Home Money I’ve been hit with 40 driving penalties in London – even though I’ve NEVER driven there. Has someone cloned my number plate? SALLY SORTS IT

I’ve been hit with 40 driving penalties in London – even though I’ve NEVER driven there. Has someone cloned my number plate? SALLY SORTS IT

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I've been hit with 40 driving penalties in London - even though I've NEVER driven there. Has someone cloned my number plate? SALLY SORTS IT

I live on Merseyside and have never driven in London. But in recent years I have received more than forty charges for various traffic offenses in London, including failing to pay the Dartford Crossing toll. I’ve had four in the last two weeks alone and each time I have to send detailed proof that I am not at fault. I think someone in London has cloned my license plate and is therefore filing a complaint in my name.

I have informed the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA), the police, the fraud team and my MP, without success. Can you help solve this problem?

JM, Merseyside

Ive been hit with 40 driving penalties in London

Sally Hamilton replies: Your fight over the wrongly imposed fines on you is clearly driving you around the bend. If you explain to the DVLA that you have not made the penalty notices, they will accept what you say and you will not be charged. But this takes a lot of time and effort on your part.

You worry that the only way out of this endless roundabout of disputes seems to be to change your car or license plate. I admit that would be extreme, so I asked the DVLA to investigate and help you find an easier escape route.

A few days later the department came back to say they had looked into the matter and discovered that the other vehicle causing this fine nightmare is not a clone, but has a real license plate with a number configuration similar to yours.

Although the DVLA has not confirmed the details, I suspect the cameras used by various traffic organizations to catch offenders are confusing a zero in your license plate, possibly with the letter ‘O’ on the other driver’s plate.

Although the DVLA cannot prevent such fine notices from landing on your doorstep, it has now provided you (and the owner of the other car) with a special letter from the organization that summarizes in one place all the information you need to prove your innocence. prove. the relevant authorities. You can send this to any enforcement agency that wrongly issues you a fine notice. This may not eliminate the hassle, but it should allow you to more quickly reverse any unfair penalties.

As you mentioned in your letter, you initially thought your board had been cloned. This is the case when scammers extort real license plates or buy copies on the Internet from unauthorized suppliers, and then attach them to a vehicle, often (but not always) of the same model and color. This gives them a free hand to drive around and exceed speed limits, park without paying or even use the vehicle to commit serious crimes – without fear of punishment – ​​unless the police happen to catch them red-handed.

Although the DVLA said your car had not been cloned, the effect was the same when it came to the flood of fines received.

Simon Williams, head of policy at car company RAC, said: ‘Normally multiple fines for one vehicle would indicate it has been cloned. If you receive an unjustified fine, contact the issuing authority and explain your situation. If possible, provide evidence that you were elsewhere at the time and tell the police and DVLA that you believe your number plate has been cloned.’

I was sent a £11,000 gas bill out of the blue and then threatened with a higher VAT charge when I complained

I’m having a stressful time at Flogas, our liquefied petroleum gas supplier. Recently, out of the blue, the company sent a bill for £11,269, which was described as a late reminder letter, despite this being the first time we’d heard of it. Before that, we had had a loan with the company for a number of years.

After emailing my concerns to customer service, all I got was a threat to charge us 20 percent VAT, instead of the usual reduced rate of 5 percent for households, on all future bills, as we apparently have the amount exceeded. normally used by a home. How was this figure achieved? Please help.

VB, Musselburgh, East Lothian

Sally Hamilton replies: You and your neighbors had new smart meters installed at the end of last year so that we could compare the consumption of your four-bedroom terraced houses of similar size, you explained. You were furious because the gas levels used were virtually the same and yet your neighbors were charged around £280 for the most recent quarter, compared to your eye-watering bill of £11,269 – which didn’t even mention the period of use. .

You added that this is not the first time you have had problems with Flogas and crazy bills.

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Can Sally Sorts It help you?

Do you have a consumer problem that you need help with? Email Sally Hamilton at sally@dailymail.co.uk – include telephone number, address and a note addressed to the offending organization giving them permission to speak to Sally Hamilton.

Please do not send any original documents as we cannot take responsibility for this.

No legal liability can be accepted by the Daily Mail or This is Money for any answers given.

Ten years ago, you and other residents received large bills because of an error by the supplier in the way he calculated your bills; he had used metric rather than imperial measurements when calculating your gas consumption.

You were given a few thousand pounds in credit, but decided to leave it in the account to pay future bills.

The meters were then read periodically by a visiting technician. You kept checking the account and at last count there was still a credit on it. Now that you had a smart meter, you thought your bills would be completely accurate.

Despite your efforts, you did not get a good response from Flogas to your concerns, so I increased the pressure and asked it to investigate the source of this nasty bill.

A few days later a spokesperson returned to tell me that a supervisor had now spoken to you directly and that matters had been resolved ‘amicably’.

You confirmed that this was the case and reported that they had informed you of the error with the amounts, which meant that they had seriously underbilled you for the past four years. Luckily, instead of insisting that you pay the £11,269 shock owed for the gas used, the company agreed to write off 60 per cent and charge just £4,000.

You have agreed to pay the costs in 24 monthly installments, in addition to your usual bills.

This means that around £7,000 worth of charges have been dropped, a resolution you said you were happy with.

If this blunder had occurred with a standard gas supply, an even larger portion of the bill could have been wiped out.

According to the rules of regulator Ofgem, households cannot be charged for gas or electricity consumed more than twelve months ago if they have not been correctly invoiced or previously informed about this via a billing statement. However, the rules do not apply to the ‘off-grid’ market, which also includes LPG and oil. Customers of these alternative fuels who are unable to satisfactorily resolve a billing dispute directly with their supplier can file a complaint with the Liquefied Gas Ombudsman at utilitiesadr.co.uk

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