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I received a PCN from Lambeth Council on 25th Sept 2013, "32D Failing to drive in the direction shown by the arrow on a blue sign ...", (I turned right where I shouldn't have through a set of lights).

They rejected my initial appeal and I eventually made a payment of £65, unfortunetly it was a couple of days late. I have now received a charge notice for a further £130 ( to make up the increased fine value of £195), and the normal threats of County Court action etc for none payment. Am I correct in my belief that having now taken/accepted the payment of £65 they have in effect "legally accepted" this as a full and final payment; i.e. if they weren't happy with the £65 then that should have been returned with a request for the additional payment?

What justification is there for a fine to be set at £195?

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By the time you paid the discounted amount of £65, the penalty had increased to the full amount of £130, so you still owed £65.

Since there was payment outstanding after 28 days, the council is entitled to send a Charge Certificate which increases the full penalty by 50% to £195. You had paid £65 so there is still £130 owing. If this isn't paid in time, the next thing will be baliffs clamping your car.

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Thanks for taking the time to reply. I understand the late payment and the maths behind their calculation. My question is with regard to the legalities of them once having accepted my payment of £65. If the sum of money was incorrect then surely they are obliged to reject the payment and request payment in full. Isn't the fact that they banked the cheque their acceptance that payment has been made?

Is the increased payment they request challengeable as an "unreasonable" amount given that it was a couple of days late? I don't know what opportunity of defence I would have if they they did take it to County Court as I guess they would just present it as an unpaid debt. But would the Court then just offer a Collection notice via Bailiffs? I'm self employed and When I have had to raise a County Court order to recover a debt in the past a letter was just sent out by the Court. It just seems as always the Council tries intimidation.

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Am I correct in my belief that having now taken/accepted the payment of £65 they have in effect "legally accepted" this as a full and final payment; i.e. if they weren't happy with the £65 then that should have been returned with a request for the additional payment?

What justification is there for a fine to be set at £195?

 

No, that's not correct. They will accept virtually any payment given to them and use it as part of the debt. There's no implication that they are writing off the rest as a result.

 

The justification is the original legislation governing the enforcement process. Can't give you the title of the document, but that's how it works.

 

The best you can do is write them a polite letter explaining why the payment was late and asking if they will reinstate the original fee. They may or may not agree.

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Many thanks for the advice, I'll try the letter as you suggest. I've been fairly successful in appealing parking PCN's in the past but I think I have to "bite the bullet" with this one. I just love having to drive in London! Thanks again for the help.

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My question is with regard to the legalities of them once having accepted my payment of £65. If the sum of money was incorrect then surely they are obliged to reject the payment and request payment in full. Isn't the fact that they banked the cheque their acceptance that payment has been made?

 

No. Councils will accept any amount of money that you send them, but that doesn't mean the penalty is paid. The enforcement process continues, just that they reduce the amount owing by the amount paid to date

 

Is the increased payment they request challengeable as an "unreasonable" amount given that it was a couple of days late?

No, the timescales are set out on the PCN. .

 

I don't know what opportunity of defence I would have if they they did take it to County Court

 

There is no court involved, parking penalties are a civil offence. The next thing you receive will be an Order for Recovery and then bailiffs will call ( after clamping your car first) with their fees added to the £130

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