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TfL apologises to used car dealer for £2,000 ULEZ fees for car that was off the road

  • Tom Hartley says he was charged for visiting London in a car that was at a dealer for repairs
  • He was automatically billed more than £2,000 and couldn’t get his money back
  • Following Car Dealer investigation, TfL refunds all of the fees and apologises  
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Time 6:20 am, January 23, 2024

Transport for London has apologised to a used car dealer after cameras issued £2,000 in ULEZ fines for a vehicle that ‘wasn’t even on the road’.

Yesterday we reported how supercar seller Tom Hartley had been billed more than £2,000 in charges for visiting London for a car that had been off the road for repairs at a dealership since April last year.

Hartley said he had tried to appeal the ‘disgusting’ charges for the Land Rover Defender displaying his ‘TH2’ plate, but was getting nowhere so he took to social media to highlight his plight.


Following a Car Dealer investigation, TfL has now said it has refunded all the fees.

A spokesperson told us: ‘We apologise for any issues this has caused Mr Hartley. We have refunded all charges paid and have put processes in place to avoid this happening in future. 

‘There is a long-established charge dispute process where anyone who believes they have been incorrectly charged on Auto Pay can submit a dispute and we will consider the evidence.’


Hartley told Car Dealer he was pleased the charges had been refunded but still upset that others could be getting charged unnecessarily.

‘How many other people are being caught out by these charges and don’t even know it?’ he asked.

Hartley had set up a standing order to pay the fees automatically so he wasn’t caught out for non-payments – but he was surprised to see the £300 fees taken from his account seven times. 

‘I noticed because they were such large sums and didn’t make sense, but what if others are getting billed smaller sums for their cars and not noticing? If it’s happened to me it could happen to others.

‘It is so frustrating having to talk to them just by email. It should be easier to appeal.’

To make matters worse, following the refund, Hartley was sent a text message this morning at 2am saying his Congestion Charge Auto Pay account has been suspended.

TfL said it had now added markers to the records of Hartley’s numberplate so if it is flagged by cameras further checks will be made before billing.

When Hartley posted our story on social media, other drivers responded to say they had faced similar problems. Others with short number plates, like Hartley’s, said they had experienced issues too.

Martin Walker said on X: ‘Had exactly the same Tom on two of my cars 16W and 1XW – short plates like yours and they’re charging me for cars which have any part of that in their plates. The cameras and the system are a joke.’


Hartley will be appearing at our Car Dealer Live event on March 7. He will be giving his opinion on the luxury car dealer panel. Full details and tickets are available from the event website.

James Baggott's avatar

James is the founder and editor-in-chief of Car Dealer Magazine, and CEO of parent company Baize Group. James has been a motoring journalist for more than 20 years writing about cars and the car industry.

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