PERSECUTION OF THE MOTORIST
If ever a London speech radio presenter is struggling to conjure up a subject to talk about, he or she will raise the subject of unfairly issued parking tickets, and within minutes the radio station’s telephone switchboard will be jammed with disgruntled Londoners battling it out for an opportunity to rage anger at their local council’s traffic department! As licensed London cabbies, we commit the cardinal sin of having legitimate number plates, and as a result are a very easy nick. For me, (a man who tries hard to turn negative situations in to positive ones) the only positive thing I can get out of these tickets is the opportunity to do some creative writing. By this I mean compiling appeals (often comical) on behalf of my friends and I. Recently, I was listening to a speech radio phone in show, when this very issue was mentioned. What was comical about the show, was the names that Londoners used to refer to their relevant local authority traffic departments. The residents of Camden refer to their parking enforcement department as the CAMDEN TALIBAN, Hackney’s finest refer to theirs as the HACKNEY HALFWITS and last but not least is the Westminster’s residents, who refer to their beloveds as the WESTMINSTER WEASELS! One caller even claimed to have moved his multimillion-pound business out of London as a result of (as he puts it) the flaming Gestapo! Unfortunately a disturbing pattern seems to be emerging, with some local authority parking departments and private parking companies. It is known as the “MISSING LETTER SCENARIO” i.e. letters which they claim to have sent, but never seem to be received by the appellant. This will normally happen, at the stage where the appellant is waiting for an answer as to whether his or her appeal is going to be accepted or rejected. Why would traffic enforcement people do this? Possibly because statistics prove that a very high percentage of people who do appeal against a parking ticket; end up winning their case. So you receive no answer as to whether your appeal had been successful or unsuccessful, what you do receive is a letter saying that you have ignored their appeal decision reply and have missed the opportunity to pay a discounted charge. When you ring the relevant department to enquire, (that’s if they supply a number) they will tell you that the appeal was rejected and a letter sent out to you, they will then bring up the rejection letter on their computer screen, (COMPILED BUT POSSIBLY NOT SENT?) When the drivers explain that the letter was never received, the departments will ever say, “It was sent, and it’s now your problem”, blame the postal system, or just be plain arrogant. Had this been a one off incident with one local authority or private parking company, I would not have bothered to compile this piece, but its now becoming a regular occurrence. You’ve been warned. On a lighter note, I will try hard to dig out some of my more comical parking appeals and share them with you in a future blog!
PS – Tomorrow, I promise NOT to be a grumpy middle-aged old man, and compile a more harmonious peace!