R is a long term service user who has been supported by the Money Advice team for a few years, for various different reasons. Unfortunately, he was caught speeding a short way from his home – he suffers from prostate problems and wears a catheter, which can cause him excruciating pain. He was trying to get home to change it as he was unable to pull over onto the roadside and do this! Although he was disappointed to get a fine of £100 and 3 points on his license, he paid the fine within a few days.
He then received a letter asking him to send his license to the DVLA. The letter stated that he needed to send a counterpart also. He was confused by this request as his was one of the new ones which didn’t have one. He phoned the DVLA to clear up the matter and got an answer machine message stating that they were closed due to coronavirus, so he did not send anything off to DVLA. He then received another fine for a further £469 and an extra penalty point on his license for not returning his license. He contacted the money advice team, who requested a court date for a hearing in order to appeal and give his side of the story.
He received a letter giving a court date, and then another letter explaining his hearing was cancelled and giving a new court date. He then received a Notice to Pay, as he was found guilty in absence as he did not attend the hearing! Our Money Adviser contacted the court and explained this on R’s behalf. Another date was agreed and Stuart attended with him. The Magistrates understood the situation and reduced the fine from £569 to £60 plus £32 costs and reduced his penalty points from 4 to 3. As you can imagine, R was very happy with the outcome. Great piece of work from our team – the large fine could have pushed R further into debt he could not afford and led to more ACT interventions to help him out.
Our Money Advice service is part of the team offering advice via the new Suffolk Advice and Support phone line. Anyone in Suffolk who needs help managing finances, sorting debt and benefits can call the free confidential number: 0800 068 3131 – calling sooner rather than later will always help.