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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 32086
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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Not sure if you could help us and find out what (our daughter)

Customer Question

Not sure if you could help us and find out what (our daughter) Claudia should do about this problem as she’s currently being given the run around:
Last year she sold her car and sent the tear-off slip to the DVLA. Some while later she received a penalty notice from the London Borough of Lambeth (LBL) telling her she was being fined for driving in a bus lane. She phone LBL to say she’d already sold the car when the offence took place and the new owner was responsible. She heard no more and presumed the matter was closed.
In the meantime she moved home - twice.
Apparently LBL had sent her a letter telling her she was still being pursued for the fine, but the letter wasn’t forwarded onto her new address.
A few weeks ago, my husbband and I came home to find a postcard on the mat from a Bailiff. It said they had come to claim the fine (which had been greatly increased by their commission) and if we couldn’t pay they’d take goods to the value of. We were obviously very annoyed that Claudia’s fine was traced back to our address and the Bailiffs were making us liable for her payment.
I instantly called the Bailiff and told them that Claudia is 26 years old, responsible for her own bills, and she hadn’t lived at home since January of 2014. The Bailiff was very firm and would not be put off - he said the car had been registered to our address (which is correct as Claudia was living at home when she bought it) and he said that we had to pay up or they would be back in the early hours of the next morning to collect goods to the value of. He assured me this was all legal.
I called Claudia and she then phoned the Bailiff to tell him the car had been sold months previously and the fine was not hers. They asked for proof from the DVLA of the date of sale. She called the DVLA and they said she had to write a letter asking for this information they would not tell her over the phone and would not divulge this information before receipt of a letter.
Claudia then called the Bailiff back to tell him this. Again he would not listen and demanded instant payment from either her, or us that very minute. He said once she had received verification from the DVLA that the car had been sold (and therefore she was not the owner when the offence took place), she could fight her case with the LBL.
She then called the LBL and they said they had sent a letter reminding her the debt was still outstanding and if not paid a Baillif would be collecting. She told them she had not received the letter as she had moved, they more or less said .. tough!
Because I was very upset at the thought of Bailiffs coming to our home, she called the Bailiff and paid the fine on her credit card. The next day she wrote to the DVLA asking for confirmation of the date of sale of the car. The DVLA replied a couple of weeks later confirming she was not the owner on the date when the offence took place.
NOW… Claudia called the LBL and confirmed the date of sale and asked them how to get her money returned. They advised they could do nothing and to contact the Baillif. She then contacted the Baillif and they have said they can do nothing and to get back onto the LBL. And now it just goes on and on, neither the LBL or the Bailiff are offering her money back and it’s over £500!
PLEASE HELP! Any advice would be greatly appreciated, thankyou.
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
Thank you for your question. My name is ***** ***** I will try to help with this.
Sorry if I am missing the point but on what basis was she hoping to recover? I understand your point which is that she had a defence but she does not seem to have appealed through the procedure set down?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

On the basis that she didn't own the car when the offence took place - so the fine did not belong to her.

Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
Yes, I understand that but that is not a basis to recover.
That was a challenge to the original fine but she didn't appeal?
Or did she?
Did she go to the Adjudicator on the basis that the vehicle was not hers? If so, what was the outcome?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Who is an adjudicator? How does she get in touch with one?

Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
If it has gone to bailiffs then it is too late as it will already have gone to them.
Do the Council deny sending her the notice to owner and other documents?
Or did they go to the new owner?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

They sent her a letter as they thought the car was still hers, I don't know about the new owner.

Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
Yes, was that letter the PCN or the notice to owner?
It would have been in the top left.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

She never received the letter - it was sent to her old address, this information is all in my original enquiry above!.

Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
Your post above says that she received the letter.
Would it be possible to give me the information I have asked for?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

She received the letter only from the DVLA not from the London Borough of Lambeth

Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
Your post says that she received a PCN and phoned the council.
PCNs come from the council.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

I'm not sure what this letter was, but I could find out whether it was a PCN or the notice to owner

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

My daughter thinks it was a PCN but can't be sure as she doesn't have the letter with her.

Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
Ok. There is no particular urgency about this. She can do it at her leisure.
What we need to ascertain is where did the Notice to Owner and the charging certificate go?
It might have gone to her old address which might be the fault of the DVLA or it might not.
The Council will probably tell her if she phones them.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
There is urgency as my daughter is now paying interest on the credit card. She doesn't know what you mean notice to owner / charging certificate? Please explain. She is extremely worried about this and has called the bailiff and council again today. The council said by paying the fine she admitted liability but she explained she only paid as the bailiff was so demanding.
Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
They are documents entitled notice to owner and charging certificate. The council will know what she means if she asks.
What was their answer when she did so? I presume she has called them?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Yes she called the council today as I just put in my message above. They said by paying the fine she admitted liability, but as she pointed out she only paid it because the bailiff was so demanding and said he'd be back the following morning to take goods to the value from our home if the fine wasn't instantly paid. Knowing we are pensioners and how worried we were, she paid up as the bailiff said once she'd proved the car had been sold and therefore the driving penalty didn't belong to her, she'd be able to claim the fine back from the council. But the council aren't budging even though they have seen proof the driving offence does not belong to my daughter.
Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
Ok. But what was their answer to the specific questions above?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

My daughter has decided to close this and go to see a solicitor in person, I haven't been happy with the responses I have received.

Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
Good luck