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I need justice!
Hello,

This is my first post so please be gentle!

I parked my car in a street in an area of Harringey where most of the bays are either pay and display or business permit holders only, however I managed to find a space on the end of a bay (with 3 other cars already parked behind) where there was no sign just a bare black pole where one should have been. I checked to see if the other drivers had tickets or permits in the windscreen (they hadn't) and if there were any more signs around but there were none. I could only assume if the pole was bare with no information, there were no parking restrictions. Satisfied, I left my car parked there.

I returned 4 hours later to find that the black pole had a shiny new pay and display sign fixed to the top and my car, along with 2 other cars parked in the same bay, had PCN's attached. Obviously the council had replaced the signs and either immediately issued the tickets as a money making exercise, or a civil enforcement officer came along just afterwards and issued the tickets unaware of the work that had just taken place.

Just before I left the driver of another car came back and I told her what had happened. It just so happened that she was an off-duty local police officer who said that she would be appealing the ticket as her story was similar to mine. As a police officer I assume that she would know the law... you would hope!

My main concern is that I cannot prove that the sign wasn't there before. I have the registrations of the other cars that got tickets but I am not really sure what good these are to me. I was hoping that I could point out there mistake and if they receive appeals from the other drivers then I was hoping that they might drop the charge.

I have attached images of the PCN for you all to look at below. One interesting thing which may be useful is that ticket indicates that the colour of my car is blue. My car is most certainly not blue. Would this on its own be enough to invalidiate the ticket? I am not sure because I wouldn't be able it wasn't my car beacause if this was the case I wouldn't have the ticket.

All advice is greatly appreciated.

Many thanks,


I Need Justice



dave-o
Wrong colour is not an appeal point.

In the situation i think it may be worth a strongly-worded informal appeal, stating exactly what happened.

Make it clear that if it is not cancelled, you will be demanding maintenance and work records for the signs, you will be taking it all the way to the adjudicator and you will be requesting costs.
buttonpusher
Is that the correct contravention "not clearly displaying a valid etc." ??
Gan
Agree with Dave-O.

As additional support for your appeal, get some photos of the signs and fastenings while they are still pristine as evidence that they were very recently replaced.

If you can show that the clamps are in slightly different positions that will be even better.
I need justice!




Here are some additional pictures that may help. Just to check the legality of the PCN with the sign and bay markings etc.

Sorry Gan, I'm not sure what you mean by the "clamps" being in different positions.

Buttonpusher, with the images above you may be able to advise whether or not the contravention is the correct one.

Thanks for you help so far...


I Need Justice!
bama
Gan means the metal bands that fix the sign to the post.

As an aside to fighting the ticket the local paper may be interested in this.
"Council pounces on parked cars moments AFTER putting up a new sign"
I need justice!
Thank you bama.

Unfortunately I can't show that the sign or its fastenings have been tampered with as I only have the photographs after I was issued the ticket. Naturally, I do not have any photographs from before as I didn't know I was going to get a ticket.

A quick email to the London Metro and reference to this in my appeal may be a good idea...

Thanks.

I Need Justice!
Gan
It doesn't matter about photographs before.

What you're after is evidence that the sign is very new and the bands (thanks Bama) are either very clean with no dirt in any threads / crevices or there are signs that they are in a different place than before - paint slightly discoloured or a sharp edged stripe.

The council then have to produce the records because if they claim the sign has been in place for years they don't have any credibility.

The post also looks freshly painted. Ask if it has been, how many coats and how long does it take to dry ?

I need justice!
Thank you for clearing that up Gan.

I will take some more photographs tomorrow of the reverse side of the sign showing that the bands are brand new. The street itself has been newly regenerated with many changes to parking restrictions on the whole. I don't think that the posts are any more than 12 months old so I don't think that they will have been repainted since they were put up but I will look for the tell-tale lines as you have suggested. I will certainly mention in my appeal letter that I would like to see their records. When I pulled up I didn't actually think that I could park there without a ticket because I thought that it was a pay and display bay but because there was no sign assumed that I could park for free.

I am drafting up an appeal letter which I will put on the forum shortly to see what you all think.

