I'm not sure if this is a success story and I'll explain later but I got a result.
In August 2015 I went to look at purchasing a used van for my business near the Eastborne area. As I'm in the Suffolk area it required me to go through the Dartford crossing. I've not been through there in a long time but was surprised to see that the toll gates had been removed, this must of been recent as there were still ongoing road works taking place. Brilliant, I thought, no more Dartford crossing charge as I recall something about the toll being removed once the bridge had been paid for, but that never actually happened and it wasn't long before my joy was destroyed and I saw large road signs tell everyone to pay the toll (it's now a charge rather than a toll) online by midnight the following day. And as forgetful as I am I forgot to pay the toll.
I wanted to buy the van there and then but the gentleman still had tools in it and was using it, so I had to make another trip a week or two later (still in the month of August) and again I forgot to pay the toll. So, in September 2015 I got (rather my person received) 4 PCN's for not paying the toll (Dart Charge). Each PCN was demanding £70 plus the charge of £2.50 x2 for both crossings so a total of £75 for each PCN, but as you probably know that if I paid within 14 days it would be reduced to half - £37.50.
Damn and blast it I thought. However, I was finishing or had just finished Victoria's book and had started looking at the info.fmotl.com website. The book made a lot of sense to me but may be i didn't understand as well as I had thought as it left me with a lot of questions. Nevertheless, a chance to put what I had been reading to the test. Being new to all this I wasn't quite sure how to approach the situation so I made a rash decision to send Veronica's template letter for fixed penalty notices from the website - the one that asks for an affidavit to be signed saying their demand is lawful - I only chose it because I liked the style of the letter's contents but I have no idea if this was the right letter to send or not.
Some time went by until I got a response from Dart Charge on the 13th November 2015. It basically said "thanks for your correspondence…. there will be not further actions for 2 PCN's….. But the other 2 PCN's still need paying". So, off goes the second template letter pertaining to fixed penalty notices, I added a bit asking if I was corresponding with a real human being as the signature on their response was printed along with the template file name. I also asked for the foundation evidence for their demand requiring proof of claim and proof of evidence - by this time I had started to look at the forum, which started to make things more complicated than Veronica's book that I felt made the whole process reasonably simple.
2 months went by until I got a response, 2 months! A letter, dated 12th January 2016, arrived on the 22nd of January, this time by a human being from the Highways England. It basically explained why a PCN gets issued and pointed me to statutory instruments and told me that the PCN itself was the foundation evidence (the cheek of em). They also informed me that they are "not obliged to complete and return the affidavit as they operate in accordance with the above mentioned legislation." (the legislation being the statutory instruments they outlined in their letter The Road User Charging Regulations 2001 and the Dartford-Thurrock River Crossing Charging Scheme Order.)
By this time I had been reading a bit more, although I still wasn't make any heads or tails regarding the freeman movement and even now I'm still somewhat confused, perhaps more so that I was before. So, I sent a 'Notice of Estoppel By Acquiescence Due to Dishonour with Opportunity to Cure' because they hadn't responded in substance to anything I had sent them. I probably went over the top with this notice, it being 7 pages long, making a counter claim for harassment, quoting Halsbury's on administrative law, defining Statutes and Societies, claiming I've never joined a society of my own free will, Statutes apply to persons not human beings, stating how money is created and asking what they want me to pay them with and if they require payment with something of value, etc.
About a Month went by and I still hadn't got a reply and I had also been reading more on the forum and was staring to get concerned as I was reading topics along the lines of capacity and role. I wasn't understanding what this mean't at the time and I was getting more concerned with the possibility of having to go to court and I didn't feel prepared for that at all. Also, a family member has gotten embroiled in a legal dispute with another (rather horrible) human being, which has shaken me somewhat even though my relative is in the right.
So rather than stress myself out more and before I got a response from Highways England I sent a 'Notice of Offer to Pay' asking how to make payment and stipulating online preferably. It really didn't take them long to reply to that. They told me how to pay online and mentioned that they could also take payment over the phone. I went to make an online payment through their website and it wouldn't work because the Penalty Notice Numbers had expired so I sent a 'Notice of Difficulty Paying Online and Request for Alternative Payment'. I explained the problem of paying online wouldn't work, even taking screen shots of the process and the result I got, and I also told them I couldn't make payment over the phone because I do not give anyone permission to record my telephone conversations and I only carry out my commercial affairs face-to-face, in writing, and via online payments. So I gave them a couple of suggestions, the first being that the give me their bank account number and sort code and I'll make a bank transfer from my person's account, or, I can send them a cash payment via recorded delivery.
I got a reply from Dart Charge dated 27th April 2016 saying:
"Dear XXX XXXXXXX
I would like to inform you that as we were unable to process the above Penalty Charge Notice(s) within legislative timescales, your representation is automatically accepted and the PCN(s) will be cancelled.
No further action will be taken in respect of the above mentioned PCN(s)
Needless to say I did chuckle when I read that but was somewhat disheartened as I didn't feel it was a real success, and it wasn't because:
A) I buckled and offered to pay because I didn't feel confident that I really knew what I was doing.
B) Seeing as the toll gates at the Dartford Crossing had not long ben removed, I had heard somewhere that thousands upon thousands of people had been caught out by the removal of the toll gates, and subsequently many PCNs being issued and I can imagine that Dart Charge customer services had been inundated with letters form pissed off motorists and couldn't cope - hence the reason how the toing and froing between Dart Charge and myself dragged on for so long resulting in their legislative timescales to process the PCNs expiring. Give it another 6 months to a year (may be more) and things will settle down and next time their responses will be more timely, but who knows, seeing as they have a time limit (I'm guessing 6 months) to acquire the money it might be worth doing it again (this time not offering to pay) and keep responding to them asking questions and for proofs and it could work by dragging it out for as long as possible.
Thanks for reading, any advice will be truly appreciated.
The eye cannot see what the mind doesn't know.