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Car tow away and storage cost
css81
post Tue, 28 Jul 2015 - 02:29
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Hi,
I have had to pay a hefty amount for retrieving my car after it was towed away. The facts are as below:

1. My car was parked on an unmarked stretch (no yellow lines) on a road where there are usually no parking restrictions (at any time, weekdays or weekends).
2. I had verified this with the council well before using that stretch to park and they had confirmed in writing (email) that it does not fall within the Controlled Parking Zone and therefore parking is permitted subject to compliance with any local parking restriction such as yellow lines, loading/unloading etc.
3. The council put up a temporary parking suspension notice that came into effect on a Monday at 7 AM (7AM to 4PM for a period of 2 weeks). I do not know when or where the suspension notice was put up. I had parked there a few days earlier, when there was no notice around.
4. Two days later (Wed morning), a PCN was issued and the car towed away. The time difference between the PCN issue time and the towing away (as per the Vehicle Removal Receipt) was 4 minutes.
(I hadn’t visited the car between the Monday and Wednesday and wasn’t aware of the notice).
5. The 6 pictures available with the council as evidence span a timeframe of 2 minutes, starting at the same time as that of the PCN issue.
6. One of these pictures shows the relevant parking suspension (image link attached).
7. The parking was not in contravention of any other parking rules.
8. I did not visit the parking spot until 19 days after the towing away. On not finding the car there, I ran a car trace and discovered that it had been towed away and was at a car pound.
9. There had been no notification in the meantime of the towing away.
10. Due to the substantial time delay, I had to pay a very large sum (full Penalty Charge, Removal Fee and a whopping Storage Charge at £40 per day after the first 48 hours of the towing) to get my car released from the car pound.
11. I received the following documents while retrieving the car
a. The PCN
b. The Vehicle Removal Receipt
c. A form for representations against removal of the vehicle
d. Receipts of the payment that I had to make
12. I was advised that I had 28 days from the day of retrieving the car to make a representation/ challenge with the council.

The stretch where my car was parked is used by a lot of drivers for long-term parking. The pictures show that there were quite a few cars parked around mine at the time of towing, suggesting that there were lots of others unaware of the parking suspension (and also that the council probably made a killing out of this “parking suspension”).

It seems ridiculous that a council can put up a temporary parking suspension, tow away a car and let the storage cost mount without any obligations to notify the owner (by email or paper).
Even if the council is authorised to tow a car away under such circumstances, a notification would have allowed me to pay the reduced Penalty Charge and the total cost (including the storage cost) would have been a fraction of the current damage.

It has been about 2 weeks since I have collected the car and I have another 2 weeks remaining to file a representation/challenge with the council. I would be very grateful for any advise and help in this matter.

Many thanks.

P.S.: Apologies for the long post. This is my first post here and as per forum advice, I have “cleaned” the images heavily (including exact location, dates and times) and have tried to include all relevant details above. I am attaching only 1 of the 6 pictures that are available with the council. I am happy to provide any further information (or pictures etc.) as required.

This post has been edited by css81: Tue, 28 Jul 2015 - 02:36
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post Tue, 28 Jul 2015 - 02:29
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hcandersen
post Tue, 28 Jul 2015 - 06:34
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Without the photos etc. we're blind and can't really assist. We must know the legal basis for the restriction and where and when notices were displayed.

As an aside, if you use the highway as a quasi-garage, then this sort of problem could arise.

You parked 'some days earlier' than Monday and didn't revisit until 19 days after the Wednesday, a gap of at least 3-4weeks.

You might not be required to check your vehicle regularly, but neither is it a defence that you didn't.

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Mad Mick V
post Tue, 28 Jul 2015 - 07:23
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+1

Three things jump out:-

  1. If you parked before the warning notice or the restrictions came into effect you cannot be culpable;
  2. The contravention appears to relate to a road closure rather than a bay suspension which would be a different code;
  3. An immediate tow suggests the Council regarded your vehicle as being an obstruction.
Further to the above does the Council maintain a suspension log which would show your VRM when the notice went up (i.e. vehicles already parked)?

If you could provide the GSV for where you parked that would be a start.




