promptly and in the correct way.

Ringing a private car parking company about a PCN that hasn’t been received and may not ever be issued is a bad idea.
 

Hadders

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A particularly bad idea. Only ever correspond in writing. The OP needs to wait and see if some form of PCN is sent first of all. Don’t wake a sleeping bear, these things can easily end up in court but are easy to deal with if dealt with promptly and in the correct way.

Ringing a private car parking company about a PCN that hasn’t been received and may not ever be issued is a bad idea.
Ordinarily I would agree with you but I offer the following based on my experience with NCP at an Underground station.

I parked up and paid at the ticket machine. The car park uses ANPR.
Later that day I looked at my receipt and noticed that the registration number on the receipt was incorrect by one digit. Not my fault but an ANPR mis-read of my number plate.
I could have waited for the PCN and appeal but decided to be proactive. I called NCP spoke to one of their colleagues sorted out the issue.
Had I not have made the call it would have resulted in far more hassle appealing the PCN

It might be that the OP doesn't receive a PCN, on the other hand I'd say it's probably likely that they will, especially if ANPR is in use. I can only offer my own experience of dealing with NCP. This was back in February 2021.
 

Master29

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Just to add to the OP's original point the term PCN in this case is not "Penalty Charge Notice" as per the title but "Parking Charge Notice" which is not enforceable in the same way although may lead to a CCJ. Penalty Charge Notice are only ever issued by Police and local authorities.
 

Tallguy

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Ordinarily I would agree with you but I offer the following based on my experience with NCP at an Underground station.

I parked up and paid at the ticket machine. The car park uses ANPR.
Later that day I looked at my receipt and noticed that the registration number on the receipt was incorrect by one digit. Not my fault but an ANPR mis-read of my number plate.
I could have waited for the PCN and appeal but decided to be proactive. I called NCP spoke to one of their colleagues sorted out the issue.
Had I not have made the call it would have resulted in far more hassle appealing the PCN

It might be that the OP doesn't receive a PCN, on the other hand I'd say it's probably likely that they will, especially if ANPR is in use. I can only offer my own experience of dealing with NCP. This was back in February 2021.
Your situation is somewhat different, you paid but made a mistake Logging the VRN of the vehicle you were paying for. The OP wanted to pay for the parking but was prevented from doing so by the faulty payment devices, hence frustration of contract.
 

CyrusWuff

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Your situation is somewhat different, you paid but made a mistake Logging the VRN of the vehicle you were paying for. The OP wanted to pay for the parking but was prevented from doing so by the faulty payment devices, hence frustration of contract.
I suspect that NCP's response would be along the lines of "Either use pay by phone or park somewhere else", which is the attitude Councils take in such situations.

Having said that, the car park in question is unlikely to be "relevant land" for PoFA purposes given that Byelaws apply.
 

Hadders

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Your situation is somewhat different, you paid but made a mistake Logging the VRN of the vehicle you were paying for. The OP wanted to pay for the parking but was prevented from doing so by the faulty payment devices, hence frustration of contract.
The mistake was the ANPR equipment mis-reading the number plate, not mine.
 

Snow1964

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I suspect that NCP's response would be along the lines of "Either use pay by phone or park somewhere else", which is the attitude Councils take in such situations.

Having said that, the car park in question is unlikely to be "relevant land" for PoFA purposes given that Byelaws apply.

The park somewhere else is irrelevant if you pay on exit, as you wouldn’t know the advertised payment method is unavailable until end of parking period.

You cannot change the terms of the parking contract after offer and acceptance, and retrospectively imposing a pay by phone clause is not permitted. Adding a new clause such as option to send us parking fee later would also be unenforceable. But the parking company may try and be cheeky and write to you hoping you pay voluntarily (even if their wording seems an official threat).
 

Bletchleyite

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The park somewhere else is irrelevant if you pay on exit, as you wouldn’t know the advertised payment method is unavailable until end of parking period.

You cannot change the terms of the parking contract after offer and acceptance, and retrospectively imposing a pay by phone clause is not permitted. Adding a new clause such as option to send us parking fee later would also be unenforceable. But the parking company may try and be cheeky and write to you hoping you pay voluntarily (even if their wording seems an official threat).

Can the contract not be "you must pay by phone, but from time to time other methods may be made available"?
 

Snow1964

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Can the contract not be "you must pay by phone, but from time to time other methods may be made available"?

