Privacy settings

LGO logogram

Review your privacy settings

Required cookies

These cookies enable the website to function properly. You can only disable these by changing your browser preferences, but this will affect how the website performs.

View required cookies

Analytical cookies

Google Analytics cookies help us improve the performance of the website by understanding how visitors use the site.
We recommend you set these 'ON'.

View analytical cookies

In using Google Analytics, we do not collect or store personal information that could identify you (for example your name or address). We do not allow Google to use or share our analytics data. Google has developed a tool to help you opt out of Google Analytics cookies.

Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council (21 017 427)

Category : Transport and highways > Parking and other penalties

Decision : Upheld

Decision date : 31 Mar 2022

The Ombudsman's final decision:

Summary: We will not investigate Mr X’s complaint the Council’s enforcement agent was at fault in visiting twice, demanding more money than he owed, and clamping his vehicle. The Council’s agent has already accepted it was at fault, apologised and paid £75. The Council has agreed to pay Mr X an additional £225 which is a fair outcome.

The complaint

  1. Mr X complains the Council’s enforcement agent wrongly visited him twice demanding £408 for a penalty charge notice debt and on the second occasion clamped his work vehicle. Mr X says the visits occurred before he received the enforcement notice which gave him two more days to pay a fine of £173. Mr X says the enforcement agent caused him time, trouble, stress, anxiety and embarrassment. He says he lost a days work and income of £220. Mr X says the Council should compensate him for his loss of earnings and distress.

Back to top

The Ombudsman’s role and powers

  1. 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 are satisfied with a council’s actions or proposed actions.

(Local Government Act 1974, section 24A(6))

Back to top

How I considered this complaint

  1. I have considered Mr X’s information, comments, and the complaint correspondence. I have considered the Council’s comments and those of its enforcement agent. I have considered the Ombudsman’s guidance on remedies.

Back to top

My assessment

  1. This complaint is upheld. The complaint reply accepts the enforcement agent was at fault for twice visiting Mr X and for clamping his vehicle. This should not have happened before the compliance period for paying the driving fine had ended. Mr X was pressured into paying £408 which at that point he did not owe.
  2. The enforcement agent apologised to Mr X, refunded the money he had overpaid, and refunded the £75 compliance fee.
  3. I do not consider the complaint reply properly assessed Mr X’s injustice or that £75 is an adequate financial settlement.

Agreed Action

  1. The Council/enforcement agent has agreed to pay an additional £225 which is a fair outcome. They will contact Mr X to make the payment.

Back to top

Final decision

  1. The Ombudsman will not investigate Mr X’s complaint the Council’s enforcement agent was at fault in visiting him twice, demanding more money than he owed, and clamping his vehicle. The Council’s agent has already accepted it was at fault, apologised and paid £75. The Council has agreed to pay Mr X an additional £225 which is a fair outcome.

Back to top

Investigator's decision on behalf of the Ombudsman

Print this page