Mick

This post has been edited by Mad Mick V: Tue, 28 Jul 2015 - 07:28
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hcandersen
post Tue, 28 Jul 2015 - 08:11
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And the full details of the notice which purportedly brought this restriction into effect.
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css81
post Wed, 29 Jul 2015 - 00:13
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Guys, thanks for your time, appreciate it. Apologies for not posting more information at the outset, the forum guidance had confused me to an extent about how much information is advisable on the forum.

Mick,

Many thanks for your suggestions regarding the GSV and the council records. I have discovered a few more details -

Information from the council website:

1) The first mention of it seems to be on a public notices list as of 22nd of May (This is as per the website. I have no way of knowing when it was actually posted on the website and when the actual sign went up on the road).

Link to page: http://www.haringey.gov.uk/news-and-events...-notices-may-15
Link to exact post: http://www.haringey.gov.uk/sites/haringeyg...17-20150518.pdf

The relevant one is the one for Ashley Road. This also provides the reason for the suspension.

2) In addition, the council has a parking bay suspension list
Link: http://www.haringey.gov.uk/environment-and...bay-suspensions

(excel sheet towards the bottom of the page)

3) I could not find anything online for suspension records (vehicles already parked when notice went up). Will give them a call tomorrow to check and provide an update.

4) GSV link: https://www.google.co.uk/maps/@51.592333,-0...33;8i6656?hl=en

5) Links to images provided by the council: At the end of the post.

On working out dates, it seems that I had parked my car there around the middle of May, i.e., I did not visit it for 2 months. The suspension notification was definitely not up by then.

Would really appreciate any further recommendations on how I should proceed.

hcandersen,

It wasn't garaged on a highway and I didn't imply that my delay was a defence.

I don't know if the towing was necessary and if the way it was conducted was legitimate. Even if it was, had the council notified me after the car was towed away, I could have retrieved it at the lower penalty rate and paid much less in storage cost.

My key question is: As citizens and drivers, contact information for us is quite easily available (combining the information available to the council and DVLA). In the past, a PCN generated by an automatic parking cameras in a council far away has found its way to me within two days of the contravention. Is there no obligation on the part of the council to inform the owner of a car that it has been towed away, instead of just waiting around quietly, blissfully listening to the cash registers ringing away?

Would appreciate any productive suggestions about how I may deal with this situation.

Images:













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Incandescent
post Wed, 29 Jul 2015 - 09:30
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There is no legal obligation for councils to advise motorists their car has been towed.

Also the only person they could contact would be the keeper on the V5 DVLA document, unless the car was subject to a parking permit scheme, when many councils do make some effort to advise on suspensions using the permit-holder's details. I am really quite astonished that you parked up your car and didn't even go to look at it to for months on end. In London this is very, very, misguided as there is a lot of activity that requires street closures and parking suspensions, so if you carry on like this, you will likely get towed often. The only safe place is off-road parking.

The good news is you have paid all there is to pay, so its now a no-brainer to take them all the way to London Tribunals, but the only possible statutory grounds I can think of is "the penalty exceeded the relevant amount in the circumstances of the case". The adjudicator might agree with you that the storage charges are excessive. The only other avenue is the date they put up the suspension (or road closure) notices. If your car was there when they did that they should have just repositioned it close by, but again, are under no legal obligation to do so, other than their common law duty to act fairly and proportionately.
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hcandersen
post Wed, 29 Jul 2015 - 09:51
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The schedule on the website states:

The provisions of the Orders shall apply only at such times and as directed
by traffic signs



None of the photos shows a traffic sign. It might be that what's missing from the top of the photos resolves this, but I somehow doubt it.

IMO, you should at least make reps on the basis that the contravention did not occur because the council did not place specified or authorised traffic signs which the council acknowledge were required to bring the temporary restrictions into effect.. and include the website link.
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i need help
post Wed, 29 Jul 2015 - 09:59
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QUOTE (hcandersen @ Wed, 29 Jul 2015 - 09:51) *
The schedule on the website states:

The provisions of the Orders shall apply only at such times and as directed
by traffic signs



None of the photos shows a traffic sign. It might be that what's missing from the top of the photos resolves this, but I somehow doubt it.

