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PCN From Bath & Somerset Council Not Received - Bailiffs Involved

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Good afternoon!


On Tuesday & Wednesday this week (22-24 September) I was staying with a friend in Islington, London, and had parked my car in a visitor bay outside. Early on Wednesday afternoon I walked back to my car and found a red envelope tucked under the wiper, which contained a note that read roughly along the lines of: Your vehicle has an immobilisation device fitted due to non-payment of an outstanding balance. I had a look around the car, but found no such device and thought it must be a hoax - or perhaps a disgruntled resident messing with me - so after a tentative drive back & forth to confirm no problems, drove off.


I drove for a minute or two, then realised that the name sounded familiar - Equita. I've had a run-in with them before over an unpaid PCN in my late 20's, so realised it was best dealt with ASAP. I pulled over to call the number, and spoke to a pretty reasonable chap who told me that a clamp was fitted on Tuesday but removed Wednesday morning (as he thought it unfair to tow the vehicle without me being aware of the issue) and gave details of the outstanding balance: a PCN picked up in Bath in March 2015, of ~£110 value, that had been bought from Bath & N/E Somerset Council by Equita and now held a value of ~£450. I told the chap that I would investigate with BaSC, as I don't recall picking up a PCN - although I was there at the time, visiting my brother. However, I am sure the last time I visited he arranged a visitor parking permit for me online.


I'm not 100% on what my next steps are, so would appreciate some advice. From what I can gather, the first step is to submit a Statutory Declaration to TEC. I assume my grounds for appeal would either be that a visitor permit was paid for and I was in the correct bay, but for some reason received a PCN in error; or that a visitor permit was paid for but I had parked in the wrong bay so the PCN was valid, but for whatever reason was not received by me. I would like to know if the latter is a valid grounds for appeal. (I remember when I left my brother's house it was chucking it down with rain and had been all morning, so perhaps the PCN was soaked and came off)


In the circumstances where I was at fault, I would be OK (but certainly not happy!) paying the PCN value to BaSC, but would not be happy to pay a bailiff an extra charge of £350 or so. The bailiff assured me that - since the debt had been bought from them by Equita - BaSC would not be able to help me with the situation, and my only option now was full payment. (I was also told they have ANPR and will tow the car wherever it is discovered, so I have stored it in my workshop for the time being)


I'm in danger of rambling now, so I'll sum up:


PCN received in Bath on 11-03-15

Visitor permit paid for (although possible I parked in the wrong bay)

PCN not received by me and left unpaid

Equita bailiffs now looking to "recover" the car, and tell me that I have no options for settling the original PCN

How do I find out the PCN details and confirm whether or not a visitor permit was used in the correct location? (Equita assure me this is no longer possible)

What steps do I take after submitting a SD to TEC?

Do I have reasonable grounds for appeal if the contravention was valid but PCN not received?

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When a PCN advances to this stage, there are two separate issues to consider. One is the PCN itself, and the permit, and the appeal and so on - that's one issue, but not the one you need to deal with right now, so don't worry about that side of it.


What you have to deal with now is the other side of the issue - the bailiff warrant. This has nothing to do with the circumstances of the PCN, nor your grounds for appeal.


You are right that the correct process is the statutory declaration. However it has now been simplified to a Witness Statement, which is easier. You need to contact Northampton County Court (also known as TEC - Traffic Enforcement Centre) and get forms TE7 and TE9. I think you can get them online these days. Make sure you get both forms, as you need to file the Witness Statement out of time, so you must have both.


One is the Witness Statement, the other is to declare why it is out of time. That's because you had no prior correspondence on the matter, but the real question is why not? Have you moved? Were Bath writing to the correct place? Has your post been getting to you? You really need a good explanation as to why you didn't get those letters - and evidence of your address, dates etc, to include on the form. If you don't know, ring Bath and ask what address they were using.


Assuming you file those forms, the case will be put on hold until dealt with, so you don't need to hide your car while it's in progress.


Please check back here for advice on filling in the forms before they are sent off - it is very important what you say on them - and the PCN and permit issue is not relevant at all.


If the application succeeds, the bailiff warrant and all extra charges are revoked, and you're back with the PCN to pay or appeal - the permit issue comes into play at that stage, if you are to appeal the PCN itself.


Keep us posted.

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