24 July 2015

Charge Certificates

Mr Mustard has noticed the unexpected arrival of a couple of Charge Certificates and although he thinks he might have written about them before they are worthy of a thorough blogging. They aren't yet an epidemic, unless you tell him otherwise, but he suspects that there is either a procedural error or human error creeping into the processing of PCN because on two occasions the formal representations have not been responded to. 

The processing of a single PCN could be in the hands of as many staff as exist within the NSL office. This is probably viewed as the most cost effective method but it also leads to loss of consistency. If appeals were dealt with accordingly to postcode or alphabetically by Surname then the appeal clerks (they are called Notice Processing Officers) would get to know the individual PCN and might remember some idiosyncrasy about an appeal which might prevent error. they would also get to see the pattern of someone's appeals and be better able to tell if they were genuine or a chancer and decide accordingly (although Mr Mustard rather suspects that the default setting is to reject an informal appeal regardless of merit).

On Friday he was sent a Charge Certificate for a PCN issued on 30 November 12. That PCN had the old invalid wording.

Informal representations were made online on 4 December 12.
They were rejected on 18 December 12 (Happy Christmas!)
The Notice to Owner (NtO) was then issued on 9 January 13.
Formal representations were made online on 5 February 13.
All went quiet.
Formal representations have to be responded to by the council within 56 days of their receipt. This was not done.
On 7 June Mr Mustard emailed the motorist as follows:

That is good. The council get 56 days in which to respond to a challenge made in response to the NtO. Be warned that the council might still wake the ticket up later! If they do I will help you. (How prescient of Mr Mustard.)
Today Mr Mustard emailed parking client side and they have sensibly and quickly killed the PCN off. That option isn't available to everyone and is only available to Mr Mustard as he has demonstrated a certain understanding of the system and doesn't waste the parking client side's time; in fact he saves it as they know when they are on a loser and can instead plague somebody who doesn't know the ropes who might well go wrong and have to pay up.

What you can do.

The choices of action in response to a Charge Certificate are limited to:

(a) do nothing, or 
(b) pay up. 

Your failure to pay at an earlier stage will have cost you an extra 50% on top of the parking ticket price. That is the harsh price of being slow, poor or mis-placing your paperwork. You should pay, as you don't want your parking ticket anywhere near a bailiff, if you have failed to follow the appeal process (download the guide from the top left). The Charge Certificate looks like a poke in the eye with a sharp stick to prod you into paying.

If however, the council have gone wrong then you should sit and wait as the Order for Recovery will be along in the next 3 weeks or so (although some are arriving 6 months+ or a year after the Charge Certificate which simply should not happen) and then you can react.

At this point the cost is still nothing like as bad as it will be once a bailiff gets hold of your debt and it will become ten times worse, so if you haven't followed the procedure, pay up now, you are another £7 to the bad. (Fee now £8 August 2016)

If however, something has gone wrong, you can file a witness statement (form TE9) and if you do this correctly and in time (you have a clear date to act by so don't delay) then the PCN will go back to the first stage and you will have your chance to appeal. In London you can only make a witness statement on one ground alone; choose it out of the following four:

1.  You did not receive the Notice to Owner (if you didn't appeal at this stage then you may well not have received it especially if the PCN is old or you may well know for certain that you didn't receive it) This is the most likely reason for a witness statement to be filed by you.

2.  You sent in an appeal (they are called representations) after you did receive the Notice to Owner and you did not get a response from the council. This is also quite common sometimes due to them being scanned to the wrong file or not printed out and scanned at all. You will need to find a copy of what you sent in if you are to be believed.

3.  You sent an appeal to London Tribunals but you had no reply. This probably doesn't happen very often as London Tribunals are quite efficient. Mr Mustard always gets a free certificate of posting for any parking related letter. If you don't hear from London Tribunals within a week of sending your form in I would telephone them on 020 7520 7200 to check what has happened and if your form got lost in the post send them a copy of the copy (so do take a copy of it). (In some boroughs you can now file your London Tribunals Appeal on-line. If you do this it can't get lost)

4.  You paid in full.

Please do this form TE9 in time as out-of-time witness statements are simply another hurdle that is really best avoided.

This is what the form TE9 looks like. It will come pre-printed from the council with your data or you can download one from the Courts site here.

It is quite straightforward. If your application is in time it will be processed very quickly, a day or two, by the TEC and then the council will probably send you a new Notice to Owner (if that was your appeal) or refer your application to London Tribunals if you say you made representations that were not responded to by the council or London Tribunals.

If you don't fully understand the process send an email to Mr Mustard and he will help you. At the very least he will want to see every single piece of paper relating to the PCN.

Whatever you do don't panic but do act now.

Yours frugally

Mr Mustard

1 comment:

  1. The classic get out of jail card, at least 85% of witness statement/stat decs filed are done so on false grounds!


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