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Harringay, Haringey - So Good they Spelt it Twice!

Haringey Parking Tickets - Tips on Appealing and an example of how incompetent they are.

I recently got a parking ticket. I gave a friend some visitors vouchers and he went and parked in the only pay and display bay on the street! I appealed as most people would see this as an honest mistake.

But the fact that I worked for Haringey in the Parking Department for 2 years, mostly dealing with appeals, I wasn't holding my breath.

I sent an email anyway and a month later, still no reply. My friend did receive a Notice To Owner asking for the full amount though. I should have had a response to my initial appeal so I contacted my old boss. I'm going to put the emails below to show you the full muppetry of Haringey Council Parking Department - keeping names out to avoid embarrassment.

Before that though. I thought I'd disclose a few of Haringey Parking Appeals methods. To be clear this is MY opinion on what I saw. I've nothing really against them, I just think if they're going to take people's hard earned cash, you should know their practices and I'll also give a few little tips I picked up about getting your ticket cancelled.

1. Always ask for a Traffic Management Order (TMO). Every bay, yellow line etc has one of these. If it doesn't, it isn't valid. I cancelled a HUGE amount of tickets and saw many others doing the same on account that the place the ticket had been issued had NO, that's 'NO' TMO. So they were giving out tickets they weren't supposed to. Naughty! When someone sent in an appeal - automatic cancellation. I think they may have got their act together now but you never know. Ask for it anyway. They have to supply it.

2. It is Haringey's 'policy', nudge nudge, to reject 99.9% of 1st appeals. Why? Cause a 1st appeal isn't a legal appeal - it's informal. So even if you are completely in the right, you'll probably get rejected. If you want to appeal further, you have to wait for the NTO to arrive. Of course you've now lost the right to pay the reduced amount so it's a catch 22. Most people just pay the reduced amount. To be fair, most councils do this but in my opinion - and I said it often when I worked there - it stinks! If you know you're right. Appeal further!

3. When I was there (may have changed) those little camera CCTV cars used to give out LOADS and I mean LOADS of tickets to people dropping their kids off at school. They'd sit there like vultures and do people for 'double parking'. I thought this was particularly unfair so looked into it. Turns out it's perfectly legal to double park when dropping of or picking up passengers. To be clear - this was people stopping, letting the kids out, then driving off. I watched hundreds of such incidents and these were just the people who appealed! I actually brought it up with the person in charge of the CCTV cars at the time. She phoned my boss and said 'who does this guy think he is'. I was told to mind my own business.

Ok, so remember. Just what I saw and think. Here's a few tips but I'm not liable for this advice!

- If the yellow line is broken (missing bit anywhere alone the line) - it's invalid. I'm not saying park on one but if you do get a ticket, check the line. It should also have T bars at the ends. Same goes for yellow kerb markings for loading/unloading - they need to be there.

- If you think you're going to get stuck in a box junction - slow down and crawl through the box. As long as you keep moving, you're fine.

- You can load and unload in most places. Even though parking attendants will try and give you a ticket. If you're loading the car, try and leave someone there. If a CEO comes along, get yourself in the photo!

- Never stop for any period in a bus stop. You deserve a ticket for that - it's annoying.

Right, so this post has turned into a monster and all I wanted to do was show you these emails. To be clear - I'm not arguing whether or not the fine should be paid, just want to know why I never got a response to my appeal. (Remember - this guys KNOWS me. Check the tone of the emails and stick replies.)

Me: 

Hi xxxxxx,


Thought I'd send this to you, since I've got your email address :)
I sent this appeal last month on the 18th June. I've not heard anything back, not even a confirmation that you guys got it.
Now the person who's car it is has phoned to say he's been sent a letter asking for the full £60.
Shouldn't this have been put on hold, dealt with by now etc?
Cheers,
D
Haringey:

Dear D

 

Thank you for your email.

 

I have investigated this for you and my search confirms that this challenge was not received - I would therefore need confirmation from you of the delivery receipt in order for me to accept that the challenge you made was received on time.

 

Further to this, taking into account the mitigation you have described, I find no reason to cancel the notice.  This is because it is the motorist’s responsibility to ensure that they have parked correctly and in addition, the terms and conditions of using a visitor’s permit are detailed on the back of each permit.  

 

However, I have decided on this occasion to use my discretion and allow for this notice to be paid at the reduced rate of £30* if payment is received within 7 days – that is by 02/08/11.  After this date, enforcement will continue at the higher rate. 

