Author Topic: Driver successfully sues private parking company for data protection breach  (Read 3891 times)

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Offline Web Admin

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Courtesy of Barry Beavis and The Parking Prankster.


Motorist awarded £900 for data protection breach by parking company

D6GM2199 CEL v Mr B, Bury County Court, before DJ Osborne

This thread on MSE ( ) details the story of a motorist awarded £900 because a parking company committed data protection breaches against him.

The parking company was Civil Enforcement Limited (CEL), who have a long history of making bogus inflated court claims and then discontinuing if a robust defence is filed.

Mr B. was the vehicle keeper but was not the driver on the day. As CEL do not use keeper liability, they had not valid claim against the keeper. In addition, and aided bylaw firm Wright Hassall, they artificially inflated the claim from £100 to £300 by adding spurious amounts. Mr B filed a counterclaim for breaches of the data protection act. True to form, CEL discontinued the claim, which left only the counterclaim to be decided.

Barry Beavis assisted Mr B in preparing the paperwork and acting as his lay representative.

The case was heard by DJ Osborne at Bury. The DJ was initially critical of the defendant for failing to file papers and obey court directions.

However, he then interviewed Mr B as witness, establishing the validity of the counterclaim and the distress caused.

In his judgment DJ Osborne ruled a data breach had occurred, the tort of damages was applicable and that £500 was not an unreasonable amount in the circumstances.

He added an additional £405 in costs, part of which were awarded under rule 27.14.2(g) for the unreasonable behaviour of CEL.

He also stated he was disappointed in the claimant bringing an unfounded case, and in the behaviour of Wright Hassall who were otherwise a respectable law firm.

Prankster Notes

It is important to obey all court instructions. Witness statements and evidence need to be filed on time, otherwise a winning case can be lost by procedural errors.

A number of cases have now established that a data protection breach can occur when a parking company pursues a charge which is not valid, or an over-inflated charge, or both.

The size of damages will depend on the facts of each individual case .This case establishes that a claim of £500 is not unreasonable for the particular circumstances of today's case.

Happy Parking

The Parking Prankster

Offline 2b1ask1

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That is very satisfying; well done all concerned.
Willing to do my bit...

Offline BGB

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Barry Beavis batters CEL!

Offline The Bald Eagle

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Barry Beavis batters CEL!

No more fish puns for Cod's sake!

Offline Coco

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Barry Beavis batters CEL!

No more fish puns for Cod's sake!

Or, if you must, please mullet over first.

Offline Ewan Hoosami

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  • Veni, Vidi, $chunti. I came, I saw, I assisted.
Last time I saw a face like this, it had a hook in it............,

{CEL's Gary Wayne(ker), by the way}
Appealing to the council is like playing chess with a pigeon. You might be a chess grand master but the pigeon will always knock all the pieces over, shit on the board and then strut around triumphantly.

Offline Web Admin

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Driver, 46, who was hounded for a year over a parking ticket wins £1,000 in 'landmark' case after turning the tables on the 'cowboy' company

Steven Beswick, 46, received a letter in May 2016 claiming he owed £100
He was then bombarded and threatened with bailiffs over a 12 month period
Court ruled in his favour against parking 'cowboys' and awarded him £1,000
Now he is demanding the government does more to protect drivers from bullies

A driver who was hounded for a year over a parking ticket has won £1,000 in a landmark case after turning the tables on a 'cowboy' company.   

Steven Beswick, 46, says he received a letter in May 2016 from Civil Enforcement Ltd informing him he owed £100 for supposedly overstaying at Halls Mill Retail Park in Bury.

The father-of-two claims he was threatened by bailiffs, solicitors and even with a court case by CEL, however he did research online and decided to stand his ground, claiming the company had no proof he was the driver.

Victorious! Steven Beswick was hounded for a year over a parking ticket but has won £1,000 in a landmark case after turning the tables on a 'cowboy' company

Despite CEL eventually dropping their case against him weeks before he was due in court, Steven pursued a counter claim and won £905 - £500 compensation and £405 in costs - on Tuesday.

Mr Beswick said: 'I received a parking invoice 32 days after the supposedly incident occurred, called a 'notice to keeper'.

He said: 'It stated I was originally fined £60 however because it was more than 14 days, I now needed to pay £100 and when I ignored it, because I knew there was no way they could know who was even driving the car, they sent more and more letters threatening me with bailiffs and solicitors.

'I did my homework and realised that the ticket had to be received within 14 days and it hadn't been. It was exactly 32 days after the incident.'

Now the father-of-two wants to warn people against these companies and demand that the government does more to regulate them before shoppers are drawn out of town centres

Online, he said, the firms were being described as 'parking cowboys'.   

After receiving a letter stating CEL would be taking him to court, Steven decided to deny all fault and launch a counter-claim against them for the stress and allegedly data protection breach by passing on his details to bailiffs.

