Johhny Smithson is a Melbourne writer, blogger and the sole author of this website. He not a lawyer - this website is not meant to be taken as advice - neither legal advice nor general advice. Rather, it is an aggregation of information from various consumer rights websites including Victorian Consumer Affairs, Consumer Action Law Center, the ACCC ASIC, and from Sean Hardy's website. Sean Hardy is a practicing Victorian Barrister who gives free advice thru his website forum.
My website brings all this information together in one place. It provides references throughout to where the information was obtained from. In the few places Where I am giving an opinion, I state that clearly.
I have been quoted in, or my site has been linked from, the following Metrolpolitan newspapers and nation wide magazines or legal publications:
As someone who has had a friends go thru this before, I was keen to provide information and options to others, as others had helped us when a close relative of mine was going thru this. After my relative was finished the process of disputing their debt, I helped out by answering questions on a couple of discussion sites, but found I was answering the same questions all the time so decided to put the info in one place on this website, so I could refer people to it with just a link. The most complaints I get to my website concern ANCP and Care Park, and Parking Patrols (Vic). What these three companies have in common, is that they all:
After I created my website in 2010, I thought that was to be the end of it. But shortly after I created it, I started receiving rather disturbing emails from people who had been treated very badly by some of these companies. From people such as Brian (see Brian's story) and Joanne who said she felt "stalked" by one of the companies (see Joanne's story). So then I started getting in deeper, and taking more and more emails from people and directing them to the right law enforcement agencies.
The information on the website is nothing that cannot be found elsewhere. It is designed to give people clear options, but doesn't tell people what to do. For example, it gives three options to respond to letters - ignore, respond with a denial, or to pay the amount demanded. All three options are valid for different people. For example, an elderly person who is stressed by the letters to the extent that is its affecting their health, may decide to pay. That is a valid option for them. So they are all just options, and I don't mean or intend to tell you what to do because I don't know your personal circumstances and even if I did, I am not a legal practitioner. In that regard, please assume the author of this website does not have any special qualifications, authority or credentials. Please read the references on the site yourself and make your own decision.
I get questions from a lot of people who ask "how do I know you are right". Or "what guarantee do I have that if I follow your advice I will have my fine withdrawn". These people have missed the point of the website. The intent of the website was to give people options and for them to make their own choice. There are no guarantees. If you want certainty, you can pay $200 to a lawyer for advice. And they will not be able to guarantee you anything either, and they will most likely give you similar options. But please don't take my word for it, please go see a lawyer.
If, having read this "about" page, you are confused, and not sure what to do, I would suggest you read Sean Hardy's page here ==> http://www.trafficlaw.com.au/forum/viewtopic.php?f=30&t=538 (please read all 19 pages). Sean is a barrister and legally qualified to give advice. Both Sean and I have a template "letter of denial" letter. The main difference bewteen the two letters is that my template asks for a copy of the contract and some other info. The reason why it asks for that is that I find that it is never sent. And if it is not sent, then according to the ACCC Debt Collection document the car park company cannot continue legally to send letters of demand until after the information is sent. If you are not able (or don't have time) to read the various documents and references to work out which template to use, and you want the confirmation of knowing the "credentials" of the person who wrote the template, then just use Sean Hardy's letter. Having said that, Sean does talk quite positively about my template letter here http://www.trafficlaw.com.au/forum/viewtopic.php?f=30&t=538&start=324#p10578
I am also an Administrator on the The People vs Australian National Car Parks Facebook group. Here is my Facebook profile. See here for a list of all administrators for this group.
Disclaimer: the author of this website is not a lawyer and this site does not constitute legal advice.