IMO, you should at least make reps on the basis that the contravention did not occur because the council did not place specified or authorised traffic signs which the council acknowledge were required to bring the temporary restrictions into effect.. and include the website link.



The sign has the times on it 7 - 16.00- what else do want? A metal sign on a pole? Get real.

However the TMO also says no stopping which is not on the sign so the sign does not convey the restriction, that should be enough?

Email the council and ask for the suspension order.

This post has been edited by i need help: Wed, 29 Jul 2015 - 10:22
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css81
post Wed, 29 Jul 2015 - 11:51
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QUOTE (Incandescent @ Wed, 29 Jul 2015 - 10:30) *
There is no legal obligation for councils to advise motorists their car has been towed.

Also the only person they could contact would be the keeper on the V5 DVLA document, unless the car was subject to a parking permit scheme, when many councils do make some effort to advise on suspensions using the permit-holder's details. I am really quite astonished that you parked up your car and didn't even go to look at it to for months on end. In London this is very, very, misguided as there is a lot of activity that requires street closures and parking suspensions, so if you carry on like this, you will likely get towed often. The only safe place is off-road parking.

The good news is you have paid all there is to pay, so its now a no-brainer to take them all the way to London Tribunals, but the only possible statutory grounds I can think of is "the penalty exceeded the relevant amount in the circumstances of the case". The adjudicator might agree with you that the storage charges are excessive. The only other avenue is the date they put up the suspension (or road closure) notices. If your car was there when they did that they should have just repositioned it close by, but again, are under no legal obligation to do so, other than their common law duty to act fairly and proportionately.



I am the registered owner and keeper of the car, so the V5 DVLA document has my details. Thanks for your suggestions regarding the penalty exceeding relevant amount and the part about repositioning. These will help a lot.

Look forward to any further suggestions.
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Mad Mick V
post Wed, 29 Jul 2015 - 11:55
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OP you are being shy with the dates ---we need to know date of contravention and date you got the vehicle from the pound. You only have a limited period to submit an appeal and this deadline is critical.

If you have a better photo of the sign (in its entirety) that would help us determine if it is legal. Also we are dealing with an extensive stretch of road ---were there repeat signs every so often?

The legislation which needs to be considered is :- http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1991/26/contents

Given your comments the extent of your outlay is £800+.

The Council's parking code indicates a contravention code 02 can be towed immediately.

This type of restriction needs to be advertised in the press so you may wish to investigate this.

Subject to other members views, the principal appeal point IMO is that your vehicle was in situ when the restrictions came into force. You did not enter a parking bay whilst the suspension signs were in place and therefore cannot be culpable. Neither are you at fault if the Council erected signs without your knowledge or took no steps to inform me by leaflets or letters. The vehicle had been in this position for at least ???? days prior to the suspension coming into effect.

In addition to this there is no legal obligation to check your vehicle regularly to determine if other restrictions might or might not have been applied to the parking space.

This would not be pleading mitigating circumstances but providing compelling reasons why the PCN should be invalidated.

Mick
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css81
post Wed, 29 Jul 2015 - 12:05
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QUOTE (Mad Mick V @ Wed, 29 Jul 2015 - 12:55) *
OP you are being shy with the dates ---we need to know date of contravention and date you got the vehicle from the pound. You only have a limited period to submit an appeal and this deadline is critical.

If you have a better photo of the sign (in its entirety) that would help us determine if it is legal. Also we are dealing with an extensive stretch of road ---were there repeat signs every so often?

The legislation which needs to be considered is :- http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1991/26/contents

Given your comments the extent of your outlay is £800+.

The Council's parking code indicates a contravention code 02 can be towed immediately.

This type of restriction needs to be advertised in the press so you may wish to investigate this.

Subject to other members views, the principal appeal point IMO is that your vehicle was in situ when the restrictions came into force. You did not enter a parking bay whilst the suspension signs were in place and therefore cannot be culpable. Neither are you at fault if the Council erected signs without your knowledge or took no steps to inform me by leaflets or letters. The vehicle had been in this position for at least ???? days prior to the suspension coming into effect.

In addition to this there is no legal obligation to check your vehicle regularly to determine if other restrictions might or might not have been applied to the parking space.

This would not be pleading mitigating circumstances but providing compelling reasons why the PCN should be invalidated.

