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Slough Borough Council (20 012 254)

Category : Transport and highways > Parking and other penalties

Decision : Closed after initial enquiries

Decision date : 24 Mar 2021

The Ombudsman's final decision:

Summary: We will not investigate this complaint about a Penalty Charge Notice because the Council has cancelled it.

The complaint

  1. The complainant, whom I refer to as Mr X, complained the Council was continuing to pursue him for a Penalty Charge Notice (PCN) he had paid.

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The Ombudsman’s role and powers

  1. We investigate complaints about ‘maladministration’ and ‘service failure’. In this statement, I have used the word ‘fault’ to refer to these. We must also consider whether any fault has had an adverse impact on the person making the complaint. I refer to this as ‘injustice’. We provide a free service, but must use public money carefully. We may decide not to start an investigation if the issue has been resolved. (Local Government Act 1974, section 24A(6), as amended)

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How I considered this complaint

  1. I read the complaint and the Council’s response. I invited Mr X to comment on a draft of this decision.

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What I found

What happened

  1. Mr X paid for a PCN within a few days of receipt. He says he should have paid at the discounted rate of £30 but the Council charged £60. Initially Mr X accepted this. But, the Council continued to write to him requesting payment. The fine increased to £90 and was then registered in court. Mr X says that despite sending emails the Council would not accept he had paid the fine.
  2. Mr X complained. In response, the Council explained it had issued two PCNs. The one that Mr X paid in September was for a PCN for a contravention that occurred in June. And, due to the time that had passed, the discounted rate was not an option. The Council explained Mr X had not paid the other PCN which is why enforcement action continued and the fine escalated.
  3. The Council said it should have responded to Mr X in December before it registered the fine in court. Due to this error it cancelled the other PCN.

Assessment

  1. I will not start an investigation because the Council has cancelled the second PCN and Mr X does not owe any money to the Council.

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Final decision

  1. I will not start an investigation because the Council has cancelled the PCN.

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Investigator's decision on behalf of the Ombudsman

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