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Help Needed, Zipcar PCN! £145 fine
stevenl123
post Mon, 12 Feb 2018 - 23:36
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Hi there,

In advance of anyone replying to this, thanks for any input anyone has on this. Here is my situation. I have attached the NTO as well as better quality pictures I was able to get.

On Saturday Zipcar emailed me to inform me I had a PCN from my local council in relation to when I hired a car for 30 mins in early December. The PCN was in fact issued the next day, almost 16 hours after my reservation ended (unsure if this helps).

The PCN is for £130 + £15 admin fee for Zipcar. I picked up and dropped the car off in the same space. It turns out the bay was out of order for the day I hired and the following day (when ticket was issued). I used the app to book, unlock and end the reservation and at no point did it tell this to me. However, I have since learnt that my booking confirmation did have this information right at the bottom of the email, which I did not read due to booking it 15 mins prior to starting the trip. Photos do show the sign saying this but to be honest I did not notice this at all at the time, it was not clear really.

The PCN was issued on 8th December and I only found out now and thus missed the window for 50% discount. This was only due to ZIpcar not telling me which they are claiming is because they only round out as they received a Notice to Owner from the council.

I feel that this is highly unfair mainly as it was not made clear at the time of booking via the app (bottom of an email isn't clear in my view) and secondly due to the long delay resulting in the fine doubling.

I have sent one email asking about the 14 days bit and their response was this:

"In regards to the PCN being at the full rate, when a PCN is first issued and placed on the vehicle there is usually a 14 day window within which a reduced rate of 50% is payable.

If a ticket is found on the vehicle by a member, and we are made aware, we do all we can to alert the member responsible and give them the opportunity to either appeal or pay at the reduced rate.

Unfortunately as we were unaware of this PCN until the Notice To Owner was sent to us, by which time the window for the reduced rate had closed, we were not able to inform you until the full rate of £130 was due.

I understand that this is a frustrating situation, but we need you to remember that PCNs are not issued by Zipcar, but by the local authority. We try to accommodate our members as best we can, but we, as a company need to recover the costs of these fines from the members responsible."

Long story short, is there anything I can do to avoid paying this PCN? I feel it is unfair and normally would pay these sorts of things if I felt I had intentionally been at fault.

Thanks again.

This post has been edited by stevenl123: Tue, 13 Feb 2018 - 23:09
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post Mon, 12 Feb 2018 - 23:36
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4101
post Wed, 14 Feb 2018 - 00:02
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Be careful not to lose your membership, if you have no other car, you need it in London. I am ex-NW3.

https://www.carplusbikeplus.org.uk/list-of-car-clubs/
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hcandersen
post Wed, 14 Feb 2018 - 09:33
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What a shambles. Errors on both sides and a clear agenda on one of these.

Avis's emails are clear, informative, measured and understanding whereas the OP's approach has not been.

Unfortunately the OP's delay in posting the crucial info has meant we're now some way past the 28-day period. But that's not necessarily a problem.

Bottom line:
OP parked contrary to clear instructions at the location and under the contract and incurred a PCN (so not only a breach of parking regs but also a breach of contract, and somewhere here the OP thinks they'd have a winning argument if liability was transferred. OP, you were in control of the vehicle when you parked in contravention, no-one else, just you. Even if Avis hadn't told you, you would still have parked in contravention) **
Avis appear to have delayed offering their option (which itself is very balanced and fair) for the hiree to decide whether payment should be made or liability transferred.
The 28-day period has elapsed (11 Feb).

I am not in favour of the OP taking unilateral and extra-procedural action by contacting the authority, this could result in chaos. Stay within your contractual obligations and contact Avis before the expiry of their 4-day period - don't blame them, you incurred the PCN - and tell them about the time period and that they should contact the council to avoid the penalty increasing - you become the good guy. Keep it civil because ultimately you might want to make a claim against them and it is nonsense tactically to irritate them unnecessarily. But get back to them in a measured way acknowledging (at least by the tone of your email) your culpability.

But it's the OP's choice.

** you should have parked lawfully (wherever this might have been) and, as far as Avis were concerned, acted reasonably. Pay and display/off-street car park and then notify Avis, but not in contravention. No adj would allow an appeal on these grounds, so the only possible benefit of transferring liability is to get the discount re-offered which the authority are likely to do anyway if Avis make sensible reps quickly.
You are NOT liable under contract for anything more than the full penalty, Avis emailed you too late, so this is not an issue.

