So you received a fine or letter of demand from Care Park? Or perhaps a letter from the NSW RMS? These pages explain the process of getting off fines issued by Care Park. Do not blindy follow the appeal instructions on the back of your Care Park fine, or the appeal instructions on the Care Park Pty Ltd website. Instead, follow the instructions on this website.
This website explains your rights regarding "fines" you receive from Care Park and how to attempt to get the fines withdrawn. See the links at left to navigate this website. The FAQs pages, in particular FAQ's 1 to 5 fully explain the process to follow to hopefully avoid having to pay an illegal fine. As well as being amongst Australia's largest parking operators, Care Park also produces a large share of complaints regarding unfair fines.
Received court papers from Care Park? See my court facts page.
Care Park Pty Ltd have been known to demand statutory declarations to prove you were not the driver. Such demands are arguably unfair, unreasonable and/or misleading since in contract law it is encumbant on the person who claims money is owed to them to prove that the money is owed. It is not up to the alleged debtor to prove that they do not owe any money. And for anyone to say otherwise arguably breaches the ACCC Debt Collection Guidelines.
Care Park slugs unsuspecting local drivers: Lawyer Mr Tom Willcox said that the demand of $88 for failing to display a valid parking ticket was grossly disproportionate to any loss Care Park Pty Ltd might have suffered through his client not obtaining a ticket, especially as even now they only charge 80c an hour for parking in the area. See Consumer Action Law Centre media release Tuesday 16 December 2008
The Consumer Action Law Centre has written to Care Park seeking a review of their business practices. See our Legal Help page for more details.
In Victorian State Parliament on 9th June 2010, the member for Clayton asked the Attorney General to "initiate an investigation of the practices of Parke Lawyers. Parke Lawyers operates on behalf of Care Park, a company which has been the subject of previous complaints in the Parliament regarding its claims for liquidated damages in private car parks". The member for Clayton went on to say "the role of Parke Lawyers in these sharp practices seems, at best, highly questionable". The member for Clayton then urged the Attorney General to "investigate Parke Lawyers and to ensure that the vulnerable are not victims of legal firms who prey on the weak and ignorant". Read more ....
Take a look at this payment demand letter from Care Park. You will notice that it says the fine includes costs of "identifying and contacting you as the registered owner". Well, they can't make you pay their legal costs of going to court to get your name and address from the RMS or Vicroads. This is because legal costs in a court case are subject to an order from a court, and no court has ordered you to pay any costs with regards to identifying you. It also says "unless we hear from you within 10 days, we will assume that you were the driver of the vehicle at the above date and time". Well they have no legal right to assume anything. They are the ones who must prove you were the driver of the vehicle. It then says "if you were not the driver, you may complete a statutory declaration (Nomination of Driver') form". Well again, they cannot say this. You see, they have no legal right to ask you to prove you were not the driver, they have no legal right to demand a statutory declaration, and they are treading on shakey ground when they refer to a "Nomination of Driver" form because that term resembles the name of statutory documents state government use. Just google "nomination of driver" and you'll find first hit is likely to be state government department website explaining the process for statutory fines.
Now take a look at this payment demand letter from Care Park. It says "if you wish to avoid the cost of court proceedings, you must immediately pay the overdue amount". That statement from Care Park appears to me to be misleading and deceptive. There is another way to avoid the costs of court proceedings (should they ever occur) and that is to defend the proceedings. If you successfully defended any proceedings that were served on you, then you would not have to pay the cost of court proceedings, and Care Park would have to pay those costs themselves. And there are yet other ways to avoid the costs of proceedings, such as apply for the case to be moved the low cost juristiction of the NSW Consumer, Trader & Tenancy Tribunal, or the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal.
One car owner complained to the ACCC that they had been harassed by Care Park even after they had denied liability for the debt. The ACCC replied in a letter saying that the behaviour described could come under the misleading and deceptive conduct provision of Australian Consumer Law. The ACCC did not take action against Care Park (becasue the ACCC does not represent individuals but rather looks at the broader consumer landscape) but said they would log the complaint against Care Park in the ACCC national database which the ACCC uses to look for trends and to spot rogue traders. If you have received payment demands from Care Park after you have denied liablity, or have received a demand for a statutory declaration, then you are able to lodge a complaint with the ACCC and with your state consumer body such as Consumer Affairs or Fair Trading. If there are enough complaints, an investigation will be launched into Care Park's conduct by one of these bodies.
