We receive a significant number of enquiries regarding Dart Charge enforcement and hopefully the information on this page will be of assistance to you.
In 2014, the very popular payment booths were removed from the Dartford Crossing. 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 and is administered by Highways England. It is 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?
It works by using number plate reading cameras, lasers and tag readers to identify the vehicle using the Dartford Crossing. If you had set up a Dart Charge account in advance, the required payment will be deducted by Highways England.
How much is the Dart Charge?
The Dartford Crossing is free to use between the hours of 10pm and 6am. But 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. You can also pay the Dart Charge by any of the following methods:
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. Motorists can register their vehicle and bank 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, a Dart Charge Penalty Charge Notice will be issued. Most importantly, the amount will significantly increase to £70. But if you pay within 14 days of date of service, this sum will be discounted to £35. The applicable Dart Charge will also be added to the Penalty Charge Notice. If you have never used the Dartford Crossing before, you should 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 within 28 days of service, a charge certificate will be issued. 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 . The companies that will enforce a warrant of control will be either Marston Group Ltd…..Equita Ltd or JBW Judicial Services Ltd. At this stage, the debt owed would include bailiff fees which are outlined here.
Press reports have recently 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, your credit rating will not be affected. An unpaid Dart Charge is not registered with a credit rating agency.
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 had not previously known about (usually, 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). We have a page dedicated to this subject here.
Commentary 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.