Bailiffs take £370 from woman because parking ticket fell off window (From Prestwich and Whitefield Guide)
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Bailiffs take £370 from woman because parking ticket fell off window
4:05pm Friday 11th October 2013 in News
BAILIFFS took £370 from a woman who was given a parking fine because the £2 ticket she purchased fell on to her car’s dashboard.
Wholesale fashion sales agent Helen Stewart purchased a parking ticket at the Bury Council-run Parson’s Lane car park in September last year.
The 49-year-old returned to her blue Jaguar after picking up light bulbs from nearby Wilkinson’s to find she had been given a fine – because the ticket had dropped from the windscreen on to the dashboard.
Despite contesting the ticket numerous times with Bury Council and the national traffic enforcement centre in Northampton, representives from Equita Bailiffs attended her home in Whitefield in July this year.
Helen was left furious when she was forced to shell out £370 — the original fine, which had escalated to £130, plus a £240 bailiff fee.
She said: “I did not park anywhere I should not have parked and I had a valid parking ticket – that should be the crux of the matter.
“What is so ludicrous is I have done nothing wrong — how could I have stopped a ticket dropping off my windscreen?”
At the time of receiving the ticket, Helen spoke to the car park attendant who had given her the fine, who said he had not noticed her ticket and she would have to follow the council’s appeals procedure.
She wrote to Bury Council immediately afterwards on September 22 and called and sent letters and e-mails numerous times between that date and July this year.
Helen said her job meant she can be away from home for weeks at a time — but Bury Council refused to acknowledge any of her correspondence as it was not received within their timescales.
She said Bury Council’s insistence on ignoring her appeals because it did not follow procedure penalises people who do not work a nine-to-five job.
Helen said: “£370 is not small change for me — working on commission means I have no basic pay or guaranteed income so being that far out of budget could have stopped me working altogether at a critical point in the season.
“Bury Council insisted on continuing this case to the point of a threatened walk-in possession order from a bailiff.
“The council seems hell bent on penalising those of us who are working extremely long hours outside the borough for having the audacity not to work a nine-to-five job.”
Helen said John Foudy, Bury Council car parking manager, wrote to her saying he had suspended action pending a decision from the Northampton appeals base.
She claims this message that the case was on hold was not passed to bailiff firm Equita, and so its charges further escalated.
A spokesman for Bury Council said: “Drivers in that situation have two options — they either pay the PCN, or they appeal against it.
“The penalty ticket was not paid and we did not receive an appeal so we wrote to Ms Stewart on several occasions telling her the matter would be taken further and the case was passed to the bailiffs.”
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