There are no payment booths on the Dartford Crossing. 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 Charging scheme. In fact, it even has the same red C logo. In 2018, over 350,000 warrants were passed to bailiffs 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 for using the Dartford Crossing. At all other times, the Dart Charge fee is payable. The amount varies according to the vehicle class which is detailed here.
How to pay the Dart Charge
For frequent users of the Dartford Crossing, the simplest (and cheapest) payment method is a Dart Charge or pre pay account. Motorists using a Dart Charge account receive a discount 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
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 (even by a few minutes) it will not be credited towards your crossing. Instead, it will be retained as a credit for 12 months on the Dart Charge system and used towards a future crossing in the same vehicle. As the Dartford crossing fee had not been paid, National Highways will issue a Penalty Charge Notice.
Dart Charge Penalty Charge Notice.
A Dart Charge Penalty Charge Notice will be issued and sent to the registered keepers address held by DVLA on the date of the crossing. The amount due will be £70, but 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. If payment is not made within 28 days, National Highways will issue a Charge Certificate. At this stage, the penalty charge of £70 will increase by 50% to £105.
I have received a Dart Charge Warning Letter.
If you have never used the Dartford Crossing before, and fail to pay the crossing fee, you will still receive a Penalty Charge Notice. However, accompanying the PCN, will be a Dart Charge Warning Letter. As a first time user of the Dartford Crossing, you are offered the opportunity to avoid the penalty charge if you pay just the crossing fee (£2.50 or slightly more depending on the class of vehicle) within a strict period of 14 days. If you are fortunate to receive such a letter, please do not ignore it.
Registration of Debt and Order for Recovery
If after 14 days of a Charge Certificate being served the penalty charge is still not paid, National Highways may register it as a debt at the Traffic Enforcement Centre. National Highways may then recover the penalty through the County Court. This process will start with the Traffic Enforcement Centre authorising National Highways to issue an Order for Recovery of unpaid Penalty Charge (form TE3). This will be served upon the registered keeper together with a Witness Statement (TE9). Registration of the debt will not in any way affect your credit history.
Witness Statement/Statutory Declaration
The Witness Statement (TE9) cannot be used to make representation or complaint. It is an application to the Traffic Enforcement Centre (TEC) challenging the Order for Recovery on one of the grounds listed on the Order. It does not cancel the penalty charge. If accepted, the Order for Recovery will be revoked and National Highways will issue a fresh Penalty Charge Notice.
Warrant of Control
If after a period of 21 days, a completed Witness Statement (or Statutory Declaration) has not been received at the Traffic Enforcement Centre or, the Dart Charge penalty remains unpaid, National Highways may request permission from the Traffic Enforcement Centre for a Warrant of Control to be issued. The warrant will then be passed to either Marston Recovery or CDER Group to enforce.
Dart Charge and bailiff enforcement.
If a warrant of control is issued, it will be enforced by either Marston Recovery or CDER Group. You will be sent a Notice of Enforcement and the amount due will increase to £190.50 to include the enforcement companies Compliance Fee of £75. If payment is not made by the date outlined on the Notice of Enforcement, an enforcement agent will make a personal visit to your property. At this stage, the debt will significantly increase to £425 to include the bailiffs company enforcement fee of £235.
As we receive a significant number of enquiries from motorists regarding bailiff enforcement for an unpaid Dart Charge penalty, we have an entire page dedicated to this subject.
Dart Charge notices had been sent to my previous address.
If you have received a Notice of Enforcement, a text message or visit from either Marston Recovery or CDER Group 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) 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 Recovery or CDER Group in relation to an unpaid Dart Charge penalty 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 Bailiff Support line on 01643 841886. Our opening times can be found on our Contact page.