16 June 2017

TfL - avoiding the tough questions and the easy ones.

Mr G's house was undergoing major refurbishment. If the builders were not on site there was no letterbox to put his post through. He made other arrangements with the Royal Mail but they went wrong. This meant that he did not receive the cctv based PCN dated 8 November 16 for allegedly stopping on a red route where prohibited on 4 November.

Postal PCN of this type have a nasty sting in the tale. Not long after 28 days have elapsed a Charge Certificate is served. This is a demand for an extra 50%. Thus the first that Mr G knew of the event was a demand for £195 dated 15 December 16.

On 6 January 17 Mr G heard of Mr Mustard though a mutual friend. Mr G asked for help.

On 13 January Mr Mustard wrote to TfL and asked them the straight question, was the PCN returned to TfL.

On 19 January TfL registered the PCN as a debt at the TEC (think of it as a PCN debt register within the County Court). The standard £8 court fee was added.

On 25 January Mr G signed, & Mr Mustard filed at the TEC, a witness statement that the PCN had not been received. This entitled TfL to issue a fresh one.

On 27 January TfL wrote to Mr G responding to Mr Mustard's letter (very poor form and possibly calculated to undermine the representative) as follows:

Do you see an answer to the simple question as to whether they got the PCN back undelivered? No. Silence implies assent. The correspondence never claimed to be a representation, just a factual request but that didn't suit TfL so they ignored it. Silly billies.

Also on 27 January the TEC cancelled the charge certificate and told TfL as such.

On 17 February TfL as was their right, a foolish move but there you go, sent a fresh PCN in the post to Mr G. By then we were back to £130.

On 3 March Mr Mustard made the representations (challenge to you) on line in the name of Mr G:

On 28 March TfL wrote to Mr G as if he had not made any representations at all

There was no letter, there were clear representations made on line and Mr G not writing back at this time did not give TfL the right to do anything other than consider the representations made.

On 4 April Mr Mustard wrote in Mr G's name to say that representations had been made and then he kindly popped them into the appropriate legally defined categories.

On 12 May TfL sent a Notice of Rejection. This is meant to tell you why the particular representations have not been accepted. Can you see the reasons?

There was more nauseatingly sanctimonious irrelevant drivel after that but nowhere did TfL explain why they were rejecting any of the three clearly made representations. TfL offered to accept £65 instead of £130 if Mr G did not take them to appeal (which costs them £30). With the cast iron case that Mr Mustard was looking at there was zero prospect of Mr G having to get his wallet out so the inducement fell on deaf ears . Mr Mustard wrote to Mr G:

I suspect that TfL will not contest the Appeal once it has been made. 

This was for several reasons one of which, an unassailable ground, was that TfL did not serve the Notice of Rejection until more than 56 days after the representations had been served on them. That timetable is set out in law for parking contraventions (it is longer for moving traffic, but stopping = parking).

On 24 May, Mr Mustard hand delivered the Notice of Appeal to the tribunal (one of seven he handed in that day). The date for an oral hearing was set, 21 June 17. Yesterday Mr Mustard started checking to see if any evidence had been filed, instead he found that TfL had decided on 9 June to not contest the Appeal = they will cancel the PCN. A pity they have not told either Mr G or Mr Mustard as yet.

What lessons should they learn from this sorry tale:

1.  If Mr Mustard asks you a question you should answer it even if that is to your detriment.
2.   Mr Mustard contests every single Notice of Rejection at the tribunal so think before you Reject.
3.  It is necessary to at least tackle the representations, even if you answer them badly. Failing to tackle them at all is a procedural impropriety which is a guaranteed win at the tribunal.
4.  Issuing a Notice of Rejection out of time is also a procedural impropriety, one which Mr Mustard will spot.
5.  A proper system should be put in place to deal with undelivered mail. It is dishonest to plough on as if nothing has happened.
6.  If you behave in the manner in which an enforcement authority should behave, with the utmost probity, you will not get your dirty linen aired on a well read blog.

Think about it TfL.

This case reinforces Mr Mustard's view that there needs to be an external, at least annual, audit of parking enforcement within local authorities to proactively assure the public that authorities are acting honestly because they sure as heck aren't. The external auditors need to be able to impose sanctions and order redress for wrongdoing to make councils less money and more service motivated than they currently are.

Yours frugally

Mr Mustard

1 comment:

  1. Hear Hear !! However, I suspect it is all water off a ducks back to them.Only when people actually go to jail for malfeasance, (and this case comes very close if not over it), will things change.The two main political parties are supine on this, and all we ever get as ministers in the DfT are amiable idiots.


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