March 31, 2014

Money for old rope

Back in February I got a parking ticket. The circumstances were this: I run the local NCT Bumps & Babies group [a chance for new mums and mums-to-be to get out of the house, talk to other adults, compare notes, drink tea etc]. It was half term so I had Bernard with me, and as is his usual habit he was wittering on about Minecraft or something, so I dozily paid for one hour of parking instead of two. I returned to find a ticket on the car and was in a foul mood for the rest of the day. I feel deeply aggrieved that two hours of voluntary work has cost me more than I would earn for two hours of paid work.

Someone mentioned to me that this was not in fact a legally enforceable parking fine, but a speculative invoice, and recommended that I check out MoneySavingExpert where there are forums dedicated to the subject of private parking charges. There are people out there who are absolutely passionate about this matter, and reading through some of the threads I did start to feel angry that the parking company were charging me £70 for overstaying in a parking bay that cost 50p to use. So part of me wanted to pay the money [discounted to £40 for early payment], and part of me wanted to tell them where to put it.

I went for a run, because that sometimes helps to sort my head out. When I came back I was feeling all tough and macho, because that’s what the running endorphins do, and decided not to pay the charge. The MSE forum advises waiting for the parking company to write to the registered keeper, which in our case is Pete. They have to go through the process of applying to the DVLA for his details and sending him a notice that we now owe £70 and they will take us to court if we don’t pay it. At this point I have appealed through the parking company’s website and now have to wait for that to be rejected before the next step, which is a further appeal to POPLA. I figure if I lose at this point, I pay my £70 in the slight satisfaction that I have put them to some trouble; although this is tempered somewhat by the amount of grumpiness and lost sleep the whole silly matter has caused me.


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