Decision : Not upheld
Decision date : 08 Mar 2022
The Ombudsman's final decision:
Summary: Miss B complains that, after she appealed against a parking ticket and recovery action was cancelled, she asked the Council for a refund of bailiff fees, but it failed to respond. The Council has now agreed to consider this matter under its complaints procedure, so we have discontinued our investigation.
- The complainant, whom I refer to as Miss B, says bailiffs seized her car after she received a penalty charge notice (PCN). She says she paid the enforcement charges, but, after she appealed to the Traffic Enforcement Centre (TEC), it cancelled the Order for Recovery (which had led to the bailiffs visiting her home).
- Miss B says the Council now owes her a refund for the bailiffs’ fees she paid. She says she tried to bring this to the Council’s attention, but it failed to respond.
The Ombudsman’s role and powers
- The Ombudsman investigates complaints about ‘maladministration’ and ‘service failure’, which we call ‘fault’. We must also consider whether any fault has had an adverse impact on the person making the complaint, which we call ‘injustice’. We provide a free service, but must use public money carefully. We do not start or may decide not to continue with an investigation if we decide it would be reasonable for the person to ask for a council review or appeal. (Local Government Act 1974, section 24A(6))
How I considered this complaint
- I considered information from Miss B and the Council. Both parties had an opportunity to comment on my draft decision. I considered any comments received before making a final decision.
What I found
- Before we can consider a complaint, the council involved should have first been given a chance to address it. However, we can look at complaints when someone has approached the council but not received a response within a reasonable time.
- Miss B approached the Council about her problem and received no response. This means I could investigate her complaint.
- However, the Council has now agreed to look into the complaint, and I consider this a satisfactory outcome.
- If Miss B remains dissatisfied after she has completed the Council’s complaints procedure, she can approach us again.
- The Council has agreed to investigate Miss B’s complaint, and respond directly to her, by 11 March 2022.
- I have discontinued my investigation. The Council has agreed to look at Miss B’s complaint.
Investigator's decision on behalf of the Ombudsman