 

Of course the appeals process is still available, which currently allows for the registered keeper of the vehicle to make formal representations by completing the Notice to Owner form, although time restrictions do apply.

 

Yours sincerely


xxxxxx

 

*Offering the reduced rate at his discretion makes it sound like he's doing me a favour when it's Haringey who never got back to MY appeal.


Me: 


Hi xxxxxx

You can see from my forwarded email that the challenge was definitely sent on June 18th. Just look at the top of the forwarded message.

Thanks,

D

Haringey:

 

Dear D

 

Thank you for your further email.

 

I have searched through our mailbox for this email and I cannot trace it.  Given that you did not receive a delivery receipt from us, this leads me to believe that you may have experienced difficulties sending this challenge.  Without proof of the delivery receipt from you - audit purposes, I cannot accept that the challenge was received on time.

 

I have therefore given you the opportunity to pay for this notice at the reduced rate, although time restrictions for this apply.  Alternatively, as explained, the registered keeper can make formal representations.

 

Yours sincerely


xxxxx


Me:


 

Hi xxxxxx,
 
Don't want to be argumentative about this but...
 
I've forwarded you the original email which has these details at the top:
 
 ---------- Forwarded message ----------
> From: XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX>>
> Date: Sat, Jun 18, 2011 at 5:38 PM
> Subject: HY5XXXXX1A
> To: parking.challenges@haringey.gov.ukmailto:parking.challenges@haringey.gov.uk
 
The email is also still in my sent mail folder. By anyones standards, this is categorical proof that the email was sent.
 
I have no idea what you mean by 'experienced difficulties sending the challenge'. I sent it, here's proof, end of story.
 
Your delivery receipt is completely irrelevant. All that shows is that YOUR system failed or there was a problem your end. It was deleted, it was mis-filled, it was processed incorrectly. All way more likely explanations, due to the fact - I clearly did send an email.
 
So, it is not a case of whether you can or cannot accept that the email was sent. It was, I'm showing you as clearly as humanly possible that it was.

D

Haringey:

Dear D

 

Thank you for your further email.

 

The email address you sent your challenge to is incorrect, the correct address is parkingchallenges@haringey.gov.uk

 

Yours sincerely


xxxxxx


Me:


This is a photo of the back of the PCN. Are you telling me all PCN's issued have got the wrong email address?

 



*I then got no reply for a few days.


Me:

 

Hey xxxxx,

Are you ignoring this now?

D

Haringey:

 

Dear D

 

Thank you for your further email.

 

As explained, our records confirm that we did not receive your initial challenge.  I have therefore allocated this to an officer to liaise with IT - when they have come back to us you will receive a final response.

 

Yours sincerely


xxxxx


Me:


xxxxx,

 

Seriously?! I think we've established that the email address for your inbox is different to the one on the back of the PCN. That's the problem.

D

-------------------

No response to that yet. I'm now posting this on the forum as I think people in Haringey have a right to see just how hard it is to deal with these people - even when you know them! I feel really sorry for anyone appealing. It's horrible!

Oh, and looks like all the email addresses on the back of issued tickets are wrong. So if you have sent in an email appeal and still not heard back, that's probably why.

 

 

 

 

 

Tags for Forum Posts: parking

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Replies to This Discussion

Whilst it's possible that your email just disappeared I would say it's more likely from the fact that you did not get a rejection that somebody has it. I notice that both parkingchallenges and parking.challenges respond with an automated reply now. I assume they will send you a cheque for debugging their system, gosh, that could have been embarrassing.

 

May I suggest that you change the title of this excellent post to "Haringey Parking - how to appeal"?

Very interesting and useful comments. Just thought it might be worth mentioning that I got a fine cancelled by arguing that it fell under 'de minimus' - when an infringement is so minor as not to have validity in law. The situation was that I was sent a fine from a fixed camera after pulling over to check a parking bay (with cars in it!) to see if I could park there. I was stationary for maybe 20 seconds. Might be of some use to anyone else in a similar predicament.

 

I also think the council are somewhat naughty declaring that they will only ever cancel pcn's on their own (narrow) list of reasons- when clearly they do cancel them over a wider range of circumstances like my own above, and also at their discretion when the mood takes them. 

