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Congestion charge - typed an 'O' not an '0' in the reg
J_BK
post Wed, 24 Jun 2020 - 17:46
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Hi everyone,

I'd really appreciate your thoughts on this. I had an PCN issued for a car I hired back in March but have only recently been made aware of it by Europcar - they paid the £80 for it in April and now want £120 from me including a £40 admin fee.

Issue is I paid the congestion charge through the TFL mobile app on the day but unfortunately made a mistake by entering a '0' not an 'O' in one character of the number plate. Having spoken to TFL this morning and giving them the receipt details I've been told its my mistake and the PCN is valid and needed to be paid, therefore no refund. Obviously this seems pretty harsh but was wondering if anyone had a similar experience or successfully appealed it with them?

The situation is made for complicated as TFL won't accept representations or appeals from me as I'm not the registered keeper and claim its beyond their timeframe of 28 days to appeal anyway.

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post Wed, 24 Jun 2020 - 17:46
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stamfordman
post Wed, 24 Jun 2020 - 19:09
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I don't see what you can do as the PCN has been paid and you have no standing as not the RK. What do the rental terms say? Did they make any attempt to tell you about the PCN before paying it?

The £40 admin charge is hefty - some only charge half as much.

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cp8759
post Wed, 24 Jun 2020 - 19:34
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This sounds very much like a self-inflicted loss, as liability could and should have been transferred to you. Post up all the paperwork you've received, redact just your name and address. Obviously this is just a contractual matter now, so you can forget about TFL or the enforcement process, however that doesn't mean you should pay either.

This post has been edited by cp8759: Wed, 24 Jun 2020 - 19:34


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I am not on the "motorists's side", nor am I on the "police/CPS/council's" side, I am simply in favour of the rule of law.
No, I am not a lawyer.
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J_BK
post Tue, 30 Jun 2020 - 15:29
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Hi all,

Apologies for the delay in posting the details behind this. Had some problems logging in but I’m back now.

I think its quiet an interesting one, mostly with lockdown making Europcar processes not working properly and therefore me not being informed of things promptly.

This is the timeline of events:

20th March
- Hired a car on the 16-20th of March – The PCN relates to the 20th when I travelled through London as I was returning the car.
- I paid the congestion charge online, albeit with the ‘0’ ‘o’ typo.

26th March - PCN issued

13th May
- First time I know about the PCN is when I receive a letter from Europcar on the 13 May (dated 3rd of May) saying there was an outstanding balance.
- It also says ‘An invoice has been sent out to you recently detailing these charges’ but I’ve never received this invoice or a copy of the PCN by post
- I immediately phone Europcar and they email me the PCN and invoice (this was dated the 8th April). When I asked why I hadn’t received this I was told that with lockdown there were delays sending out correspondence. They also blamed the Royal Mail.
- I checked on the TFL website and can see the PCN was paid by Europcar on the 8th April, so the date on the invoice they subsequently sent me
- I immediately email them the receipt of me paying the congestion charge and customer services tell me they are sending it to their fines team to contact TFL for a refund

1st June
- I receive a ‘Final Demand’ from Europcar. This is dated the 7th May but again its weeks later that I receive it
- I contact Europcar who tell me to email their customer services department for an update

10th June / 22nd June
- I chase them and get told its being investigated and the invoice is on hold

24th June
- I get an email saying they’ve cancelled another invoice (not connected to this congestion charge point) but the other one is still active.
- I phoned Europcar again and just get told to email their customer services team again for an update. The person on the phone wasn’t able to tell me if they had received anything from the TFL
- Separately I phone the TFL asking them if the have received any correspondence from Europcar but they are unable to tell me either as I’m not the registered keeper. They do tell me however i) It was my fault I made a mistake on the congestion charge payment and therefore the PCN is valid, ii) Its too late now to appeal, iii) I can’t make a late representation to them, only Europcar can

I’ve been and looked at Europcar’s terms and conditions. This is interesting as you’ll see. It does say they have the discretion to pay a PCN themselves and invoice me. But it also says it will do so within a timeframe that allow me to appeal it with the issuer – which they haven’t done and am now out of time.

9.3.1.2. If we receive a penalty charge notice or a parking charge notice that is issued by any issuing body for the Vehicle during your Hire Period and which is capable of being paid then we may pay it so that we mitigate the cost of it. Where we, at our discretion and for whatever reason, choose to pay such charges you will reimburse us the said charge plus our Third Party Administration Charge (for each charge we pay or each time we deal with such correspondence). If we do pay it then we will take the following actions:
• we will give you notice that we have paid the penalty and supply an invoice for the cost of the penalty plus our Third Party Administration Charge; and
• we will tell you that we intend to take the money for the cost of the penalty and the Third Party Administration Charge from your credit/debit card within 14 days of the date of our notice to you unless you write to us with a legitimate reason why the fine or penalty should not have been paid.
• If you do contact us with a legitimate reason as to why the fine or penalty should not be paid then we will put this to the issuing body. If the issuing body refuses your appeal then we will confirm this to you and then take the money for the cost of the penalty and the Third Party Administration Charge from your credit/debit card.

All in all, this puts me in quite a difficult position as
- I’m relying on Europcar to appeal and fight this properly as I can’t do so directly with the TFL – I have no evidence they are doing this
- Europcar didn’t inform me of the PCN within the timeframe I’m unable to appeal now anyway
- TFL seem not to care and I guess haven’t really got a reason to now they have already received payment. On their website it does give this exact situation as a common instance when they will. at their discretion, cancel the PCN

This post has been edited by J_BK: Tue, 30 Jun 2020 - 15:31
Attached File(s)
Attached File  Fine_2.pdf ( 217.96K ) Number of downloads: 10
Attached File  Invoice__1_.pdf ( 58.79K ) Number of downloads: 8
 
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stamfordman
post Tue, 30 Jun 2020 - 18:53
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So they followed policy and paid it at their discretion, but they failed to tell you in time so you could object.

I think the only thing you can do is ask them to tell TFL that owing to Covid they were unable to give you normal recourse and that there are good grounds to consider a refund under TFL's discretionary policy. A big firm like that should have a good relationship with TFL and they should want to have a good relationship with a customer.

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cp8759
post Tue, 30 Jun 2020 - 19:24
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I would (in professional and courteous language of course) tell Europcar to jog on.

Firstly, the policy says "we may pay it so that we mitigate the cost of it", but they did not mitigate anything. They could have mitigated the PCN entirely, indeed to zero, by simply transferring liability to you. Instead they chose to pay a penalty they didn't have to pay. This is very much a self-inflicted loss.

The fact that Europcar are too thick to simply transfer liability to you is frankly not your problem. I would outright tell them that if they want to pursue this they're going to have to sue you. They won't, but even if they did I'd be more than happy to act as your lay representative in court.

If you want, I can draft a letter with the necessary legalese to send to them.


--------------------
I am not on the "motorists's side", nor am I on the "police/CPS/council's" side, I am simply in favour of the rule of law.
No, I am not a lawyer.
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