Mick


Thanks Mick.

Date the notice came into effect: 22 June 2015
Date of contravention: 24 June 2015 (the date of the PCN and when it was towed).
Date of parking: 15 May 2015.
Date car retrieved from the pound: 13 July 2015.

So the car was parked there for over 5 weeks before the contravention.

I was advised at the car pound that I have 4 weeks to appeal, i.e., until the 10th of Aug (I do not have this in writing). I intend to put in the appeal well before that.

The outlay is £900+.

I have no further pictures of the notice or any knowledge of where other notices may have been placed. By the time I went there to check on the 13th of July, all notices had come off as the suspension period was over. The only picture is the one I have posted. This is one of the pictures the council has against my PCN.

Thanks for your suggestions about the points I could mention.

Would be grateful for any further suggestions.

This post has been edited by css81: Wed, 29 Jul 2015 - 12:09
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i need help
post Wed, 29 Jul 2015 - 12:17
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email the council and ask for ALL their photos.
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Mad Mick V
post Thu, 30 Jul 2015 - 06:37
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These two cases might help the OP formulate a response esp as regards a "warning":-

Appellant:
Authority: Kensington and Chelsea
VRM:
PCN:
Contravention Date: 27 Nov 2012
Contravention Time: 08:48
Contravention Location: Abbotsbury Road
Penalty Amount: £130.00
Contravention: Parked in a suspended bay/part of bay
Decision Date: 04 Feb 2013
Adjudicator: Edward Houghton
Appeal Decision: Allowed
Direction: cancel the Penalty Charge Notice and refund the penalty charge and the release charges paid.
Reasons: The Appellant's vehicle was left lawfully parked but while he was away in America the bay was suspended and the vehicle removed. A vehicle that is lawfully parked remains lawfully parked unless and until reasonable notice is given that the situation is about to change . If reasonable notice is given the fact that the motorist fails to receive it by virtue of extended absence will not avail him.

In the present case six days notice was given. Although longer than the Council's three day minimum notified to permit holders, this is less than a week, the sort of period permit holders might often be away. Although the fact that residents are informed that suspensions may occur at this short notice is a factor to be taken into account in determining what is reasonable it is not conclusive; and a Council giving less that a weeks notice of works which on the face of it must have been planned some time in advance should be in a position to explain why it was not possible to give more notice that that. The Council in its case summary does not provide such an explanation and the suspension record does not suggest that these were emergency works. On the evidence I m not persuaded that only six days notice was reasonable in the circumstances of this case . It follows that the vehicle remained lawfully parked and the Appeal is allowed.

http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWHC/Admin/2015/713.html

Mick
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i need help
post Thu, 30 Jul 2015 - 10:00
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24/06/15 free
25/06/15 free
26/06/15 £40.00
27/06/15 £40.00
28/06/15 £40.00
29/06/15 £40.00
30/06/15 £40.00
01/07/15 £40.00
02/07/15 £40.00
03/07/15 £40.00
04/07/15 £40.00
05/07/15 £40.00
06/07/15 £40.00
07/07/15 £40.00
08/07/15 £40.00
09/07/15 £40.00
10/07/15 £40.00
11/07/15 £40.00
12/07/15 £40.00
13/07/15 £40.00

Storage £720.00
PCN £130.00

£850.00
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Incandescent
post Thu, 30 Jul 2015 - 10:58
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QUOTE (i need help @ Thu, 30 Jul 2015 - 11:00) *
24/06/15 free
25/06/15 free
26/06/15 £40.00
27/06/15 £40.00
28/06/15 £40.00
29/06/15 £40.00
30/06/15 £40.00
01/07/15 £40.00
02/07/15 £40.00
03/07/15 £40.00
04/07/15 £40.00
05/07/15 £40.00
06/07/15 £40.00
07/07/15 £40.00
08/07/15 £40.00
09/07/15 £40.00
10/07/15 £40.00
11/07/15 £40.00
12/07/15 £40.00
13/07/15 £40.00

