London Congestion Charge

in Motoring
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Poppy9Poppy9 Forumite
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Advice - Help

Drove to London on Monday and stayed at Ramada Marylebone. Wondered if we would need to pay congestion charge so looked at their website which said the hotel was outside the congestion zone. Followed their directions from the M4 to the hotel. Followed them to the letter and this led us into the C zone. It was 18.10pm we couldn't avoid it there was no where to stop or turn off. When we arrived at the hotel 5 minutes later we asked the receptionist about it. She told us to go to the Post Office in the morning to pay it. In the morning the PO said we couldn't pay for previous day and to ring the Congestion charge number. They informed us that we only had until 10pm on the day to pay now we will have a penalty. £100 reduced to £50 if we pay within 14 days. They said there is no appeal process.

Just looked at their website and it seems there is an appeals process. My question is if we appeal and we are unsuccessful will the charge continue to rise. Should we pay the £50 under protest pending the appeal outcome.

Pretty peeved off about this as living 300 miles away from London we knew nothing about the charge and trusted the hotels direction.

I did raise with reception and they also didn't seem to know about these rules. Said the website couldn't tell you that you would go through the zone to reach their hotel which is outside the zone as it's illegal and that they would seen to be incouraging people to find an alternative route to avoid the charge.

Thanks
:) ~Laugh and the world laughs with you, weep and you weep alone.~:)
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Replies

  • MarkyMarkDMarkyMarkD Forumite
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    That hotel comment is complete rubbish. The whole point of the congestion charge is to deter people from driving in central London, not to encourage people to do so, so that Ken can make a few bob!

    I would write in very strong terms to Ramada as they have

    (1) caused you to incur the charge due to their stupid directions and then lied about why the directions are stupid; and
    (2) caused you to incur double the charge due to their staff member's incorrect advice.

    I would certainly expect them to cough up. Bear in mind (and mention in your strop) that you deliberately chose a hotel outside the congestion charge zone and their website states that it is.
  • NileNile Forumite, Board Guide
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    Hello Poppy9

    Been there, done that, bought the t shirt!

    We had a weekend in London and thought we'd avoided the congestion charge until we received a fine through the post >:(.

    We appealed and were advised by friends on this site what to do. The process was slow and I worried about the fine increasing as we missed each date deadline. The appeal was denied (what a surprise ::)) and we were advised to pay the initial fine amount, even though the deadline had elapsed.

    You live and learn.
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  • Poppy9Poppy9 Forumite
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    Nile,

    On what grounds did you appeal?  Looking through website news it seems that over 50% of appeals are upheld. I can't believe that when we rang to pay on tuesday they wouldn't take any money off us.  Why should I have to bear the price of them now producing an invoice (I know from working from a large local authority that to produce 1 invoice including processing of the payment costs £15 min.) We weren't trying to avoid the charge, we offered to pay.  Think I might write to Kenny and Tony too pointing out they are deliberately profiteering from honest citizens etc. etc.  

    I will write to the Hotel head office - but I think the best I will get from them is a free night accommodation (no doubt dependent on me paying for another night!!). There is an added complication to complaining about the hotel too much as a relation of a friend got us the hotel at a reduced price. I also asked this relation if we were going into the zone and he said no. They obviously know a different route in. Really I think it just proves how ignorant Londoners are about the zone so there is no hope for us Walians!!
    :) ~Laugh and the world laughs with you, weep and you weep alone.~:)
  • Poppy9Poppy9 Forumite
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    Can I check on line if I have been caught in the Zone. If not how long before a big bill drops through my door?
    :) ~Laugh and the world laughs with you, weep and you weep alone.~:)
  • i got fined a few weeks back, again being from the north i was totally ignorant of the congestion system, i rang and wrote to appeal to no avail, all i did was do a u-turn in a side rd which happened to be in the congestion zone, it definatly sucks, and seems to be a great revenue spinner for the london council, i wonder how many innocent northern victims there are, perhaps we should plan some mass protest, i was gutted with my fine, id already provided london council with approx £30 for over nite parking, definatley leaves you with a bad taste in your mouth and a hatred for london council.
    Titch :)
  • Poppy9Poppy9 Forumite
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    had mine today. I am copying my appeal letter to

