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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Traffic Law
Satisfied Customers: 71050
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice.
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Last year on October 18 I rented a car from Zipcar and committed

Customer Question

Last year on October 18 I rented a car from Zipcar and committed a traffic violation (PCN). They sent me a notice (PCN) to pay but I was not in the country at the time. By the time I returned to the country, there was a new invoice that was double the amount (£130).
So I contacted them (TFL Croydon) numerous times (calls / emails) and then they told me that if I went to the court and filed Statutory Declaration I could have it reduced to the original £65. I did and sent it to them and they said is been reduced, but never sent me any invoice.
I rang them up a few more times and every time they would tell me that the invoice is coming. Last time I spoke to a man that he said is been placed on hold permanently. So I did not call again and never received any invoices from them.
Shortly after I left the country and came back only occasionally, staying in hostels (instead of the place I stayed where I received my Zipcar card as well as my fine). A few weeks ago my old land lady contacted me telling me that I have a letter from them asking for £202. Since I was not in the country I asked her to write to them and tell them that I left long ago and that I won't be able to pay at the moment. She was too busy and she forgot to do that.

Yesterday, she contacted me via email and asked me to call her back. When I called, her voice was shaking and she said the bailiff was there and wanted to collect £565.34 (instead of the original £65) or they would remove her property. She insisted that I don't live there but they said that she needs to PROVE that I don't live there any longer! She also called the police but the two police officers that came said she had to pay up, because I was registered on her address.
She had no choice but to pay the money, and of course now I have to pay her back.
I can prove the exact times and dates that I contacted them by phone, plus the emails they never replied. I was out of their jurisdiction the time the fine came and the time the bailiff came.
The bailiff never sent any warnings prior to coming. The police also assisted them in an unlawful money transfer, even if that assistance is a mistake or through ignorance of the law.
Now my questions:
1. Given all the details, how much chance do I have to win? And what (how much) can I win?
2. I am currently on holiday and in two weeks’ time I will start living in Netherlands. Can I fight this from there or should I come back to UK every time for the court, etc? If so, do I get compensated for the flight?
3. Who can I take to court? The police? The bailiffs?
4. How long this process could take?
5. Would it be better for me to hire a lawyer, or to take it to small court myself? (given the fact that I won’t be living in the UK)

Thanks in advance
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Traffic Law
Expert:  Jo C. replied 4 years ago.
Thank you for your question. My name is Jo and I will try to help with this.

Can I just be clear about this? In short, you didnt pay a parking fine and they have sent the bailiffs to collect?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Yes, it was not a parking ticket though, It was a penalty charge notice for "failed to comply with a no entry sign" for a rented car.

Expert:  Jo C. replied 4 years ago.
Yes, I understand.

I'm afraid its not likely to be good news. Is there any reason that you didn't just pay the £65 when you made the stat dec? I realise they hadn't send you an invoice but its easy enough to work out the sum.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

The reason why I did not pay is because I had contacted them after reducing the fine and they had not issued a new invoice. Meaning that when I logged in to Red Route (to pay online) it was still £130 and not the reduced £65 and they asked me to wait for an invoice to be issued.

Expert:  Jo C. replied 4 years ago.
No, but you knew it was £65 by deduction and who to pay?

I suppose you could try to make another statutory declaration to the effect that they did not issue a fresh PCN but I suspect they are saying that they did. To be wholly honest, its amazing that the original stat dec was accepted. There is case law that says that people should keep tabs upon their post while abroad and it wasn't ultimately the fault of TFL.

On your specific points

1 I'm afraid I do not think your chances are strong.

2 You would have to return to the UK but you will not have a claim for the cost of doing so.

3 Your claim is against the bailiffs. Do bear in mind though that if you lose then you will be liable for their costs.

4 6 months at the most.

5 On no account use a solicitor. You will end up paying their costs without option for recovery and probably the bailiffs costs as well as which ever way you look at this, you didn't pay with no good reason.

Your best chance is to try to make a truthful and accurate statutory declaration to the effect that they did not reissue the PCN and so you could not pay. If that fails its game over. If it succeeds then you would be entitled to recover.

Unfortunately though you are over estimating the merits of your position. It might be that this stat dec would be accepted and if it is then thats wonderful but the first stat dec should not have been and it might entrench the council in their position.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

While contacting them on the phone, they did ask me to wait for a new invoice. I did call them several times, and last time I was told that it was permanently on hold, even the representative was confused. So I did not follow it up.


How about the fact that the council misrepresented and forcefully took money from someone else (Misrepresentation Act 1967)? How about the fact that the police helped them in doing that? They had no right to take money from my ex landlady. She did not choose to pay, she was forced to, as she was told if she does not pay, they would enter and take jewelry or anything that can recover the cost. Is my chance of winning still slim? Did they have the right to do all that?

Expert:  Jo C. replied 4 years ago.
Yes, it might be that you were wrongly advised but that doesn't do anything about the points above.

The fact that they took payment from another is a non issue.

She may have a claim against them but it doesn't do anything about the bailiff claim against you.

She would have to prove that they made those specific threats though. She does indeed have to satisfy the bailiffs that you don't live there but they still couldn't take her property unless there is reasonable suspicion that it is yours.

Even if she succeeded though, all that would do is refund her money. You are still liable to pay the sum of the claim for the reasons above.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

This still does not explain the police action. They gave a wrong advise and helped in an unlawful action. According to the law, the bailiffs had no right to threaten her to take her property and threaten her to pay. The police assisted them in doing so. She has an eye witness as well.


Are you saying that the police can not be sued for their wrong doing?

Expert:  Jo C. replied 4 years ago.

No, thats not what I said. Please read over my answer above.

The police can be sued for wrongdoing but not here because there is none.

They won't have threatened to take her property. They will have threatened to take property from the property unless she could prove you didn't live there.

In any event, all that would do is recover her money. It does nothing about your liability unfortunately.