An example of this I saw recently. I was queuing at the old parking office to buy new residents permits for myself and a neighbour and had dutifully paid up several pounds worth of parking ticket in pay and display bays nearby knowing that it always takes ages. The lady in the line just in front of me arrived at the same time and parked in the same bay. She was also buying residents permits, and was a friendly chummy nice sort full of lots of sympathy for the office staff being made redundant - chatty chat chat chat chatty chat... don't mind the people waiting chat. Half way through her order she realised she left some essential document in her car- out she went to get it leaving a queue of people steaming at the length of time her chat and now disorganisation was taking. Then, when she came back - *horrors!* she had a ticket. (having not put much money on her ticket, and not paid attention to how long she was in the queue- unlike all the others, who had been coming and going topping up their meters) . Guess what happened? The parking people passed it over to the other desk and they cancelled it on the spot for her. (!!) Imagine how the mood in the room changed as the 20 odd people waiting to pay parking tickets seethed.... 

We really aren't imagining it - there is one rule for some , and one for others.. 

 

As a longstanding and (I hope) constructive critic of Haringey's Parking Service, I was very interested to read your post. As a local councillor, there are several practical issues I'd like to raise with them directly. So it'd be helpful to know when you worked for Haringey. Also, what support and advice the frontline staff have in dealing with the queries and representations they get from drivers.

Your comments support my own view that "Civil Parking Enforcement" (i.e. local councils not the police enforce the rules) has distorted the whole purpose of parking and traffic rules. It's one thing to insist - as the law does - that each council's Parking Account must balance. It's quite another to have income targets and pressure on staff to keep up the level of fines. It means many local authorities now see cars as cash dispensing machines, with traffic and parking enforcement as a way of filling holes in their budgets.

When dealing with any Council's Parking Service, I completely agree with your advice to keep a careful record, take photos, and if possible have witnesses. But I'd also be very cautious about a couple of the "tips" you mention. For example, even though the law says that every yellow line must have a "T" bar at the end, in at least one "key" case an independent Adjudicator held that this was de minimis - too insignificant to matter.

Similarly, the Highway Code says clearly that "you MUST NOT wait or park on yellow lines during the times of operation shown on nearby time plates (or zone entry signs if in a Controlled Parking Zone)". The fact that somewhere along the line there's a break seems irrelevant - unless of course you park in the break.

Similarly, while I agree with your criticism of the confusing wording of many parking signs, I think the solution has to come from the Government as this seems to be a problem in many towns.

Alan* Please get back to us when you've got any answers to 'several practical issues I'd like to raise with them (haringey council) directly.' regarding parking enforcement procedure.

I invite anyone here to PM (private message) me if you have a parking ticket you wish to challenge and i will advise you on your chances of having it cancelled.

Are wardens allowed to sit in unmarked vehicles in non-high visibility jackets and begin to prepare a ticket whilst watching a person loading and loading. Then jump out to pounce wearing the high vis whilst I have gone to get another visitors permit because it had been scratched wrongly and took it in with me to show person I am visiting.

I did the reverse in Islington. I bought a ticket from a parking machine and parked nearby only to find I was ticketed for parking in a residents area. The signage was so confusing.  I had no intention of parking illegally so I appealed but lost the appeal. Its not just Haringey who are avaricious.

Other tickets I have had in Haringey;

Ticket for not displaying residents parking permit. The windscreen was covered in snow! (I won the appeal). 

Ticket for a two hour scratch card which was scratched at 8 but I omitted to scratch the minute part at 00. The parking ticket was given at 8.10 so logically had to be current (I won the appeal)

Ticket for not displaying residents parking permit on the screen, though it was clearly displayed on the dashboard. (I won the appeal)

Ticket for not displaying residents parking permit on the screen, the selotape I'd used to stick the permit to the screen had melted in the summer sun and the permit had fallen onto the dash but was still visible. I lost the appeal, even though the residents parking permit was current and visible. The reason for loosing the appeal was that I had previous form for not displaying the permit on the windscreen (above) even though I had won that appeal. 

It would be helpful, Maggie, to know whether your appeals were an initial "challenge" to Haringey Parking Service (within 14 days). Or a "representation" - again to Haringey - after you got a formal Notice to Owner. Or whether they were formal appeals to the Independent Parking Adjudicator.

The Council's website explains these steps more or less clearly. But - perhaps confusingly - also uses the word "appeal" when describing all three.

I suspect that for most people who get an undeserved ticket (PCN) their first feeling is rage. But it's essential to keep cool and plan your line of defence. Photos with dates can assist you and others.  (I once photographed every street in Tottenham Hale CPZ to show that the majority of parking bay lines had been wrongly painted. After months of denial and obfuscation Haringey Environment Service corrected them. But even then, they pretended it was an "upgrading".

So it's very valuable that you and other people are sharing your experience of the Parking Service and - for better or sometimes worse - how it works. It's particularly helpful that you give the facts of actual incidents.