This post has been edited by hcandersen: Wed, 14 Feb 2018 - 09:53
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stamfordman
post Wed, 14 Feb 2018 - 09:52
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QUOTE (hcandersen @ Wed, 14 Feb 2018 - 09:33) *
Avis's emails are clear, informative, measured and understanding whereas the OP's approach has not been.



I agree, as I said before, once we'd finally seen the communications. And it is confirmed that Zip knows when car club bays are suspended (contrary to what one member tried to tell me).

The only point in the OP's favour I feel is that Zip knew the bay was suspended but left the car in it. It must have been luck it didn't pick up a PCN before the OP's hire slot (or maybe it did...).

I do think Zip should not have rented a car stationed in a suspended bay and perhaps that should be put to them.
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hcandersen
post Wed, 14 Feb 2018 - 09:57
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I am not in favour of trying to attribute blame to Avis now, it's not the right time. Surely the aim is to get back to the authority - who are sitting this out in blissful ignorance - to avoid a CC being issued.

OP v Avis can wait. wink.gif
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DancingDad
post Wed, 14 Feb 2018 - 12:06
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If and only if council accept late submission can OP get some breathing space on the PCN.
Can't help but feel on information we have that will end up paying anyway but perhaps a chance of 50% if and only if council accept.
Will need lots more information on the suspensions, signage etc to hope for more at present.

On having to pay out with Zipcar, perhaps the ray of hope is that Zipcar was dilatory in getting in touch, not giving the OP chance to respond in good time and thus making their seemingly fair application of the T&Cs (they did offer a choice) more of a fait accompli that could only leave the driver disadvantaged.

To me this is not about what parking law says, that is clear, the RK, presumed to be the owner and the one liable, may challenge but does not have to.
Only then does fair application of the contract side come in, given the terms that driver signed, that would be a matter for a judge.
But in not exercising their (zipcar) choice as T&Cs seem to allow but passing onto driver to choose when too late, that is a c0ck up that can be exploited.

Fully appreciate others may take a different view and may take a different tack with ZipCar but I would be talking with them along lines of "You gave me no chance, incurred this charge through your own failings and of course I could have beaten it so why should I pay anything"
Talk not firing off 12" solicitors or realms of legal tomes, just keep plugging away to get someone in position to see the issue they have caused.

Only if that failed would I be resorting to laying it all out in black and white and starting on a route of formal complaint.

This post has been edited by DancingDad: Wed, 14 Feb 2018 - 12:08
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hcandersen
post Wed, 14 Feb 2018 - 12:35
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Agree.

All we need is for the OP to choose their approach and do something.

OP, by the way, you have not obtained 'legal advice', or if you have you should be following it or using a different legal advisor. We are not legal advice, we're often much better biggrin.gif
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Neil B
post Wed, 14 Feb 2018 - 12:43
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I haven't read back but since people might form overall opinions based on crucial elements, can we
resolve the rather odd dichotomy that pervades.

Did the OP leave the car in contravention, as some are saying, or was it already in contravention
when he picked it up.

I don't know as I say but with two such blatantly opposite views someone is basing their opinion on
flawed understanding.


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stamfordman
post Wed, 14 Feb 2018 - 12:57
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QUOTE (Neil B @ Wed, 14 Feb 2018 - 12:43) *
Did the OP leave the car in contravention, as some are saying, or was it already in contravention
when he picked it up.



I understand it was both of these and the rental was only 1 hour. That's why I think Zip is partly to blame here - it should not be renting vehicles from suspended spaces and using punters to move cars out of them.

This is what the OP says in #1:

I picked up and dropped the car off in the same space. It turns out the bay was out of order for the day I hired and the following day (when ticket was issued).

This post has been edited by stamfordman: Wed, 14 Feb 2018 - 13:08
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DancingDad
post Wed, 14 Feb 2018 - 13:18
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QUOTE (Neil B @ Wed, 14 Feb 2018 - 12:43) *
I haven't read back but since people might form overall opinions based on crucial elements, can we
resolve the rather odd dichotomy that pervades.

Did the OP leave the car in contravention, as some are saying, or was it already in contravention
when he picked it up.

I don't know as I say but with two such blatantly opposite views someone is basing their opinion on
flawed understanding.


Personally I see no relief either way for the PCN.
That it was in contravention does not mean that it can be re-parked in contravention.
The only relief would be if ZipCar specifically said "put it back there" and that only resolves any argument with them as they cannot charge someone for following their instructions.
But I cannot see that ZipCar did give such an instruction, indeed they seemed to have said park it elsewhere.
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Irksome
post Wed, 14 Feb 2018 - 18:17
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I don't believe we know what time the PCN was issued? What if there was another hirer of the car for another hour after the OP had hired the vehicle ... I can't see how Zipcar can enforce the liability on the OP for a PCN issued subsequent to the period during which he was the keeper of the vehicle!