Yes, in theory could be, but that would need to be the posted terms and conditions. And of course someone needs to be able to exit free within few minutes of arriving if they choose not to accept.

It would of course be a commercial decision, not a great idea if someone down the road was offering a better choice or price.
 

Islineclear3_1

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Possibly for another thread but I am uneasy being "forced" to pay by mobile phone. I have parked at a couple of stations; the ticket machines were switched off with a note to say "pay by phone" and as the mobile coverage was so poor, the app did not download. I left a note in the windscreen and as yet, haven't heard anything...
 

bramling

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Ordinarily I would agree with you but I offer the following based on my experience with NCP at an Underground station.

I parked up and paid at the ticket machine. The car park uses ANPR.
Later that day I looked at my receipt and noticed that the registration number on the receipt was incorrect by one digit. Not my fault but an ANPR mis-read of my number plate.
I could have waited for the PCN and appeal but decided to be proactive. I called NCP spoke to one of their colleagues sorted out the issue.
Had I not have made the call it would have resulted in far more hassle appealing the PCN

It might be that the OP doesn't receive a PCN, on the other hand I'd say it's probably likely that they will, especially if ANPR is in use. I can only offer my own experience of dealing with NCP. This was back in February 2021.

One way or another, I would urge anyone using those car parks to ensure their back is well and truly covered - from what I gather there's been a lot of trouble since the ANPR went in, to the extent that local staff were driven to the point of having to say to NCP "if you don't get your act together those cameras will be going one way or another".

High Barnet in particular has been chaos since the ANPR went in - there's been so many instances of people being fined incorrectly that lots of people simply don't want to use the car park, which is why there are now always cars picking people up blocking the area at the bottom of the hill. I gather even LU staff have been incorrectly fined for legitimately accessing their own staff car park, and have met with an obstructive attitude when attempting to deal with it - quite often being offered "we'll waive the PCN minus a £25 admin fee". So NCP expect to receive an "admin fee" for their own error / incompetence?!
 

WesternLancer

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I haven't got a PCN yet but I think I'm at significant risk of getting one for parking my wife's car at East Finchley last Sunday, where you pay on leaving the car park.

Neither of the payment machines worked - they took neither cash nor card. I have a video of them refusing to take payment as it seemed wise to me to get photographic evidence. I was perfectly willing to pay at the time and as the correspondence shows contacted NCP (who manage the car park on behalf of TFL) later the same day. Never used the paybyphone app but not really sure why I should have done when I tried to pay by three other means, all of which were advertised. Still happy to pay the couple of quid for the parking but no interest in paying any PCN.

Here's my correspondence so far - have I done the right thing / do I need to do anything? It occurs to me on re-reading it I never gave them my registration number but also not sure if I should.

Of course it's possible no PCN will appear but I want to protect my position if there's anything else I can do!
Is this a case for enlisting your London Assembly matter in making stiff representations to TfL about the seemingly misguided decision to contract the car parking to a less than effective NCP who then seen unable to deliver the service that the public should expect from TfL or its agents?
 

Egg Centric

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I would call NCP, I had an issue at High Barnet station car park recently and they were very helpful and sorted the issue out swiftly.

I may do, but I shall await their email first. Should they be / when they are unhelpful it might be useful speaking to a human being in response, but seems unlikely.

Yes, in theory could be, but that would need to be the posted terms and conditions. And of course someone needs to be able to exit free within few minutes of arriving if they choose not to accept.

It would of course be a commercial decision, not a great idea if someone down the road was offering a better choice or price.

In truth I haven't read it. But isn't this more of a bylaw thing than a contractual thing anyway? Certainly assuming I would have a smartphone seems folly especially when other methods are advertised, and it also defies common sense that TfL would require having a phone to park at their station.

One way or another, I would urge anyone using those car parks to ensure their back is well and truly covered - from what I gather there's been a lot of trouble since the ANPR went in, to the extent that local staff were driven to the point of having to say to NCP "if you don't get your act together those cameras will be going one way or another".

High Barnet in particular has been chaos since the ANPR went in - there's been so many instances of people being fined incorrectly that lots of people simply don't want to use the car park, which is why there are now always cars picking people up blocking the area at the bottom of the hill. I gather even LU staff have been incorrectly fined for legitimately accessing their own staff car park, and have met with an obstructive attitude when attempting to deal with it - quite often being offered "we'll waive the PCN minus a £25 admin fee". So NCP expect to receive an "admin fee" for their own error / incompetence?!

