Transport for London (19 006 285)

Category : Transport and highways > Parking and other penalties

Decision : Closed after initial enquiries

Decision date : 18 Jul 2019

The Ombudsman's final decision:

Summary: The Ombudsman cannot investigate this complaint about a Penalty Charge Notice because the complainant appealed to the tribunal.

The complaint

  1. The complainant, whom I refer to as Mrs X, says it is unfair for the Authority to demand £130 when she parked her car just a few minutes before the enforcement period ended. Mrs X wants to pay at the reduced rate of £65.

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The Ombudsman’s role and powers

  1. The Local Government Act 1974 sets out our powers but also imposes restrictions on what we can investigate.
  2. We cannot investigate a complaint if someone has appealed to a tribunal or a government minister or started court action about the matter. (Local Government Act 1974, section 26(6), as amended)
  3. London Tribunals (previously known as the Parking and Traffic Appeals Service) considers parking and moving traffic offence appeals for London.

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How I considered this complaint

  1. I read the complaint and the decision made by the tribunal. I considered comments Ms X in reply to a draft of this decision.

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What I found

Penalty Charge Notice (PCN)

  1. A PCN is reduced by 50% if the person pays the fine promptly and does not appeal to the tribunal. If someone appeals to the tribunal, and loses, they must pay the full fine.

What happened

  1. The Authority issued Mrs X with a PCN for £130. It issued the PCN because Mrs X stopped while the road was subject to a ‘no stopping’ rule.
  2. Mrs X appealed to the tribunal. The tribunal dismissed the appeal. The tribunal adjudicator said that Mrs X stopped at 18.54 and the ‘no stopping’ rule was in force until 19.00. The adjudicator directed Mrs X to pay £130 and said the period to pay at the discounted rate had expired.
  3. Mrs X says the fine is unfair because she only stopped a few minutes early. She also says she cannot afford to pay £130. Mrs X wants to pay the fine at the reduced rate of £65. She says the Authority doubled the fine and is punishing her because she appealed.
  4. The Authority told Mrs X that if she does not pay it will take enforcement action. If the Authority takes enforcement action Mrs X will incur further costs.

Assessment

  1. I cannot start an investigation because Mrs X appealed to the tribunal. The law says the Ombudsman cannot investigate any complaint that has been dealt with by the tribunal. The tribunal considered the appeal and decided that Mrs X must pay £130. It also explained that the discounted rate was no longer available. I cannot comment on a decision made by the tribunal and I cannot intervene. I cannot reduce the fine or ask the Authority to allow Mrs X to pay £65.
  2. Mrs X says the Authority doubled the fine as a punishment for appealing. This is not the case. The fine was £130. The Authority, in accordance with the law, offers a 50% reduction to people who pay promptly and do not appeal. Mrs X decided not to take advantage of the reduced rate. She decided to use her appeal rights but, because she lost, she has to pay the standard rate of the fine.
  3. If Mrs X does not pay the Authority is likely to take further action which will lead to Mrs X incurring further costs.

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Final decision

  1. I cannot start an investigation because Mrs X appealed to the tribunal.

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Investigator's decision on behalf of the Ombudsman

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