Anyone who drives into London on a regular basis is probably familiar with the Congestion Charge, and the various ways to pay it (and avoid getting a PCN). For those who only visit rarely, paying the charge can sometimes be less than obvious. One thing I have noticed recently is a number of PCNs being issued to people who paid for a daily charge using a third-party service.
A Google search for ‘congestion charge’ shows a number of paid advertisements above the official Transport for London page. There are also other links further down the page, but often people will click on the adverts as they appear at the top. I won’t link to the sites directly, but a thorough read of their pages makes clear that they have nothing to do with TfL.
The sites seem to exist solely to take advantage of people not familiar with the process, as they essentially charge an additional fee over the normal cost of paying the charge. There is usually also a premium rate phone number designed to bring in even more money.
I’ve been told that TfL are actively pursuing these sites, but it seems that often they are able to simply change name and re-open with a new domain. Anyone receiving a PCN resulting from their use of a service like this would probably be best advised to take it up with that company directly, as TfL would not be able to do much to help.
The TfL website should always be the first place to go when looking into paying the charge.