Lawless, unaccountable and a belief that they are above the law. Time now for a full Parliamentary Inquiry into parking enforcement. How many credit card surcharge PCNs went before the blind and blinkered Traffic Penalty Tribunal adjudicators without them even looking at the PCN?
Remember that the Traffic Penalty Tribunal receives 60p from every PCN issued so if a council has been issuing unlawful PCNs then the money they derive is unlawfully derived. Where does that leave the Traffic Penalty Tribunal's 60p ... ultra vires also so their accounts need to be challenged. Question is ... who can challenge their accounts? More to be revealed.
Meanwhile, to all those council officers out there with a social conscience ... keep the information coming.
Ruling forces car park cards rethink
Tuesday, August 11, 2009,
CHELTENHAM Borough Council is reviewing its policy of imposing a credit card surcharge on parking fines.
At present, the council charges a fee of 1.35 per cent if motorists try to pay fines on a credit card.
But, following a test case in Camden, London, which ruled that surcharges for those who paid by credit card were unfair, it is reviewing its policy.
Parking manager Jason Benjamin said: ''We will be reviewing our position when we receive more information from the test case ruling."
Gloucester City Council has already ditched its surcharge of 1.8 per cent after the case.
It also handles parking enforcement for Forest of Dean District Council.
But it would not confirm whether motorists who had already paid the charges would be refunded.
A spokesman said: "The traffic penalty tribunal contacted all councils following a recent appeal handled by them.
"When looking into this case they advised councils that charges for credit card payments should be removed from penalty charge notices.
"Gloucester City Council is working with the bank which handles the credit card payments on its behalf to remove charges from penalty charge notices."
Cotswold District Council, Tewkesbury Borough Council and Stroud District do not have the surcharge.
The test case involving Camden challenged the 1.3 per cent and was upheld by the adjudicator.
The ruling applies to all fines imposed by local authorities, including those outside the capital which have been given the right to police parking and keep the fines.
It also applies to fines imposed by councils for "moving motoring offences", such as entering a box junction.
The adjudicator said councils could not demand money in addition to the fine for the offence itself.
As a result of the ruling, councils that imposed the surcharges face an avalanche of claims from motorists.
An AA spokesman said: "These credit card charges have been outrageous. Councils have got their fingers burned.
"It shows the extent to which councils have been acting as a law unto themselves.
"We expect councils across the country to stop these surcharges straight away or they will face thousands of appeals."
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