Mr Beswick said: 'It got to the point where I'd come home from a day at work and my wife would say 'another letter has come through'.

'We got around 30 letters over the period of a year with various threats and from various places, showing our details were being thrown around.

'When you're married, you don't know who's been driving the car when. We both use each other's cars depending on who's working at what time.

'How did they expect me to backtrack to know who was driving at what time.

'When the letter came through to say CEL would be taking us to Northampton court, I logged on to the website, denied all fault and launched a counter-claim against the firm.

'Just days before the planned court date, CEL sent another letter to say they would no longer be pursuing the claim. This is what they do - they never turn up in court.

'But I decided to continue with my claim. This was about me and my family, but also I wanted to prove that they could be beaten.

'When they didn't turn up, the judge said it was unfair and we shouldn't have had to go through this.

'He decided that CEL should pay £905 in compensation and costs.'

Now the father-of-two wants to warn people against these companies and demand that the government does more to regulate them before shoppers are drawn out of

A spokesperson for Bury County Council confirmed that there was a judgement on the counter claim of £500 and that the court concluded that the 'claimant behaved unreasonably' and must pay the counter-claimant's costs of £405.20 by June 8

Mr Beswick said: 'The worrying thing is that when you do your research online, people are so scared by their threats or just don't bother to look into it and before you can advise them not to pay, they say they've already done it to avoid the hassle.

'We are talking here about normal people going shopping in their town centres.
'I know people who won't go into the centre of Bury because they worry about these parking companies.

He said he believed parking costs and tickets was killing off town centres.

He said: 'It's putting people off shopping on the High Street or at retail parks and that's the last thing we need.

'It's going to keep them away from our centres.

'It was a very stressful time for us. No-one wants that many letters coming through constantly.

'My wife has had enough of it now so I'm glad it's over.

'I don't want other people to fall victim to this and hope to spread awareness to help people stand their ground.

'These parking companies need to be more tightly regulated.'

Civil Enforcement Ltd were contacted for comment.

A spokesperson for Bury County Council confirmed that there was a judgement on the counter claim of £500 and that the court concluded that the 'claimant behaved unreasonably' and must pay the counter-claimant's costs of £405.20 by June 8.

How to beat a parking ticket? Fight it! (Half of drivers who contest fines win)

Steep car parking fines are a modern day curse, raking in millions of pounds every year for private firms and cash-starved councils.

Although car park operators are using increasingly sinister tactics to ensure these fines are paid, victims can hit back. About half of fines challenged are overturned.

The latest trick being employed by firms is to pay the Driver & Vehicle Licensing Agency to provide private address details that can be traced from a car number plate.

Armed with this information, the companies – running car parks at hospitals, shopping centres and restaurants – are sending threatening letters demanding up to £100 in fines.

Last year, a record 4.7million people had their addresses bought for £2.50 a piece by car park operators, earning the agency almost £12million.

Philip Gomm, of The RAC Foundation, says: ‘Fines sent through the post often use intimidating wording and extortionate charges are often levied for minor infringements – such as accidentally overstaying in a car park by just a few minutes.’

Private companies earn an estimated £500million a year from issuing parking fines. While equivalent data is not available from councils, they pocket at least £750million from a combination of car parking charges and fines.

Parking campaigner Barrie Segal, who runs website AppealNow, says: ‘They are the modern-day version of Dick Turpin, acting like outlaws by making outrageously unfair penalty demands. It is a huge money-spinner for them.’ Key to the success of many car park operators is the use of bullying tactics.
If you pay up in 14 days, they say, the penalty amount will be halved, panicking most motorists to foot the bill rather than fight a charge.

There is also the threat of sending debt collectors round if a fine goes unpaid, though bailiffs cannot go knocking on a door without first going to court. What the parking attendants fail to reveal is that half of motorists who fight a fine eventually win. But you must arm yourself with information and have the stomach for a fight.


If you have been issued with a ticket you deem to be unfair do not hand over any cash. If you do, you are effectively admitting responsibility.

While half of all appeals succeed, be prepared for a lengthy process.

Jeanette Miller is managing director of national motoring law specialist Geoffrey Miller Solicitors. She says: ‘It rarely pays to hire a lawyer in cases involving disputed car parking fines. But if you are aware of the law and do your homework it will boost your chances of success.’

She points out that The Protection of Freedoms Act 2012 was introduced to stamp out car clamping. But as a concession to the car park operators, it paved the way for private firms to chase motorists using details gleaned from the DVLA.

Under the Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations 1999, any sums demanded must be deemed ‘fair and reasonable’. But this still means an £85 fine for overstaying by a few minutes might be deemed fair in a court of law if it is seen as a legitimate deterrent.

Miller, president of the Association of Motor Offence Lawyers, adds: ‘Take time to prepare a case, do not just get angry. Revisit the car park, take photos, write targeted letters and be prepared to attend court.’


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