St Albans driver forced to pay “unfair” parking fine after number plate mix-up

St Albans City station car park. Upper levels closed due to snow.

St Albans City station car park. Upper levels closed due to snow. - Credit: Archant

A frustrated driver has spoken out about automated parking systems issuing “unfair” tickets at St Albans City Station.

A copy of Sally Cartwright's PCN. Picture: Sally Cartwright

A copy of Sally Cartwright's PCN. Picture: Sally Cartwright - Credit: Archant

Sally Cartwright and her husband were going into London one evening, parking in St Albans City Station Car Park on Station Way and paying for the right date and time period with her card.

A couple of weeks later, she was shocked to receive an £100 parking fine in the post - reduced to £60 if paid in 14 days.

It read: “The Byelaws were made under section 219 of the Transport Act 2000 as amended under the Railways Act 2005, and an offence has been committed by breaching Byelaw 14.

“Having identified that an offence has occurred, your data has been released by the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency as our client has reasonable cause (under Regulation 27(1)(e) of the Road Vehicles (Registration and Licensing) Regulations 2002).”

Calling the appeals number listed, she was told her registration plate was inputted incorrectly and, despite having proof of payment on her bank statement, the fine still stands.

She said: “I would never dream of not paying for a parking ticket and I did buy a ticket - maybe there was something wrong with the number plate but it doesn’t mean I didn’t pay. It was quite an aggressive letter and they were so unhelpful saying ‘If you appeal it, the fine will be more, you will have to pay £100 and there will be no way back’.”

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Seeing as Sally’s car number plate is similar to her husband’s, she believes it was a simple mix-up.

Worried by the legal threats in the letter however, Sally reluctantly paid the fine - plus a handling fee. She said: “I was really upset and stressed at the audacity of it, that they can get away with it.”

Sally was shocked to discover a number of people recounting the same ordeal on a Facebook group called All About St Albans.

“A lot of people haven’t paid it but I was too nervous to do that and I think that is what happens. A lot of people are so frightened by it they pay, and so they are going to keep getting away with it. I will never park in that car park again. I will walk in the rain if I have to.”

A GTR spokesman said: “Our parking contractor advises customers who believe they have been issued with a penalty notice wrongly to make a formal appeal in order to avoid the penalty being increased.

“If the customer can show through the appeal process that they did pay the correct parking charge, the notice will be withdrawn.”