Friday, July 28, 2006

Travel: ‘PENALTY CHARGE NOTICE’ follow up

Many of you may recall my run-in with the man from Westminster Council who hid in bushes and jumped out to slap fines on cars. Well I had a reply from those lying, thieving sons of hound-dogs, and all I can say is that NOW I am calm.

The summary of their letter was that my claim had been “fully considered” and that from their remote ivory tower (they’re not even based in Westminster) they have decided to still demand money. Because of the way these scams operate, I can either pay £50 now, or pay £100 after two weeks. If I wanted to contest this blatant criminality, I could only do it once the demand for £100 was received. It is received by the Owner of the vehicle - a car hire company. Now, full of righteous indignation - I had been lied to by the bush-lurker and the letter blathered on about ‘space being at a premium’ despite the fact there was a vast amount of space that day, a bank-holiday Sunday - I decided to see if the hire company would let me fight it.

Unfortunately, everyone wants in on the ‘PENALTY CHARGE NOTICE’ scam. The car hire firm upon receipt of one of these things, pays up and then forwards the cost to me PLUS A £30 ‘ADMINISTRATION COST.’ Jesus! Is everyone some kind of filthy, cheating scumbag?

With this in mind, the only course open to me was the following:
Step 1. Pay up the £50 pounds but in so doing, perform
Step 2. bend the ear of the poor customer service bod who answered the call and make sure they put something in any note3s field.
Step 3. Write a letter so snotty, it would have to be wiped with a hanky before it could be read.

However, the professional con-artists at Westminster Council know what they’re doing and step 2 was thwarted by the fact Westminster Council has an automated service for receiving payment - no human interaction necessary. And they canny scammers don’t even give you an option such as “Press 8 if you wish to register your indignation at our unethical money-making practices.”

Step 3 is in progress and I am currently snorting marshmallows in preparation for the letter, which I will include here when it has been complete. Providing it doesn’t spontaneously combust out of its own sense of indignation.

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