Storage £720.00
PCN £130.00

£850.00

Isn't there a towing fee as well ?
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i need help
post Thu, 30 Jul 2015 - 11:24
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Yeah, £200

so £950, he put £950+


Need to see the receipt amount.
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css81
post Thu, 30 Jul 2015 - 14:37
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QUOTE (Mad Mick V @ Thu, 30 Jul 2015 - 07:37) *
These two cases might help the OP formulate a response esp as regards a "warning":-

Appellant:
Authority: Kensington and Chelsea
VRM:
PCN:
Contravention Date: 27 Nov 2012
Contravention Time: 08:48
Contravention Location: Abbotsbury Road
Penalty Amount: £130.00
Contravention: Parked in a suspended bay/part of bay
Decision Date: 04 Feb 2013
Adjudicator: Edward Houghton
Appeal Decision: Allowed
Direction: cancel the Penalty Charge Notice and refund the penalty charge and the release charges paid.
Reasons: The Appellant's vehicle was left lawfully parked but while he was away in America the bay was suspended and the vehicle removed. A vehicle that is lawfully parked remains lawfully parked unless and until reasonable notice is given that the situation is about to change . If reasonable notice is given the fact that the motorist fails to receive it by virtue of extended absence will not avail him.

In the present case six days notice was given. Although longer than the Council's three day minimum notified to permit holders, this is less than a week, the sort of period permit holders might often be away. Although the fact that residents are informed that suspensions may occur at this short notice is a factor to be taken into account in determining what is reasonable it is not conclusive; and a Council giving less that a weeks notice of works which on the face of it must have been planned some time in advance should be in a position to explain why it was not possible to give more notice that that. The Council in its case summary does not provide such an explanation and the suspension record does not suggest that these were emergency works. On the evidence I m not persuaded that only six days notice was reasonable in the circumstances of this case . It follows that the vehicle remained lawfully parked and the Appeal is allowed.

http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWHC/Admin/2015/713.html

Mick



Many thanks Mick. Appreciate it.


As some of you suggested, I sent an email to the council asking for additional photos, a suspension record for when the notice went up and details of any press releases. I received an automated response which said that no queries are entertained unless a representation/ challenge has already been made and a relevant reference no. quoted.

I managed to get through to the council over the phone. The summary of the conversation is as below:

1) No suspension records are provided prior to challenge/representation (confirmed that there is nothing online) - these are only investigated when a representation/ challenge is made.
2) Similarly, no additional photographic evidence is provided prior to challenge/representation (except the ones already on the website that I have posted).
3) There are no email/ sms notification system for suspensions etc.
4) As per the personnel on the call, there is nothing published in newspapers (not sure if this is actually the case or if that was just her opinion)
5) Notices are meant to go up a week before on the street where the suspension is coming in place (as I have mentioned earlier, I can’t be sure if this happened). This, according to her, is the only method people are notified.
6) I was told that the best way to go forward was to make a representation and allow the council to investigate.

Based on this, I think the best course for me is to put in a representation summarising suggestions I have received here.

I will wait a couple of days before I do that.

Any further guidance in the mean time would be much appreciated.

Thank you all for your time and help.

This post has been edited by css81: Thu, 30 Jul 2015 - 15:58
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i need help
post Thu, 30 Jul 2015 - 17:03
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the council will not refund you, so make reps asap.

then appeal to patas.
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Incandescent
post Thu, 30 Jul 2015 - 19:32
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QUOTE (i need help @ Thu, 30 Jul 2015 - 18:03) *
the council will not refund you, so make reps asap.

then appeal to patas.

Don't hesitate, appeal !! You have paid all there is to pay, and could get some or all of it back by appealing. If you lose there is nothing more to pay. This really, really, is a no-brainer
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css81
post Fri, 31 Jul 2015 - 03:25
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QUOTE (Incandescent @ Thu, 30 Jul 2015 - 20:32) *
QUOTE (i need help @ Thu, 30 Jul 2015 - 18:03) *
the council will not refund you, so make reps asap.

then appeal to patas.

Don't hesitate, appeal !! You have paid all there is to pay, and could get some or all of it back by appealing. If you lose there is nothing more to pay. This really, really, is a no-brainer



I definitely will do that.

By the way, I have no knowledge of procedures should the council refuse to make any refunds (or only decide to make partial refunds).

Any guidance on this (including links etc. with details) would be very useful.

Thanks a ton guys.
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