22 July 2021

You did nothing about a PCN - same here


The PCN processing system is carefully designed to bring finality to a PCN if a deadline is missed although it is matched with a fallback system in case a document goes missing.

As is often the case Mr Mustard received a phone call out of the blue from someone who knew someone whom Mr Mustard had assisted in the past. Mr Mustard can't give out informed advice over the telephone and always says the same thing 'Please send copies of everything'.

Four PCNs duly hit his inbox. They had all been issued in mid May for contravening a new 'no motor vehicles' contravention. They were for a location in Camden at which Mr Mustard had challenged one PCN the previous day, as luck would have it, so he knew the ins and outs of the location. There is an argument that the signs aren't accurate and that they are mis-placed but that is academic if you get timed out of the process.

As well as four PCNs Mr Mustard received four Charge Certificates dated at the end of June and early July.

The law is that you get 28 days, starting with the date of receipt of the PCN, in which to make your representations on a moving traffic PCN. Most councils allow a few days extra to account for any possible postal delay. If you make representations after the 28 days, the law says that councils can 'disregard' them. To 'disregard' is to ignore. That wouldn't be helpful so what most councils do is write back saying you are too late (that is businesslike and to be applauded). If you are late because, say, you were in hospital for the month Mr Mustard would expect a council to actively consider the representations as it would be unfair not to.

Mr Mustard enquired as to what had happened between the PCNs and the Charge Certificates being received, in case one of the fallback provisions applied and they are, in brief

1.  The PCN was not received.

2.  Representations were made but a reply was not received.

3.  An Appeal was made to a traffic adjudicator to which no response was received.

It was too soon for option 3 to be applicable and clearly option 1 was not applicable. That only left option 2. Mr Mustard asked the motorist in question, let us call him Mr P, what he had done between receiving the PCNs and receiving the Charge Certificates. The answer was 'nothing at all'.

Mr Mustard sent his advice.

I am afraid that I am unable to help you. My expertise is in fighting PCNs on time.

The advice didn't seem to be that welcome.

Is there really nothing you can do? Any advise ?

Sometimes Mr Mustard just has to tell it how it is and so he did. The PCNs do warn you what may happen if you do nothing, the penalty may rise by 50%

Nothing legal.

Pay up is my advice and act on PCNs as the system is designed to time you out if you don't respond.

Mr Mustard is not here to get you out of a pit that you shouldn't be in. Never ignore a PCN. Whereas £260 could have settled all four PCNs in the first 14 days, the sum now due is £780. Best get your act together everyone.

Yours frugally

Mr Mustard

1 comment:

  1. A timely warning about PCN deadlines. Pity there are virtually none that the councils have to adhere to ! The only two I can think of are (1) 28 days to issue a postal PCN and (2) 56 days to respond to formal reps against a parking PCN. FOr the rest councils can virtually do what they like with no comeback so far, although some must have got close to malfeasance. Problem is who prosecutes for such an offence ? Nobody it would seem.


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