This may explain why there were only about 3 cars there!

Is this a case for enlisting your London Assembly matter in making stiff representations to TfL about the seemingly misguided decision to contract the car parking to a less than effective NCP who then seen unable to deliver the service that the public should expect from TfL or its agents?

I'm in Watford*. No London Assembly member (although for some reason Sean Bailey did campaign here at one point about the Croxley extension. I should imagine he'll get about as much votes here as London proper).

Thank you everyone else who has replied so far as well. For avoidance of doubt - I am quite happy to take this all the way to court for 'fun' since the stakes are so low and I'm fairly bloody minded. My wife will be supportive of this but won't want any hassle, so may need to tell them who was driving at some point. I shall keep you all updated with any future correspondence anyway and I won't make any other 'moves' without hearing from ya.

*Bonus question - for anyone interested, I was in East Finchley because fancied doing the Parkland Walk for the first time, and as one of my clients is McDonalds who have their HQ in East Finchley (and btw once you are inside their office block, a completely complementary McDonalds restaurant - it is a wonderful thing which you'd never guess from the outside but you will have to get past security for your free McNuggets) a quick way of getting there from Watford seemed to be to drive to East Finchley and get on the Northern Line one stop. Alternative suggestions for how I could have done that would be handy too.
 
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SteveM70

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*Bonus question - for anyone interested, I was in East Finchley because fancied doing the Parkland Walk for the first time, and as one of my clients is McDonalds who have their HQ in East Finchley (and btw once you are inside their office block, a completely complementary McDonalds restaurant - it is a wonderful thing which you'd never guess from the outside but you will have to get past security for your free McNuggets) a quick way of getting there from Watford seemed to be to drive to East Finchley and get on the Northern Line one stop. Alternative suggestions for how I could have done that would be handy too.

Don’t they offer drive-thru meetings? :lol:
 

bramling

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I may do, but I shall await their email first. Should they be / when they are unhelpful it might be useful speaking to a human being in response, but seems unlikely.



In truth I haven't read it. But isn't this more of a bylaw thing than a contractual thing anyway? Certainly assuming I would have a smartphone seems folly especially when other methods are advertised, and it also defies common sense that TfL would require having a phone to park at their station.



This may explain why there were only about 3 cars there!



I'm in Watford*. No London Assembly member (although for some reason Sean Bailey did campaign here at one point about the Croxley extension. I should imagine he'll get about as much votes here as London proper).

Thank you everyone else who has replied so far as well. For avoidance of doubt - I am quite happy to take this all the way to court for 'fun' since the stakes are so low and I'm fairly bloody minded. My wife will be supportive of this but won't want any hassle, so may need to tell them who was driving at some point. I shall keep you all updated with any future correspondence anyway and I won't make any other 'moves' without hearing from ya.

*Bonus question - for anyone interested, I was in East Finchley because fancied doing the Parkland Walk for the first time, and as one of my clients is McDonalds who have their HQ in East Finchley (and btw once you are inside their office block, a completely complementary McDonalds restaurant - it is a wonderful thing which you'd never guess from the outside but you will have to get past security for your free McNuggets) a quick way of getting there from Watford seemed to be to drive to East Finchley and get on the Northern Line one stop. Alternative suggestions for how I could have done that would be handy too.

There are a few streets in the area between East Finchley and Highgate which lack parking restrictions, IIRC. Or at least they did when I was last there, which isn’t that long ago.
 

Dave W

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Yep - no restrictions at all on Cranley Gardens (for the "north" section) and one can park on Shepherds Hill and surrounding streets on Sundays for free (CPZ is HG STA - Mon-Fri 10-12). On non-event Sundays you can park on the streets right next to the Finsbury Park entrance (CPZ is FP - Mon-Sat 8:30-6:30) - in that case you could do both sections, pop up halfway down Muswell Hill right next to a bus stop from which the W7 will take you back to your motor.

