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Full Version: £2,500 fine out of the blue - congestion charges
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I've just been contacted (via my mobile) by a bailiff demanding that I instantly settle a sum of £2,450 for two congestion charge violations that occurred early last year. Apparently they had been attempting to contact me, from March onwards, at an address that I had not lived at since February that year. In late April of the same year I was involved in a large accident with the vehicle in question, which was written off. They also claim to have been trying to contact me on my mobile phone, to which I am constantly attached (for my work), but I have no evidence of this (e.g. voicemails). The bailiff demanded I settle the sum immediately to avoid 'warrant action'.

I have recently paid off an exorbitant parking fine (£700) when such PCNs, NtOs etc were apparently sent to that address prior, but I haven't anywhere near £2,500 sitting about to pay this (the parking fine wiped out most of my savings I've been building over the past three years).

I have some questions and am looking for your advice:

1. Is this a scam? They had my car registration, so I'm uncertain.
2. What on earth do I do? If I made congestion violations I'm happy to settle the original fines, but absolutely cannot settle anything like this sum.

Naively, I gave my current address to the bailiff over the phone. I have no real assets (well, a £100 TV and some clothes...) so I don't really know what I could sell to pay this. V panicked, angry and upset (of course).

Thanks in advance for your guidance.
It could be one of these scam attempts

Check with the Traffic Enforcement Centre if there is a warrant for your previous address

If not, you must make an out-of-time declaration that you know nothing about these charges

What happened to the vehicle and the V5 document when it was written off ?
Do a vehicle check at DVLA

If a bailiff does turn up, under no circumstances let him in
If he doesn't have a warrant for your new address, call the police
Can you confirm that you updated your V5 registration document when you moved house, and arranged mail redelivery for a period afterwards. From your post you do seem rather careless, having already been walloped for £700, again with the same previous address involved. Congestion Charge PCNs are only ever sent by post, and to the name and address on the V5 document. If they go unpaid, then further requests for payment are made, then if nothing is received a Charge Certificate is issued giving a final chance to pay, then the matter is passed to the Traffic Enforcement Centre at Northampton, (a court), that will issue an Order for Recovery, at which point the recipient can submit a Witness Statement. Only if no payment is made are bailiffs instructed, and it takes many, many, months for this to happen. Yet you imply you have receive no documents whatever from Transport for London.

My advice is to contact

A small fee is payable, but you're in for £2500 so I would get onto it straight away. It is possible at this stage to make a late declaration in front of a judge and a fee is payable, (something like £150, I think). Others will advise, but if this bailiff is officially appointed, you have much to do in a very short time.

Thank you for replying.

I was living between friends' houses after moving out (2 months) so did not have an address to give the DVLA for a change of address. After the accident I was incapacitated for several weeks, and assumed I did not have to update addresses as the vehicle was no longer existent (it was cubed shortly after the accident).

I only got a new permanent address in June of that year.
£2450 for 2 x Congestion Charge PCNs cannot be right. Some fictional fees I imagine. Please don't part with any money.

Ring the Traffic Enforcement Centre at Northampton County Court and establish;
The dates of registration as a debt of any allegedly unpaid PCNs?
The dates of the bailiffs' warrants and the addresses?
Whether or not any such warrants were ever re-issued against your current address?
If so, when?
What set of forms are required for each PCN? Likely a Statutory Declaration and Out of Time application.

Ask them to email the forms. A warrant against an incorrect address is unenforceable. An application for reissue should be made first.

An SD & OOT will need to be witnessed. This can be done free of charge at any convenient county court. So you won't have any expense unless your applications get rejected. Report back here for advice on completing the OOT before you submit it. It's vital that you properly explain why you are late with the SD in order to maximise your chances.

Traffic Enforcement Centre (TEC) phone = 0300 123 1059/ 01604 619450
They are open 09:00-16:00 Mon-Fri.
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