Refund for pensioner left shocked by parking bailiff bungle
Traffic cameras fail to spot 79-year-old's blue badge
25 October, 2018 — By William McLennan
TRANSPORT chiefs yesterday (Wednesday) agreed to refund hundreds of pounds to a 79-year-old man after he told the New Journal how bailiffs mistakenly visited his home and threatened to tow away his car, seven months after he had paid off a parking ticket.
Gordon Peat, who has lung disease and limited mobility, parked in a disabled bay in Camden High Street in February, but traffic cameras could not pick out his disabled driver blue badge and he was sent a ticket in the post.
Rather than challenge it, Mr Peat sent a cheque for £65, but due to a series of mistakes and delays, the fine soared to more than £500.
The initial cheque, sent in February, was returned by Transport for London (TfL) after three months because Mr Peat had forgotten to sign it.
In the meantime the fine rose to £195. TfL said this was returned as void. However, a further £195 cheque was sent and the New Journal has seen evidence that the sum left Mr Peat’s account on March 28. He believed the matter had been resolved and was shocked to find a bailiff’s letter left inside the communal hallway of his Soho home earlier this month.
It said he owed £505, adding: “I have today attended your address to take control of and remove your goods (including vehicles) in order to sell them to discharge your debt.” Mr Peat said: “I’m 80 in November, I don’t need this harassment. I’m shaking. When they leave a letter outside the door to my flat saying I owe them £505, it makes you worried.”
Mr Peat, who lives alone, said his car was essential to maintaining his independence, allowing him to go on shopping trips without support.
“I can’t walk too far and I can’t carry too much because the weight does me in,” he said. He said he approached the New Journal for help after being turned away by police and his bank. “I’d like to see some justice,” he said. “They can’t get away with this.”
He asked: “How many others have been treated as badly as I have?”
After fruitless conversations with the TfL call centre, Mr Peat had planned to visit their offices in person, only to discover the return postal address on his letter was in County Durham. “If it wasn’t such a long way away I would have driven there,” he said. “You can’t go to Darlington and see them.”
Paul Cowperthwaite, Interim Director of Licensing, Regulation and Charging at TfL, said: “We have now cancelled the PCN and will refund any charges Mr Peat has received. This case shows the importance of displaying a blue badge at all times. If you are issued with a Penalty Charge Notice (PCN), and believe it may have been issued incorrectly, please follow the advice on the PCN and contact us.”
He added: “We adopt a fair and transparent approach to traffic enforcement and will consider the information provided and explain our decision. If a customer is not satisfied with the response they can take the matter to an independent adjudicator at London Tribunals.”