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A few months ago now, I parked 2 streets from my home (as I was stopping in at a hairdressers to pick something up for my girlfriend on the way to the supermarket).

I spent no more than 5-10mins in there, yet lo and behold when I returned I had received a parking charge.

I parked in a clearly marked bay, and there were no parking meters, so of course I assumed it to be fine to park there.

However upon further inspection, the space I parked in was a designated Residents bay, and the only thing to indicate this was a sign a distance up the road (and the space was actually not on any actual residents street - it was outside 2 commercial properties at the end of 2 roads). There were also at least 20 available spaces for the duration of the time I spent there so I was not causing any sort of obstruction.

I came on here and took the advice to appeal to the council as I felt I had sufficient grounds to appeal, and didn't want to admit any liability as I felt it was an unjustified fine.

A number of weeks went by and I eventually received a second letter stating that the charge had been increased.

Obviously, given I had heard nothing back regarding my appeal, I was greatly annoyed, thinking that the fine should have been frozen until the appeal was heard (although on further reading I noticed this not to be necessarily the case).

I contacted the council again and made a further complaint.

Again, a number of weeks went by and I heard nothing.

Eventually, recently, I received a bailiff/debt collector letter with details of a number of additional charges taking the charge to a ridiculous amount and I STILL had not received a response regarding my appeal.

 

I obviously immediately contacted the council again and they said they had no record of my correspondence and that they would no longer deal with the parking charge.

They passed me onto the county court, who I contacted and was told that they also did not have a record of it at the time...after days and days of trying to track down who was responsible and being passed about around a number of different authorities, I eventually ended up back at the council and they sent me a letter refusing to deal with the matter and stipulating that they had received no grounds for appeal from me.

It is frankly quite ridiculous the amount of things I have had to do so far to try and resolve the issue, and I am so far, a LOT worse off.

 

Bailiffs turned up at my door this morning and left a letter saying they would be returning, and this obviously caused my girlfriend a lot of distress. This to me is unacceptable, given the amount of effort I have made in trying to resolve the issue, but no authority will take any responsibility for the appeal.

 

I am almost resigned to having to make the payment, but I am very angry that they have now increased the charge to almost £500, when the original parking fine was £40 (rising to £80 - which I noticed was also above the "reasonable charges" indicated here (I'm in Manchester)).

And given that I feel I have fair grounds for appeal I do not feel I should have to pay anything.

 

 

Can anyone offer me any advice or steps to take next?

I will have to make some sort of payment tonight to save bailiffs turning up at my home again by the looks of it....

 

 

 

***UPDATE***

 

I just spoke to the bailiff to try and save them from coming to my home again, and was told that I'd have to pay £500 up front, to pay off the amount in full, or they will clamp and tow my vehicle!!

I am so angry right now.

I have done everything right, and who has a spare £500 to pay out in any case?

They are being totally unreasonable, and basically over a £40 charge, they are going to take my car worth about £3500.

Once it's towed, they're going to add daily charges, so I'll never be able to afford to take it back.

Surely this has to be regulated?

Surely there is something that can be done to stop this?

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Hi iritchie....welcome to the CAG forums, i'll move this thread to the parking forums where you should get some more comment/advice with regard to your dispute....we do also have a bailiff forum here too - Bailiffs and Sheriff Officers - The Consumer Forums

PLEASE NOTE - I am not a legal expert, what is stated is my own opinion and from what I have learnt from this forum and my own experiences.

 

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Can't comment on the legal position of the bailiffs but I imagine someone will be along shortly who can.

 

I would suggest that:

 

1. You contact your local councillor(s) and demand their attention - this might buy you a little time and might also get the expense junkies thinking about how they run their show.

 

2. Submit a formal complaint in person to the Chief Executives Office and take away a signed, dated photocopy as your receipt. Your complaint should, numbered point by numbered point, re-state the original complaint; list all the key points of the subsequent incompetence; and finally incorporate the conduct of the bailiff - who is, after all, empowered by them. Emphasise your willingness to take further action against them as you may deem necessary.

 

3. LGO but only if the council rebuffs 2.

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Thanks guys! :)

 

I got back in touch with the court and they were a lot more helpful this time.

