We receive an astonishing number of enquiries regarding Dart Charge enforcement and hopefully the information on this page will be of assistance.
In 2014 the very popular Dartford Crossing removed it’s payment booths and 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 new payment system is called the Dart Charge and is administered by Highways England, and is very similar to the Transport for London (TfL) Congestion Charge scheme….it even has the same red C logo. Last year, over 50 million vehicles used the Dartford Crossing !!
How does the Dart Charge work?
When a vehicle uses the Dartford crossing, number plate reading cameras, lasers and tag readers identify the vehicle to see how much needs to be paid. If a Dart Charge account has been set up in advance, then the required payment will be deducted by Highways England.
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 and 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. Users receive a discount of up to one third on every crossing. Fleet operators are able to set up a fleet account and discounts also apply. Payment of the Dart Charge may also be made as follows:
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 here.
At any one of the thousands of retails 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 the Dart Charge by midnight the day after using the Dartford Crossing, you will be sent a Dart Charge Penalty Charge Notice and the amount will significantly increase to £70. The amount is discounted to £35 if payment is made within a strict period of 14 days beginning with the date of service of the PCN. The applicable Dart Charge will also be added to the Penalty Charge Notice (which in the case of cars is set at £2.50). If you have never used the Dartford Crossing before, you should also receive a Dart Charge warning letter advising that payment will be reduced to just £2.50.
If you do not pay or make representations against the Dart Charge Penalty Charge Notice before the end of the period of 28 days beginning with the date of service of the notice, a charge certificate will be issued and the penalty charge of £70 increases by 50% to £105. The Charge Certificate is deemed ‘served’ on the second day after it is posted.
Will Dart Charge enforcement include bailiffs?
If the Charge Certificate remains unpaid after 14 days, Highways England (who administer the Dart Charge) will register the debt at the Northampton County Court. At this stage, you will be sent a third notice called an Order for Recovery. If full payment is not received within 21 days, Highways England will request permission to issue a warrant of control and this will be passed to one of the following three bailiff companies to enforce…..Marston Group Ltd…..Equita Ltd or JBW Judicial Services Ltd. At this stage, you will also be liable for any additional bailiff/enforcement agent fees details of which can be read here.
From recent press reports, and Freedom of Information requests, it was revealed that during 2017, bailiffs made 206,0000 visits to recover unpaid Dart Charges. We have an entire page on our website regarding Dart Charge and Bailiff Enforcement here.
Will my credit rating be affected if I fail to pay a Dart Charge?
No it will not. An unpaid Dart Charge is not registered with a credit rating agency and your credit score (or credit rating) will not be affected.
Can I appeal the Dart Charge?
If you wish to dispute the Dart Charge, you will find full details on the Dart Charge Penalty Charge Notice. Representations must be made within 28 days of the date of service of the PCN. If your representation is rejected you can further appeal the Dart Charge to the Traffic Penalty Tribunal (TPT). Details can be read here
Bailiffs and Dart Charge enforcement.
If you have received a letter, or a visit, from either Marston Holdings, Equita Ltd or JBW Group in relation to a Dart Charge that you knew nothing about, (most commonly, because all notices had been sent to a previous address), then all bailiff enforcement can be halted by completing an Out of Time Witness Statement (TE7 and TE9) and sending it to the Traffic Enforcement Centre (TEC). We have a page dedicated to this subject here.
Note from Bailiff Advice Online:
If you have received a letter or a visit from a bailiff or have any queries about Dart Charge enforcement, you can email a question to us using our popular Question page. Alternatively, you can contact us by phone. Please refer to our Contact us page for further details.