Thanks for your continuing help.
I need justice!
Here is a copy of the draught I intend to send to appeal the ticket. Please let me know what you think. If I find any further evidence when rephotographing the metal bands tomorrow, I will include it.



To whom it may concern,

I am writing with regard to Penalty Charge Notice Number *************
This notice was issued *******************

I would like to appeal the ticket as the Penalty Charge Notice is invalid due to procedural impropriety on the part of the enforcement authority.


The reasons that I am not liable and therefore will not be paying this ticket are outlined below:

On ****************** at approximately *******, I parked my car at the location described as *********************** on the PCN. I am aware that most of the parking bays in this and the surrounding streets are marked either for Business Permit Holders or Pay and Display. However, the bay I parked in had no signs indicating any parking restrictions. Indeed, the black metal pole that displays such information had no sign on it whatsoever. There were also three other cars parked in the bay including a ***************** registration ******* and a **************** registration *******. I checked to see if they were displaying business permits or displaying tickets and found that they also were not. Having made sure that I was not in contravention of any parking restrictions I left the car parked there. It should also be noted that I had a passenger when parking the car who is able to act as a witness and confirm this.

When returning to my car at *******, I was shocked and appalled to find a new Pay and Display sign fixed to the top of the previously vacant black pole and a PCN attached to my windscreen. The other cars also had tickets attached. Whilst I was reading the ticket the owner of the *********** came back and saw what had happened. She had parked there at about ******* and as a local police officer was totally disgusted with the situation confirming that she too would be appealing her ticket. I can only hope the drivers of the other cars do the same. There is no question that the sign was newly fitted as I have photographic evidence to back this up.


It is clear to me that there two possible explanations for this situation:

1) Haringey council workers have replaced the signs and immediately issued tickets to the cars parked in the bay as a money making exercise which is not only completely unfair but also devoid of any moral consciousness.

2) Haringey council workers have replaced the signs and having completed their work, left the area. Following this, a civil enforcement officer has arrived and unaware of the recent change to the parking restrictions, issued the ticket.

From a personal point of view I am not sure which of these scenarios is worse. Obviously the first are the actions of a corrupt, calculative and greedy council that has little regard for the public that its supposed to be serving. The second scenario shows a council that cannot communicate between departments and therefore doesn't know what it's doing. It seems quite an easy measure to inform civil enforcement officers of changes being made to road signage so that situations like this do not occur. What has happened here is akin to lifting a parked car from the ground in order to paint double yellow lines, replacing the car and then issuing a ticket. In opinion it is completely and utterly fraudulent.

I expect this PCN to be cancelled along with a written apology from you with regards to this matter. If you do not cancel the ticket and insist on payment, I will require the maintenance and work records to prove that the work took place after I parked my car. Subsequently, I will be taking the matter all the way to the adjudicator and my require costs to be reimbursed by you. The local newspapers are also interested to find out how you will deal with this case so I suggest it is best for all parties for it to be dropped. Not only have you embarassed yourselves but you have wasted my valuable time in writing to you to deal with this situation.

Regards

I-LOV-MONEY
Personally I wouldn't refer to bays in other streets. You are only concerned with that particular bay which had no signs when you parked.

Did the police officer give you her details, so that you can keep in contact, and possibly refer to her in your appeal.

Anyway, let others with more experience add to this.
Gan
It's an inspired rant but I'd sleep on it before you decide to send it in that form.

Tempting as it to tell them that you don't know if their error is down to mendacity or incompetence - I'd stick to the basic facts.

The sign was not there when you arrived. A new sign was erected and your car ticketed before you returned. You have photographic evidence and will demand that the maintenance records are produced to the adjudicator if they reject your appeal.

You could however suggest that they might wish to cancel the the similar tickets issued that day. If forced to adjudication by the council's vexatious behaviour you will report the possible malfeasance (they hate that word) to the ombudsman and the local paper so that the other victims can apply for refunds.
dave-o
Meh - I say go for it!

After all, if what you say is true then there is no way they will want this in front of an adjudicator.
I need justice!
Thanks for everyones imput.