    Ken Livingstone
    Tony Blair
    and my local MP

    I have strongly made the point that I offered to pay but they refused to accept it. Went on about enviroment (wasted paper) and victimisation.
    :) ~Laugh and the world laughs with you, weep and you weep alone.~:)
  • King_David_2King_David_2 Unregistered / Not Logged In
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    The trick is never to go near London in a car.

    I never have and never, ever, will.
  • nearlyrichnearlyrich Forumite
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    I got stitched up a few weeks ago, I wasn't aware that if you don't pay before 10pm it is £10 instead of £5. I paid on line 5 mins after the deadline due to connection problems, I had assumed that if you paid before midnight it was OK. I think Bouncebackability has the right idea, parking at the hotel I used was £30 for less than 24 hours.
    Free impartial debt advice from: National Debtline or Stepchange[/CENTER]
  • Any readers of this thread wondering exactly what the charge is, and where it applies, can view the London Congestion Charge website, at:

    https://www.cclondon.com

    It's also probably worth mentioning that the scheme made the news worldwide when it launched, and was the main story on the UK national news each night for a week. There are also road signs advising you of what the scheme is throughout Greater London.

    It's a reasonable assumption that certain tabloids had their art departments creating pictures of lizards with Ken Livingstone's face stuck on, being wheel-clamped and towed away under the headline "Congestion Charge Fails". Only it didn't...

    Following the success of the London scheme (measured by a reduction in traffic and a collection of revenue for public transport schemes), many cities are planning their own congestion charges.

    Poppy, it would seem that MarkyMark's advice would be the best - pay it, and complain to the hotel for bad advice. The receptionist should have said "I don't know" rather than guess.

    Not sure what your letters to the Mayor of London and the Prime Minister would achieve - precisely what grounds do you think you have for appeal to them?

    If in doubt - find out, from a reliable source.
    something missing
  • Poppy9Poppy9 Forumite
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    Signage useless unless you know your way around the City. We were following exact instructions and looking for road signs.

    The main thrust of my appeal is that payment was offered within 16 hours and refused. Instead they wanted to generate 3 pieces of paper, an envelope and then post it which means road or rail transport of mail 200 miles. How enviromentally friendly is that? How much money would they save if they accepted telephone payments after the date? No doubt they spend a fortune on printing and postage sending penalty notices to cars which are not legally registered or registered abroad. They will never catch the motorists who have no intention of paying any road charges whatsoever. No tax, no insurance and no congestion charge. If I intended to avoid the charge I would not have rung to offer payment. In law for there to be a crime there has to be intention to commit an offence. Therefore I am not guilty of a crime so should not be penalised.

    By copying the correspondence to TB & KL I am trying to let them know that Innocent People are fed up of being easy targets for revenue raising when they have commited no crime.

    If this is how visitors to London are welcomed no wonder I was able to book a Hotel in the centre of London at a reduced rate at short notice without trouble. After this experience I will not be in a hurry to return. No doubt they will then have to raise the congestion charge penalty to compensate for the reduction in visitors.

    If you all want a nice break come to South West Wales (known in work as the graveyard of ambition). Lovely beaches and scenery, good nightlife and you don't have to wear your bag over your shoulder and under your coat for fear of pickpockets. Also cheaper to eat out and go to the Cinema. Also our roads are free and not as congested as London. We do lack decent public transport though. Buses are rare in huge parts of the city. Trains from London often decide to terminate at Cardiff without notice and then they secretly put on another train to Swansea without announcing it - it would be funny if it wasn't so true.
    :) ~Laugh and the world laughs with you, weep and you weep alone.~:)
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