Difficulty Rating: Medium
First impressions: Panic
When we are contacted by drivers, the first reaction to getting a Claim Form from the Small Claims Court is "WTF" followed by "OMG" and then "we're doomed, how will we pay". This is exactly the response the parking companies want.
In addition, parking companies send a lot of these out over holiday periods such Easter, Xmas or Bank Holidays in an attempt to catch out people who may be away and fail to reply to the
Keep Calm and read the document
We cannot stress enough that the best thing you can do is to sit down and read the document. Take a couple of notes and then put it away as you will not be needing it for a short while. Your next stage is to go online and Acknowledge Service. Acknowledging is simply to confirm to the court's online system that the claim is now in your hand and you intend to do something with it within the 14 day period you are allowed.
Get online within 14 days
Almost all of the claim forms we have seen come from MoneyClaimOnline - HM Courts and Tribunals Service online claims handling system which is based at Northampton.
There is an expectation by the Courts that people will use the MoneyClaimOnline system so we'd strongly recommend you get an account set up there so you can deal with the claim simply and quickly. This will give you a 12-digit user ID, create your own password. Keep a note of both.
Should you wait?
Unlike the ParkingEye claim above, some claims have the comment "Particulars to follow" I will provide particulars within 14 days. If you have one of these claims, then wait until these particulars arrive. If they do not then contact the parking company to find out where they are. If again nothing after a few days, write to the court to advise that you did not receive the particulars and wish the court to stay or strike out the claim.
Next Stage: Part 2: Returning the form / Online Acknowledgement.