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Congestion charge help needed - watch out!!

Austin, Texas
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Congestion charge help needed - watch out!!

I know the summer is way gone, but I am just getting around to fighting a huge Congestion Charge that we unknowingly received when we drove into London. Are you ready for this? It was $300 US dollars. $200 for the city, and $100 to the Budget car rental folks as a Administration fee. What a ripoff!! I have beencalling and talking to Budget and I even called the Mayors office in London. No progress. Do you have any ideas??

This appears to be a huge "Tourist Trap" that is completely supported by the city of London.

Are my wife and I the only ones? Were we really that oblivious?

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Sydney, Australia
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31. Re: Congestion charge help needed - watch out!!

Since the OP admits that his driving was a liability, it would be a greater threat if he threatened to drive in London again.

Sydney, Australia
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32. Re: Congestion charge help needed - watch out!!

Prior to one of my trips to the UK (the first time I rented a vehicle) I ordered online a copy of the road rules for the UK. I know that the rules are very similar to here and I am lucky that both the UK and Australia drive on the correct side of the road, but I thought it best to acquaint myself with the rules and different road signs. Best few £ I ever spent.

I wouldn't drive in London for love nor money - my mother didn't give birth to an idiot ;-) I learned to drive on a manual car and drove one for years and years, but now have an automatic. Even though I can drive a manual, I think it best to pay the comparative little extra to get an automatic when renting a car - it saves me having to worry about changing gear on unfamiliar roads and anywhere near some of the HUGE roundabouts (crikey, some even have lots of lanes AND traffic lights .....).

I agree - ignorance of the law is no defence. If the OP doesn't want to return to the UK, I think it'll survive.

USA
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33. Re: Congestion charge help needed - watch out!!

Welcome to the forum, austinman2008!

Your warning to watch out for the congestion charge is good, sorry you did not benefit from a similar warning. Problems like yours are what keeps me from driving overseas, I worry that I would not understand a traffic sign and kill someone. Pay the $300, chalk it up to experience, and be glad you did not run over anyone. I do not think that anyone can deny that we drive on the right side of the road in the USA.

East Sussex, United...
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34. Re: Congestion charge help needed - watch out!!

I was pretty busy shifting with my left hand instead of the right, and driving on the "wrong" side of the road.

It was my first and last time driving in London. And I was probably a driving problem for others.

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Well at least you have admitted that much. In other words you were a danger not only to yourselves, but also other road users. Whatever posessed you to even consider driving in London in the first place ? The internet is full of of information advising against driving in London for a very good reason.

The Congestion Charge Zone warnings are clearly posted on roadside signs several miles before you even enter the zone. It's not a 'tourist trap' at all, it's a fine for anyone who fails to adhere to the regulations in place. That applies to locals and tourists alike.

London
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35. Re: Congestion charge help needed - watch out!!

@34 asks 'Whatever posessed you to even consider driving in London in the first place ?

I suspect this was a direct result of far too little research and an inward looking 'this is how we do things at home so it must be the same all over the World'. attitude

Even when the OP arrived in London and first contemplated the lack of big wide straight roads and sedate traffic, he could still have opted out of the hire car arrangement (maybe at a cost, but still better than possibly killing himself and others). Unfortunately at this point human nature and a macho attitude probably took over - 'I'm male, and think I'm a good driver, so I'll be all right'

So the reason the OP gets no sympathy in these posts is because his fine was a direct result of his actions and unpreparedness - nothing to do with wily politicians setting up money making tourist traps

Tasmania, Australia
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36. Re: Congestion charge help needed - watch out!!

Bit harsh to say "I won't go to London again". It's not London or the inhabitants fault that you got a fine, all info brochures and guide books on London mention the congestion charge, I also believe it is in the paperwork which would have been given to you by the rental country. Don't blame London, you are the traveller, the onus is on you to comply with local and country laws whenever you are travelling. BTW I'm an Aussie, not a Londoner, but I agree with their comments.

UK
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37. Re: Congestion charge help needed - watch out!!

Unfortunately at this point human nature and a macho attitude probably took over - 'I'm male, and think I'm a good driver, so I'll be all right'

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That's a very sexist comment Charlotte. Ignorance, carelessness and stupidity are not restricted to a single gender.

London, United...
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38. Re: Congestion charge help needed - watch out!!

> Ignorance, carelessness and stupidity are not restricted to a single gender.

No, but like most things, I think we men do them better. ;-)

Chicago, Illinois
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39. Re: Congestion charge help needed - watch out!!

I'd like to know where the OP hired the car from as he says he "drove into London". If he hired it from hundreds of miles from London, why would they feel the need to warn him about the CC ?

Watford
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for London
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40. Re: Congestion charge help needed - watch out!!

There's a lot we don't know but sadly I suspect the OP has had enough of being told what we think of him and won't be back.