An irate driver is prepared to pay thousands in legal fees to overturn a £100 parking fine he picked up at a retail park in Dartford.
Lawrence Carnie has vowed to do whatever it takes to beat the charges after parking company Nexus accused him of leaving his car in the Tower Retail Park in Crayford for 23 hours in June last year.
The 58-year-old claims he only stayed in the parking lot for 30 minutes and initially appealed the fine, but it was rejected by the independent adjudicator Parking On Private Land Appeals (POPLA).
He then took his case up with the British Parking Association (BPA), who ran an investigation into Lawrence’s claims but arrived at the same conclusion.
Now Lawrence, a retired bank manager, is seeking legal help to fight the fine.
‘If I bumped into you in the street and said ‘give me £100’ you wouldn’t do it,’ he told Kent Online.
‘That’s what’s happened here, they’re asking for £100 for not being there.
‘It’s just so wrong what this company is doing.’
The incident first began when he visited a Currys store on-site to look at new televisions.
He says he was only there for 30 minutes during his initial trip but visited again the next day, this time staying for an hour.
But parking company Group Nexus later claimed Lawrence had stayed in the car park overnight, exceeding the three hour limit.
Following a failed appeal, the motorist contacted CCJ Removals Services, who help people remove court judgments from their credit reports, who are advising him on his legal standing.
Paralegal Luke Memory, who specialises in challenging parking fines, has taken the case.
He told the publication: ‘Cases like this do not usually make it to court as the legal costs are much higher than the fine but Mr Carnie is an exception to the rule.
‘Once a claim is made against Mr Carnie we would instruct a barrister to draft a defence statement which costs £500 and this would lead to a court hearing at which Mr Carnie would instruct a barrister and this would cost approximately £1000.
‘It’s off-putting for the common man but Mr Carnie is happy to fight it in court.’
Mr Memory says he believes Lawrence has a strong case, and that companies such as Nexus use steep legal costs as a deterrent to pressure people into paying their fines.
Upon appealing, Lawrence was provided with a 356-page document detailing all the vehicles going in and out of the car park during the period in question, which he says is riddled with bad data.
‘I am doing this purely because the data they provided was so bad,’ he added.
‘They would have to show it to be impeccable but as I have found it doesn’t show that.’
During his research he spotted 28 ‘impossible scenarios’ involving cars appearing to enter or leave the car park twice.
He said: ‘They are using this poor data to give out fines. There are people out there who can’t afford the fine let alone the legal process for it and so to be giving out fines on this data is wrong.’
A Group Nexus spokesperson previously said they could find ‘no evidence’ his car had visited the site twice.
A BPA spokesman said: ‘The motorist appealed the charge issued to their vehicle to POPLA which was rejected as they deemed the charge to have been issued correctly.
‘The BPA carried out a thorough investigation of the motorist’s complaint about the management of the car park by one of its members and found there to be no breach of its Code of Practice.’
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