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bobfox
Hi there,

I'm hoping someone can provide some insights...

I parked in a council car park, having overstayed by about 10 minutes. I walked up to my drivers door via the back of the car, got in and drove off. I then parked on a city centre street for 6.5 hours, which was in a different local authority. When I returned to my car after work I noticed a parking ticket under the passenger side wiper.

The envelope was empty and sealed and had not been stuck to the windscreen (the plastic strip that says "remove to affix" was not removed), and was from the council that runs the first car park I was in that day.

I decided to contact the council to find out if the envelope related to me and I did explain what I thought had happened. I got a response today to say that yes, it was for me and that I overstayed my welcome by 12 minutes. The head-cam evidence from the CEO shows that he put the PCN in the envelope and put it under my wiper. My reasons for being late (saving the council money as it happens!!) were noted and ignored.

I can only assume that, unless the woman from the council is lying about the head cam evidence, while parked on city centre streets the envelope was relieved of its contents due to not being sealed.

Does anyone have any advice as to whether this is valid and I should still by paying? I don't have a PCN, only a soft copy of a letter saying I parked illegally, and even if the PCN was originally put in the envelope, does it count as having been properly served?

I've found that TMA 2004 says;

78 Notification of penalty charge

(2)The regulations may provide for notification of a penalty charge to be given in respect of a stationary vehicle— (a)by a notice affixed to the vehicle,

If the strip that says remove to affix hasn't been removed, then can it still be considered to be affixed?!


Any advice is welcome, its pretty annoying as I could probably have ignored the empty envelope!
SchoolRunMum
Head-cam? I wonder if that's an approved device and how you can view the footage?!

Please post a picture/scan/copy of the soft copy of the letter saying you parked 'illegally' (does it really say that?).
bobfox
Click to view attachmentHow does that look?

First point is that I haven't actually challenged the PCN - I enquired as to whether I had one because the envelope was empty. How can you challenge something you don't have?!

I haven't received a PCN by post, or (in my opinion) by affixing to car.

I'm sure I remember my car clock said 10.36 as I drove out of the car park (obviously I could be wrong about that!), which means I got to the car at about 10.34/35, and I could see it for at least a minute on approach. I didn't see anybody, let alone a CEO in that time, but apparently it was issued at 10.37.
hcandersen
[quote]How does that look?

First point is that I haven't actually challenged the PCN - I enquired as to whether I had one because the envelope was empty. How can you challenge something you don't have?! Let's see a copy then. The council is clear it was a challenge and their response reflects the fact that it comprised more than a single point e.g. your tariff, the envelope, grace periods etc.

I haven't received a PCN by post, or (in my opinion) by affixing to car. affixing is not the issue is it because the envelope was there. This is not a winning appeal point in my opinion.

I'm sure I remember my car clock said 10.36 as I drove out of the car park (obviously I could be wrong about that!), which means I got to the car at about 10.34/35, and I could see it for at least a minute on approach. I didn't see anybody, let alone a CEO in that time, but apparently it was issued at 10.37. where's your P&D ticket? They allow 10 minutes' grace, so this should expire later that 10.27. Does it?


I think we need to look at a wider range of issues than those you're highlighting which means we need more info.


HCA
bobfox
QUOTE ('hcandersen')
Let's see a copy then. The council is clear it was a challenge and their response reflects the fact that it comprised more than a single point e.g. your tariff, the envelope, grace periods etc.


Do you mean a copy of my enquiry? I (perhaps wrongly?) gave as much info as I could to help, but I wasn't challenging a PCN as I didn't know at that stage if I had one.

QUOTE ('my enquiry')
Hi there,

I found an empty parking envelope attached to my car yesterday and I wanted to find out if I had been given a ticket. The envelope is completely sealed but is empty.

I thought that I should provide you with as much information as possible to help figure out what has happened so I have set out below the details of what happened.

I parked my car (reg: XXXXX) in the Baltic car park to visit XXXXXX at XXXXXXXXXXXX in the adjacent building. (snip for confidentiality, not really relevant) I paid £1 for the ticket (because I didn't have 90p in change). The ticket was purchased at 9.25 and expired at 10.25 as there is no time credit for the extra 10p!

My meeting with XXXX overran by a few minutes and I returned to my car shortly after 10.30. I then left the car park and drove to my office, and I parked my car on XXXXXX in Newcastle.

When I returned to my car at about 17.30 I noticed a Gateshead Council parking envelope on my car. The envelope was not fixed to the car but was placed under the wiper at the very bottom edge of the passenger side of the windscreen so it was not visible from the driver's seat. It was dated 28/7/11, and as I had parked at the Baltic car park earlier in the day I assume it was placed on my car there.

