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18.—(1) This regulation applies to a dispute which has arisen because —
(a)a person (“the claimant”), in order to secure the release or to obtain possession of a vehicle, has paid a charge in accordance with regulation 6 or 13 and alleges that the charge (“the disputed charge”) should be refunded to him on the ground that, at the time the vehicle was immobilised,—
(i)a vehicle licence was in force for the vehicle; or
(ii)any of the circumstances specified in regulation 7(2) applied to the vehicle; and
(b)the person to whom the disputed charge was paid refuses to refund the charge.
(2) The claimant under a dispute to which this regulation applies may appeal against the refusal of a refund by sending, to the authorised person at the address given for this purpose in the statement under regulation 13(3), written representations stating the grounds on which a refund is claimed.
(3) The authorised person to whom the appeal is made may disregard any representations which are received by him after the end of the period of 28 days beginning with the date on which the vehicle was released or, as the case may be, on which possession was taken of it.
(4) The authorised person shall consider any representations duly made and any evidence provided in support of them and notify the claimant whether or not he accepts that either of the grounds mentioned in paragraph (1)(a) have been established and—
(a)if the authorised person notifies the claimant that one of those grounds has been established, the Secretary of State shall refund the disputed charge;
(b)if the authorised person rejects the appeal he shall so inform the claimant and at the same time notify him of his right to appeal to a magistrates' court under paragraph (5).
(5) A claimant, who has appealed to an authorised person under paragraph (2), may on complaint make a further appeal to a magistrates' court—
(a)if his appeal under paragraph (2) has been rejected under paragraph (4) and the further appeal is made within 28 days of his being served with notification to that effect under paragraph (4)(b); or
(b)if the authorised person has not notified him of the outcome of his appeal in accordance with paragraph (4) and 56 days have elapsed since he appealed,
and, if the court finds that either of the grounds mentioned in paragraph (1)(a) have been established, it shall order the Secretary of State to refund the disputed charge.
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