The Claim Form: Is it a Roboclaim?
Going to court is an expensive process for a parking company so they have automated their claims processes. These are called Roboclaims. How to identify them is that they have very few details in the Particulars section - no more than a date and an amount - leaving the defendant to try to guess what it is all about.
Later in the process, they produce an extensive Witness Statement (see examples here) that bare little or no resemblance to these initial Particulars which is a breach of the Civil Procedure Rules though they rarely are sanctioned for this.
First Steps: Acknowledge the Claim to the Court?
When a claim (N1 Form) arrives, you will have another opportunity to get this cancelled but firstly you have to acknowledge the claim within 14 days of the Date of Service - usually the date of claim plus 5 days for postal service. See how to acknowledge here. The very good reason for acknowledging service is that these companies are only looking for soft targets - and regrettably 70% - 80% of people fail to acknowledge leading to a default CCJ. So cynical are these companies that they:
- Send out claims at peak holiday times so that you miss the cut-off while on holiday!
- Send these to old addresses - then when they have the CCJ use TRACE services to find you - rather than checking beforehand
- Send out claims to lease companies, hire companies, or rental companies - as these companies tend to pay and recharge you denying your chance to defend these.
So unless your Acknowledge then the Parking company can ask for a default CCJ on or around the 21st day from the Date of Issue - and ParkingEye are very good at getting these. Default CCJ's which now cost £255 for a Set Aside. See Consent Orders
How to defend a Roboclaim
1. The first way is to send a short-form defence which simply requests the court to either strike out the claim for want of a course of action, or require the Claimant to replead. The Legal Beagles site has some good examples of this.
2. If you are confident there is no basis for the claim and have evidence of the same, such as a lease or rental agreement to counter a claim, then a fuller defence outlining there is no basis for a claim is in order. Both Pepipoo.com and MoneySavingExpert have volunteers which help putting a defence together. You can find plenty of example defences there
3. If you not only have a solid defence, but you feel you have been harassed, then a counterclaim may be in order. This is a simple matter of adding in a paragraph or two to any defence, outlining why you have been harmed e.g. tortuous interference with a lease or abuse of the use of your personal details. As well as these paragraphs you pay £25 filing fee for counterclaims up to £300. See Section 3 here.
Would you like an opinion or further information?
If you unsure or are past the appeals stage and have 'Debt' Collector letters, or 'Letter before County Claim' or an actual Court Claim, then contact the Helpdesk immediately. Or leave a message on 01424 400475.
Version control: Court Claim Wizard 01-01-17