Brentwood Council to refund �3,000 to taxi drivers following cabbie’s campaign
Brentwood Council will refund more than �3,000 it overcharged cab drivers and companies in the borough, following a campaign by a taxi firm boss - who spent two days in a library to research if the council had made an error.
Treble Twenty cars, based in St James Road, Brentwood, has made several complaints about fees paid by local firms, and last week forced the refund.
The money will have to be paid back following the council’s failure to advertise their plans to increase licence fees in the financial year 2007/8 in local newspapers.
This means that hackney carriage vehicle, private hire vehicle and operator licences for that year will be refunded – at a cost of �15 or �5 a time.
Treble Twenty’s operations director Steve Smith spent two days in Brentwood Library, looking through old newspapers to see if the council had advertised the increase, before making the complaint.
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He said: “They keep putting up the charges for taxis, and we’ve been fighting the battles with them since 2009.
“It’s got us some money back, but in the whole borough it’s worth a lot more. It’s good news for all cab drivers and it’s embarrassing for the council.”
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Through his research Steve claims that there may be other years where the council did not advertise their increased charges properly, and says he will be complaining about those too.
Cllr Roger McCheyne, chairman of the council’s planning, development control and licensing committee, said: “We acknowledge that the council did make a mistake by not promoting the proposed charges to licence holders for 2007/08.
“Although this oversight occurred some while I ago, I would nevertheless like to offer my apologies for it having occurred and for any inconvenience that it may cause to those persons who held a licence with the council at that time.
“We recognise the overcharged fees should now be refunded and we are working hard to remedy this mistake and have agreed to begin the process of arranging refunds with immediate effect.
“I can assure license holders and our residents that procedures are already in place to ensure that this cannot happen again in the future.”
The total owed to taxi drivers amounts to �3,705, and may have to pay interest too.
The oversight will also cost the council an estimated �1,500 in administration costs in order to find the companies and drivers effected, as the taxi licensing records are not held electronically.