19 March 2018

The TEC & Hackney Council - doubly unhelpful

Within the regulations which govern penalty charge notice processing there is a procedure which rewinds the process so that motorists do not lose out if a document goes missing in the mail. In a recent case Mr Mustard's client, let us call him Ben, did not receive the Notice to Owner and he knew this as after the PCN issued to the vehicle the first document he received in the post was the Charge Certificate.

Mr Mustard therefore drew up a witness statement for his client to sign, a form TE9, and submitted it to the TEC (Traffic Enforcement Centre). He kept an eye on the balance on the Hackney Council computer and for weeks it was stubbornly stuck at £195, rather than having reverted to £130, and a fresh Notice to Owner did not arrive.

Sometimes things go wrong so Mr Mustard emailed the TEC so that they could tell him if they had processed the form and on what date.

This was the thoroughly unhelpful answer he received.

We have been unable to process your request for information on the above Penalty Charge Number.

We would advise you to contact the London Borough of Hackney to ask for the information you require.

Very odd as the standard acknowledgement from the TEC contains the following line:

The current status of the Penalty Charge (e.g. has my document been processed?) - Within 10 working days.

The TEC are able to answer, when they say they are 'unable' to do so. They mean, of course, unwilling, for some unknown reason.

Oh well, thought Mr Mustard, time to ask Hackney Council what they did about the revoking order that the TEC should have issued in response to an in time witness statement (without knowing if they had actually processed it or not) so an email was sent to Hackney Council to ask them.

The response was as unhelpful as the one from the TEC and left the motorist completely in the dark and unable to take any steps & denied him his rights to fight the PCN:

Thank you for your e-mail. Please note that the form should be sent to the Traffic Enforcement Centre and you would need to direct any enquiries regarding an update to a submitted form directly to themselves.

The action plan to tackle this which Mr Mustard decided upon was to submit a Subject Access Request to Hackney Council which would force them to provide the requested information and also to send a complaint to both bodies with copies of the two useless responses and ask them to agree who would respond.

Mr Mustard had drafted the requests and the complaint, a week after Hackney's useless response, when he checked their website and found they had closed the PCN so he had reduced the balance from £195 to £130 to £zero. How nice.

What this told him was:

1. The TEC had processed the witness statement (they could have replied to that effect in 2 minutes).
2. Hackney Council had not issued a fresh PCN as soon as they were able to (although they were still in time).
3. The request for information caused Hackney Council to look at the file and decide to close it (which they should have told the motorist who clearly wanted to know).

All is well that ends well but this has been a right palaver that less experienced PCN fighters would have really struggled with.

Enforcement authorities and Courts have huge powers. They really need to wield them in a professional manner and give out vital information promptly when requested. (All authorities, please take note.)

Yours frugally

Mr Mustard

1 comment:

  1. I sometimes think they just grab any old Tom, Dick or Harry off the street and tell them "get on with it" without actually telling them what the "it" is.


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