Hope the charge fails to materialise!!
 

maniacmartin

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If the car park is on railway land, then note that railway byelaws may apply, unlike most privately run car parks which pepipoo advise on:

Railway Byelaws - 14.3
no person in charge of any motor vehicle, bicycle or other conveyance shall park it on any part of the railway where charges are made for parking by an operator or an authorised person without paying the appropriate charge at the appropriate time in accordance with instructions given by an operator or an authorised person at that place
  • in England and Wales
    1. the owner of any motor vehicle, bicycle or other conveyance used, left or placed in breach of Byelaw 14(1) to 14(3) may be liable to pay a penalty as displayed in that area
    2. without prejudice to Byelaw 14(4)(i), any motor vehicle, bicycle or other conveyance used, left or placed in breach of byelaw 14(1) to 14(3) may be clamped, removed, and stored, by or under the direction of an operator or authorised person
    3. the owner of the motor vehicle, bicycle or other conveyance shall be liable to an operator or an authorised person for the costs incurred in clamping, removing and storing it provided that there is in that area a notice advising that any vehicle parked contrary to these byelaws may be clamped, removed and stored by an operator or an authorised person and that the costs incurred by an operator or an authorised person for this may be recovered from the vehicle’s owner
    4. the power of clamping and removal provided in Byelaw 14(4)(ii) above shall not be exercisable in any area where passenger parking is permitted unless there is on display in that area a notice advising that any vehicle parked contrary to these byelaws may be clamped and/or removed by an operator or an authorised person
  • in Scotland
    Any motor vehicle, bicycle or other conveyance used, left or placed in breach of this byelaw in Scotland may be removed by or under the direction of a constable
 
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jfollows

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Pepipoo does advise on car parking issues covered by railway byelaws and there are a number of case histories there which can be referred to.

Essentially, breaching byelaws is a criminal offence, prosecution for which will require a magistrates court, and any subsequent fine payable will go to the state.

NCP, who I understand operate the car park, will offer a bribe as an inducement not to start criminal proceedings, which they will then pocket. Their problem is that they don't get a penny if the case goes to court because it's a criminal case rather than a civil case.

The tactics to avoid prosecution, given that NCP don't really want to do it anyway, is to spin this out until six months have passed, after which a criminal prosecution under the byelaws can not be initiated. So correspond in writing, ask questions, and drag out the time between receipt of letters from NCP and your replies to them.

But go to pepipoo and have a read .......

EDIT: I should be clearer: NCP will offer you the opportunity to bribe them, in return for which they won't ask the Crown to initiate criminal proceedings against you for a breach of the byelaws. If they don't tell the appropriate prosecuting authorities then no case will be brought against you. In theory if you don't hand them their suggested bribe then they'll go and tell on you, but if you can spin this out with correspondence etc. then the time to commence a prosecution against you will run out.

Some railway companies do initiate prosecutions under byelaws simply because they can't get a reputation for never doing so. But other than reputation it's all cost and no reward for them to do so.

EDIT: Also, the OP asked "have I done the right thing" and, for future reference, if you hadn't told them who was driving the car then no prosecution could have been initiated. NCP wrote to the OP as registered keeper of the car, who then told them that he/she was the driver, so it's too late for this case, but in future it's better to talk about "the driver" rather than identify who the driver was.
 
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su31

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It would appear that most LU / TfL station car parks operated by NCP have gone cashless. There are signs up at Newbury Park advising people to pay online, via the PaybyPhone app, or by telephone.
 

Hadders

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It would appear that most LU / TfL station car parks operated by NCP have gone cashless. There are signs up at Newbury Park advising people to pay online, via the PaybyPhone app, or by telephone.
Even the council on-street parking in my local town centre no longer accepts cash - pay by phone or app only now. All due to covid apparently.
 

Egg Centric

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I don't mind cashless. I don't even in principle object to insisting on paying by an app if it's made clear beforehand personally, but as a matter of policy am against this because of e.g. my 93 year old grandmother who drives and has cards but doesn't have a smartphone. But claiming to take certain methods and then not actually providing them as an option when you come to pay isn't right.

Anyhoo there hasn't yet been any letter to my wife. How long do they have? Imagine in principle if it's a bylaw thing up to 6 months?
 

WesternLancer

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Always use a disaster as an opportunity is one of my key bits of life advice.
certainly useful if you wish to withdraw various public services or the ability to access them in a simple way....whilst, no doubt, publishing policy statements about how valuable 'widening access' etc is....
 

Tallguy

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Very simple, go to pepipoo.com and post up the details in the private parking tickets forum. The regulars there will help You get this quashed.
 
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