(page updated 1 July 2019)
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MERSEY GATEWAY PENALTIES - STAGES 3 - CHARGE CERTIFICATES
This page describes the stage between getting a Penalty Charge Notice and Merseyflow applying to the Traffic Enforcement Centre for a 'Recovery order'.
What The Charge Certificates Look Like
How To Deal With Charge Certificates.
What the charge certificates looks like
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During summer 2018, Merseyflow started issuing 'Charge Certificates' increasing the penalty to £60. They are issued if Merseyflow claim that-
The registered keeper of the vehicle failed to do anything within 28 days of receiving the PCN. Or
Within the 28 days of receiving the PCN the registered keeper of the vehicle made a representation, but they later received a 'Notice of Rejection' and failed to do anything within 28 days of receiving the 'Notice of Rejection'.
After receiving a Notice of Rejection the registered keeper of the vehicle appealed to the Traffic Penalty Tribunal within 28 days but the Tribunal dismissed the appeal (as at 1st July 2019, there have been no appeals dismissed, though a few have failed for reasons such as being too late).
There will also be a charge certificate issued because, despite what Merseyflow claim, the registered keeper of the vehicle never received any of the above.
The Charge Certificate gives no option other than to either pay the £60 per PCN within 14 days or wait till "Mersey Gateway Crossing" apply to the County Court (the Traffic Enforcement Centre at Northampton County Court) for a 'Order for recovery of unpaid penalty charge'.
Merseyflow know that most people will be scared by the charge certificate and pay up.
Though the Charge Certificate says that a Recovery Order could be issued after 14 days, in practice none were issued till early October 2018 - a year after the bridge opened. This meant that many people will not have remembered what had happened and whether there had been a mistake or not.
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How To Deal With Charge Certificates
When you get a Charge Certificate, YOU HAVE THESE CHOICES-
Within the 14 days, pay the amount demanded - £62 per toll that they claim was not paid.
OR do some of the following-
1. TELL THEM IF YOU ARE VULNERABLE- This normally comes into play at the Bailiff stage, but there is no need to wait till then. Check on this part of our advice on Bailiffs to see if you might be classed as vulnerable and if so then follow the advice on the link.
2. MAKE A 'REPRESENTATION TO MERSEYFLOW- If you believe that either you did not see any previous forms or were not able to deal with them (for instance you may have been suffering from some illness that made it difficult or impossible to deal with this then you could make a 'representation' how to do this.
Merseyflow are not required to consider such a late representation, and from May 2019 or earlier it seems that whatever the circumstances Merseyflow are being ruthless and rejecting all late representations, so there is probably no longer any point doing this.
3. DISCUSS IT WITH MERSEYFLOW- There may be special circumstances (apart from vulnerability) or you may think that there has been an error and there should not have been a penalty issued to you. Or you might want to see if they will accept a payment less than what is demanded in the Charge Certificate.
We recommend that you use email or visit, as Merseyflow may not give reliable answers if you phone them and may ignore letters. Their contact details are: by Email- firstname.lastname@example.org, OR phone 01928 878 878, OR write to or visit the Walk-in centre at Howard Court, Manor Park, Runcorn, WA7 1SJ.
In these circumstances we recommend that you copy any email to your MP - (Contact details for MPs).
4. HAVE A THINK ABOUT WHETHER YOUR CAR IS AT RISK AND CONSIDER TRANSFERRING THE OWNERSHIP OF IT- There is a risk, that whatever you do, you may get into a situation where the 'debt' enforcers are called in. Unless they can bully or trick you into letting them into your home, the main risk is that they will clamp your car. So have a look at trying to prevent them taking your car and consider transferring the ownership of your car.
5. THIS POINT IS IMPORTANT, SO DO THIS IF NOTHING ELSE -
Complete the TE forms that you will get at the next stage - STAGE FOUR - Traffic Enforcement Centre - Recovery Orders
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