Bankrupt! Woman who refused to pay £18k in parking fines
A WOMAN who racked up £18,500 of unpaid parking penalties then lost her landmark legal battle against a private parking firm has been declared bankrupt.
Carly Mackie received more than 200 penalties issued by a private parking firm after she repeatedly parked her Mini outside her parents’ home in an area reserved for residents.
She refused to pay the charges in the mistaken belief that she was entitled to park there and that such penalties were unenforceable.
Although her mother and stepfather were tenants at the property on Dundee’s waterfront, Miss Mackie was not, so Vehicle Control Services (VCS), which administered the parking, continued to issue tickets.
In April, VCS took 28-yearold Miss Mackie to court, where a sheriff agreed with the parking firm that its penalties were legally enforceable and ordered her to pay the outstanding fines plus court costs – a total of £24,500.
Sheriff George Way found that Miss Mackie had ‘entirely misdirected herself on both the law and the contractual chain in this case’.
He told Dundee Sheriff Court that she had been engaged in a ‘personal crusade’ to prove the parking penalties were unenforceable.
The ruling against Miss Mackie was immediately seized upon by other private parking firms and their debt collectors pursuing individuals for unpaid parking penalties in entirely different circumstances.
Customers found themselves being bullied into paying extortionate sums by letters highlighting what happened to Miss Mackie, even though the penalties they faced would almost certainly be unenforceable in court regardless of the Mackie ruling.
Following the outcome of her case, Miss Mackie moved from Dundee to Paisley, Renfrewshire, and now works as a cabin crew member with the airline Thomas Cook.
Documents lodged with the Accountant in Bankruptcy (AIB) reveal that she was declared bankrupt with debts totalling £37,564.84.
The AIB is the Scottish Government agency responsible for administering the process of personal bankruptcy and corporate insolvency.
Yesterday, she declined to comment when approached at her home.
Her case – thought to be the first in Scotland involving a private parking firm and a member of the public – appeared to shatter the widely held belief that parking fines issued by private firms can be ignored.
In his judgment, Sheriff Way noted: ‘She knew perfectly well what the signs displayed and that she was parking in breach of the conditions.
‘She stated (effectively a protest position) that parking charges were illegal and unenforceable in Scotland and that she could park where she liked as her father’s guest.
‘She was offered a permit by the factors but she refused on principle.’
He added that VCS had a valid contract and residents in the area had a ‘legitimate interest arising from their title to the land to protect their property and amenity’.
The sheriff continued: ‘Parking is not only an amenity but a valuable commodity in modern life.’
‘Debts totalling £37,000’
Campaign: Carly Mackie lost her legal battle