I received charges of more than £13,000 to a debt collection agency called Cder Group after failing to pay the Dart Charge.

I am being charged for a total of 64 crossings of which I have paid £8,424 so far in monthly instalments of £150.

However, there is still an outstanding balance of £4,772.35 left to pay for 25 crossings.

It is impossible for me to afford it and I am running out of money. Considering the cost is just £2.50 and I have already paid thousands, this seems totally unfair – although I accept that I should have just paid in the first place. What can I do to make it more affordable? N.Q., via email

A driver found he must pay £13k in unpaid Dart Charges - despite the total reaching just £160

A driver found he must pay £13k in unpaid Dart Charges – despite the total reaching just £160

Grace Gausden is the consumer expert at This is Money. This is Money is not unfamiliar with writing about Dartford Crossing accusations that spiral into much bigger.

Ende 2014 saw the removal of the payment kiosks that were used for crossing the Thames. The bridge, two tunnels, and one connecting Kent and Essex, was no longer available. You could not pay cash at those booths.

The driver is responsible for paying the bill in advance or as soon as possible. This can be done by setting up an account or making one-off payments.

If you forget to make payment in advance it is easy for users who aren’t frequent to pay. However, this doesn’t apply to you.

We assisted a driver in fighting an unfair fine passed on to debt collectors. They believed that they were paying from an auto account.

We’ve been receiving a steady flow of Dart Charge traffic since then from drivers who are in the unfortunate position of being in debt due to their failure to pay.

The crossing, which when built was promised to be free to use once costs had been recouped, is £2.50 each way for car users. It falls to £2 for those who have an account.

Let’s get to the facts: Your case involves a taxi driver who was contracted to transport a special-needs child from South Essex college to South London. You crossed the Dartford Bridge.


Grace Gausden is a This is Money consumer expert who tackles reader issues and spotlights companies doing good and evil. Grace is our columnist weekly.

You want her to solve a problem? Or do you praise an organization for doing more than the minimum to help others? Send us an email:


You claim that the reason you didn’t pay for the last year and half was due to a mix of not remembering and having insufficient funds in your joint accounts, as well as because you just went through a hard divorce which had a negative effect on your mental health.

It is said that once Highways England was notified of outstanding payments, they tried to organize a solution but you are still in financial difficulties so you agreed to continue to pay the monthly fee.

Your parents were even forced to have their cars clamped during the negotiation with Highways England.

You admit that this was difficult and say there are no excuses.

However, you have now had to pay thousands of pounds, equivalent to around £270 per penalty charge.

As with others who have been in the same position, it seemed unfair that you had to pay £13,196.35 when the actual value of the charges would have amounted to £160 – an £13,000 addition.

Although it’s acceptable to expect to be fined for Dart Charge offenses, sometimes the cost of the debt collection is astronomical. It seems like you’ve learned your lesson.

I contacted Highways England to see if it was able to help reduce the remaining £4,772.35 you have left to pay. 

Although the Dartford Crossing only costs £2.50, the fines if not paid can add up to thousands

Although the Dartford Crossing only costs £2.50, the fines if not paid can add up to thousands

Mark Belton (senior contract and governance manager, Dart Charge) stated that while it is clear that Dartford Crossing drivers must pay for their crossings, we try to find the best balance to give people the maximum chance of avoiding a penalty.

“We have reviewed the driver’s case and are confident that everything was done correctly.

‘However, as a gesture of goodwill a decision has been made to allow him to pay the remaining 25 penalty charge notices at road user charge only, leaving an outstanding total of £62.50.

“If the driver would have engaged earlier with us and replied to our correspondence, this might have resolved our issue without any additional enforcement fees.”

“Moving forwards, we recommend that the customer opens an account. We also suggest they select the auto top-up function so this does not happen again.

The document stated that drivers must pay the appropriate amount once they have been issued a PCN. Registered keeper can also challenge the PCN by making a written representation within 28-days of receiving the document.

It did not receive payment from you or representation within the timeframe, so enforcement went on with charges certificates and orders for recovery being issued.

The debt was not represented or paid and was therefore escalated to the enforcement agents.

While the gesture of goodwill is good news, you are concerned about the lasting damage of having to pay out more than £8,000.

It all serves as a warning to other motorists using the crossing to ensure they pay in a timely manner – or risk paying thousands. If you forget to pay, it is better that you contact Dart Charge immediately.

Keep in mind that shock penalties can come months later if the V5C logbook has not been updated following a move. 

A Natuzzi Italia customer was left frustrated after waiting months for a sofa to be delivered

After waiting for months to receive a Natuzzi Italia sofa, a customer became frustrated

Missing: Here’s this week’s nice and naughty list

Each week, my focus is on companies that are not up to the mark and others that go above and beyond for customers.

Miss:This week’s firing line: Natuzzi ItaliaInternational trading of furniture by,

Laura wrote: “On the 26th of April 2021 I visited Natuzzi Italia Farnborough to order a Golf Corner Sofa. The cost of the sofa was £3,220. I was asked to make a deposit so I paid £1,000 on my credit card.

“In the terms and condition, it says that the deposit cannot be returned as goods are custom-made.

It also says that, although the estimated delivery date is correct, delays should be considered due to factors beyond the control and responsibility of the retailer.

I was told a July delivery time and agreed to it. But, now that January has passed and I still haven’t received my sofa.

Laura claimed that after not receiving any updates she called repeatedly the store, she kept being told she’d be contacted again with a new delivery date. However, this rarely happens.

After she received a response, the date for her order was changed time and again.

According to her, ‘I feel that the firm made a false deposit knowing that delivery wouldn’t take place in July or august. Now it has been over 30 weeks, and my items have still not arrived.

Natuzzi Italia was contacted by me to determine why Laura had not received her sofa sooner than she expected. 

The spokesperson said that the company had received confirmation from the factory in Italy that Laura’s order was dispatched. It is expected to reach our warehouse by next week.

“We’ll contact Laura immediately after the goods arrive next weekend and then we’ll arrange for local delivery teams to load the goods so that they can be shipped directly.

“We apologize for the long lead time. This is due to several factors, primarily the Covid-19 pandemic that has caused a shortage in materials, disruptions in supply chains, and non-availability transportation.

“We’ve learned many things from this situation. One of them is the best way to communicate with loyal customers.

Natuzzi Italia is one of the many companies that has experienced delays as a result of the pandemic, with orders from overseas taking longer to arrive.  

You have received your sofa, despite delays. Now you can relax knowing that the issue has been resolved.

One customer praised Simba for refunding and re-ordering him the correct weighted blanket

Simba’s customer was very happy to refund and re-order the blanket that was correct in weight.

Hit: Peter, the reader, has praised a mattress firm this week SimbaCustomer service.

He stated that he ordered the weighted blanket from Simba Bedding Company online. Unfortunately, I’m not very cyber-intelligent and ordered an incorrect weight blanket of 15 lb instead of the 20 lb.

They were able to reopen my shopping basket, and I was able to select the right one. It was necessary to make a second payment. 

“I explained this to them, using the chatline again and they promptly refunded my initial payment.

“I’ve had some problems in the past with businesses when I made similar mistakes. Simba has provided excellent and hassle-free customer service.

This firm didn’t take any chances with their customer service, and provided a relaxing experience.

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