Can you help me resolve my six month battle with Transport for London (TfL)? I purchased my 2021 Hyundai Hybrid on May 20 last year and then replaced the standard license plate with my personalized plate.
To my surprise, I received an Ultra Low Emission Zone (Ulez) Penalty Notice on June 9, even though the vehicle complied with Ulez standards. Two more charges followed. I challenged them and in the meantime received further sanctions.
In July, TfL recognized that my vehicle was compliant and canceled several fines. But one was not canceled and in December my car was subsequently blocked.
As a healthcare professional, I need access to my vehicle to care for patients. I had to pay almost £600 to unlock my car.
Wrongly fined: Reader charged ULEZ fees for fully compliant car after getting personalized number plate
Sally Hamilton responds: Having a personalized license plate can make a driver’s vehicle stand out from the crowd of other motors on the road.
But I’m sure it’s not what you expected when your engine attracted repeated attention from TfL’s Ulez penalty collectors.
When I contacted TfL it emerged that even if your car was Ulez compliant, it took some time for TfL’s data managers to realize this.
TfL says it receives periodic updates from the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) on compliant vehicles and their number plates, but only every four weeks.
Non-compliant vehicles are most likely to be petrol cars from before 2005 or diesel vehicles from before September 2015.
Drivers who swap private number plates from one engine to another can easily slip through the cracks, with their new vehicle not included in the latest round of updates.
This can lead to their car being registered as non-compliant and therefore risking a penalty of £180 (£90 if paid within 14 days) if they fail to pay the £12.50 fee for every day of travel. the Ulez area.
At the time your penalty notices were issued, TfL had not received the updated information from the DVLA, so its records showed that your number plate belonged to your previous non-compliant car.
A TfL spokesperson told me: “We are working on ways to increase the frequency of updates.
“If a customer discovers that this has happened to them, we encourage them to contact us as soon as possible with the appropriate documentation so that we can ensure their vehicle is registered as meeting the standards. »
It also recommends drivers swapping their number plates use its vehicle checker at tfl.gov.uk to see if their details are correct.
Drivers who need to prove their car’s credentials usually need a copy of the vehicle’s V5C logbook and a certificate or letter from the car manufacturer confirming that it is Ulez compliant.
TfL tells me that less than 0.5% of the hundreds of thousands of penalties issued since 2019 have been challenged on the grounds of a change of number plate.
Although you made a successful representation to TfL shortly after the first penalty notice, the process was not complete by the time you received a new penalty – which was the one that ended up with the company Clamping.
Regarding this column’s intervention, I am pleased to say that your £600 has been refunded. A TfL spokesperson said: “We are sorry that your reader received an Ulez penalty in error.
We have waived the fines incurred and have contacted her to apologize for the inconvenience this has caused.
Charged £1,000 for a SIM card I never used
About a year ago, I was reorganizing my home office and as I moved my desk away from the wall, an envelope fell behind it. It contained a SIM card for a cell phone.
I remember in 2013 considering switching to Utility Warehouse, but ultimately stayed with EE.
I looked at my bank statements and, to my horror, realized that I had been charged over £1,000 for the Utility Warehouse plan over ten years, even though I had never used it.
The SIM is still in its original packaging. I’m at a dead end with Utility Warehouse.
For the past year, I’ve been hanging on the phone until someone cuts me off. I also wrote to customer service, without response, to the general secretary and then to all the company’s managers, but I am still ignored.
AS, Nantwich, Cheshire.
Sally Hamilton responds: Although you clearly forgot that you did not notice that regular payments were being taken from your bank account for a mobile phone contract that you never used, I felt that Utility Warehouse had is inexcusably negligent in ignoring your request to review your complaint for an entire year.
My research tells me that it is generally not possible to activate a physical SIM card without it being placed in a phone.
Although more modern phones are eSim compatible (they contain technology that allows digital SIM cards to be installed that do not require a physical card), these still need to be activated by the customer.
Additionally, they are rarely used in the UK and certainly did not exist in 2013.
At my request, Utility Warehouse has investigated your case and, although they have not provided an explanation as to how the account was activated or what fees were charged, I am pleased to report that you has now refunded the full £1,100 taken from your account. counts on the period of ten years.
Charged double for a chicken stop
I stopped at Kentucky Fried Chicken at Knutsford North Services on the M6 on our way back to Devon from Scotland on January 2nd.
I placed an order on the self-service screens for £26.57. Shortly after, it was announced that there would be a 30 minute wait time.
We were in a hurry to get home, so I and several other guests requested a refund. The server processed two customer refunds before me and then processed mine.
Once home, I noticed that I had been charged twice for the order that I never received.
When I called KFC’s so-called “care team”, they told me they couldn’t give me a refund and suggested I personally go to the branch, a round trip of 500 miles.
JT, Barnstaple, Devon.
Sally Hamilton responds: You mentioned that the KFC server, under pressure, seemed exhausted by the large number of customers, which probably caused them to mistakenly charge you again rather than issue a refund. Easy to do under stressful circumstances but, apparently, not so easy for you to resolve the error.
I asked KFC to investigate. The care team were put in charge of the matter and, I am pleased to report, they promptly refunded the £53.14 owed.
- Write to Sally Hamilton at Sally Sorts It, Money Mail, Northcliffe House, 2 Derry Street, London W8 5TT or email email@example.com – include telephone number, address and a addressed note to the incriminated organization giving him permission to speak. to Sally Hamilton. Please do not send original documents as we cannot take responsibility for them. No legal responsibility can be accepted by the Daily Mail for the responses given.
Some links in this article may be affiliate links. If you click on it, we may earn a small commission. This helps us fund This Is Money and keep it free. We do not write articles to promote products. We do not allow any commercial relationships to affect our editorial independence.