Collection agency want +£500 for a London congestion charge that I paid over a year ago....!

Associate
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I travelled to London on business last April (2017). Had to park in a congestion charge zone but I arrived on a Sunday night so there was no charge on the way in. On the way out I had to drive back through it so I paid on the TFL website and have a PDF receipt on email stating as much.

Fast forward to May 2018, some 13 months later, and I just got a letter from 'JBW Enforcement Agents' saying I owe them +£500 because I didn't pay the charge and they've been sending penalty notices to my old house address ever since. Lucky for them they managed to find my new address, not sure why they couldn't have done that when I moved last July and updated my details with the DVLA....

Anyway....I'm like 95% sure I'm in the right and can obviously show TFL that they've received my payment and authorised it back in April 2017, but I'm maybe 5% concerned that they'll tell me I'm somehow still in the wrong and now have to pay the fine and the late fees to the tune of about £500. I'm also half tempted to just not reply and hope that it goes away (as these things often do with collection agencies) because would it really be worth them taking me to court over £500?

What do you guys think? Either way I can't get in touch with TFL til their offices reopen on Tuesday....
 
Soldato
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6,590
As with any collection agendy advice on finance forums is send them a "prove it" letter so they give you a break down of charges. Other advice is also never to phone them only contact via letter and don't ever acknowledge the debt until proof has been sent.

However....... i'm not sure how this would work with a congestion fine. My advice is you should google company name and check for advice when dealing with them. Couple forums for this are consumeractiongroup and moneysavingexpert.
 
Soldato
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Check if this has already gone through the courts in your absence. That will determine your next course of action.

Also whilst in theory collection agencies and other parties rarely go to court over small debts, if they believe it is an easy case to win (often is for council parking tickets and such) then they will.
 
Soldato
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Check if this has already gone through the courts in your absence. That will determine your next course of action.

This too, you should check your credit reports OP. They could have backdoor CCJ'd you however that is now pretty much illegal now and you can have the CCJ removed if you prove they sent it to your old address. A lot of these agencies tend to be very scummy and do very questionable things.

Experian + equifax.

You can do this free on their two partner websites https://www.clearscore.com/ and https://clubs.moneysavingexpert.com/creditclub/login
 
Associate
OP
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Just as an update to this - they said it was apparently because drivers only have until midnight to pay the charge and I paid about 2 days later....?! Which is fair enough, I didn't know the rules, but then to try and charge me £500 because they couldn't get in touch with me for THIRTEEN MONTHS....?! So now I'm kinda tempted to just ignore it and hope it goes away, but a bit more concerned now as I've called them so they might have put it on my record that I'm aware of the charge now......!! :mad:
 
Soldato
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Just as an update to this - they said it was apparently because drivers only have until midnight to pay the charge and I paid about 2 days later....?! Which is fair enough, I didn't know the rules, but then to try and charge me £500 because they couldn't get in touch with me for THIRTEEN MONTHS....?! So now I'm kinda tempted to just ignore it and hope it goes away, but a bit more concerned now as I've called them so they might have put it on my record that I'm aware of the charge now......!! :mad:

I think ignoring it is a bad idea. It's only going to end up with more charges and potential court action now they have your address. You need to try and deal with this asap one way or another.
 
Man of Honour
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The £500 charge is obvioulsy largely comprised of repeat costs every time they try to contact you. Did the DVLA have your correct address? If they did not then the it's reasonable for them to charge you costs to find you. But if your details with the DVLA were correct at the time, then I'd suggest it is not reasoable.

It does sound like you owe them something. In your shoes I would find out whether there is a CCJ. If there isn't then make an offer.
 
Soldato
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That's a bit crap though, why would the system accept payment if you're going to get fined anyways? Surely it should say that it's too late and there's a FPN coming your way.
 
Man of Honour
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Essex
My advice would be pay it straighy away. I've had my fair share of fines on congestion charge that I forgot to pay and they will hunt you down. The rules on congestion are pretty clear even if the system to pay only allows up to midnight the following night to pay.

It's not worth risking ccj's etc. Get it paid and move on with life. One thing I can tell you for sure is that you won't win on appeal. I've appealed a few and lost every single one, in fact I've only ever won a single appeal in London and that was a parking charge.
 
Soldato
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Chatteris
Just as an update to this - they said it was apparently because drivers only have until midnight to pay the charge and I paid about 2 days later....?! Which is fair enough, I didn't know the rules, but then to try and charge me £500 because they couldn't get in touch with me for THIRTEEN MONTHS....?! So now I'm kinda tempted to just ignore it and hope it goes away, but a bit more concerned now as I've called them so they might have put it on my record that I'm aware of the charge now......!! :mad:

Yup - head buried in the sand. That always works out so well.
 
Soldato
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Finchley, London
There's a lot of good advice here and you may well have to pay the £500, but may I suggest you join pepipoo fightback forum.

http://forums.pepipoo.com/index.php?

I've gotten off 99% of any offences, even council PCNs with their help. Your case is admittedly more serious and perhaps cut and dried, but it's worth a shot. The members there know an awful lot of legal stuff that can bamboozle even the smartest official bodies.
 
Soldato
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Beds
FYI I got a bailiff notice for a previous tenant come through my door last week (I've lived here 6 years, and they left a decade ago). Turned out it had already gone through the courts I think, as the debtee was Hertfordshire court I think. It was about £450 so yes, apparently they will go to court and send bailiffs for under £500. I was shocked.
 
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