Tuesday, 13 March 2012

The biggest rant I've ever had about Hammersmith & Fulham Council


Today I am beyond livid. It is a rarity that I get a parking ticket, I'm extremely conscientious and never leave the car parked illegally. I'd rather walk or take the bus than risk a ticket.

So imagine my utter horror at discovering a ticket on my car a few weeks ago right outside my house! Getting a resident permit in the borough of Hammersmith and Fulham is actually more difficult than buying and registering a new car! I'm absolutely outraged by the whole debacle. So basically as you all know my old car died just before Christmas. A new car was bought so had to cancel old permit and buy a new one. A permanent permit couldn't be issued without the new V5 form so they gave a temporary permit, despite my paying for a whole year in advance. So Mid January my new V5 form arrived so I scanned it in and emailed it off to the Parking Permit department. I hold up my hands to say that after that it went completely out of my head. They sent no reminder before the 6 weeks was up, to jog my memory that they hadn't received the V5, so I gaily went about my business until one day I went out and, there it was a fresh parking ticket stuck to my window. I immediately rang them to be told like a naughty school girl that they hadn't received my email. So I resent the email and contested the parking ticket, sadly in my new year email clean up, I deleted the original sent item which has now gone off into cyber cemetery.

Today, I get an email from the Parking department to say I still have to pay the fine because I wasn't displaying the correct ticket plus, and this is what got my goat right up: 

The Civil Enforcement Officer`s notes, made when the PCN was given, state that the permit on display was for another vehicle. A permit is valid only for the vehicle to which it has been issued

Excuse me?? I don't think so. I immediately got on the phone to them, but of course any kind of complaint has to be made in writing. The guy I spoke to on the phone said he could see from the system that the permit was quite clearly for my car and no other. So he apologised for the mistake in the letter! Apology not accepted. So I've now been advised to write in with a complaint but that I should pay the £40 as this is a once in a lifetime offer. So, if they turn me down again I'll have to pay the £80 regardless. To clarify, I'd paid up front, emailed my V5 form to the Parking Permit department, which they allegedly didn't receive making my crime: not reminding the council to send me the revised permit. Could they not make an exception in this particular case?

Shouldn't it be their job to chase people for whom they haven't yet received the correct documentation? If you forget to pay your council tax there is no question that you'll get a narky reminder or if you haven't paid a parking fine I'm sure you'll get reminders then. However, if you are a fully paid up temporary Parking Permit holder then you get no reminder. That doesn't seem right to me. When you write to complain, as I have done, about over grown trees next to my property that need pruning - have I had a response? No, never. But if one month I forget to pay my council tax on time I get a barrage of reminder letters. Or if the hedge in the front garden needs pruning I get a strict reminder letter then.

If the bin men don't take all the rubbish (as they didn't last week) or the streets don't get cleared of dog muck, that my two year has to step over or broken bottles that don't get cleared after a football match on the road so we can't park our cars in that space, who do I remind about that?

Interestingly, just to compound my fury last week I got a canvassing letter from the council saying they want to improve the look of the streets in the Borough by removing bollards, repaving certain areas - do you know what I think? Not that my opinion seems to matter. Spend money on cleanliness that would instantly improve the streets so my daughter and other children can walk safely on the pavements without treading in disease ridden faeces or broken glass. Don't worry about spending our money on yet more road improvements that do NOTHING to ease the traffic in the area, which is permanently at a standstill. Perhaps spend money on better customer and community care rather than superficial cosmetic nonsense that does nothing for our environment and that we don't especially care about. Spend more on community based events that unite the residents, more policing, more street cleaners, better lighting, more council funded nurseries and playgroups. That is what residents want not fancy paving stones. For once, I implore you to listen to those that pay an enormous amount of money each month for their council services, and all they get is a slap in the face.


I'll end my rant now otherwise I could easily end up writing another 5000 words! Thanks for reading x