22 September 2017

Pull the wool?

You've got to be good to pull the wool over Mr Mustard's eyes.

His client paid to park in the Golders Green Road, she forgot she was driving her husband's car and so paid for her own one. Needless to say she received a PCN. She challenged the PCN and then the Notice to Owner on the not unreasonable grounds that the council had not lost out. She was rejected twice.

For the tribunal appeal Mr Mustard's help was sought. He filed an Appeal which was partly on the grounds that the bay sign did not tell you that you could use a parking meter, at which it is impossible to pay for the wrong car as a registration number is not required (and you are unlikely to place the machine receipt in the wrong car!).

Here is the relevant section of the council's case summary:

PbP = PayByPhone
and here is the plan they produced of the area showing the parking restriction signs

No parking meters on that plan.

Mr Mustard went to the council's maps and extracted another version just a little further down the road and oh, guess what, there is a parking meter which was just off the page in the council's evidence to the tribunal.
ooh, a parking meter at the other end of the bay.
A coincidence, an outright lie or just an unfortunate oversight? Mr Mustard will be filing a complaint with the council that he has been lied to.

The other interesting fact about this PCN is that the motorist paid £2.10 to park for an hour (including the optional 10p text reminder which Mr Mustard does not opt for as it is poor value being 5% of the parking charge) and then extended for 30 minutes at a cost of £1.10 (a 10% uplift to receive a text!) and the council had not refunded the charges paid to park although that would be the obviously fair thing to do.

This time, once the case hit the tribunal stage and Mr Mustard argued that it was procedurally unfair (a general law requirement for enforcement authorities so to be)  the council refunded £3 (not the 20p you note) in order to see if they could hang on to the £60 PCN. That looks unlikely given that they have either mislead or lied to the tribunal and to the Appellant (the motorist making the Appeal). There are dire warnings on council paperwork that motorists risk fines of £5,000 if they tell porky pies; Barnet Council need to get their own house in order.

If you are in the same boat and going to the tribunal do ask for a refund of the parking fee that you paid.

Yours frugally

Mr Mustard

Barnet Council have now been in touch with Mr Mustard, apologised for the inconvenience and cancelled the PCN. It was just an error, not an attempt to deceive.

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