...Got through to the right guy this time I guess!

They're actually putting forward my appeal after I gave them all the info again, and putting any action on hold for a few days until the council get back to me and let me know if they accept it.

I'll have to make sure the bailiff doesn't turn up unannounced still (which I hear some can be liable to do even during an appeal) and park my car a few streets away until I get somewhere with this.

 

At least it buys me some time. Not sure if it puts the parking charge back to the original charge pending the outcome though?

It should, since I haven't had any sort of appeal listened to yet, but maybe someone could advise?

 

It is a joke that they can get away with doing this though.

Your average person can't afford to pay any additional expense up front without any notice, so to add on hundreds of pounds at a time, when you're willing to make a payment on an earlier agreed(or otherwise) penalty is ridiculous.

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There seems to be some crossed lines here. Courts don't put forward appeals for you, and if the case is at the bailiff stage, the Council won't consider one anyway.

 

This could be a difficult one for you to win.

 

You should ask Northampton County Court for forms to file an Out of Time Statutory Declaration as quickly as you can. This is the only way you can legally have the bailiffs called off.

 

Soon as you have the forms through, take them at your local county court, and sign them in front of the officer at the front desk who will stamp them for you. Make sure you have ticked the box which says you did not receive a notice of rejection to your Formal Representation (which is what you say happened - you appealed and had no reply). You'll also have to explain on the form why it is out of time. State that this is because you did not receive a Charge Certificate or Order for Recovery and were unaware that a warrant had been granted. Then post them at once to Northampton County Court.

 

This raises a formal contest to the bailiff warrant and if successful, they are instructed to desist and cancel any extra charges they have levied.

 

I've got to say though, the Council are not obliged to accept it, because it is out of time, and if they sent all the legal documents to the correct name and address, it's not certain you will succeeed. However there's no other way of challenging this.

 

If they do accept it, you're back where you started and can appeal the PCN again.

 

If I were you, I'd get on the case right now.

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Yeah, it was the out of time form and a witness statement (which I thought amounted to an appeal anyway?).

I have submitted these already (today when I spoke to the court and got the correct forms), but I contacted them again and they had not been processed yet as of now, so the bailiffs probably won't be called off yet...

:(

 

Will have to try and hide my car until I have confirmation...

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So you've filed it already? That's good.

 

It's basically a legal challenge to the progression of the ticket, and against the bailiff warrant. It isn't an appeal against the PCN - you can't appeal that at the moment as it's too late.

 

Should your stat dec be accepted, they will send you a new Notice to Owner and then you can appeal the charge itself.

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Thanks Jamberson (and others!).

I thought I was done for there earlier, but at least I'm finally starting to get somewhere.

Quite sad it got to this stage in the first place when it could have easily been resolved earlier, but in speaking to the bailiff earlier he actually said "I am the only one who can deal with this matter and your ONLY options are to either pay the full charge up front or have your car clamped and towed away."

Not only is this completely immoral and incorrect information from an official, it is wrong on so many levels.

If I hadn't managed to find this site and read through a few stories, I might have been stuck with having to pay £500 or would likely have lost my car, for the sake of a £40 fine I shouldn't have had to pay in the first place (imo) and some inept councillors who couldn't file any correspondence....raging! :(

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Also, the bailiff said he could come and clamp my car tomorrow morning.

Is this right?

He told me this today, so with less than a days notice, he could come and take my car?

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You'd best confirm the state of play with the local authority. Give them a bell.

 

What should happen is this:

 

- Northampton County Court receive your completed Out of Time Stat Dec...

- they notify the Council that they have it, and instruct the council to put the warrant on hold...

- the Council notify the bailiff to hold fire, and the Council deals with the papers and decides what to do. (I think they have 21 days to make a decision.)

 

So you need to find out where you're at. Ask the council - have Northampton notified them about the stat dec? If not, tell them you've filed it today and ask the council if they will please put a hold on the warrant for a few days from now, by which time they should have got the official notification. (They don't have to do this, but they might agree to.)