Note how in the following Care Park sign it says:
"Market days Wednesday-Thursday-Friday-Saturday FIRST TWO HOURS FREE No ticket required".
Then see how on the Care Park sign underneath that contains the terms and conditions it says
"You must obtain a valid ticket or pass and display it on the dashboard of the vehicle" and then subsequently "if you fail to comply with these terms and coditions you must pay liquidated damages of $88.00 to Care Park"
So, on market days which rule applies - do you have to obtain and display a ticket or not? Confused? No wonder Care Park rake so much money in.
The Department of Consumer Affairs in Victoria at one stage had a warning about Care Park on the Consumer Affairs "Scams and Alerts" page. The warning said:
Care Park recently took a driver to court. The driver was represented by lawyer Sean Hardy. Care Park lost the case and a cost order was made against Care Park.
Care Park is owned by Robert Belteky, former chief executive of the collapsed KC Parksafe. KC Parksafe was liquidated after KC Parksafe co-owner Benjamin Kamer was charged in 1998, but not convicted, of stealing $1 million from Melbourne City Council.
Care Park use Parke Lawyers and Crown Collections to try to enforce their penalties. You will notice that Care Park Pty Ltd, Crown Collections and Parke Lawyers Melbourne offices all share the same address in St Kilda Road Melbourne.
There is a Facebook group here: http://www.facebook.com/home.php#!/groups/298484506836030/ and here http://www.facebook.com/groups/people.versus.australian.national.car.parks/
Care Park, like Australian National Car Parks, takes the occassional person to court to satisfy the RTA. So far, I have only seen cases in NSW. I am starting to track the cases here:
29/05/2012 Stephen Names Case number 201200089298. Downing Centre. Discontinued.
18/10/2012 RMS Case number 201200285963 Downing Centre. Application for preliminary discovery.
04/04/2013 Guan Nan Xue Case number 201000377358. Downing Centre.
05/07/2013 Milestone Information Technology, case number D10866463, Melbourne Magistrates' Court.
01/08/2013 John William Whittam case number C3758/2013 v Care Park
05/09/2013 Nicholas Teplin case number D11540225 Melbourne Magistrates' Court, pre-hearing conference
09/09/2013 Michael O'Connell case nbr D11774049 Melbourne Magistrates' Court , Arbitration
30/09/2013 Danell Pty Ltd case nbr D11774231 Melbourne Magistrates' Court, pre-hearing conference
30/09/2013 Arman Surenian case nbr D11773883 Melbourne Magistrates' Court pre-hearing conference
02/10/2013 Chew Aka Sigobodhla, Brianna Case Number D11773588 Melbourne Magistrates' Court, pre-hearing conference
03/10/2013 Glencarn Real Estate Pty Ltd Case Number D11486196 Moorabbin Magistrates' Court, registrars hearing.
04/10/2013 Adam Snell, case number D11693624 Melbourne Magistrates' Court, interloc application
11/10/2013 Scott, Glen Case Number D12005286 Melbourne Magistrates' Court, pre-hearing conference
14/10/2013 Watson, Bridget Case Number D11896930 Melbourne Magistrates' Court, pre-hearing conference
16/10/2013 Ganter, Rudolph Case Number D12005446 Melbourne Magistrates' Court, pre-hearing conference
18/10/2013 Sharkas, Hala Case Number D12004227 Melbourne Magistrates' Court, pre-hearing conference
23/10/2013 Flanagan, Corey Case Number D12005606 Melbourne Magistrates' Court, pre-hearing conference
23/10/2013 Hogg, Alex Case Number D12005537 Melbourne Magistrates' Court, pre-hearing conference
24/10/2013 Case Number D12082239 Melbourne Magistrates' Court - Civil, Defence to claim
30/10/2013 Clark, Jacob Case Number D12113032 Melbourne Magistrates' Court, pre-hearing conference
12/11/2013 Cranswick, Leon Case Number D12112968 Melbourne Magistrates' Court, pre-hearing conference
18/11/2013 Witchen, Phillip Case Number D12271157 Melbourne Magistrates' Court, pre-hearing conference
25/11/2013 Paulo, Ngatokoatamarik Case Number D12005832 Melbourne Magistrates' Court, pre-hearing conference
29/11/2013 Garita, Michelle Case Number D12005355 Melbourne Magistrates' Court, pre-hearing conference
If you do not get your question answers on the above email or phone number, then call or email:
Customer and Public Relations Manager
0412 261 870