Fine - Court Admin Error

Help needed please!

My husband received a speeding fine a few months back; he didn't agree with it so he contested it but lost and as a result the fine went up from £100 to £320.
Although my husband works full time, I'm a student and we just couldn't afford to pay it all at once. So we wrote to them to explain that and ask that we could pay £40 per month, we didn't get any response but a while later got a letter to say they would take it to enforcement officers if we didn't pay. So we wrote again, explaining our situation with an income and expenditure form and a cheque for the first £40.
They accepted this and cashed the cheque. We received a letter confirming this and asking for payment at the end of each month.
We then received a letter 3 weeks later saying that as we haven't paid, they'd written to his work to have the money taken directly out of his pay in pretty much one payment. (the Cheque was the first payment so we had paid!!!0
We phoned and queried it and they admitted that it was a mistake and that they'd write to his employer to explain the mistake.
Yesterday was payday and they took £227 out of my husbands wage. When we phoned up the court they said it wasn't their fault because they'd written to my husbands work to cancel it, but his work said it's not their fault because they didn't receive the letter.
It later turns out that when the court sent the letter they just sent it to "The Manager" (instead of Payroll) - my husband works for a company that employs 5000 staff, so lots of his colleagues have now read all of these letters in an attempt to get it to the right dept. A major breach of confidentiality that could affect his chances of promotion later in the year.
Eventually the court agreed to refund the money by cheque, but by the time it is received and cleared we will have had to go 2 weeks without money and we have children. We have had 3 direct debits bounce as a result of this.

Where do we stand with this? We are seriously thinking about telling them we refuse to pay the fine anymore because they failed to maintain confidentiality and they cost us money in failed direct debits.

Any help gratefully received!!!

Comments

  • National_Debtline
    National_Debtline Posts: 7,998
    First Post First Anniversary Combo Breaker
    Organisation Representative
    Hi there,


    I am sorry to hear that you have had such a difficult time with this situation. It actually sounds as though you have done very well (although I understand you may not feel that way) but to get the court to agree to refund money that was genuinely due on a fine is very rare. So well done for that.


    Realistically, you cannot refuse to pay the fine without incurring more issues. The fine was determined based on the speeding issue and that hasn't changed. However, what you can do is write/ email the court manager and explain the situation from start to finish and include copies of your letters as evidence. Ask them what they can do to remedy this - perhaps you could ask them to cancel the fine as a gesture of good will, but that is at their discretion.


    As far as the next few weeks are concerned I would suggest you look at emergency help from your local authority and other local services (if family and friends can't step in short term). Not ideal, I know, but there are very limited options with such a short term cash flow issues. Good luck,


    Laura
    @natdebtline
    We work as money advisers for National Debtline and have specific permission from MSE to post to try to help those in debt. Read more information on National Debtline in MSE's Debt Problems: What to do and where to get help guide. If you find you're struggling with debt and need further help try our online advice tool My Money Steps
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