Should I Pay Milton Graham (Formerly Dun & Bradstreet) for a Parking Ticket

My friend received a parking fine using my car a year ago, the company was Traffic Monitoring Services. Friend said they would pay, I said don't worry about it because it wasn't from a council and they told m e that the inspector saw my friend coming to the car and still issued the fine - I got annoyed at the parking inspector for that

I received a payment reminder a few month later, I ignored it.

I have now received a letter from Milton Graham (formerly trading as Dun and Bradstreet) advising me to pay the fine which has now jumped to $99.
They have stated "payment of this account must be made in full to avoid further recover action". It's $99, I'm sure taking me to court will cost them alot more.

Should I pay? Will this go against my perfect credit rating? I'll pay if I have to but I'm not paying if I can get away with it because if I was there I would have spoken to the parking inspector but my friend was too shy to say anything.

Related Stores

miltongraham.com.au
miltongraham.com.au

Comments

  • +5 votes

    what a d*ck move by your friend. he should have paid it.

  • +4 votes

    Tried to seem like a "big dick" to your friend and you're now paying for it with worry. Should have asked your friend to pay it and moved on. Now, you pay the fine and move on.

  • +1 vote

    It's not really about my friend, that was just the backstory. The question is should I pay Milton Graham for a private company that have no right to issue fines?

  •  

    I would not risk credit rating over something this minor. When your going for a loan the bank won't care that your friend was walking back or that your friend was shy.

    • +5 votes

      A default cannot be lodged for amounts less than $150. He isn’t risking his credit rating by not paying.

  • +1 vote

    If the fine was "issued" by a private company then they are entitled to only recover liquidated damages - nowhere near the amount you are being chased for.
    Ring up consumer affairs in your state

  • +2 votes

    How did they get your address? Are you sure it was a private company and not the council - if you made no contact with them they shouldn't be able to find out your name and address if they're a private company.

    •  

      The amount of information that debt collection companies have access to is staggering.

    •  

      It wouldn’t be council, they have the ability to have the state act as their debt collectors (OSR, SPER, or whatever it is in your state) - they wouldn’t contract Dunn and Bradstreet or Milton Graham or Illion or whatever they’re calling themselves today.

  • -1 vote

    Offer then $10. They probably bought the debt for cents on the dollar.

  •  

    It will cost them nothing to chase it, whatever it costs will be added to YOUR debt

    •  

      Not if the debt was invalid in the first place.

      •  

        The debt may already be a court judgement, I doubt it as otherwise it would be the Sheriff/bailiff knocking on the door. Many lawyers do debt recovery for councils & state government authorities

    •  

      Costs can only be added where the contract sets out such in advance. Secure Parking’s carpark “contracts” include no such language. So no, they cannot add costs.

  • +8 votes

    Any liability to pay and damages for parking in breach of the car park's conditions is that of your friends only.

    That you own the vehicle in question is irrelevant.

    They can only pursue the exact person who entered into a contract with them by parking in the car park and then breached that contract. And then, all they can seek are their damages - which they would need to prove (and would be nowhere near $90).

    All you need to do is send a short reply advising that you were not the driver of the vehicle at the relevant time. You do not need to advise them who was driving at the time - that is for them to figure out.

    Almost no chance they will pursue anything.

    • +1 vote

      If op responds to debt collector, wouldn't that reset the debt clock?

      • +3 votes

        There is no debt until the matter is taken to Court and the Court determines that a sum is owed.

        At the moment the situation is no different to if I asserted that you owed me $90 because I did not like your comment and then passed the matter to a debt collector. I don't think you'd be too worried.

  • +5 votes

    Hi OP, I have dealt with debt collection companies in my past role in consumer protection.

    I can provide the following advice:

    1) They cannot list a credit default on your file for less than $150

    2) If you like, take them to small claims court to get the debt declared invalid.

    Just because a debt collection company has sent you a demand for payment does not automatically mean that the debt is valid.

    • +2 votes

      Oh and I cannot emphasise this enough but DO NOT ACKNOWLEDGE LIABILITY FOR THE DEBT. Also record the calls for your own records. You just have to notify them that you are doing it, like they inform you that they are recording the calls.

      •  

        Thank you, thats the answer I was seeking: They cannot list a credit default on your file for less than $150

      • +1 vote

        I can confirm/agree with nedski, refute liability and refuse to pay.
        They will keep harrassing you for a while but will go away eventually, after a year or two.

        We went through something similar with Optus selling a refuted phone call debt, <$100 (fraudulent third party header enrichment charges on phone bills). Optus and their debt collectors kept calling and e-mailing, we kept refusing the illegal charges.
        Kept pursuing even after the ACCC fined them for the bad billing behaviour.

        They gave up pursuit after two years.

  • +1 vote

    you sure it was not a council, is this an invoice or an infringement notice?

  • +1 vote

    They will not take you to court for $99. You were not the driver so the fine is not your responsibly.

  • +11 votes

    This is a letter I have seen passed around in the past for parking invoices sent to people from private parties. Seems pretty good to me, but IANAL

    I am the registered operator of motor vehicle ABC123 and have received your letter dated dd/mm/yyyy for payment of car parking penalty number xxxxxx that you allege I incurred on dd/mm/yyyy.