When I picked the envelope up, I noticed the strip that should be removed in order to stick the envelope to the windscreen was still in place. The envelope was sealed but is definitely empty. I'm aware that envelopes should contain a PCN which would give details of any alleged offence, but as the envelope is empty I don't have any information to go on, or even if I have been given a ticket. If i have been given a ticket, I assume it would be for over-staying by 5-10 minutes past my ticket expiry time, but as the envelope is empty I don't know!

Obviously I don't want to open the envelope in case you need to inspect it to show that it is empty.

Please can you let me know what needs to happen or if you need any more information? I am very happy to provide all the help that I can.

My contact details are below.

Thanks
,

XXXX


QUOTE ('hcandersen')
affixing is not the issue is it because the envelope was there. This is not a winning appeal point in my opinion.


Fair enough that it was there, my question really is - what counts as affixed? Eg, if I had used my windscreen wipers, the envelope would have flown off the car due to not being affixed to it. I assume there is some proper guidance on this somewhere?

QUOTE ('hcandersen')
where's your P&D ticket? They allow 10 minutes' grace, so this should expire later that 10.27. Does it?


Nope, it says 10.25.


QUOTE ('hcandersen')
I think we need to look at a wider range of issues than those you're highlighting which means we need more info.


Is there anything else other than my enquiry?



SchoolRunMum
I would be writing/emailing back and asking to see the 'headcam footage' because you are clearly saying that the envelope is intact and sealed, but completely empty. It's possible but surely unlikely that a prankster would remove a PCN from a yellow envelope and then seal it...I think the Council needs to show the evidence of service of more than a yellow envelope. They say they have the footage, ask to view it and ask for a copy of the CEO's notes as well, and a copy of the PCN they allege was served.

bama
its very difficult to open the sealed yellow envelope and then reseal it without leaving evidence that it has been opened.
aren't they made that way on purpose.
bobfox
QUOTE (bama @ Thu, 11 Aug 2011 - 14:35) *
its very difficult to open the sealed yellow envelope and then reseal it without leaving evidence that it has been opened.
aren't they made that way on purpose.

You would have thought so. The envelope definitely hasn't been damaged or stretched in any way which suggests two scenarios;

1) CEO didn't put the PCN in the envelope for some reason, but did seal the envelope; or
2) The envelope wasn't sealed at all so the PCN was liberated while it was left unattended on a city street for 6.5 hours. Said liberater doing me the "favour" of sealing the envelope.
hcandersen
I could see this generating numerous posts when in reality we don't have a lot to go on except conflicting evidence. None of us has a crystal ball which can square the circle of the council saying they've evidence that the PCN was placed in the envelope which was then placed on the car and you saying that same envelope is empty.

In process terms you've made a challenge and they've responded. IMO, you now have to wait until the NTO to make a further challenge - I don't think there's anything to be gained by disputing matters with the council in additional correspondence. But that's not to say that you shouldn't ask for information.

As suggested, ask for a copy of the head-cam video (or view it if they cannot supply). Also, let us know which car park so we can investigate the traffic order.

HCA
bama
agreed.
headcam footage should show the state of the envelope when it was attached.
what the odds the footage is 'not available'....
bobfox
QUOTE ('hcandersen')
In process terms you've made a challenge and they've responded. IMO, you now have to wait until the NTO to make a further challenge - I don't think there's anything to be gained by disputing matters with the council in additional correspondence. But that's not to say that you shouldn't ask for information.

As suggested, ask for a copy of the head-cam video (or view it if they cannot supply). Also, let us know which car park so we can investigate the traffic order.

If the time on the letter is correct and my memory of my car's clock is wrong, then I overstayed by 12 minutes so am liable to a PCN. I'd probably be best of taking advantage of the discount and forgetting about it, I don't really want to get in to a drawn out battle.

Car park is the Baltic Car Park in Gateshead


QUOTE (bama @ Thu, 11 Aug 2011 - 15:09) *
agreed.
headcam footage should show the state of the envelope when it was attached.
what the odds the footage is 'not available'....


If the envelope is clearly not sealed, am I right to think that it makes no difference other than I've just had to go through a lot of hassle to get my PCN?

For the sake of my sanity, does placing the envelope on the car really consitute attaching/affixing? In laymans terms it doesn't really follow.
Mortimer
Shouldn't he be asking for a copy of the PCN too?

Is the yellow envelope still sealed and undamaged?
bobfox
QUOTE (Mortimer @ Thu, 11 Aug 2011 - 15:23) *
Shouldn't he be asking for a copy of the PCN too?

Is the yellow envelope still sealed and undamaged?


Yes it is still sealed and undamaged
SchoolRunMum
Well it's your call but FWIW, personally I would not be 'taking advantage of the discount', it will quite possibly be re-offered anyway at NtO stage as the Council seem to think you made an informal appeal.

I would email now and ask for the head-cam footage, or a way to view it, plus a copy of the CEO's notes and the PCN they say was served, so that you can make an informed decision on whether to carry on appealing this matter.

