12 April 2013

I will no longer go to Barnet

It is any wonder that the reputation of Barnet Council gets tarnished when following a mistake they stick their head in the sand and don't own up to error. Mr Mustard writes quite often to the parking section and whilst usually polite and businesslike to him (telling him he has gone off-piste prevented the usually being an always - Mr Mustard is still waiting to find in what way he went off-piste) Mr Mustard is of the view that when a traffic warden or back office at NSL have right royally messed up then they should send a proper written apology and a peace offering (the council make a surplus of £7,000,000 so can afford a few flowers or chocolates).

It was back in June that a lady visitor from Harrow came to North Finchley and paid to park her car all day in the Lodge Lane Car Park and when she came back to her car there was a parking ticket on it. She had used the pay-by-phone system before so that was rather odd. She was referred to Mr Mustard by a friend. Mr Mustard intervened and after he pointed out the payment, the fatal wording error in the parking ticket and the procedural impropriety of a letter written by NSL that was devoid of vital facts it was agreed that the parking ticket would be cancelled. That was in December 2012.

Mr Mustard was surprised in March to receive an email from the lady concerned saying that the parking ticket problem had come back to life, the sum owing had been increased by 50% and bailiffs would be instructed in 14 days. Unsurprisingly this caused the lady a certain amount of stress.

Mr Mustard wrote again to the parking section (he cuts out NSL when there are problems which he thinks the council should know about) and pointed out the obvious fact that 3 months before the parking ticket had been cancelled and there is no resiling from that position. Mr Mustard suggested that the parking ticket be properly cancelled in the computer system and that an apology and a bunch of flowers be sent to the lady. He now has the letter which was sent to her.

the blushes of the author have been spared
As apology letters go this one gets 0/10. 

There is no apology.

It is written as if the motorist was in the wrong and has been let off.

The letter does not set a precedent! Mr Mustard is sure it doesn't. He is certain that he will see other examples of blistering incompetence in the processing of parking tickets. 

No bunch of flowers was sent.

This is what the lady wrote to Mr Mustard this week.

"and the biggest shame is a small business in this community has now lost out as I will no longer go to Barnet because of what has happened. Thanks again for all your help"
Barnet Council need to find some manners. When you do wrong in the future you really must write a letter of apology that starts with "We are sorry..." because otherwise we will run out one day of people who want to visit Barnet.

You don't hesitate to demand £110 from any motorist who makes the slightest mistake so surely the least you can do when you make a mistake is to make recompense for the stress and inconvenience?

Remember also that Mr Mustard intervened and pointed out the multiple fatal weaknesses in the council's case so that you could throw in the towel early and not waste the £40 fee that would otherwise be payable to PATAS. That could have paid for some lovely flowers, the lady would have been happy and might then visit North Finchley again.

Mr Mustard does hope that he isn't asking for the earth.

Yours frugally

Mr Mustard

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