    Your demand appears to have been sent to me in error because I am not liable for this debt. I am unable to offer you any further assistance so please do not send me any further demands for payment.
    I dispute incurring the alleged debt and I dispute entering into any contract with you. I deny all liability on this matter and I will defend any proceedings brought against me. You must cease all efforts to collect this alleged debt whilst it remains in dispute, in compliance with National, ACCC and state laws and guidelines (refer ACCC Debt Collection Guidelines). You must also advise any debt collectors, lawyers or other third parties you have collecting this debt to stop sending me demands.
    In dispute is the following:
    a) The identity of any person who entered any alleged contract with you; and
    b) The existence of any contract; and
    c) Whether the amount you are claiming for alleged breach of any alleged contract is a reasonable pre-estimate of the costs allegedly incurred by you.

    To assist in resolving this dispute, please send me within 7 days:

    1. Confirmation of whether, following receipt of this letter, you still hold me responsible for the alleged debt.
    2. If you dismiss my appeal and still hold me responsible for the alleged debt, I require you to properly articulate the facts and matters on which your claim is based. In addition, please forward me the following particulars:
      a) A copy of the contract you allege was entered into.
      b) Photographs of any signs that need to be read in conjunction with the alleged contract.
      c) Details of the actual offence you are claiming. e.g. failure to buy ticket, expired ticket, parking in no-standing etc. As well as the usual particulars of date, time, precise location within the car park and other facts and matters giving rise to the alleged breach of agreement.
      d) An itemised breakdown of the debt you are claiming and details on how it was calculated. Show separately legal costs, court costs, administration costs, costs associated with identifying me as the car owner, patrolling costs and a breakdown of any other costs not already mentioned.
      e) Pursuant to the Privacy Act, a copy of all photos and other data hold on me or my car. Indicate the date each photo was taken. And forward me any other data that you hold on me that the Privacy Act requires you to disclose.
      f) The basis on which you allege that I was a party to the agreement alleged to exist;
      g) Documentary proof that the alleged debt was incurred by me.
      h) An Indication of the amount of money you would normally receive for a car to park in your car park for the period of time I am alleged to have parked there for.
      i) A copy of your appeal handing procedure, including information on how you adjudicate on appeals.
      j) The name of the person you allege was driving my car at the time you allege my car was parked in your car park.
      Yours sincerely,
      <your name>
    •  

      I wouldn't be admitting I was the registered operator of the vehicle at all - they have evidence your car was there, so you admitting it is your car might give them a prima facie case that you are liable. Some states won't even give these companies the owner's details unless they go to court, so make them do this. The less you give them, the more work they have to do to prove/enforce, so the less likely they are to pursue it.

      If you really need to respond (which you don't, but some people will) just say you received their letter of XX date, and you deny the existence of any contract between yourself and them. There can be no damages (which is what this 'fine' is) without a contract, so you don't need to go through everything else. Your car can't enter a contract. I doubt this is going to scare them off though, which is why it is pointless to even respond.

      • +1 vote

        I agree that no response is fine, but if the letter is addressed to OP by name, rather than To the owner then they already know he is the registered owner. I only assume this because I am not sure how else they have managed to contact OP.

        •  

          I agree in the OP's case - have to assume they have his/her details given the letter has been sent to him/her.

          However if the letter is being used generally I wouldn't be admitting on the chance they don't have that information, and it doesn't really add anything anyway.

  •  

    Only government departments can fine people in Australia private companies can only recover cost/losses

  •  

    Does it mean private company like Wilson, issue a fine, and you can get away ?

    •  

      I have gotten away with Wilson before but my concern now is because this company went to a debt collector, Wilson did not.

      • +1 vote

        TMS is a wholly owned subsidiary of Secure Parking, that’s why. It costs them exactly nothing to refer it to debt collection because the debt collector is themselves.

  • +1 vote

    I would ignore it…..it's all scare tactics which works for the majority of people and they pay up.

    My vehicle received a parking fine in a Wilson car park. I received 5 letters all up over a period of 2 years demanding payment.

    3 were from Parking Enforcement Services which is a division of Wilson Parking and 2 were from Mettam Legal advising I must pay within 7 days "or they will commence proceedings to recover the debt from me without further notice" and the next letter advised " I have 7 days to pay $80 or they will commence proceedings to recover the debt from me without further notice."

    It's not worth their time and effort to pursue further given the small amount in question and the fact they can't prove the registered owner of the vehicle was the person who failed to purchase the parking ticket.

    Have a read of the pages below to decide if you want to ignore or not:

    https://sites.google.com/site/unfairfines/home
    https://forums.whirlpool.net.au/thread/3k525553

    Edit
    Forgot to add the only real implication for not paying a parking fine or 'letter of demand' is the fact your car rego is now red flagged on their system, so should you choose to use one of their car parks again make sure you purchase a ticket, otherwise they'll put a wheel clamp on it straight away.

    Also here in WA at least paying a small fee to change your rego plates will avoid this problem as Wilson parking received the particulars of everyone due to a stuff up where a staffer at the licensing department released this info in error some years ago.

  • +1 vote

    I got one of these a few years back as well. Same company. Don't bother responding and they'll eventually give up trying to scam you.

  • +1 vote

    you're right, it's a private company with no right to issue fines

    worst case scenario they take you to small claims court - no legal fees are awarded in small claims court, so you should just wait until you get a summons.

    i currently owe telstra some money and I'm not paying. Why? No reason, I should pay but I don't want to. It's also a bit of a learning experience, I was owed money in the past and debt collection is a pain in the ass, I want to see it from the other side and hopefully learn a thing or two for next time I'm the creditor again

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