 

If they have been notified, then ask them to confirm the warrant is definitely on hold. If so, the bailiff is making empty threats - but to be fair, the bailiff who spoke to you might not have been aware at that moment that a hold had been placed on the account.

 

Once the Local Authority have put the warrant on hold, then the bailiff will do nothing until the case has been looked at and a decision made.

 

It's now gone 5. If you can't get confirmation today that the warrant is on hold, then you can't assume the bailiff has been told to stop actioning the warrant. Until the Council tells them to suspend it, they can carry on and could still clamp you.

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You also need to be aware that some Councils use the bailiff company to respond to stat.dec. - so they tend to refuse then automatically - which means that you would need to have (and pay for) a hearing

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  • 2 months later...

Hey all,

 

 

Jusy a quick update.

I appealed the decision via the court.

They rejected the appeal, but outside of the 19 day timeframe I was told it should be done in.

In addition to this, they sent me a letter postmarked for 6 days after the decision was made, telling me I had 7 days to appeal the decision.

It arrived 9 days after the decision, meaning I had absolutely no chance to appeal the decision using official channels within the timeframe.

 

I wrote to the court customer services to make an official complaint, and having had to keep pressing them for some action, the dreaded bailiffs letter arrived again today.

 

I am getting realy angry about how poor they have been from start to finish.

They sent me a letter with 3 lines telling me my appeal was rejected and with no further information on where to take it next.

 

 

I'm at the end of my tether with this.

The letters are again telling me I owe almost £700, and I don't know what to do next. Please help!

 

It looks like I'm going to have to park in another area again until if and when the bailiffs are called back.

 

I cant afford to pay £700, but the bailiffs keep adding on and adding on hundreds of pounds of charges, so its getting beyond ridiculous.

 

Thanks for any help!!!

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To be honest, you're pretty much out of options. I would try calling Northampton and asking their advice in view of the late letter to you.

 

It's your very last chance to try and reverse the process and I think you'll have to brace yourself for the fact that you are likely going to be forced to pay up. Not good, but there's nothing more you can do if you can't appeal the court's decision.

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The stat declaration was refused :(

 

I thought that by getting to the point of the stat dec being considered, that the crazy charges by the bailiff may have been reset, but obviously not.

 

I don't understand how the bailiff was able to add charges in the first place, when i returned all of the correct documents.

They are basically saying that they do not have a record of me returning the form, so for someone else's incompetence, this is how it's gone so far!

 

I was told in the prior letter that I had a right to appeal the decision, but given the letter arrived outside of the 7 day window I was given, I wasnt able to take advantage of it, and am still trying to deal with the court about it, although it doesnt help matters in the meantime.

 

 

I was not made aware in any subsequent correspondence that I should now be able to appeal to the Traffic Penalty Tribunal or the Parking/Traffic Appeals Service, which I believe I should not only be able to do, but also should have been made aware of surely?

 

 

Sorry thought I should add:

 

The letter I received said:

 

IT IS ORDERED THAT

1. Under rule 23.8 of the Civil Procedure Rules the court will deal with the application for leave to file a statutory delcaration out of time/witness statement without a hearing because the court does not consider a hearing in Northampton would be appropriate.

 

2. The application for leave to file a statutory declaration/witness statement out of time to be refused.

 

NOTE: A party affected by this Order may under rule 75.5 (2) request a review of this decision by a district judge. Such a party must apply under rule 23.3 within 7 days from the date the order is drawn.

 

That was it, (assuming this is not the tribunal?) no contact details for anyone, no details of where to go next to make the appeal.

I have tried to contact the court about 15 times and have been left on hold for 30mins + most times without managing to speak to anyone.

I also complained to the court services customer services about it....

 

 

So can I still appeal to the tribunal?

Edited by iritchie
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Ok it's not over yet. First thing to do is to file an N244 which will get you in front of a Judge. There is a £75 fee, but if you ask the Judge at the hearing for your £75 back there shouldn't be a problem. You will have to attend the hearing at your local County Court where you may explain how the process has prejudiced you, and hopefully it will go back to the PCN stage. Inform TEC, the Council and bailiffs that you have submitted an N244. In the meantime keep your car hidden and do not answer the door to the bailiffs.