I revisited the the scene of the crime (!) and took some more photographs. As you predicted Gan, there are indeed markings from where the previous sign had been and even better still, there is a sticker listing months and years. "Feb" and "2010" have been scratched out. This surely must be an indication of when the sign was changed and even though it doesn't have the precise date it must be all the ammo I need to fight this one.

Submitting an ever so slightly but no less robust appeal to the council now... wish me luck!

I'll let you know how it goes.


I Need Justice!
I need justice!
Thank you to everyone who has contributed so far, but the fight goes on...

I receieved the following email from the council yesterday.



Dear ******************

We are rejecting your informal challenge
Thank you for your email, which we received on the 18 February 2010.

The contravention
You were issued with this Penalty Charge Notice at ***** at ********************* because your vehicle parked in a Pay and Display Bay without payment.

Your objections
In your email you said that the bay where you were parked had no signs indicating any parking restrictions.

Our decision
I have examined the CEO’s (Civil Enforcement Officer`s) notes, which were made at the time of this contravention. The notes say that when the CEO checked all the windows of your vehicle, no valid Pay and Display ticket was displayed. The CEO was close enough to have recorded the vehicle`s ten digit tax disc number and would therefore have seen a valid Pay and Display ticket if it had been on display.

One of the conditions of leaving a vehicle in a Pay and Display bay is that you must have the Pay and Display ticket clearly on display for as long as the vehicle is parked there.

The photographic evidence ( see attached ) clearly shows that there was a sign at this location advising drivers of the parking restrictions in force.

I am satisfied that the signs and lines at this location are adequate enough to advise drivers of the parking restrictions that are in force.

I am therefore satisfied that the penalty charge notice was served correctly and I am not willing to cancel it.

What happens now?
The payment of the penalty charge notice is now required. If we do not receive payment within the next 28 days (from the date this letter was delivered to you), we will send the registered keeper a formal Notice to Owner form. This form can be used to make formal representations to appeal against our decision.

Payment discount still available for another 14 days
It is still possible to pay the penalty charge at the reduced amount of £40.00, as long as we receive the payment within 14 days, from the date of this letter was delivered to you. After that the full charge of £80.00 will be payable.

The enclosed leaflet explains how to pay.


Yours sincerely


I. M. A. Jobsworth



It is clear from email that they have not bothered to read and comprehend the details of the case and therefore I will need to take this further, but I don't know what the next step should be. I think I need to write a formal appeal but don't know what to say other than what has been said already.

All help appreciated,


I Need Justice
dave-o
-Wait for the NTO
-Make a formal appeal on the same lines as informal, adding that your formal appeal was not properly considered.
-When it's cancelled, make a formal complaint against Jobsworth for not bothering to read your appeal.
I need justice!
Thanks dave-o.

So let me just clarify...

I'll receive the Notice to Owner in the post in a couple of weeks after the 28 day payment period has expired. Then I can make a formal appeal stating that the informal one I made was not properly dealt with. I assume that the procedure and contact information to make the formal appeal will be on the NTO.

Sorry if I'm being a bit slow on the uptake!
ManxRed
You'll receive an Notice to Owner (NtO), it can be up to 6 months after the contravention, but in all likelihood it'll be in a few weeks. You then submit the same appeal as you have before, but add to it that the informal appeal was not properly considered.

Their complete disregard for the informal appeal is par for the course.
Chas820
You might want to email the council(roads maintenance dept)and ask when the sign was replaced.It will add weight to your appeal.
dave-o
QUOTE (I need justice! @ Wed, 24 Feb 2010 - 14:24) *
I'll receive the Notice to Owner in the post in a couple of weeks after the 28 day payment period has expired.


It could be a few days after it expires.

QUOTE (I need justice! @ Wed, 24 Feb 2010 - 14:24) *
Then I can make a formal appeal stating that the informal one I made was not properly dealt with.


As well as all the points made in your formal appeal.


QUOTE (I need justice! @ Wed, 24 Feb 2010 - 14:24) *
I assume that the procedure and contact information to make the formal appeal will be on the NTO.


Yes.
I need justice!
Thanks everyone.

I'll let you know of any developments...

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