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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 46169
Experience:  Qualified Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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Hello, Im working as self-employed for a removal company

Resolved Question:

Hello,
I`m working as self-employed for a removal company for one year and a half now. I`m driving a luton van which weights about 3.2t empty. My driver licence allows me to drive maximum 3.5t. I do one or two jobs a day working 6/7 days a week in a total of 10-14 h daily. The company sends me the jobs as SMS. My job consists in moving 2-3 bedroom houses or flats. By loading the van with customers furniture and boxes everytime I exced the weight limit. The company is aware of that.
Last year VOSA stopped me and found me loaded with 1.8 tons above the limit. Few days ago I received by mail a fine in a total of 850 pounds on my name.
I have asked the company to pay the fine and received no answer. I think it is unfair to take the risk and blame for something that the company is aware. When I started to work with this removal company the manager told me verbaly that incase I get a fine by VOSA they will pay for it. I`m paying on my own the speeding or parking tickets and never claim any money from the company.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
Thank you for your question. My name is XXXXX XXXXX I will try to help with this.

How can I help with this please?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

I`m trying not to pay the fine and make the company pay it.

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 2 years ago.
Hello, my name is XXXXX XXXXX my colleague has asked me to assist with your query as it is more my area of law. Who loads the van - is this your responsibility or the company's?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

I only get few informations about the job : address for collection and delivery , client name and phone number and the price that the client paid to the company. I don't get details about the weight of the "cargo" . In 99% cases the van is overloaded. In my opinion they use improper vehicles for the jobs they sent us to do.


Me and my porter are loading / offloading the van. For example I do jobs allover UK and Scotland. Sometimes I have to drive hundreds of miles like it was in this case when I got stopped by VOSA. I had to load from Birmingham and deliver to Ipswich. Multiple trips woulded have been out of the question.


 


 

Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Every customer has to sign an insurance form . The company is insuring the transported goods not me.


The company is using improper vehicles for the jobs we do and they do have like 30 vans or so. Every driver is in the same situation as I am. If I had a choice I woulded loaded the right amount.


PS.


I got stopped by VOSA because the Van I was driving had some problems few months back (another driver was driving is back then). They solved the problems by they but they forgot to tell VOSA that they fixed the problems the van had.


 

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 2 years ago.
You are unlikely to be able to get the employer to meet the full fine in the circumstances, because you will have at least shared responsibility in the circumstances.

The law states that the operator (your employer) has a moral and legal responsibility that is shared with the driver of the vehicle. Specifically, The Road Traffic Act 1988 requires “vehicle users” to ensure that vehicles are not overloaded. If a vehicle is found to be overloaded both the driver and operator could be prosecuted or cautioned.

In your case the fine was issued personally against you so legally you have to pay it. Pursing the employer separately would be possible only if you can show that they were directly responsible for this too and for example they were negligent in their actions. Whilst you can ask them directly now, if they refuse, then the only way to pursue them is to sue them in the small claims court but you have to show that they were also responsible for this and their actions had directly caused this, so it can be risky because a successful outcome is certainly not guaranteed. But it is the only possible option.

I hope this has answered your query. Please take a second to leave a positive rating, or if you need me to clarify anything before you go - please get back to me and I will assist further as best as I can. Thank you and feel free to bookmark my profile for future help:


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Customer: replied 2 years ago.

The Van I was driving, I found out later that had some problems .It had some modification made on the structure the back of the van had initialy a single axel. When i drove the van had double axe on the back instead of one. The VOSA officer didnt found any new serial number for this modification. The modification wasnt omologated. The VOSA officer said that the company is responsable for the exces loading and it said that the van shouldnt even be on the road.

I want to do something, being new to this country make it difficult for me to take legal actions about this employer.

I can get least 5 persons who got fined by VOSA cuz of overload and had to pay it by them self the fine. We are forced to work this in this manner and take all kind of risks. If we leave the company we don't receive our wages. So its some kind of ... slavery ... here.

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 2 years ago.
Yes I understand, it certainly does not appear fair but the legal system in England allows someone to refuse to pay for something and then wait for the other person to pursue them, or make a claim. So they can refuse to pay all or part of that fine for you and you then have to consider making a claim in the small claims court to pursue them for it. If you do not, they cannot be forced to pay. So if you wish to take it further you can do so through www.moneyclaim.gov.uk
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 46169
Experience: Qualified Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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