So you you received a fine or letter of demand from Australian National Car Parks Pty Ltd? These pages explain how to handle demands issued by Australian National Car Parks. Do not blindly follow the appeal instructions on the back of your payment notice or the appeal instructions on the Australian National Car Parks website without reading this page, or getting independent advice, first. The information on this website is free and designed to help protect your rights. Only contact ANCP after you have read this whole page, and also part-2 which is linked to at the very bottom of this page as well as the FAQ's on the menu at left.
Australian National Car Parks in 2013 were investigated by NSW Fair Trading who subsequently laid criminal charges against them in the Parramatta local court for harassing drivers. The case was eventually withdrawn by negotiation, but it serves as an example to take care when dealing with them. Read more...
Australian National Car Parks was also named in Victorian Parliament as a company that required investigation by the Minster for Consumer Affairs. A company called Australian Recoveries and Collections that is majority owned by Australian National Car Parks interests had been sending demands for payment to people who had no debt with the company. This conduct is prohibited under National and State laws and was to be investigated by Consumer Affairs Victoria (Victorian Hansard Tuesday 14th June 2011). Read more...
And as far back as 2006, the Age newspaper reported that the then NSW Fair Trading minister Diane Beamer urged drivers to "exercise extreme caution" in Australian National Car Parks because the company could have been engaging in "improper, misleading and deceptive conduct". Read more .....
Australian National Car Parks use a number of tactics in order to "encourage" you to pay notices, even if the notices may not have even been incurred to you. One of those tactics is the creation of a debt collection company originally established to chase fines issued by Australian National Car Parks. The idea is to get the vehicle owner to think they are being pursued by a third party when, in fact, that debt collection company, called Australian Recoveries and Collections is majority owned by Australian National Car Parks interests. Another tactic used is if you write a letter of appeal to them (for example lets say you were the registered owner, but not the driver), then the company has been known to ignore your letter and continue to send more demands to you. However, under contract law, its only the driver that can be found liable to pay private parking fines. Another example , if you write to ANCP under their "appeals process" with a valid reason for not displaying a ticket (such as a sign being obscured or a ticket machine being out of order), they will often either ignore your letter, or they will respond to you saying "thank you for your letter, the signs are clear and the demand stands". I have evidence of many such cases where ANCP did not respond to the substance of legitimate letters of appeal. In other words, if you have a valid reason for not displaying a ticket, ANCP may ignore your reason and tell you the fine stands, but not explain why your appeal was dismissed. Or alternatively, they have been known to sometimes totally ignore your appeal and keep sending you demands for payment.
Australian National Car Park's lawyer letters have in the past demanded a statutory declaration to name the driver in the case where the owner of the car was not the driver. However, under the ACCC Debt Collection Guidelines, proof of the debt rests with the creditor (the car park company) and they cannot require you to provide proof that you were not the driver. More recent letters from ANCP;'s lawyers simply ask that if you were not the driver, that you advise them of that (i.e. advise them you were not the driver if that was the case).
Australian National Car Parks fines - sequence of events
The following is an example what has happened to people in the past:
1. You're car receives a fine on your windscreen for $66.00
2. You write to them and explain the signs weren't clear.
3. They now know you were driving and they post a demand for $66.00 to your home address
4. You don't pay it, and they send another demand for $88 to your home address.
5. You receive a lawyer's letter from ANCP's lawyer Stephen Quartermain from Force Legal for $173.
6. You ignore that letter.
7. You receive 2-3 demands from ANCP's debt collector (Australian Recoveries and Collections) for $173 over a period of 2 months.
8. You receive another lawyer letter
9. And so the process goes on until you finally pay the $173.
10. In a relatively small number of cases in NSW only, Australian National Car Parks have taken people to court, which is why you should continue to read these pages, so that you are fully informed of your options.
Or at least the above is what Australian National Car Parks wants to happen.
You will find links further down to page-2 of this post which explain your options should you receive such letters.
1. Pay the notice.
2. Ignore the notice.
3. Appeal the notice.
These three options are explored more fully on page-2 of this article (see link to page-2 at the end of this paragraph). In general if you, as the registered owner of the vehicle, decide to appeal a fine from Australian National Car Parks, you need to be careful about admitting who the driver was, because if you do, that person will receive threatening letters from them. Page-2 of this article has links to free proforma letters that you can use if you decide to appeal the fine. It is often better not to write to them until you receive a letter in the mail, because if you write to them earlier then you are admitting you know who the driver was (otherwise how would you know about the fine). Also, if you are based in NSW, Victoria, Canberra or the Northern Territory they cannot currently obtain your name and address unless you give it to them. Again, this is explained on page-2 of this article.
If you wish to find out what do with your fine, proceed to page-2 of this article now.
If you are a journalist or other interested party who wishes to learn more about ANCP's corporate setup, then please keep reading this page.
The registered office of Australian National Car Parks is recorded in the ASIC register as c/- Oberg Accountancy Westfield Tower, Level 2 Suite 204 600, The Kingsway, Miranda, NSW, 2228. The company's principal place of business is shown as 261 Trafalgar Street, Annandale NSW, 2038
Office holders and lawyers
1. On 5th March 2010, the Moreland Leader said that Mr Roger Territt was incorrectly fined by Australian National Car Parks, and that ANCP took 7 months to withdraw the fine, and a promised apology from the company never eventuated.
2. On 3rd June 2010, Channel Nine's A Current Affair Program reported "a legal loophole" and that Andrew Borodin had successfully beaten Australian National Car Parks in court by stating that he wasn't driving the car, and if he wasn't driving, then he couldn't have entered into a contract with them.
3. The Age newspaper reports that "Australian National Car Parks Pty Ltd has been slapping Melbourne motorists with hundreds of potentially illegal fines. ANCP has been banned by one Victorian council and could be banned from another council. At the same time, they are being investigated by the NSW Office of Fair Trading. ANCP has also been reported to Consumer Affairs Victoria. Thousands of Kmart, Coles, Safeway and Woolworths shoppers use ANCP managed car parks every day. Many of these shoppers have paid fines that may have been issued illegally. Mark O'Brien is the Mayor of Moreland. Mr O'Brien has gone on record as saying that the company uses bullying tactics" Read more ...
1. "I believe this is unconscionable and that Australian National Car Parks should improve its practices". Mr Joseph Tripodi (member for Fairfield), NSW state parliament 19th May 2010 .
2. "Whilst it is clearly understood and appreciated that customer car parks must be monitored to ensure that the sites are only used for purposes for which they were intended, the manner in which Australian National Car Parks operates is unconscionable". Mr Joseph Tripodi (member for Fairfield), NSW state parliament 19th May 2010. Read more ...
3. Robin Scot, member for Preston said Australian National Car Park's conduct "appeared to be a bit of a shakedown of innocent constituents" and needed to be investigated. In response, the minister for Consumer Affairs, Michael O'Brien said "private car parks have a right to operate, but they have to operate within the law and they do not have the power to issue fines. Anything they do which tries to persuade consumers — their customers — that they have the right to issue fines is completely wrong. This government will not accept it and will ensure that appropriate regulatory action is taken to prevent that from happening".
4. "The action I seek from the minister is for him to investigate this company with a view to protecting Victorians from unconscionable conduct or predatory behavior by ANCP, which preys upon ordinary Victorian citizens in a blatant money-making scheme." Mr McIntosh (member for Kew), NSW state parliament 7th May 2009. Read more ...
To read about how to get off your fine, please see page-2 of this post.
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