15 August 2014

PayByPhone takes you back in time

your previous car perhaps?
A local resident has contacted Mr Mustard about an event that might amuse or terrify him. He was neither but he was deeply perturbed.

This public spirited motorist, let us call him Mr Capri, paid using Verrus PayByPhone for his one and only car, let us say the registration number is LB55XYZ, and having done what many people don't, and why should they when they only have the one vehicle, he looked closely at the receipt and saw that is was for his previous car MN55ABC which he had sold the previous year and deleted off his account. Thus he avoided getting a PCN.

He contacted the helpdesk by email and PayByPhone have confirmed the following:

1.  it was a system error
2.  they have no idea how it happened but are investigating
3.  it hasn't happened to anyone else (Mr Mustard doubts this last statement).

What this event does tell you, apart from the fact that the council are relying on software which is not as perfect as they might think it is, is that when you delete a vehicle from your PayByPhone record you are not deleting it at all, you are simply hiding it from view and that is probable based upon a field in a database which has a 1 for live and a 2 for deleted in it. Mr Mustard can understand why the old vehicle is not deleted straightaway as there might be queries raised which would need this information but under the Data Protection Act the information should only be kept for a reasonable time once you have removed the vehicle from the list of vehicles. The software does not say delete but says "remove from list" but that is equivalent in most minds to delete. It also says "license" plate which rankles with Mr Mustard as it should say "licence" plate.

Mr Mustard recommends that you log in to your PayByPhone account and check if any of your sold vehicles have re-appeared on your list of live vehicles as it could avoid you getting a PCN. Whilst you are logged in you might as well remove any sold vehicles you haven't yet got around to removing.

If this happens to you, do please send an email to mrmustard@zoho.com.

Yours frugally

Mr Mustard

1 comment:

  1. And, of course, the managed motorway variable speed limits software is perfect, isn't it ? Even if you challenge it in court, the suppliers will not release the code for examination. Justice in GB 2014 !!


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