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PCN fines - congestion zones?

Australia
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PCN fines - congestion zones?

Hired a car in central London (Australian tourist) - knowing absolutely nothing about "Congestion zones" in the city....

1 month later car hire company deducted 30 pound off my credit card. After questioning this they said it was an administration fee and forwarded by email 2 PCN fines for entering congestion zones (which is where the car hire pick up and drop off were)

Car hire company said they have put liability on us and passed our details onto TFL (TRansport for London ) but have not heard a word from TFL. The attached fines were well past due date... meaning each were 180 pound at this stage....

.

As TFL have not contacted me I have no intention of paying these fines ... especially as car hire company did not notify us of these zones upon exit of their premises. Am overseas for an additional 3 months . Any advice please? Is it enforced as we are foreign citizens?

London UK
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1. Re: PCN fines - congestion zones?

TfL did not contact you because you are not the qwner of the car. As owner of the hire car the car hire company has to tell you you broke the law. There are ample signs around the congestion zone, as far as some several miles outside London reminding drivers of the congestion zone. All you can do is plead that by the time the car hire company informed you the fine had increased to £180, so please could you pay at the reduced rate of £120 per offence.

The congestion charge is enforced on everyone, except diplomats. The lesson learnt for you, and others, is to read the Highway Code of the country in which you are driving and not assume that it is the same as at home. If you have not bothered to do your Highway Code homework beforehand, it is hard to have any sympathy. I totally dislike the congestion charge and so I have never driven in the congestion zone during weekdays. It saves a fortune in congestion charges at £8 a time as well as having to pay incredible parking charges.

Upminster, United...
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2. Re: PCN fines - congestion zones?

tfl.gov.uk/roadusers/…6738.aspx

It is unlikely the bailiffs will ever find you.

Cotswolds
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3. Re: PCN fines - congestion zones?

Nothing to do with whether you are a foreign citizen or not. It will be enforced if it is practical to do so. If you are in Australia that is unlikely to be to be the case..

I would suspect that the original PCNs have been sent to your Australian address - possibly within the time limits.

Edited: 22 November 2010, 16:13
Stanley, Falkland...
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4. Re: PCN fines - congestion zones?

This has come up before (and will again).

Which hire company was it, so that people can be warned, or we can check whether any warning is given.?

I suspect they mumble something as you sign the form, like "and initial here to say you'll be liable for parking fines and congestion charges..."

There may even be leaflets at the pickup warning you about the congestion charge, but the onus is on you.

I've been stopped in numerous countries and told I need to buy a permit to drive on the motorways (even though not using them). Ignorance was not accepted as an excuse.

Edited: 22 November 2010, 16:26
Bingley, United...
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for Edinburgh
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5. Re: PCN fines - congestion zones?

"It is unlikely the bailiffs will ever find you."

In which case the car hire company will pay the fines, then charge you for the fines with an admin fee on top.

Cotswolds
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6. Re: PCN fines - congestion zones?

But will they?

They appear to have fulfilled their legal obligation by passing on the hirer's details to the authorities.

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7. Re: PCN fines - congestion zones?

A hire company won't let you escape, otherwise what's to stop every foreigner who hires a car dodging the charge.

Pay up, have basic moral integrity.

And how did you not notice the charge? It's plastered all over central London

London, England
Destination Expert
for Solo Travel
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8. Re: PCN fines - congestion zones?

Whether you or the hire company is liable depends upon whether, among the various documents you signed when you collected the rental car, there was an assumption of liability.

The chances are that you did sign an assumption of liability, but it is worth checking your papers.

Notification would certainly have been sent to the address held for you by the car rental company, or perhaps your home address.

You can chase up the tfl and try to negotiate a lower fine on the basis that you were not warned about the charge, have been abroad and that you did not receive the notice, or you can ignore the whole thing and hope that you never get caught.

If you do ignore it, the fine will be huge if you do get caught..

Much of the English system of enforcement works on the principle that whilst the odds of getting caught are small, the consequences are serious.

There is no waiver for foreign citizens. A fair percentage of London residents are foreign citizens.

Alanrow is almost certainly correct about this.

Edited: 22 November 2010, 17:03
Hampshire, United...
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for Amesbury, London
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9. Re: PCN fines - congestion zones?

You know, by the time you've seen that big C on the road and signs, and gone "Gee. I wonder what that means?" you're inside the congestion zone and it's too late.

I do think car hire places have a responsibility to make this charge clear to their customers. A big thumbs up to SixT who have an explanation of it on their front page (or at least the page I looked at!). Hertz just says (if you're looking at their London pick up points "This location is situated within the London Congestion Zone". Wow. What does that mean? It would be so easy to just pass that comment by. And Avis. Well, I couldn't see anything at all and I looked on several pages. Shame, Avis!

It is easy for us locals to say 'it's obviously marked' and read up on driving in London (and yes, you should do), but it's also easy not to realise its significance when you don't live here.

Australia
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10. Re: PCN fines - congestion zones?

Last comment seems pretty spot on IMHO. Excuse me for concentrating more on the road and where we were actually going (being we were in a city we have no knowledge of) than the multitude of signs of signs that we had never seen before.

Having looked at the sign now there is absolutely no way to work out what we are supposed to do or what it actually means....of course it is different for residents of London (or even Europe) to know of this because of the media coverage that it gets but I'm sure I'm not the only tourist that would be furious at this situation. I would have "moral integrity" and pay a fine if I had done something wrong.

I will be abroad for 3 more months so am very unlikely to be doing anything at all about this (if anything) until then.