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Congestion Charge fine 17:59

edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Motoring
28 replies 2K views
rosey157rosey157 Forumite
1 posts
edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Motoring
Hi, I have just received a congestion charge fine for entering the zone at 17:59. My phone, car and the news said it was 18:00 at the time of entering. I have spoken to TFL and their attitude was "Our clocks are set by GMT and doesn't matter if its 5 seconds early, so the fine is final" I find this very unfair, does anyone have any advice on how I can get out of this very unfair fine??
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  • Aylesbury_DuckAylesbury_Duck Forumite
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    rosey157 wrote: »
    Hi, I have just received a congestion charge fine for entering the zone at 17:59. My phone, car and the news said it was 18:00 at the time of entering. I have spoken to TFL and their attitude was "Our clocks are set by GMT and doesn't matter if its 5 seconds early, so the fine is final" I find this very unfair, does anyone have any advice on how I can get out of this very unfair fine??
    In short, you can't. The line has to be drawn somewhere and setting it at exactly 1800 GMT is the fairest way of doing it. It doesn't matter what a radio station said the time was, there has to be a centrally-set point, otherwise everyone would have their own interpretation of the time and TFL would be inundated with appeals like yours.

    Oh, and it's not unfair. It's absolutely fair because they've adopted a centrally set and agreed time.
  • DoaMDoaM Forumite
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    You could challenge the calibration of their clocks against the GMT master, but the cost in doing so would make the fine seem a pittance.
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  • agrinnallagrinnall PPR
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    When did this happen, GMT ended over 6 weeks ago, and we are now on BST?
  • SupersonosSupersonos Forumite
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    agrinnall wrote: »
    When did this happen, GMT ended over 6 weeks ago, and we are now on BST?

    GMT never ends - BST is simply an offset of GMT.
  • agrinnallagrinnall PPR
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    Supersonos wrote: »
    GMT never ends - BST is simply an offset of GMT.


    Semantics - 17:59 GMT is not the same as 17:59 BST in the real world.
  • edited 18 May 2019 at 9:45AM
    marlotmarlot Forumite
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    edited 18 May 2019 at 9:45AM
    rosey157 wrote: »
    Hi, I have just received a congestion charge fine for entering the zone at 17:59. My phone, car and the news said it was 18:00 at the time of entering. I have spoken to TFL and their attitude was "Our clocks are set by GMT and doesn't matter if its 5 seconds early, so the fine is final" I find this very unfair, does anyone have any advice on how I can get out of this very unfair fine??
    In the same way that the police have to show that their speed guns are routinely calibrated, if you wanted to challenge this, I guess you could be asking TfL to show that they take steps to show that their computer time is accurate.

    My computer is set to synchronise its time regularly, but when I go to https://time.is/ I see that it tells me that my clock is 0.7s behind. To an accuracy of +/- 0.033 seconds.

    But to challenge it would mean pleading not guilty and letting it go to court. Its up to you whether you're prepared to do that.

    I don't think it reasonable for them to issue a fine for 17.59 unless they can show to the satisfaction of the judge that it absolutely was before 18:00. What if the time was 17:59 and 50 seconds - but their clock was only accurate to +/- 1 minute?

    Otherwise what's to stop them if their clock is ten minutes out? Or an hour out?
  • edited 18 May 2019 at 9:45AM
    marlotmarlot Forumite
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    edited 18 May 2019 at 9:45AM
    In short, you can't. The line has to be drawn somewhere and setting it at exactly 1800 GMT is the fairest way of doing it. It doesn't matter what a radio station said the time was, there has to be a centrally-set point, otherwise everyone would have their own interpretation of the time and TFL would be inundated with appeals like yours.

    Oh, and it's not unfair. It's absolutely fair because they've adopted a centrally set and agreed time.
    This is predicated on TfL being able to accurately synchronise their computer clock to the international standard. The best they might be able to guarantee is that their clock is within (say) 1 second of being right.



    Every computer is slightly out. It's just a question of how far out. And whether its fair to penalise someone when their alledged infringment is within the margin of error.
  • HerzlosHerzlos Forumite
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    Is there another level of appeal? They may be strictly adhering to Greenwich but I don't think it's fair for your clock to be so accurately calibrated.

    Imho a 2 minute or less overlap should just be a warning of "hey, you're cutting it a bit close, be careful".
  • Aylesbury_DuckAylesbury_Duck Forumite
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    marlot wrote: »
    This is predicated on TfL being able to accurately synchronise their computer clock to the international standard. The best they might be able to guarantee is that their clock is within (say) 1 second of being right.



    Every computer is slightly out. It's just a question of how far out. And whether its fair to penalise someone when their alledged infringment is within the margin of error.
    Agreed, but OP would have to take this on at their own risk and cost.
  • SupersonosSupersonos Forumite
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    agrinnall wrote: »
    Semantics - 17:59 GMT is not the same as 17:59 BST in the real world.

    The OP said TFL told him "Our clocks are set by GMT". That's not to say they are the same time as GMT.

    And in fact, GMT hasn't been the standard since the seventies or eighties. It is now Universal Standard Time. But it still doesn't change the point TFL are making.
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