19 September 2013

Another happy "customer" (friend of a friend)

Penalty - then a Penalty Charge Notice - away fixture at Chiswick
Here is the story of a friend of a friend of Mr Mustard. It, or a similar story of everyday life, is doubtless repeated many times over across London every day.

My story – with a happy ending

One Sunday afternoon in early July I received a call from my 24 yr old son to ask me if I could pick him up from Chiswick as he’d injured himself playing football, couldn’t walk and didn’t think he could get home on public transport. I drove to Turnham Green Terrace, intending to park in the Pay & Display and help him back to the car. As there were no spaces and he was sitting on the bench by the bus stop – having been helped there by his friends – I stopped momentarily while my husband got out and helped my son to the car. I remained in the driver’s seat with the engine running. The entire procedure probably lasted less than a minute. A few days later I received a PCN. The controversial CCTV positioned under the railway bridge, allegedly to make the area safer for pedestrians at night, had snapped me during that short space of time. The photograph sent to prove I had been there showed me in the driving seat, and the other two people in the car could be made out if you looked carefully.

I contested the PCN, pointing out that I was collecting my injured son, had taken him directly to A & E and had stopped for less than a minute in the bus stop as there were no P & D spaces available.

My initial appeal was rejected and I was trying to decide if it was worth taking it to the next stage and risk losing again, when a friend told me about Mr Mustard. Mr M advised me that the wording in the small print of the PCN was inaccurate and strongly counselled me to appeal again. This I did, pointing out these facts, and submitting proof of my son’s registration at A & E at Charing Cross Hospital, barely 15 minutes after the alleged violation.

This was, however, again rejected and I filled out the PATAS appeal form provided to take my case in person to the independent adjudicator. (This cost Hounslow Council £40 and the motorist £nil)

I was given a date for this appeal.

10 days before the appeal date I received a letter from LBH parking management stating that after my submission of additional evidence concerning my son’s injury, they were not going to contest my appeal any more.

It’s because of incidents like this that more money was raised from Chiswick High Road in parking fines in the past year than any other street in the country ( link to story here ). 

My tale illustrates the bullying tactics of councils like Hounslow. They know that most people will drop their appeal after one rejection. So, all the more easy money in their coffers.

I would strongly urge everyone not to give up but follow through to the independent adjudicator. The PATAS form is very straightforward, and if you have a good reason for the alleged parking violation, just tell the truth about it and give your story. I wish I had done this last year when I had an appeal rejected the first time by Hammersmith & Fulham for parking in a Loading Bay for 4 minutes when I was dropping several hundreds of pounds worth of donations to our local British Heart Foundation shop at 10.30 am on a Sunday morning and I wouldn’t have ended up paying £55 for being a good citizen.

Thank you Mr Mustard for the support and encouragement to fight the bullies.

So it isn't only in Barnet that there is bluff and bullying. The council simply want your money and can hide behind faceless decision makers who show less compassion than a house brick.

You can win. Simply appeal three times.

Yours sincerely

Mr Mustard

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