14 August 2013

from (untidy) innocence to guilt

untidy but not unlawful
Now Mr Mustard, as an advanced motorcyclist who has been trained in the "system" of riding, just wouldn't park the blogger bus like this because it is not best practice. We should all aim to be parallel to the kerb if we can (if you have reduced mobility you get extra space in a disabled bay to make it easier for you to manoeuvre). However, this sort of parking is only wrong, and deserving of a Penalty Charge Notice (parking ticket), if the entire vehicle is more than 50cm from the kerb (and that rule was brought in as a way of defining & dealing with double parking). In this case the front wheel, and the passenger side mirror are well within the 50cm limit. One would have thought that a traffic warden would go equipped with a tape measure or 50cm ruler to prove this contravention.

The trouble comes though when you say "pah" and don't bother responding to the council paperwork.

You start with a PCN, you do nothing
within 6 months along comes a Notice to Owner, you do nothing again
just over a month later you receive a Charge Certificate, there is nothing you can do in response to that except pay or wait for the next document
then you receive the Order for Recovery which gives you 28 days to set it aside on certain grounds but you don't meet them as you have done nothing

so now you have gone from being innocent of a parking contravention to guilty by default.

The next person you will hear from is the bailiff and your car may get clamped and removed and you will get a bill for several hundred pounds all because you didn't deal with some simple paperwork.

So what should you do?

when you get a PCN, send in an informal appeal within 28 days
when you get a Notice to Owner, send in a formal appeal within 28 days
formal and informal appeals look the same, simply a letter or an email saying why you shouldn't have to pay.

If the council don't accept your formal appeal they will send you a Notice of Rejection of Representations (Mr Mustard eats these for breakfast) and an appeal form to send to PATAS. Mr Mustard can help you with these forms but you must be on time i.e. within 28 days of the Notice of Rejection.

At this point you have lost any chance of paying £55 instead of the full amount of £110 so you may as well appeal to PATAS as:

- it costs the council £40 and you nothing at all
- it gives you an extra 2 or 3 months to save up in
- if you lose you get 28 days to pay the £110, it does not increase for 28 days
- you have a 72% chance of winning
- it is a user friendly independent forum
- you can do the whole thing by post

Many people find paperwork boring (Mr Mustard loves it) but it is worth your time to fight if you don't want to be pulling the drawbridge up at home to keep the bailiffs out.

Yours frugally

Mr Mustard


  1. I successfully made a challenge when the driver of my car (with permission) parked where the signage was confusing. He believed he had parked legally but Barnet disagreed. We won the case mainly because LBB put up a very poor case and did not (could not) prove their signs were clear!

    We have another PCN at PATAS now because the driver left the car for a minute in order to fetch a visitor's permit to display in a CPZ. Barnet claimed that 'all visitors voucher(sic) must be displayed before leaving the car unattended. Motorists are not given few minute (sic) to park. No observation time is given for for this contravention.'

    Alas, they did not tell us how one obtained the visitor's voucher without leaving the car. I often visit the elderly & infirm and sometimes require a voucher. Must these frail people leave their homes on their Zimmer frame and walk up to 100 yards or so to bring me the voucher? And what about those that are bedridden? How do they get the voucher to me?

  2. The requirement to obtain a voucher before you leave your car is utterly ridiculous and not likely to be endorsed by PATAS. I am quite happy to spand an hour with you going through your evidence pack which should arrive at least 4 days before the hearing date and asking extra appeal points that you might not have thought of.

    Do you want to email me at mrmustard@zoho.com

  3. Thanks for the offer. I think we're OK though as the letters we sent were clear and straightforward.



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