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I’ve been hit with £800 driving fines after IT error – it’s not my fault & now I’m terrified bailiffs will come knocking

A WOMAN who was hit with £800 in driving fines after an IT error is now terrified she will get a visit from bailiffs despite claiming it isn’t her fault.

Alison Dulson was charged for driving through the Tyne Tunnel but says that she believed she had paid the toll.

NCJ Media
Alison Dulson was slapped with 13 fines for using the Tyne Tunnel[/caption]
NCJ Media
She claims that the charges were the result of an IT error[/caption]

The issue arose from the Auto Top-Up feature on her pre-paid account, which ensures that her balance stays above a set limit, was disabled.

TT2, who operate the tunnel, say that it is Alison’s responsibility to keep it active and that they have previously cancelled fines for her, but she claims that this is unfair.

Alison, 44, now has until November 22 to pay 13 penalties with a total debt of £808.60 after she had two appeals rejected.

If she doesn’t pay by then, the charges will rise to £1,328.60 and TT2 may employ debt collectors to recoup it.

She told Chronicle Live: “At this point in time, my mum who is in her 70s and retired is probably going to have to lend me the money, which is a disgrace.

“I feel so threatened and intimidated by the cost of the fees that I’m probably going to have to pay it. 

“I feel completely intimidated into having to pay it but I’m reluctant to do that at the minute because I’m right.

“It’s their system but they won’t acknowledge that.”

According to Alison, she discovered a spam email informing her that the Auto Top-Up had been disabled after receiving the first fine on October 7.

The penalties relate to journeys she made on her commute from her home in Hebburn, South Tyneside, across the river to her job as an occupational therapist for North Tyneside Council.

She claimed that, when she discovered the issue, she immediately topped up the funds and turned the automatic feature back on.

TT2 states that the deactivation may occur if funds cannot be drawn into the account due to a customer not having enough money in the linked bank account or their card being expired, blocked or frozen.

This is stated on their Auto Top-Up FAQ page and informs customers that, if the feature is disabled, it must be manually reactivated.

But Alsion remains adamant that none of those reasons applied to her case.

She added: “I’m more than happy to pay the fee for using the tunnel in the first place because I’ve been happily paying that anyway all of this time.

“What appears to be the consensus with the public is people feel so intimidated and bullied and threatened that they’ll just pay up, which is how I’m feeling at the minute, or they just do nothing and it eventually goes away.

“But I’m so ill with this that I can’t run the risk of it going to a third party and having debt collectors turning up.”

A spokesperson for TT2 said that the company had previously cancelled nine fines for Alison as a “goodwill” gesture despite there not being enough money in her pre-paid account.

They went on: “Unfortunately, costs are incurred for every journey where a toll is not paid and the UTCNs are issued to recoup that cost.

“The responsibility lies with the customer to monitor their own account and ensure that they have sufficient funds for their journeys.

“If an Auto Top-up fails and journeys are made, the customer will receive a minimum of three notification emails – one notifying that Auto Top-up has been disabled, plus a low balance email and then an email notifying that there are insufficient funds in their account – after each journey made.

“We would advise that users accept the TT2 email address as a trusted contact or regularly check their junk folders.”

It comes after an expert mechanic revealed that some garages will refuse to fix a major engine issue which could cost you thousands.

Meanwhile, a rare Mini inspired by The Italian Job sold for a surprisingly low sum, despite on 153 being left in the UK.

NCJ Media
However, the tunnel’s operators say they have cancelled similar fines for her before and that it is her responsibility to make sure her account setting are up to date[/caption]

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