However, the complainant moved house between the time that the offence was committed, and the time when the notice arrived – and as such, never knew it had been issued.
In such circumstances, bailiffs should return the notice to the council for investigation, particularly if they become aware of the difference between the original and new addresses.
But bailiffs acting for Redbridge Council instead tracked down the vehicle via its number plate, and clamped it, still without the driver being notified of their original offence.
The Local Government Ombudsman ruled: “They initially insisted the complainant was at fault for not notifying the DVLA of their new address, when they had in fact done so, and quoted outdated legislation as justification for refusal to refund the bailiff charges.”
Ruling in the complainant’s favour, the LGO ordered the repayment of the £741 in wrongly charged bailiff costs, as well as the cost of any legal fees and professional advice taken by the complainant.
A further £150 to recompense for the time and trouble wasted during the case was added to the total to be paid to the complainant, while Redbridge Council has been given two months to take the necessary actions to ensure procedures are followed correctly in future, after which it must report back to the LGO.