10 December 2013

This blog should not be necessary (see update at end)


This blog post really shouldn't be necessary.

It concerns a businessman in North Finchley who regularly parks in the Lodge Lane Car Park and PaysByPhone. He has the code to use, 7521, imprinted on his brain. You can see it in the above photo (if you find it in google images).

On 11 September 13 he arrived in the car park and PaidByPhone the sum of £3.25 (which for businesspeople includes vat which you might be able to reclaim, you can get receipts online from your PayByPhone account - they arrive as an email from support). The receipt number (Txn ID) is 97099284 and clearly covers from 8:11 until 8am the next day. It is for the correct day and the correct registration.

At 9.20am he got a £60 parking ticket (AG25051099). No worries, thought the businessman, he scrawled the fact of his payment across the PCN and sent it back to the council. He didn't hear anything more and thought that the obvious administrative blunder had been corrected (we don't know if the traffic warden made an error or if the payment wasn't showing on his handheld equipment).

On about 19 November he received a Charge Certificate putting the bill up to £90. His thoughts were probably not printable in a family blog. Anyway, he wrote in to the council to point out the blunder they had made and this PCN is unlawful after all but has, in the council's mind, been made lawful by his failure to respond to a Notice to Owner issued on 14 October 13 which he doesn't seem to have.

Shockingly, despite pointing out that payment has been correctly made the council's response (written by an employee of NSL naturally) is tough luck mate, you are out of time, you only had 28 days from the date of service of the Notice to Owner (approx 13 November 13 - except that it wasn't served because it didn't arrive for some reason). Technically the council are correct, they can disregard any formal representations outside of the 28+2 day period. However some commonsense should be applied. That rule does not exist so that the council can gain an unfair advantage over a motorist to collect payment for a contravention that clearly hasn't occurred.

Luckily this businessman had met Mr Mustard at a dinner party held by a long time friend of his who just happened to be the computer boffin of Mr Mustard since the time of the IBM PC AT (gosh Mr Mustard is getting old - a 10mb Hard Disk Drive remember those?) and so knew of Mr M's expertise in the parking ticket arena. Rather than pay up for a quiet life, he made a phone call and here we are now.

Mr Mustard has the advantage of a direct line to the council client side parking managers and really he only wants to bother them with important matters of state but if NSL can't sort out a simple query, or are deliberately abusing the power invested in them, then he has to spend his time blogging about small matters (this might be symptomatic of a wider problem in Lodge Lane, see this blog as he has seen that time paid for problem occur twice) and bothering a parking manager who should be managing the bigger picture. Mr Mustard would also like to be blogging about some of the other bigger issues that abound in Barnet, as he is letting the blogger side down, and he can't because PCN wait for no man.

Mr Mustard predicts that this PCN will be cancelled by Friday. If it isn't he will have to follow the procedure that allows him to file a form TE9 at the TEC (a blank is being signed and sent to Mr Mustard so that he is ready to act) and then the PCN will go back to the beginning and appeals can be made on the regular timetable. It is all such a waste of time. Businesspeople want to run their businesses, not faff about with correspondence with should not have been necessary.

Anyone would think that the council were desperate for money at any cost, even at the cost of honesty?

One final thought: the council have a duty at law to be fair. Are they being?

Yours frugally

Mr Mustard

At 9:43 Mr Mustard emailed a parking manager. 
At 10:07 he got this reply. The parking manager knows a PR disaster when he sees one.

Dear Mr Mustard,

Thank you for drawing this to my attention. The Penalty Charge Notice has been cancelled.

I do not know why the CEO issued the PCN, as payment was made, I will be asking the CEO supervisors about this. With regard to the Notice Processing Officer disregarding the late challenge, I will be raising this with the manager of the Notice Processing Team when I next see him, I am not pleased with the response given in this instance.

I apologise to Mr X.

Kind regards

So all ends well for Mr X but what about everyone else in the same boat who have to deal with NSL by post or email, you can't phone them directly. They would have to go through the TE9 procedure if they even know of it andmight pay up rather than be bothered. Outsourcing certainly has its problems.

1 comment:

  1. It is called abuse of power, in this case powers delegated to NSL by the council. So why do they continue to employ NSL ? There are surely clauses in the contract about correct and proper management ?


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