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I've received an NIP today at my home address, but addressed to a completely different name I genuinely do not know (it is a woman's name - I am a man!).

The vehicle described MAY be a courtesy car vehicle I was using, but the alleged offence was 7 weeks ago now, so not sure if it was, let alone whether I was driving...(!)

I am assuming that, IF it was indeed a courtesy car allocated to me, the hire company will have been contacted by the police and provided my address, but for some reason have given a completely different name.

The NIP Wizard advises: "Do nothing! The police are not requesting the information from you, they are requesting it from the person the NIP is addressed to. Wait until you receive a NIP addressed to you personally, then come back here."

Question is, should I TOTALLY ignore (and do the same with repeated reminders, potentially summons etc. until such point they give up or pursue it further) - or return the NIP in the reply paid envelope with "not known at this address" written on it (and nothing else, i.e. not my name) - in the hope that they just drop this particular NIP as it's not worth their effort following up (e.g. with the hire company) to try and track down a name?

Thoughts welcome, thanks....
As usual, see what others say, but...

Firstly, if I were you I'd try and think long and hard about whether, given the alleged offence's location, date and time, it could indeed have been me driving at the time.

If you realise it was likely to have been you, then I guess go down the route of ignoring everything till you get to the stage (probably in court) of having to argue the S172 request didn't apply to you or till they send you a correct S172.

If you're sure it wasn't, then reply telling them you don't know the named person, they've never lived at that address etc etc and see what happens next.

If you're unsure, then as above but maybe leave your reply towards the end of (but within) the 28 day period, just to hedge all your bets.

Basically you don't want to have to get to the stage of arguing over summons etc unless you really do have potential points to avoid, so no point playing silly buggers unless you have to.

This is all assuming they haven't just called you Mrs Scuds instead of Mr, which from what you say is the case.

id just ignore it and wait for a summons to the unknown lady to arrive, then send that back unknown at this address

if you send it( the 172) back, they will just send a correct one, (either to you or the woman)

nb it would seem impossible to summons the op for failure to furnish
It will be at least 4 weeks before they notice there isn't a reply.

Allow a few more weeks to summons, then they get the "not known at this address".

The police may realise that either they, or the hire company made a mistake but by the time a subsequent S172 to the OP has run its own 28 days, this has an excellent chance of a time-out.

"Ignore" looks an excellent strategy as long as the name is so different that it can't be dismissed as a simple typo.

Pete D
If the name confused you why did you open it. Is the surname correct. Is it Mrs rather then Mr or what christian is used. Just ignoring this may not be the best way forward. Pete D
QUOTE (Scuds @ Fri, 24 Sep 2010 - 12:32) *
I've received an NIP today at my home address, but addressed to a completely different name I genuinely do not know
Pete D
He knows it is a NIP so he must have opened it. Pete D
If the NIP is not correctly addressed to the OP then the OP is NOT obliged to respond to it. So, OP, in these circumstances - do nothing.

However, the name MUST be different not just a simple spelling mistake. Sometimes a Mr/Mrs error can be used to "ignore" any s.172 request. A husband is not obliged to fill out a form addressed to his wife or visa versa. However if there is only a Mr Jones the bachelor in residence - the "I have no wife" defence may be a bit difficult although not impossible.

So if the OP is (for example) Mr Smith and the NIP is addressed to Mrs Brown - the OP might (for example) file the NIP carefully in the rubbish bin. If the NIP is addressed to "Mr White" and the OP is in fact named "Mr. Whit". Then the OP might be advised to respond as if a small error had been made - or at least enquire if it was Mr White and not Mr Whit the Police were after.

While one might be tempted to be pedantic over "small but obvious errors" the bench are rarely impressed. AFAIK larger errors are beyond their discretion "to correct".
QUOTE (Pete D @ Fri, 24 Sep 2010 - 16:07) *
He knows it is a NIP so he must have opened it. Pete D

so what, do you check the name on all your letters before opening them, i dont and have frequently opened letters addressed to next door
Aint it illegal to open someone elses mail without permission? So he shouldn't know what is in it.
I'm sure I've heard of people going to court accused of opening other peoples mail.

Interfering with mail - Postal Services Act 2000 Section 84

Triable Summarily (Magistrates court)
6 Months and or a fine (Max)

A person commits an offence if they without reasonable excuse intentionally delay or open a postal packet in the course of transmission by post or intentionally opens a mail bag.

A person commits an offence if, intending to act to a person's detriment and without reasonable excuse, opens a postal packet which they know or suspect to have been delivered incorrectly.
Not once it has been delivered.
If it has been misdelivered, e.g. addressed to next door, it is only illegal if you have a malicious intent.
As C-O pointed out, it depends whether the OP thinks that he could have been the driver.

If he definitely wasn't, he may as well return it as not known.

If he probably was the driver, he can't reply to an S172 that isn't addressed to him and he has no obligation to take any action regarding the letter. He has nothing to gain from returning it and will only alert the police in time to correct their error.

As far as I'm aware, once the letter is wrongly delivered it is only an offence to open it if you are intending to act to the person's detriment.

