A motorist who received a fine after driving through Gatwick Airport’s drop-off area challenged it using ChatGPT artificial intelligence (AI) and won a much-reduced penalty.
Shaun Bosley, from Brighton, was dropping a work colleague at the airport last November and received a £100 “final notice” from NCP several months later, despite saying he had received no previous correspondence.
Mr Bosley, a sales consultant for Phyron, a Swedish company which produces videos for car dealerships using AI, turned to ChatGPT, which generates human-like conversations. Users simply type a request into a chat box and the system can generate a response almost instantly.
“In the end, I just typed, ‘write an appeal to a penalty charge notice for driving through Gatwick airport. I have received final notice, but never received first notice of the penalty’, and straight away it came back with a great response,” he told the PA news agency.
ChatGPT helped him create the appeal which referenced the “undue stress and hardship” the final notice had caused, and also requested that NCP provide “information regarding the circumstances” as to why Mr Bosley had failed to receive a first notice.
In the appeal letter, ChatGPT wrote: “I understand that it is my responsibility as a driver to be aware of the rules and regulations regarding driving through an airport. However, I never received the first notice of the penalty and therefore, did not have the opportunity to contest the charge or pay the fine in a timely manner.
“I believe that the debt collection process has been premature and I request that you reconsider the penalties imposed.”
Motorists dropping passengers at Gatwick must pay £5 for a maximum of 10 minutes. They are charged an additional £1 for every minute they stay after that up to a maximum of 20 minutes.
Mr Bosley said NCP replied “the next day” and reduced the fine to £15, which was the original amount.
Try talking with ChatGPT, our new AI system which is optimized for dialogue. Your feedback will help us improve it. https://t.co/sHDm57g3Kr
— OpenAI (@OpenAI) November 30, 2022
He added: “It’s insane how it writes like a human. I didn’t have to look at it and think ‘that sounds like a robot, I need to change some of it’, it was so conversational.”
NCP told PA it “takes appeals on their own individual merit”.
The ChatGPT written appeal in full:
“Dear Sir or Madam,
“I am writing in regards to a Penalty Charge Notice (PCN) I have received for driving through Gatwick airport. I have received a final notice but have not received the first notice of the penalty. I was shocked to receive the final notice and am appealing the penalty on the grounds that I was not aware of the violation until this final notice.
“I understand that it is my responsibility as a driver to be aware of the rules and regulations regarding driving through an airport. However, I never received the first notice of the penalty and therefore, did not have the opportunity to contest the charge or pay the fine in a timely manner.
“The sudden receipt of the final notice, without having received the first notice, has caused me undue stress and hardship. I believe that the debt collection process has been premature and I request that you reconsider the penalties imposed.
“I would be grateful if you could review the case and take into consideration my request for a waiver of the penalties.
“I would also appreciate it if you could provide me with information regarding the circumstances surrounding my failure to receive the first notice of the penalty.
“Thank you for taking the time to consider my appeal. I look forward to hearing from you soon.”