Sunday, September 13, 2009

Parking ticket refunds ... councils consulting lawyers across the country ...

Sources within councils reveal that many councils are so concerned about claims for refunds that they are taking independent legal advice, especially ones whose officers have been flagrantly disregarding signing law and continuing to enforce restrictions known to be unlawful. However, the advice coming back is not what they want to hear and Woolwich Equitable Building Society v The Inland Revenue Commissioners is being cited by counsel to councils as the binding authority which will force many of them to refund £millions.

The credit card surcharge problem revealed in our Camden and London borough expose is now becoming a Sword of Damocles for some councils and officers outside of London. Every council has immediately withdrawn the surcharge, apart from one, when brought to their attention, so misconduct in public office charges may simply be reserved for the ones who think that they are above the law. However, council officers who have been condoning enforcing restrictions known to be unlawful had better start checking their own household insurance policies because there will be no council legal and financial indemnity should it be shown that they were the 'controlling minds' behind illegal enforcement. There are many who do not want to be standing next to their council's 'Captain Smith' and are collecting their own lifebelts. There is more than one iceberg on the horizon ...

Clarification of one of the points below. PATAS adjudicators have ruled that the PCN is unlawful regardless of whether payment was made by credit card.
Therefore, ALL paid PCNs detailed below are recoverable andthe council has no legal right to the monies it retains. For more information contact

4,700 could get parking rebates because surcharges broke the rules
Halifax Courier

11th September 2009
By Michael Peel

AROUND 4,700 motorists who paid parking fines using credit cards could be entitled to a rebate.
They account for 10 per cent of the 47,000 drivers fined since 2006. The Courier reported last month how the 2.6 per cent surcharge on credit card payments contravenes Department of Transport guidelines and was recently scrapped.

Figures obtained under the Freedom of Information Act show that since the council took over responsibility for parking enforcement in November 2006, it has raised £1,278,000 in fines.That follows the issuing of 47,000 parking contravention notices.

The total income from credit cards during that period was £123,400 of which £3,200 came from the handling fee.

Car parking campaigner Neil Herron, a director of Parking Appeals Ltd, has threatened to take another council to the High Court over the issue and has also written to the council's chief executive Owen Williams to complain.

The Parking and Traffic Appeals Service adjudicator Michael Greenslade ruled earlier this year that parking tickets issued by Camden Council were invalid if they included a credit card surcharge. According to a Calderdale spokesman, the council had always imposed the charge. It was removed it after the council received the results of a traffic penalty tribunal, held in Bristol.

Figures show that total income from parking fines is falling from £551,752 in 2007/8 to £428,225 last year.

During the first five months of this year, the council received £153,000.

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