How My Lisp Got Me Out Of A Parking Ticket

I’ve got a slight lisp. It’s the sort of thing that most people wouldn’t notice, and I might even forget about it myself. Were it not for my family. Who never miss an opportunity to hoot uproariously at the smallest “thorry”, the mildest “Yeth pleathe”. You can imagine their hilarity at “Chrithmath”.

My own mother, who loves me dear, named me “Jessica”…

But one day, something happened to make up for the years of torment. My lisp got me out of a parking ticket.

I was visiting London to meet some friends, but having lived there for many years, I knew all about the parking system, and duly paid using the mobile phone parking favoured by that particular borough. Imagine my horror, then, when I returned to discover the heart-stopping yellow and black sticker of doom on my windscreen.

But I’d done everything by the book! I was not going to take this lying down.

I’ve changed the details to protect the innocent, but here is what happened verbatim:

Dear London Council Parking Office,

I recently received a parking fine notice for parking without a permit, which I would like to appeal as I had paid for the parking via Parkmobile. I have a slight lisp, so when I registered the vehicle with Parkmobile, the automated system heard the registration as @@## F@@, when in fact our registration is @@## S@@. The system does read back to you the registration number, but the line is not very clear, and as the sounds ‘f’and ‘s’ are obviously very similar, a simple mistake was made, of which I wasn’t aware until I received the parking notice.

I’ve attached my Parkmobile receipt for your reference; also a picture of my car with the registration @@## S@@ (also noted on the penalty charge notice). It seems very unlikely that another car of the same description with such a close registration number was parked there at the same time, but I appreciate that the checking system presumably only checks to see if a certain registration number is there, rather than lists all cars registered in that area.

I hope you’ll consider my case kindly since it was my slight speech impediment that led to the mistake.

Kind regards,

Jessica Paterson

A couple of days later came the reply. I started to read it with outrage quivering at the ready…

Dear Ms Paterson

I refer to your enquiry received on [date] regarding the above Penalty Charge Notice (PCN). As you are aware the PCN was issued because you were parked in a shared use bay during the hours of enforcement, without displaying a valid permit, voucher, pay and display ticket or activating cashless parking.

I note that you had activated the wrong vehicle registration number for cashless parking. Whilst this may have been unintentional it is the responsibility of the driver to ensure that the correct vehicle number is activated for parking.

In order to avoid future PCNs I would advise that you verify the Parkmobile system before leaving your vehicle unattended.

Nonetheless I have on this occasion exercised discretion and cancelled the PCN. Whilst every case is investigated on its own merit, we may be unable to cancel similarly incurred PCNs in the future.

Yours sincerely


So there you have it! I was very grateful for the parking office’s understanding, but most of all I was delighted for the cause.

A thmall victory for listhperth everywhere!

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