But it does appear to be a contractual arguement with Zipcar rather than Wandsworth!
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cp8759
post Wed, 14 Feb 2018 - 18:21
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QUOTE (Irksome @ Wed, 14 Feb 2018 - 18:17) *
But it does appear to be a contractual arguement with Zipcar rather than Wandsworth!

Absolutely, unless Wandsworth decide to accept late reps out of the goodness of their hearts (anyone want to take bets on that one?), Wandsworth will simply demand the full charge from Zipcar. Why would they do anything different?
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Irksome
post Wed, 14 Feb 2018 - 19:07
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And to expand on my thinking, if the LA has to suspend one of the hirer's regular spaces they should (and indeed have) communicate to the hirer that the bay has been suspended, and then the hirer should either relocate the vehicle themselves or remove the vehicle from the fleet. They should not reasonably expect the customer to perform their duty for them. The car should not have been available for the OP to have reserved in the first place.
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stamfordman
post Wed, 14 Feb 2018 - 19:11
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QUOTE (Irksome @ Wed, 14 Feb 2018 - 19:07) *
And to expand on my thinking, if the LA has to suspend one of the hirer's regular spaces they should (and indeed have) communicate to the hirer that the bay has been suspended, and then the hirer should either relocate the vehicle themselves or remove the vehicle from the fleet. They should not reasonably expect the customer to perform their duty for them. The car should not have been available for the OP to have reserved in the first place.



That's what I said if you read back. Zip is in constant touch with councils about the status of car bays and indeed in this case had told the OP the bay was suspended. Zip also arranges with councils for cars to be left in res bays when a club bay is full/out of action.

However, has others say the process with the PCN is in play.

This post has been edited by stamfordman: Wed, 14 Feb 2018 - 19:12
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Irksome
post Wed, 14 Feb 2018 - 19:22
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I understand the PCN is in play, but I can't see how the OP can be considered to be the keeper at the time the PCN was issued - he was not the hirer at that time?
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hcandersen
post Wed, 14 Feb 2018 - 21:31
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Please, please, understand that this is a contractual matter and would remain so unless Avis transfer liability.

And on this point, if the OP was not the hiree at the time then all this means is that Avis could not transfer liability to the OP, it does not mean that they could not hold the OP liable under the contract. So this would leave the OP in a worse position than now.

OP, everybody else is posting except you.
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4101
post Wed, 14 Feb 2018 - 22:12
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QUOTE (hcandersen @ Wed, 14 Feb 2018 - 21:31) *
Please, please, understand that this is a contractual matter and would remain so unless Avis transfer liability.

And on this point, if the OP was not the hiree at the time then all this means is that Avis could not transfer liability to the OP, it does not mean that they could not hold the OP liable under the contract. So this would leave the OP in a worse position than now.

OP, everybody else is posting except you.



The OP has made plain that he is going to phone the council and see if he can do a deal. That's enough for now.
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hcandersen
post Wed, 14 Feb 2018 - 22:15
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For you maybe. IMO the OP should not phone the council because the OP has no standing in their eyes and if they do this without consulting Avis then they are being reckless.
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4101
post Wed, 14 Feb 2018 - 22:19
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QUOTE (hcandersen @ Wed, 14 Feb 2018 - 22:15) *
For you maybe. IMO the OP should not phone the council because the OP has no standing in their eyes and if they do this without consulting Avis then they are being reckless.



The OP is an adult who can make his own decisions. Stop badgering him, please, for heavens sake.
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Irksome
post Wed, 14 Feb 2018 - 22:27
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QUOTE (hcandersen @ Wed, 14 Feb 2018 - 22:15) *
For you maybe. IMO the OP should not phone the council because the OP has no standing in their eyes and if they do this without consulting Avis then they are being reckless.

IF the OP calls the council, and if they agree to reset the PCN to the discounted stage, then the OP has a choice to make of either subsidising my council tax or taking on the battle with Zipcar and probably having his Zipcar membership cancelled / dealing with the chargeback etc etc.

However I still think the thread is valid, as it is discussing a point that has had little coverage on the specific points raised - but maybe it should be taken to the 'other' section!
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stamfordman
post Thu, 15 Feb 2018 - 11:16
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The forum has been round the houses on this before - a similar case:

http://forums.pepipoo.com/lofiversion/index.php/t88507.html
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