A driver was left furious after being hit with a hefty fine for entering her number plate incorrectly while paying the Congestion Charge online. Naomi Bennett made a one digit typo while paying the £15 charge which led to an £80 fine which Transport for London (TfL) has only agreed to waive after being contacted by MyLondon.
Naomi , 39, from Bellingham in South East London, was enjoying her first night out ‘in months’ at the Cinema Museum in Kennington on February 19, when she realised she had driven into the Congestion Charge payment zone. She decided to pay it immediately online as she has autism and ADHD, so is prone to forgetfulness.
Little did she know she made a one digit typo when entering her registration plate. A week later she received the £80 fine in the post and it dawned on her what had happened. She thought explaining the mistake to TfL would solve the problem, but it wasn’t that easy.
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Naomi told MyLondon : “I thought it would be fine, I called them up to explain that they have got my £15 and that it was just a small typo. I got through to them and straight away I was told ‘no’, that they were going to keep my £15 and make me pay this £80 fine.”
Naomi was made redundant from her law firm job during the pandemic and now runs her own start-up, a film streaming service called Lesflicks, dedicated to Lesbian films. The effect of losing her job and struggling to make her business profitable, combined with the rising cost of living, has left Naomi struggling to get by – making £80 a significant amount to her.
“That’s a huge amount of money,” she added. “That’s my weekly food bill all gone on a stupid fine. I’m already sleeping with two hot water bottles, not putting my gas or electrics on and I’ve massively cut back on my spending.
“We’re all humans and life is pretty difficult right now with costs going up, so to be given that response for a genuine error is just inhumane. I literally don’t have £80. I’m angry for myself but also for all the other people facing this massive fine for a simple mistake. This feels like just another revenue avenue for a big business to exploit this.”
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When Naomi told MyLondon she was going to appeal the fine, we contacted TfL for comment and on Thursday afternoon (March 10) received a response to say the fine will be waived.
A TfL spokesperson said: “The Congestion Charge is a vital measure in reducing traffic and its associated negative impacts, including the damaging effects of toxic air on Londoners’ health, which is linked to heart disease, dementia and the stunted development of children’s lungs. All revenue generated by the charge is reinvested back into the network to fund active travel and public transport.
“We are sorry for any distress Ms Bennett has experienced, and we have followed up with her to let her know we will waive the fine.”
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