Friday, September 25, 2009

Motorists could be in line for parking fine refund

Herald Express
21 September 2009

MOTORISTS in Teignbridge who have received parking tickets could be eligible for a refund after a surcharge on payment by credit card was deemed illegal.
Penalty Charge Notices that were being issued by Teignbridge District Council stated that the recipient would incur a 1.7 per cent administration charge if it was paid by credit card.
However, this meant the penalty exceeded the amount prescribed by law and rendered the notices unlawful.

Dawlish resident and long-time parking campaigner Peter Harry fell victim to the extra charges and brought it to the attention of Neil Herron, who runs a business called Parking Appeals.
Following the revelation, a spokesman for Teignbridge Council said it had stopped making the charge on August 13 this year, 'as soon as we were made aware of a decision relating to another authority's charges'.

He said: "The small credit card surcharge on penalty charge notices was applied in good faith, and in common with many authorities and businesses."

A freedom of information request asking when the surcharge was introduced, the total number of penalty notices issued and the income derived from them, has now been submitted to the district council.

Mr Herron has encouraged everyone who has been issued with a ticket since the surcharge was introduced to apply for a refund.
He said: "Councils are not permitted to charge a surcharge for parking fines and if they do then the motorist is entitled to his money back.
"This is the first case we are aware of in Devon but four boroughs in London we took to task, issued £19.4m worth of parking tickets this way over a period extending from six months to two years.
"All monies must be refunded where the charge was applied whether the recipient paid by credit card or not, as it is the PCN that is unlawful."

Mr Harry claimed that the tickets being issued by Teignbridge District Council at present were still invalid.

He said: "I purposely got another ticket after they said it had been withdrawn and all the council appear to have is use a black felt tip pen to cross off the information about the surcharge on the notice.
"It is a legal document and they can not just tamper with it. If you are named on a will you can not cross someone's name out with a black pen. Until they issue a new stock, all penalty charge notices that are given out will continue to be unlawful."

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