It shouldn't be a battle, it's just a 3 stage appeal process and you already have some evidence that you believe the PCN was not served. They say they have some evidence that it was served. So it's perfectly reasonable for them to show you their evidence and a copy of the PCN at this early opportunity.
bobfox
I've requested the footage, PCN and notes so we shall see what comes back!
bobfox
That was quick!

PCN is attached, blanked-out details are correct. Is it all ok?
SchoolRunMum
I can't see anything wrong with the PCN but would still be wanting to see the footage they are relying on, and the CEO's notes. A duplicate PCN doesn't prove service and they are saying categorically that the headcam footage does, so that's what I would want to see most.
Mortimer
I would be willing to bet the video (if you get it) wouldn't show the PCN being placed I the envelope. Something being manipulated that close to the body is unlikely to be captured, but we'll see... Maybe! I reckon that it will only prove that a yellow envelope was placed on the car.
bobfox
Well there's only one way to find out!
bobfox
Well I now have the CEO's notes and photos of the envelope on the screen. If you look at the envelope, the strip that should be removed to seal it is sticking out from the top of the envelope at about half distance, so it doesn't look like it was sealed properly when it was left.

If any details are showing give me a shout.

Couple of points from my end, I'm pretty sure that my car clock said 10.36 when I left the car park, yet the photos suggest 10.40 at the earliest. I distinctly remember that I parked elsewhere at 10.46, and that's a 10 minute drive away.

I'm off on holiday on Wednesday, and to be honest, I could do with sorting out the hassle by paying the £25. Looks like the envelope wasn't sealed so was emptied by someone before I noticed it much later.
hcandersen
QUOTE (bobfox @ Mon, 15 Aug 2011 - 15:21) *
Well I now have the CEO's notes and photos of the envelope on the screen. If you look at the envelope, the strip that should be removed to seal it is sticking out from the top of the envelope at about half distance, so it doesn't look like it was sealed properly when it was left.

If any details are showing give me a shout.

Couple of points from my end, I'm pretty sure that my car clock said 10.36 when I left the car park, yet the photos suggest 10.40 at the earliest. I distinctly remember that I parked elsewhere at 10.46, and that's a 10 minute drive away.

I'm off on holiday on Wednesday, and to be honest, I could do with sorting out the hassle by paying the £25. Looks like the envelope wasn't sealed so was emptied by someone before I noticed it much later.

Which means it wasn't served and you are in the clear.

You've got the envelope so only you can tell. But if what you describe as the strip sticking out from the top is indeed the strip that seals the PCN then IMO any adj will find it your favour by virtue of the council's own evidence.

And as regards the possibility of "missing" the opportunity to pay £25, I've not seen a notice of rejection on here in the past 3 weeks that doesn't re-offer the discount. Last chance to pay is 14 days from date of their first response - nonsense.

But if you don't have the patience and stamina to fight your corner then it's up to you.

HCA
bobfox
So the envelope not being sealed means it wasn't served properly because I found it empty? I definitely found it empty and sealed, the photo looks like it wasn't sealed properly.

What if the head cam evidence shows that the PCN was put in the envelope? Does the fact that the envelope wasn't sealed (and the PCN therefore nicked) mean I'm in the clear?
hcandersen
CEOs take photos of PCNs under windscreen wipers for the specific purpose of proving service. The envelope wasn't sealed and therefore not served properly. If the CEO had realised and then placed the PCN within the envelope (and whether the head cam shows this or not) then another photo would have been taken to prove correct service and that's what the council was obliged to provide you with in response to your request. They didn't though, did they?

Remember, adjudication decisions are based on a balance of probability (51%) and you come across as a credible and sensible motorist.

HCA
bobfox
QUOTE ('hcandersen')
The envelope wasn't sealed and therefore not served properly.


Thanks for that.

This is obviously the key part, is there a legislative reference or some guidance that I can quote back to the council to back up that statement? I've been looking for something but haven't found anything yet.

Based on what I see from other peoples' appeals, if I just write back and say "It wasn't served properly because it wasn't sealed" then I would expect to get a reply saying "so what?". If I could give some back up, that would be great because I feel that it would be more likely to get the Council to withdraw the PCN, which is clearly better than going to adjudication.
bama
IIRC the regs say nothing at all about the envelope being sealed.
I don't think this is a valid ground for appeal.
hcandersen
Your appeal point is the same one you started with - there wasn't a PCN in the envelope. Nothing's changed. No PCN, No Service, No Penalty Charge.

All the envelope does is to provide contextual evidence as to the failure to serve correctly, it's not an appeal point in its own right.

Your evidence:
No PCN in envelope;
Envelope sealed.

Council's evidence:
CEO says PCN placed in envelope;
Photo of unsealed envelope.
As yet unseen video record from CEO's head cam.

HCA
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