Once Upon a Parking Ticket…

Right, enough of the media shenanigans, that’s all over now. Back to the real world and time for a story.

Once upon a time, a Christmas time in fact, I got a parking ticket. I don’t like getting them. I caught the parking warden writing the ticket. I told him that I had had to queue for a ticket and look it was in my hand (along with rather a large bag of shopping it has to be said!) The warden took a photo and told me that he would make a note of it and I should appeal. So I did.

parking ticketsI appealed. I got no response. Now, if you have been following this blog for a bit you know I don’t like that. I don’t like it all. So… I…. complained!

I emailed Waltham Forest and said “Oi, I’ve appealed why haven’t I heard from you? It’s past the time you should have responded by.” Might not have used those quite those words…

Three days later I received a letter telling me that because I hadn’t paid the fine it was going up to £60. Oh no it wasn’t! (Well it is pantomime time!) So, I wrote again telling them to have the courtesy of responding and  to look through the correspondence!

Got an auto response. Sigh. So emailed again and started to pull out some new weaponry.  Emailed the CEO. Always a good one – speeds things up somewhat! Threatened to tell portfolio holders in the council. Might actually have just done that… Guess what happened? Immediate right off payment.

Now the lesson for you here is this. Even if it is possible that it has been issued correctly, it is quite possible that the powers that be won’t process your appeal properly, which is what happened here. The appeal may or may not have been upheld, but they were out of time for responding to my appeal and therefore in breach of process so they had no option but to throw out the charge.

The End.

So incompetence. It’s everywhere. Fight, fight, fight it! Anyone else got a good parking ticket story? There’s some more info and help about appealing here and more details about how to appeal and what for plus templates etc. in the book.


How to Get Your 15 Minutes of Fame!

Well, a few minutes on Breakfast TV was fun. I’d had a little brush with the media a few weeks before that. So now it’s all over here you go!

Radio 5
I complain. Effectively. Apparently this is quite unusual. Well it shouldn’t be, I’m doing my best to get people to complain! But over a few weeks I had a little media interest. Quite exciting really given that I set up the blog as a hobby and a laugh!

The lovely Charlotte, producer from Radio 5 found me on Google and asked me to be an “Expert” on Complaining on their Phil Williams Radio Show. What a laugh! People ‘phoning me up and asking advice. They loved the Tesco and other stories so all set to talk about them. Oddly though, only 3 ‘phone calls. The first was from a woman who sent back an item abroad. She got her money back but that is not something I would advise. Ever. Your contract is with the company you bought the item from, not the manufacturer. The second call was from someone saying that I shouldn’t be advising people to take to social media and being rude. Took the wind out of his sails by saying I agreed that people shouldn’t be rude….! The third call not put through to me was from someone who had got his money back by threatening the people in the shop with bailiffs! Shocked that they put this call through! It is certainly NOT what I would recommend and is wholly unnecessary! So all in all an interesting experience, not really what I was expecting and it was a shame that I gave so few tips and didn’t share any stories, but hey ho!

Allhallows Community Radio

First to receive The Complaining Cow Good Service Certificate
First to receive The Complaining Cow Good Service Certificate

Now this was fun. Never mind the grand BBC or whatever! This was community radio at its most enjoyable. Well it was for me and I hope Marty! Marty invited me to come and chat to him on Allhallows Community Radio (ACR) in Kent. We just chatted with a bit of music thrown in! I honestly thought we had been on air for an hour and it was two! Time flies when you are having fun! The radio station was the first (and currently only!) organisation to receive a “Good Service” certificate from The Complaining Cow. Here’s Matt holding it!



In My Opinion
The local paper produced by the local council asked me to write for the “In My Opinion” column that they have each fortnight (for me it was to coincide with National Consumer Week). Where someone from the community writes about something, their work or whatever. So I struggled. Obviously. Writing about my opinion isn’t something I do much is it?! Thought, might as well, might get a few followers on Twitter and likes on Facebook.

In My Opinion Waltham Forest
In My Opinion Waltham Forest


One Facebook like and no followers (as far as I could work out) on Twitter. Which just goes to show that the article was either rubbish (don’t think it was, there were SOME good tips in there and the person who gave me the like told me the article was good!) or no-one really reads it!



Channel 4
Then a Channel 4 documentary team contacted me! Now, that was REALLY exciting! DragonflyTV (makers of “One Born Every Minute” and “The Hotel” and loads of other stuff!) Found me on Google (I do all my own SEO you know!) They rung me on the Thursday and were at my house the next day! I had a few complaints that had to be done and the researcher said to me “Don’t do anything until we get there!” Hilarious! What was even funnier was that they were here for 4 hours and I had more complaints to do and forgot a few when I was telling them what I had done! Very lovely crew of two. Tom and Jon. Lovely boys. Yes boys. The Bull thought they were about 12 years old. I would say perhaps a little older than that! I did think before they turned up that I’d be seeing a couple of cocky “Look at us from the award winning media company” blokes that I would have to take down a peg or two! Couldn’t have been further from the truth. Very early on I said to Jon “Oh you are very tall aren’t you?” as I stood next to him. What an incredibly stupid thing to say. Seriously. Stupid. Now, we all know if I had been him I would have said “No you are hallucinating I am actually 3ft 5. But no, he smiled politely and said “Yes I am”. How did I repay this courtesy? I was preparing chicken and he asked “Is that going in the oven” to which I replied “No, we are going to eat it raw!” He said he thought it might have gone in a frying pan. Hmmm ok, a little large but fair enough! Had to apologise then! My mother would have adopted these two by the end of the day. Such lovely manners and we all know how important they are! Their mothers must be proud of them.  I’m putting in a disclaimer here though, if they actually use anything of me and I can’t set foot in Tesco again then I will take all this back, they are ‘orrible!

Not impressed that the crew wouldn’t do what the BBC did for me though! So if I am on the Channel 4 programme I will look old, haggered and a mess with grey roots!

The Bull shouted from another room as the evening approached “Have you killed them yet?” I needed the camera at that point. Tom’s face was a picture!

My favourite line from Tom was when I asked about something I was saying and whether it was ok. “Our legal people will be all over this don’t worry” Stuff that I say and do? Really? Yup! So if you want to know what I was complaining and talking about you’ll have to watch in April won’t you?! If they don’t use me, well they will be good belated blog posts then ‘cos the story is a funny one!

So who knows if I’ll get my two minutes of fame or if I’ve scared them off (doesn’t look like they are coming back so looks like I have!) but here’s hoping that if I haven’t that I haven’t made a complete fool of myself?! What do you think?