In the OP's situation, I've previously opened a letter because it was from the police. After some research I was able to deliver it to my neighbour's new toyboy. Before taking any action, perhaps the OP could check if it's an address typo.
All - thanks for your responses/inputs. To try and answer some of the Qs raised...

The NIP has COMPLETELY the wrong name on. I won't give the real names, but say that I am "Mark Jones"; the letter is addressed to "Laura Smith". The only other adult at my house is my wife, let's call her "Sarah Jones". It is not a typo (i.e. something the police could get away with under the "slip rule").

Between you and me(!) it was almost certainly me driving the vehicle detailed in the NIP, however it was a courtesy car from a repair garage, who were repairing my company car, which itself is leased by a third party lease company to my employers, and hence the repair would have been organised by the lease company and/or accident repair agents working for my employers (or their lease company)... hopefully you're getting the picture as to why the name on the NIP is wrong!

I would expect what has happened is that the repair company (or whoever is the reg keeper) have somehow managed to provide my correct address, but given the name of some lady in the long chain of different companies who were involved in owning/leasing/repairing my company car. I've checked the incorrect name on the NIP against my company's email system and it doesn't exist - so my assumption is it's not anyone at my employers but someone else in the long chain at one of the many other companies involved.

As to why I opened the letter - I am aware there are some laws around intercepting post (although not the detail of them, so thanks for the above) - however it was a case of having been delivered a letter with my correct address on but a completely random name (which I did not recognise as being one of my neighbours), so was trying to work out what it was and reunite it with it's rightful owner. To be honest, it looked a bit like junk mail at first!

With hindsight, it would probably have been better if I'd returned to sender unopened (...could have even Googled the "return to sender" PO Box number on the envelope which would have come back as the police ticket office!). If I send back now and things went the distance I could be (very) unlucky and get into a position where they were able to trace the hire records properly and work out it was me who had the car, and then do me for having read the NIP, clearly knowing full well it was me who had the car, but sending it back (having been opened) with "not known" written on it. It would be very unlikely I know as there would be a lot they couldn't prove (e.g. that I read any of the detail) - but for a minor speeding offence I don't want to take any risks of (major) hassle. [maybe I'm being a bit paranoid about this...]

However, to me it comes back to the key point which is that the NIP is NOT EVEN ADDRESSED TO ME (it's not even close!) or anyone at my house, so as I understand it I am not legally obliged to respond re the S172.

Trying to collate together the suggestions made, I think I will do the following:

1) Work on the basis that I never opened the NIP as it was clearly addressed to some completely random person - and that the letter was hence binned (or lost by Royal Mail when put back in the post box with "not at this address" on).
2) I then keep an eye out for further letters (reminders(?), summons etc.) - I will be able to spot them as presumably they will have the same incorrect name on them as the NIP.
3) When I get those, I write "UNKNOWN AT THIS ADDRESS" on the UNOPENED envelope and return to sender
4) By then with a bit of luck that much time will have elapsed the police (or more likely the 3rd party bods doing tickets for them) won't have the effort to go back to the courtesy car company and do lots of digging to try and find out the correct hirer's name. I would assume it's like any company/office and they'll end up with some where it's not worth them the £60 pursuing it and they just bin them at their end?! (I'm being hopeful here...)

...and anything I get in the meantime with the incorrect name on I will just bounce (unopened) as it is not addressed to me, so why should I / would I respond?

...and if for some reason they do work out the correct name and re-send the NIP, it will be a fair cop and I'll take my £60 and 3pts (or speed awareness course) like a man.

[By the way, this is all to do with going 37mph in a 30mph zone at 11.55pm at night when the roads were deserted...!]
Yep, do nothing, ignore all letters with that name on til maybe 6 mth has passed from date of offence as they only have 6 mths to take it to court.
I wouldn't return to sender until 6 mth is up.

your going a bit wrong in the middle there, retain nip and any reminders that come, this will probably come a few days after the notice you have expires

if your really unlucky, they will go back to the company for clarification, in which case they might unravel it, if not in a few months a summons will arrive, this will have the courts address on the back,,, do not open ths, if it still well with in the 6 months since offence, just ignore it, if its on or round 6 months just send it back unknown
Yes, I suppose there is no law that you must return incorrectly addressed letters to sender, so filing them in the bin is a perfectly understandable approach until any such time when / if they can be bothered to pursue and work it out. And if they did that, presumably they wouldn't have much of a leg to stand on in terms of extra punishment for not responding (to NIP or summons) if they're addressed to a totally different person (even if at the same address).

Thanks for the ideas...
The Rookie
QUOTE (Scuds @ Fri, 24 Sep 2010 - 17:47) *
i.e. something the police could get away with under the "slip rule"

The so called 'slip rule' in the mag's court act allows the court to correct errors in COURT PAPERWORK only, it could never be used to correct an error in a NIP.

Otherwise I back all other opinions, keep it (just in case) but ignore, ignore anything for 'Laura Smith' until you get a court summons, then return as unknown at that address.

QUOTE (Scuds @ Fri, 24 Sep 2010 - 18:07) *
filing them in the bin is a perfectly understandable approach

I would NEVER throw any in the bin, but would file safely out of the away,
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