Penalties and enforcement
The sooner you pay, the cheaper it is.
The enforcement process is defined by law. Find out what notices you will receive, how much money is owed at each stage and how long you have to respond.
This guide is for information only. You may wish to seek your own legal advice. A more detailed explanation can be found on the Enforcement process page.
On this page:
|Contravention date||Penalty charge||Discounted amount (if paid within 14 days)||Charge certificate|
|To Friday 17 May 2013||£120||£60||£180|
|From Monday 20 May 2013||£130||£65||£195|
Time to pay: 28 days
What is a PCN?
If you haven't paid the Congestion Charge when you should have, we'll send you a formal notification - a PCN.
You'll get a PCN if we photograph your vehicle in the Congestion Charging zone and our records show that you've not paid the Congestion Charge.
If you haven't paid the Congestion Charge by midnight on the following charging day we may issue a PCN to the registered keeper of the vehicle outlining the penalty charge payable for the contravention date.
What do I do now that I've got a PCN?
Don't ignore the PCN even if you believe you have paid the charge, are exempt or registered for a 100 per cent discount.
You have 28 days from the date of service of your PCN to either:
If you pay within 14 days of the date of service you will receive a 50 per cent discount, the amount payable being the discounted amount for the contravention date.
Under the Interpretation Act 1978 s.7, unless the contrary is proved, service is deemed to have been effected at the time when the PCN would be delivered in the ordinary course of post.
If you wish to make a representation against the PCN you can do so for the reasons listed below. We will also consider representations made on any other grounds:
- You were not the keeper at the time of the contravention
- You had paid the charge, or
- Your vehicle was exempt, or
- The vehicle was used or taken without your consent, or
- You had registered for a 100 per cent discount, or
- The vehicle was on hire to someone else
You can also view more details of the PCN prior to paying it or making a representation.
If the penalty charge is not fully paid within 28 days of the date of service, then the penalty charge payable increases by a sum equal to 50 per cent of the full penalty charge and a Charge Certificate is sent to the registered keeper of the vehicle.
You have 14 days from the date of service in which to pay this.
Under the Interpretation Act 1978 s.7, unless the contrary is proved, service is deemed to have been effected at the time when the Charge Certificate would be delivered in the ordinary course of post.
Once a Charge Certificate is issued you can no longer make a Representation. If you did not receive the original PCN, or if you have received no reply to a Representation or an Appeal, you can make a Statutory Declaration.
If the penalty charge is not paid within 14 days of a Charge Certificate being served then we may apply to register it as an unpaid debt at the Traffic Enforcement Centre which incurs a debt registration fee for each PCN.
You will then be sent an Order for Recovery. This is not a County Court Judgment and will not affect your credit rating. At this point the penalty charge due increases by the debt registration fee.
You have 21 days from the date of service in which to pay this.
Under the Interpretation Act 1978 s.7, unless the contrary is proved, service is deemed to have been effected at the time when the Order for Recovery would be delivered in the ordinary course of post.
If the penalty charge has not been paid within 21 days of the Order for Recovery being served then we will ask for a Warrant of Execution which will be passed to a Bailiff to recover the monies owed. You are not sent a copy of the Warrant, but you may request a copy directly from the Bailiff.
Initially the Bailiffs will write to you. A Bailiff is allowed to charge fees for every letter, visit and action they take. If you ignore the Bailiff's communications, their fees may run into hundreds of pounds.
If you believe the PCN was issued incorrectly please show any evidence to the Bailiff. They will advise you if there is anything that you can do, but in most cases you must pay them.
The Bailiffs acting on our behalf are all County Court Certificated and operate in accordance with governing legislation and our contractual requirements.