I rented a diesel van here in France to bring back more of our belongings from the UK back in September last year. Three and a half months later, this morning, I received month old invoices from a German company called EPC plc which is acting as a debt collector for Transport for London.
The van I hired was modern and Euro 6 emissions compliant. But because it had a French licence plate, I’ve been fined for going into the ULEZ inside the London North and South Circular roads (which was actually a navigation error on my part, but that’s beside the point).
It’s not new but it is to me. Apparently many thiusands of drivers of foreign reg. cars have been targetted in the same way since October 2021, regardless of whether their vehicles are emissions compliant or not.
I’ve filed appeals (I got invoiced for entering both the LEZ and ULEZ at the same point) online to EPC via their website.
I was just wondering if anyone else here has had a similar problem and what was the final outcome?
No experience with the ULEZ but got a fine from EPC in November after I had used and paid for the Dartford crossing in August. I appealed with a copy of my receipt and got a response after about a month. I had paid £2.50 when I should have paid £3.00 and had to pay the full fee in euros again 3.66.
I wish the problem was that small! Hundreds of Euros are being demanded of me
Here’s the rub. I don’t know if you can register retrospectively
Seems a lot of work.
Its meant to be otherwise people, especially them foreigners will take all our jobs and not pay their taxes…
I guess it was the rental company that gave your details to the debt collector? Which is interesting, usually rental companies reserve the right to pay fines and then debit your credit card. I wonder is it the driver or the vehicle owner that’s liable?
As far as I know, there is no reciprocal agreement between the French and UK authorities regarding exchange of car registration details which makes me wonder if any EU data protection laws have been broken.
I’ve read elsewhere that you stand a good chance of the fines being cancelled if you appeal the fine(s), send in proof of ULEZ compliance and state that the signage was unclear.
I rented the van from a supermarket (Carrefour) so they may not operate in quite the same way as conventional vehicle rental companies.
Mmm, were you insured to go to the UK? Not that it matters, all’s well that ends well
Personally, if the palaver I posted above is really required to drive a foreign registered car in London I think it is over the top. Maybe it’s part of taking back control But being a retired and cantankerious old fart I’d definitely battle it
I suspect that if you don’t pay the only thing EPC can do is sue you in France. Is that a viable option over a couple of hundred euros? Have they the grounds to do so based on some fine in the UK? I suspect they send out these bills on the assumption that a certain number of folk will pay up at once, a certain number will pay up after a few more threats and that some will never pay up but pursuing them costs more than its worth.
I’ve had (modest) speeding tickets sent to me from Germany, the Netherlands and some other trivial (and inexplicable) motoring offence in Italy. All came from the relevant authorities not some bottom feeding debt collectors (another reason to fight ) I paid the Italian and Dutch ones but the German one didn’t have usable payment details, I wrote to them (lettre recommandée avec accusé de réception) asking for same, just in case they came after me years later with fines on fines on fines.
I’d love a look at the letter from EPC.
Mine was from Transport for London Dart Charge. I think the EPC bit is just because they think we can only pay in euros.
See above, sorry photo isn’t very good. Its Euro Parking Collection plc.
Thanks. Was it for not paying a meter or over staying? If so fair game I’d say. I presume it was a car registered in your name as well?
Oh, I see now… a double yellow
I don’t mind paying up when I’ve been naughty but old Vitesse seems to have been shafted because the ULEZ system can’t cope with foreign registrations (and SFA chance of it ever doing so after Brexit).
No it was for going through the Dartford tunnel. I paid online at the time but it couldn’t trace the vehicle from the reg and asked me for make and model. I paid £2.50 for a Berlingo but I think it should have been £3 because it’s a van and presumably that’s why I was fined. Because I was able to produce the receipt I only had to pay the normal charge in euros. It wasn’t worth arguing that I’d already paid most of it!
Your problem is reported on many sites, from a camper forum https://www.motorhomefun.co.uk/forum/threads/french-emissions-fine-not-what-you-think.276209/a French guy suffering the same situation ,the reply was …“The company that you register with Transport for London is EPC plc & they are a multi european company that uses any methods to obtain money They can access european wide registration info .They are also the company that enforces many private parking sites ,especially motorway ones.”… it appears they never give up
Really good link and interesting debate. I love the advice to dump your plates before offending, only a £60 fine and no points This is the sort of silly behaviour that stupid legislation drives. I play by the rules in every country I visit but I hate traps and gotchas. Driving past a big “C” in London is a gotcha IMO.
Bottom feeders. Being a grumpy old fart, if I feel I’ve been ripped off I expend more time and effort on challenging bastards like them rather than actually rolling over and paying the fine. Even if I have to pay eventually, every interaction we have costs money, lots of money, and costs me nothing
For the record I registered my French plated car with TFL in order to drive in the ULEZ without hassle. It was no problem to do.
Despite being an EV it still can’t go into the Congestion Charge zone without paying, but the ULEZ is free.
Clearly the expansion of the ULEZ from 29/08/2023 to include all London boroughs will mean that it’s a really good idea to get registered with TFL as it will be well nigh impossible to detour around after that date.
I realise this doesn’t help the OP as they were driving a hire vehicle, it’s just for info.
I have an electric car too and brought it over from the UK (it cost next to nothing to register in France, too). It used to be registered for the London Congestion Zone zero-rate discount.
But the U/LEZ is different. UK registered cars don’t need to register at all. You’re simply fined if your vehicle enters into the zone if that vehicle doesn’t meet the emissions specification. My hire van DID meet the required emissions specifications and I did the necessary research to ensure it did.
I’m being fined because TfL have chosen to discriminate against foreign registered vehicles regardless of whether they meet the emissions requirement or not. That is simply unjust.
Of course the van was insured and we also checked that it was OK to take it from France to the UK.
Good, it’s something one wouldn’t have even thought of before Brexit but now it’s hard to know.