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I just spoke to the bailiff.

He said that they would not stop enforcement action, at N244 stage, as that would just be an aside.

He also said that they would not accept a payment arrangement (is this correct? Are they allowed to refuse the right to pay without it being the full amount?)

He did mention that they would maybe be able to remove some of the charges.

Is it worth paying if it is reduced enough?

Or is it like admitting liability, when all along I strongly feel the council has been at fault in a number of ways?

 

I just went and took photos of the road where I was parked, and the sign (which you can barely make out because it is so obscured by trees) and funnilly enough when I went there, there was another car parked there without a permit...

 

Obscured Sign picture by bawjaws2000 - Photobucket

 

Surely that makes an appeal worthwhile?

 

 

I don't want to have to hide my car every time I go to my home (although I am moving in a couple of weeks - I guess I'll have to inform them of a change of address rather than try to dodge it).

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So basically what the bailiff said is not true again?

If the N244 is processed, the warrant will definitely be put on hold until the case is heard?

He told me specifically that they would continue to pursue me even if I did go down that route?

 

Also I wanted to question the charges I have had so far.

Once the court warrant was originally issued, the total sum of charges was for £110 (including an initial letter from the bailiff).

Since then, they have sent 3 letters and apparently made 2 visits, and the cost is now £695.

 

I had a quick look at the fees they're allowed to charge and the sums just don't add up.

 

To be honest, I'm, almost resigned to giving up.

I have chased this all the way and they have made it more than difficult all the way, but it is having a very bad effect on my relationship with my girlfriend now.

If it was just me I would fight it all the way, but she's stressing out and it's making a lot of friction between us and I just want it out of the way.

I am not convinced that the bailiff will reduce the charges enough to allow me to pay it anyway, but I am totally sick with this whole situation.

 

It is a complete joke... :(

Edited by iritchie
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If an N244 is in process they should hold fire between confirmation that it has been applied for and the outcome and any direction issued as a result. Meantime they can continue - they can write to you today and charge you for the privilege.

 

You are entitled to a breakdown of their charges - ask them for one. This will itemise how they reached that figure and you can check it for validity.

 

I am concerned that you are out of time for an N244. That's why I suggested calling the court and enquiring with them. If you are, you have no further avenue open, I'm sorry to say.

 

If you are out of time, and the bailiff is willing to negotiate on the amount being demanded, it might be better to knock him down as much as poss and make a payment arrangement.

 

I know it sucks, but it's very hard to beat this system once it's gone so far.

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I just spoke to the court and I am still able to file an N244.

The bailiff said he would knock it down to £555.48, but I simply don't have that sort of money sitting aside, especially for something I totally disagree with.

Is it worthwhile?

What are the chances of winning just the right to have my appeal heard?

Do the charges get reset if I do get the right to put forward any evidence, because even paying £75 for the court costs and then paying the full charge is going to be better than where I'm at right now.

 

I also noticed that there was a provision that a vehicle cannot be removed if it is necessary for your employment. Is this only for self-employment?

My workplace is a number of miles away from my home, and I also have to visit a number of sites as part of my job, and there is no public transport available to my work as it is in the middle of an industrial park.

Can I do anything to prevent them from removing my car on these grounds or is is purely for self employed people?

 

 

I don't want to continue to fight it, if it means that I'm going to end up with a bill in excess of £1000, because it is beyond a joke and beyone reasonable the amount it has already gone up to.

 

This whole thing has left me very angry tbh.

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OK, so you are not out of time for an N244? That's good news.

 

I think it's worth a go. I don't know what your grounds were for filing the stat dec out of time, but I presume it's because you corresponded and had no reply. Even better if you kept copies of the letters you sent to the Council, or proof of postage, but even so, I think it's worth a go.

 

You'll get a hearing before a local court officer who will decide whether it's reasonable that you have a stat dec considered out of time.

 

Make sure you emphasise that you replied to all their correspondence, but don't say anything untrue on your N244. This is a court situation and it will all go on record.

 

Ask for costs too, to get your £75 back.

 

If you win, then you stand to have all bailiff fees wiped. You're still liable for the PCN but you will be issued documents to challenge it again.

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