For people who haven't seen them, there are helpful websites which deal with typical situations. For example, I've had positive comments about Ticket Fighter. There are several more. But don't rely on them. Take a look at the PATAS (Parking and Traffic Appeals)  website and especially their Key Cases.

If people have the time and patience, it's invaluable to read the section of the particular law you are alleged to have broken. Everything is now online - and free. And there's Haringey's Code of Practice for Civil Parking and Traffic Enforcement which may cover the point you want to raise.

If people do find find errors - not just in the Parking Service's apparent failure to follow proper procedures, but in the lines and signs on the street, I suggest that as well as emailing the Parking Service - they post online in this or another website and let other people know the details. This applies to streets where - as Don suggests - the lines are badly faded - or perhaps where roadworks have been done and the original lines need repainting. Google Streetview can sometimes help.

Hi Alan, they were all initial 'challenges' to Haringey Parking Service on receiving PCNs.

Don: thanks for your post, a genuine public service, unlike the Haringey Parking Department. One hears of so many cases of a lack of humanity with this profit centre.

I sold my car last year and I now wonder how the council will try to penalise my sole remaining mode of transport, a motorcycle. I hope that it is exempt from CPZ restrictions, but it's not something I'm keen to test.

I posted on Green N8 some time ago where I tried to re-interpret the Parking Department's article in Haringey People magazine, Parking Explained. The parking "service" claimed that controls are needed to "encourage business, improve road safety or keep traffic moving". But everyone believes – and the council knows – that the main motivation is to raise ready cash quickly. This is not going to change.

The council needs to continue to fund their PR area, including Haringey People magazine, which they claim is the public's preferred way to be told about the things the council are doing, such as providing the Parking Service.

By and large, most people pay their council taxes without enormous irritation. To me, the long-term problem caused by funding council expenditure (such as their magazine) using methods rightly perceived as unfair and unreasonable, is that it breeds cynicism – and even contempt – for a body that is supposed to be looking after the interest of the public. What is the purpose of the council?

Clive, I'm deeply disappointed. Surely you haven't forgotten my helpful attempt only last November to codify and simplify your much revered re-postings on traditional old topics?

So there's no need to hi-jack a discussion thread on parking tickets. Just yell out the number.  1 = Ally Pally.  2 = Haringey People magazine.

Simplfying parking rules so they are readily comprehensible is something that many members of the public could do. But why should we?

First, is this not something that local government "officers" should be doing? (paid for with public taxes).

Second, if members of the public came up with improved signage (which I've no doubt they could), the council has no incentive to adopt it, quite the reverse. The key point that I think you miss Alan, is that parking signs are deliberately confusing, the better to trap motorists and generate revenue. This is not just a Haringey problem.

As a responsible councillor – who laudably has been a critic of parking regulations – are you not concerned about the long-term cynicism about the council that is bred by the current enforcement regime?

Finally, I am deeply disappointed in council priorities, that prefer to close old folks homes rather than their big PR machine, including the council's magazine. Who is the council working for?

We almost agree, Clive.

Simplified and clear procedures for parking rules, tickets and appeals? Yes!

Clear and simplified signage? Absolutely!! I've said this repeatedly. But have been advised that the wording is set by the Department for Transport.

Am I concerned about long-term cynicism? Of course I am. And you already know that. Two years ago I asked Ita O'Donovan, then Haringey's Chief Executive for help to resolve these problems. On 29 March 2009, my email to Dr O'Donovan included this comment:

I asked simple questions. Do the signs and lines in one CPZ comply with the Law of the land – the Statutory Regulations? Are they being enforced as such?

In response to my formal enquiry and Freedom of Information Act request and an enquiry from you as the Chief Executive, we get the answers:

'No. Yes. Here’s a list. Well, what we meant to say was not these bays and not these lines. Oops, sorry, the list is wrong. It's an ongoing programme. We are about to do a survey. We’ll walk round with you at the end of May.'
It’s like wading through porridge. And if it wasn’t serious it would be hilarious. But it is serious. And not just because we're taking people’s money for permits and fines. We are breaking an implied agreement with our residents. They buy permits; they are entitled to expect and trust us to put in legally correct lines and signs. We enforce these; and they are entitled to expect and have confidence in us to follow the legal rules.
If local authorities behave as if they are above the law that is corrosive of the trust and confidence in these councils, in council staff, and in elected councillors.
But Clive, both of us are well aware that if the income from Parking drops, the Council will need to make even more cuts.

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