I was slapped with a £176 fine & threatened with court over toll even though I PAID it –  it's a nightmare | The Sun

I was slapped with a £176 fine & threatened with court over toll even though I PAID it – it's a nightmare | The Sun

October 6, 2022

A DISTRESSED couple have been hounded by debt collectors and threatened with court over a £1.90 "unpaid" toll fee despite proof of payment.

John Devine and his wife Sandra were travelling through the Tyne Tunnel and paid the £1.90 toll fee through Mr Devine's phone but were slapped with a £176 fine a few days later.

The couple were handed the fine from TT2 and told that CDER Group, a debt collection agency, would take legal action if the money was not paid.

Mr Devine said: "It's been a constant worry. I am on my state pension and my wife is on PIP benefit, she is very worried.

"It has been a nightmare, they've threatened us that they will take legal action.

"I rung the Tyne Tunnel up and I got an arrogant woman who told me they couldn't match the card details, but everything was in my wife's name, the car, the card, everything."

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The 76-year-old claimed despite sending screenshots of his proof of payment, TT2 would not help the couple resolve the issue.

Mr Devine said: "We won't pay any more money. We paid the toll fee and I have proof.

"I was sent confirmation at 10:58 am on the 12th."

Mr Devine told The Sun Online he also sent confirmation of his payment to CDER group debt collectors but is awaiting their response.

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Both Tyne Tunnel and CDER group have been contacted for comment.

The frustrated pensioner, who lives in Wingate, County Durham, highlighted TT2 are notorious for handing out unjust fines.

In March 2022, Susan Woodhead, who lives in Andover, Hampshire, received several penalty notices from the Tyne Tunnel.

However, Ms Woodhead had never even been there before, but was still bombarded with 12 unpaid toll charge fines.

Similar to Mr Devine, she was threatened with court action if she did not pay.

TT2 Chief Executive, Philip Smith, claimed the mix up was due to inaccurate automatic number plate recognition reading.

He said: "We have put some additional checks in place to ensure this issue – where a C on Mrs Woodhead’s registration plate was read as a G, due to a bolt placement – does not happen again.

“We would like to reassure tunnel users that, due to the high accuracy of our ANPR system, incorrect number plate readings are very rare and will always be rectified as soon as a customer appeals their UTCN.

"This means that no-one will ever have to pay for our error."

The company were in BBC North East News earlier this month after claims of "disproportionate" fines.

It was reported: "The Local Democracy Reporting Service said the review admitted certain aspects of the Tyne Pass 'would have been done differently if the system was planned again' and that there was 'undoubtedly a learning curve for TT2 and for customers.'"

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In January this year TT2 were also in the news after they rescinded 11,000 toll non-payment fines.

According to the BBC, thousands of UTCN's had been issued since a barrier-free system was put in place in 2020 and more than £1 million was made through fines within the first month.

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