In 2014 the very popular Dartford Crossing removed it’s payment booths. Now, instead of stopping at the barriers to make payment, motorists either have to pay the charge in advance or alternatively; make payment by midnight the following day. The payment system is called the Dart Charge. It is very similar to the Transport for London (TfL) Congestion Charge scheme. In fact, it even has the same red C logo. In 2017, over 350,000 warrants were issued and passed to bailiff to enforce in relation to unpaid Dart Charges !!
How much is the Dart Charge?
Between the hours of 10pm and 6am there is no charge to use the Dartford Crossing. At all other times, the Dart Charge is payable. The amount varies according to the vehicle class which is detailed here.
Vehicle class A: Free
Vehicle class B: £2.50
Vehicle class C: £3.00
Vehicle class D: £6.00
How to pay the Dart Charge
For frequent users of the Dartford Crossing, the simplest (and cheapest) payment method is a pre pay account. Motorists using a pre pay account receive a discount of up to one third on every crossing. You can also pay the Dart Charge in any of the following ways:
Online by visiting the Dart Charge website here.
By phone on 0300 300 0120 (5am to midnight)
By using the Pingit app on any smartphone, available for iOS, Android and Windows Phone
Pay as you go: Drivers can register their vehicle and payment details and automatically pay the Dart Charge each time they use the crossing. Details are here.
At any one of the thousands of retail outlets displaying the Payzone sign
What happens if I fail to pay the Dart Charge by midnight the following day?
If you do not pay by midnight the day after the crossing, you will be sent a Dart Charge Penalty Charge Notice .The amount will increase to £70. The amount is discounted to £35 provided payment is made within a strict period of 14 days from service of the PCN. The crossing fee will be added to the Penalty Charge Notice. A charge certificate will be issued if payment is not made within 28 days. The penalty charge of £70 will increase by 50% to £105.
Failure to make payment within 14 days of service of the notice may result in the debt being registered at the Traffic Enforcement Centre. Please note that this will not affect your credit rating. If full payment is not received within 21 days, a warrant of control will be issued.
I paid the Dart Charge late.
We receive a lot of enquiries on this subject. Payment for using the Dartford Crossing is due by midnight the day after the crossing. If you make a late payment, it will not be credited towards a previous crossing. Instead, it will remain as a credit on the Dart Charge system and will be used to pay a future crossing for the same vehicle. Highways England will issue you a Penalty Charge Notice.
Dart Charge and bailiff enforcement.
If a warrant of control is issued, it will be enforced by either Marston Group, or JBW Judicial Services. You will be sent a Notice of Enforcement and the amount will increase to £190.50. This will include the Compliance Fee of £75. If payment is not made, an enforcement agent will make a personal visit to your property. At this stage, the debt will spiral to £425 to include an enforcement fee of £235. From press reports in January 2018, it was confirmed that bailiffs made over 200,000 visits to motorists in 2017 to recover unpaid Dart Charges. in relation to an unpaid Dart Charge.
We receive a significant number of enquiries from motorists regarding bailiff enforcement for an unpaid Dart Charge. We have therefore introduced this new page to our website.
Dart Charge notices had been sent to my previous address.
If you have received a letter, or a visit from Marston Group or JBW Judicial Services Ltd in relation to a Dart Charge Penalty that you had been unaware of (most commonly, because all notices had been sent to a previous address), then all bailiff enforcement can be suspended for a short while by submitting an Out of Time Witness Statement or late appeal (forms TE7 and TE9) and sending them to the Traffic Enforcement Centre (TEC). We have an entire page dedicated to this subject here.
Commentary from Bailiff Advice Online
If you have received a letter or a visit from Marston Group, or JBW Judicial Services Ltd in relation to an unpaid Dart Charge that you were unaware of (usually because all notices had been sent to a previous address), or you have any queries at all about bailiff enforcement for an unpaid Dart Charge, you can email a question to us using our online Enquiry Form. Alternatively, you can contact our free helpline. Details are on our Contact page.
Lastly, our Simplified Guide to the Taking Control of Goods Regulations 2013 can be read here.