Parking Debt Recovery

How to deal with threatening debt recovery letters from Debt Recovery Plus, CST Law, BW Legal, Trace Recovery, ZZPS

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The Debt Recovery Process

Receiving a letter from the debt recovery company can be very stressful. Most private parking debt recovery firms will say that you must make a payment by the deadline date. These deadlines and threats are meaningless most of the time. They set them to create urgency, the truth is, While this may be stressful, here are a few simple options on resolving debt recovery issues.

For each parking ticket you have, debt recovery companies can charge £60-70 on top of the original parking charge notice amount. These amounts have been set by the BPA and the IPC. The debt recovery company only exists to make a commission on top of the amount owed.

If you are being harassed by on the phone, this handy guide provides scripts on how to communicate with debt companies when they call.

  • Debt recovery companies can only send you letters
  • They can’t send bailiffs or knock on your door
  • If you pay the parking company instead, the debt recovery letters will stop
  • Not paying the debt recovery company will not affect your credit report

How to Avoid Debt Recovery Fees

Option 1 – Pay the parking company

The first option is to pay the parking company the amount owed. If you only owe money for 1 parking ticket, you should check and see how much is owed to the parking company and send a cheque with the payment for the parking ticket.

Why this works: this works because the parking charge notice is an invoice which must be settled with the parking company. Even though the debt recovery company has added fees on top, the parking company is only ever owed £100 maximum due to the limit set by the BPA and IPC.

If you have more than 1 parking ticket, you can make an offer to the parking company i.e. if you had 5 parking tickets, you can offer them £300 and this will settle the case.

Some parking companies can also accept payments through a payment plan.

The result: If you take the route, you will pay off your parking tickets and the cases will be settled.

  • Get details of the parking company that issued the ticket
  • Contact the parking company directly and see how much is owed
  • Send a cheque to the parking company for the amount owed
  • The parking company must close the case once payment is received

We often write to the “Data Protection Officer” at this stage or the CEO. You can find the DPO’s details in the parking company’s privacy policy on their website.

Option 2 – Complain to the landowner

Depending on where the parking ticket was issued, you may be able to complain to the landowner and get your parking ticket cancelled. Remember that landowners have the power to cancel any parking ticket issued to their employees or customers. This is by far the easiest way to get a parking ticket cancelled because you won’t have to write any long letters.

How to get a parking ticket cancelled as a customer

If you were a customer at your favourite restaurant, hotel, or supermarket, you should contact them and ask if they will cancel the parking ticket. As the landowner, they have the power to cancel any parking ticket.

You can contact the landowner via Twitter, Facebook, their website or leave a review on Trustpilot. When contacting the retailer, make sure you provide them with all the proof and evidence that you were a customer and a copy of the parking ticket.

Please note that some retailers will refuse to cancel parking tickets even if you were a customer. In this case, we strongly recommend that you do one of the following, pay the outstanding parking charge, follow the appeal process or defend your case in court.

Contact the retailer about your parking ticket

  • – Find the retailer contact details (telephone number or email)
  • – Send the retailer a friendly message and copy of your parking ticket
  • – Include proof you were a customer
  • – Send the message and wait for a reply

Success Story with John Lewis

A customer visited her local Waitrose store and didn’t get a chance to read the signs due to her poor eyesight. She received a final demand letter from Britannia Parking. We wrote to the John Lewis customer service team online explaining the situation in detail that she had been a customer and due did not see the signs in the poorly lit car park. Also included in the letter, was proof of purchase from her shopping trip proving that she had been a customer and how she had enjoyed shopping in her local store.

The next day, we received a response we could have never imagined, John Lewis sent her a £10 voucher and cancelled the parking charge notice. She was absolutely delighted with the outcome and the issue was swiftly resolved.

I appreciate this level of customer service from John Lewis and most retailers will follow a similar approach and cancel the parking charge notice. You can read the Trustpilot review here.

Option 3 – Ignore and wait for a court claim

You should only consider this option if you are certain that you will win a court case. If you have never been to court, we strongly recommend getting legal advice at this stage.

If you wait for a court claim, you must make sure to do the following:

  1. Keep the parking company updated when you move address
  2. Check your credit report often to make sure there are no sudden CCJ’s
  3. Be prepared to file a defence, witness statement and to attend court


private parking debt collectors

Most private parking debt collectors like Debt Recovery Plus, Zenith Collections can only send you letters by post. Other companies can process court claims on behalf of their client, that will be covered in the next section. These debt collectors can not take your car or do any enforcement action.

If you did not respond to the operator within 28 days, your time to appeal is long gone. The debt collector will only engage in correspondence to try and make you pay or threaten legal action. The debt collector only makes money when they collect the charges.

This is a threat from the debt collector to encourage you to pay. At this stage, you do not need to act, they are simply stating that they will refer your case to the client to raise a court claim, you are not being sued at this stage. Remember, the debt collector is trying to collect payment.

You can write to the company and ask them to stop sending you letters. They often have a backlog of letters and mail, so do not panic if you don’t receive an immediate response or you receive another letter demanding payment. Their systems for letters are automated.

Yes you can ignore the letters demanding payment. However, you should not demand any letters stating “Court Claim” or Pre-Action Protocol. This means the legal proceedings are about to start.

At this stage, we can’t stop the debt collector or appeal. Please use the options above to get your situation resolved.