Marc Gander - The Consumer Survival Handbook

A 220 page introduction to all things consumer related by our own BankFodder.

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Patricia Pearl - Small Claims Procedure - A Practical Guide

An excellent guide for the layperson in how to use the County Court - a must if you are intending to start a claim.

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  1. #1

    Default My Father's £500 Congestion Charge

    A quick run down on my scenario: I've just found out that my 70 year old father has bailiffs hounding him for a supposed unpaid Congestion Charge in London. I'm horrified that an £8 charge is now being called in by a company called Equita at over £500 just a few months later after the alleged offence!

    What I'd like to do is get this resolved as quickly and as fairly as possible. Having read through these forums tonight (very helpful BTW) to get some grasp of what's ahead, I'm thinking I should file a 'Statutory Declaration Out Of Time' to get back to basics on this mess and establish with TfL exactly what the CC fine is for (my father only has Equita correspondence - nothing from TfL) and in all probability pay that, but hopefully none of the £500 fees claimed by Equita for harrassing my father over an £8 charge!

    My first question is this - are there deadlines for filing a Statutory Declaration Out Of Time? Unfortunately my father has been sitting on this Equita correspondence for a couple of months. First because he "thought it was nonsense / junk mail". Then more recently he secretly got stressed out about it all after he realised there was possibly a valid claim and seeing the amount claimed spiral up into hundreds of pounds.

    My second question is - can I be the one sorting out this problem for my father? At 70 years old he's simply not up for the battle / stress or various processes involved. Can I easily do this 'as myself', acting on behalf of my father in correspondence / representations etc? Or is it easier / better to simply 'pretend to be him' when writing / phoning the relevant people in the days ahead?

    'Pensioner Hit With £500 Congestion Charge Fine' is the kind of headline you might to see in the newspapers. I'm just hoping I can get Equita to release the hounds as harassing a 70 year old man for £500 over a supposed £8 CC is way out of line.

    Any guidance on the above would be greatly appreciated. It could "make an old man very happy" as they say!

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  2. #2

    Default Re: My Father's £500 Congestion Charge

    Your first step would be to contact Equita and explain the situation with them. The debt has probably been signed over to them to recover on behalf of TFL so they would be the best people to speak to.

    You need to also find out what the £500 is broken down to, as I cannot fathom a reason why after a few months it has gone up so high.

    Legally, if your father drove within the CC zone and did not pay, he has a duty to pay the fee, and if not paid within that time, a penalty. However, your first course of action would be to speak to the agents authorised to recover the fine and explain everything to them - there is every chance they will be sympathetic and assist you fully!

    Lived through bankruptcy to tell the tale! Worked in various industries and studied law at university. All advice is given in good faith only

  3. #3

    Default Re: My Father's £500 Congestion Charge

    If your father did not receive the original parking chargeicon notice (which is very possible) then he has grounds to file an Out of Time.

    There is no time scale but the only concern is that as soon as this is diled and served then all enforcment action MUST by law CEASE until the matter has been determind by the TEC.

    You have one problem. The person named on the Warrant of Execution ( this is given to Equita) must swear the Out of Time. Your father will need to do this. It is very simple indeed to do and you will need to take him to either the local county courticon or any firm to solicitors to have his signature witnessed on the PE2 & PE3.

    Equita have no duty to cancel this PCN. Their job is to merely to enforce.

    If you need any further advise, please feel free to ask. Our office deals with these applications all day.

  4. #4

    Default Re: My Father's £500 Congestion Charge

    Many thanks for the advice on this. I'll take my father to a solicitors before work on Tuesday this week to get the PE2 & PE3 forms witnessed.

    Fingers crossed for a sensible reply from TEC on this. I'll let you know how we get on!

  5. #5

    Thumbs up Re: My Father's £500 Congestion Charge

    Quote Originally Posted by tornado alley View Post
    Many thanks for the advice on this. I'll take my father to a solicitors before work on Tuesday this week to get the PE2 & PE3 forms witnessed.

    Fingers crossed for a sensible reply from TEC on this. I'll let you know how we get on!
    Take him to the county courticon they do not charge for this but a solicitor will.

  6. #6

    Default Re: My Father's £500 Congestion Charge

    Thanks for the guidance on my original post. I helped my father to send off a Statutory Declaration, and yesterday (some 9 weeks later) he got a reply from the Traffic Enforcement Centre 'county courticon bulk centreicon'.

    The reply states "… the Court Officer's decision to refuse your application to file your Statutory Declaration out of time." It continues "… the Court Officer is not required to give an explanation for refusal" and concludes by offering the right to appeal through a form N244icon for review before a District Judge in the County Court.

    Back in May I viewed the claims of £500 'fees' for an alleged £8 Congestion Charge offence for my 70 year old father as both unjust and insane, but little more than an administrative inconvenience that would get rectified in due course.

    However now, having taken the time to fill out forms to make it clear that the claim for 'fees' had no grounds (as no Congestion Charge Notice had been issued / received), this reply from an official body leaves me fuming! It smacks of unaccountability, injustice, bully-boy money grabbing tactics and is going to waste valuable court time for a case that can easily be resolved by the simple forwarding of documentation / evidence (surely a right in any democracy without having to go to court?)

    Much as I'd like to not put my father into a court situation, the stance of the Traffic Enforcement Centre in their letter leaves us little option, so I fully intend to fight this case for my father every step of way.

    Does anybody have any advice to give here, both on this individual case, and just as importantly, on the bigger issue of raising some kind of public / Government awareness about what I believe to be a shocking waste of court resources and public money? Our country can't seem to be bothered to bring knife crime offenders before the courts, yet Transport for London are dragging pensioners in to court to beg for delivery of basic documentation and a removal of fanciful, yet potentially financially crippling claims from over zealous debt collectorsicon… what is going on out there?!

  7. #7

    Default Re: My Father's £500 Congestion Charge

    I am concerned at the delay with the TEC. The local authority have 19 working days to either accept or reject your application. I would suggest that you contact the TEC to find out the date that you application was filed and the date they received their response from TfL.

    Our office have dealt with many applications for Out of Times and it is the case that you will not be told the reason for the rejection. It would appear from your reply that you did qualify for one of the three grounds on which to apply for the Out of Time.

    You will now need to file the N244icon and state that you wish to "set aside the Court Officer's decision at the Traffic Enforcment Centre". You will need to provide further details on why you beleive that you have grounds.

    For instance:

    Did your father receive the original PCN from TfL?
    Did he receive the Notice to Owner? This part is VITAL as without the NtO he would not be able to make representation.

    You can always send the N244icon in to the TEC and file further evidence shortly. We have done this many times.

    I would strongly advise that you request copies of the statutory notices from TfL as our office have seen many of these notices recently that are still incorrectly worded and therefore non complianant.

    The problem that you have now is that once the rejection has been sent, the bailiff co are of the opinion that they can now enforce once again. You need therefore to file the N244 IMMEDIATELY.

    A letter needs to be sent to Equita to request a breakdown of the fees and inform them of your fathers circumstances. Also, do not forget to mention the N244.

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