Man suing council over time-wasting parking fines

Julian Young had been paying for parking tickets using his mobile phone. Picture: Malcolm McCurrach
Julian Young had been paying for parking tickets using his mobile phone. Picture: Malcolm McCurrach
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A FURIOUS motorist is taking the council to the small claims court – for wasting his time after slapping him with fines when he was covered by valid tickets.

Marketing executive Julian Young has vowed to sue the local authority in what could prove to be a landmark case if he is successful.

The 37-year-old has sent an invoice for £50 to the City Chambers, which he says represents a fair amount for the time he has wasted and the administration fees he has incurred, having twice had to appeal parking notices after correctly using the mobile RingGo system to pay the fee.

He plans to recoup the compensation he feels he deserves – and could open the floodgates for hundreds of similar claims. He is being supported by a road-safety charity.

Mr Young said he was “amazed” to find his car had been ticketed on November 5 and December 10 at Waterloo Place despite having paid for parking via his mobile phone.

On both occasions the city cancelled the fines explaining a “data transmission fault” had been to blame. But after legal advice Mr Young is determined to take the matter to court.

“The second time it happened I thought it was pointless and a waste of my time,” he said. “I’m parking here for my business so essentially I’m having to spend time doing this when I should be working.

“So I sent them an invoice for a £50 administration charge which I know they won’t pay but at least it gives me an opening to take them to court and present my case.

“This is the legal advice I have been given. It’s hard to challenge and bring up their policies in a court of law. So by giving them an invoice they aren’t going to pay then I can take them to the small claims court. It is a point of principle, they won’t discuss it with me and they keep fining me. I think there will be a whole flood of people in Edinburgh who have experienced the same thing. It’s trying to change the policy to be honest.”

Neil Grieg, director of policy and research at the Institute of Advanced Motorists, backed Mr Young’s stance and said it should be council policy to compensate parking fine errors.

“Paying for parking with your card over the phone is the future,” he said. “But this case seems to bring the whole system into disrepute and is going to discourage people from using RingGo.I commend Julian for what he is doing and wish him every success but we should all be looking for in the future is automatic compensation when the council is in the wrong.”

A council spokeswoman said they believe an overwhelming majority of users are happy with Ringo. But they did agree anyone who feels a parking ticket has been issued incorrectly should contact them. She added: “While we cannot comment on individual cases, we’re satisfied with the procedures followed by our parking attendants who must always carry out the appropriate checks before taking enforcement action.” There were approximately 500,000 transaction in the first six months of this year.