A disabled pensioner claims he has been told to pay up to £1,500, after mistakenly displaying his blue badge parking permit upside down.
Retired factory worker John O’Callaghan, 66, parked his Ford Focus car in Liverpool City centre to visit a friend. Upon returning to his vehicle Mr O’Callaghan discovered he had been issued with an £80 ticket, for displaying his blue badge incorrectly.
When Mr O’Callaghan was unable to pay the fine Liverpool Council called in a bailiff company, who now demand that the disabled pensioner pay up a shocking £422 – or risk having his belongings removed by bailiffs.
Mr O’Callaghan, who suffers from a heart condition and uses a stick to help him walk, claims that he was told over the phone that the final bill could rise to a shocking £1,500, if he doesn’t pay up as quickly.
“They are threatening to come round to my flat and clamp my car.
“I parked in Crown Street and left my badge the wrong way up, it was an honest mistake.
“I told them I couldn’t pay £80 in one go so asked if I could do it over two months but the council wanted it straight away.
“Now I’ve had a letter saying it’s gone up to £422 or they will send the bailiffs round. I think these are bully-boy tactics. And they are threatening it could go up to £1,500.
“The stress of all this has been really bad for my health – I’m not a well man, I’ve got a heart condition.”
He added: “They want me to pay an absolute fortune and it’s frightening the living daylights out of me.”
Liverpool Council said there would always be additional charges when bailiffs are called in, adding that Mr O’Callaghan an contact them if he’s struggling to pay.
A spokesperson said: “Before bailiffs get involved there are opportunities to appeal against the notice, several reminder letters are sent out and we would ask people not to ignore these letters.
“If anybody has difficulty in paying the penalty charge notice, they should contact us to make arrangements about paying.
“We also require a county court order before the matter is sent to the bailiffs and there would have been further opportunities for people to state their case.
“If bailiffs do become involved there will be additional charges so it is important that they get in touch with us at an early stage.”