/ Motoring

Complain for change: ever appealed a parking ticket?

We all dread those notices on the car windscreen that scream ‘you’ve got a parking ticket’. However, Which? research, along with my own experiences, suggests that it’s worth appealing…

‘Aaarrgghhhh,’ is usually my immediate response, followed by the resigned acceptance of: ‘that’s 60 quid down the drain’. But it doesn’t always have to be this way. In fact, our research has found that two thirds of people who appeal a parking ticket win their case.

I’ve got two such examples. The first was when a friend came to visit and I gave her a visitor permit to place on her dashboard. When she returned to her car the next morning, the permit had fallen to the floor and a shiny new parking ticket was secured to her windscreen instead.

She was furious, so we took photos of where the permit had landed in her car and she sent these to my local authority. Her appeal was upheld and they waived the fine. Before I move on to my second example, you may want to watch our video on how to contest a parking ticket:

Parking attendants – waiting to pounce?

The second example is a little more convoluted. I had purchased a new car and was waiting for my local authority to reissue me with a parking permit containing the new car details. In the meantime I had to use visitor permits to avoid being issued a ticket – despite already having paid for a yearly permit (but that’s another story).

One evening I forgot to put a permit on my dashboard but remembered first thing the next morning. To my utter dismay I had received a parking ticket despite getting to my car at 8.05am – parking restrictions start at 8am.

Now, I’m sure parking attendants are all very nice people, but I’m afraid that my first thought was that an attendant must have hung around my car waiting to pounce at 8am.

I immediately appealed against the ticket giving clear reasons for my appeal. I was successful and delighted that I didn’t have to pay the fine. So, I’m now firmly of the opinion that it’s definitely worth appealing. But I’m not sure everyone does – have you ever contested a parking ticket? Were you successful?

sick of calderdale council says:
23 August 2014

my partners van has broken down automatic gearbox but was stuck in neutral and we managed to get it up the curb off the road to allow flow of traffic we contacted council to say waiting for tow truck and didn’t want a ticket they passed my email to the department that deals with parking when tow truck got there they had stuck ticket on it I am sending emails back n forth with photos etc of van on back of tow truck and they are saying fine still stands so I am prepared to go to court its just jobsworths being power crazed and trying to cash in on someones bad fortune my partner still without van as still in garage trying to get repaired yet still ticket still stands

Mr R Blake says:
3 September 2014

I parked at 11:20 in a south gloucestershire run car park which has a limit of 2 hours free parking. I returned to my vehicle after 10 mins and drove off to a funeral. I returned to same car park at 12:30 and parked for another 1 hour 40 mins. On returning to my vehicle i noticed a parking ticket on windscreen. The observed time of parking on my ticket was noted from 11:30 to 14:05. The warden had only just observed my vehicle at 11:30 before i drove off and on his return at 14:05 noted it still there, all be it in a different bay, so clocked me parking there 2 hrs 35 mins when really i had driven off earlier. To me i had only accumulated a total parking time of 1 hr and 50 mins. Can i still appeal against this as i still physically have not parked for more than 2 hrs

Roxy says:
23 January 2015

I parked in a council parking lot which has a two hour free limit as it is behind a tesco. I did not see any signs when I parked but was told by that there was a two hour free limit. I did not think I needed to get a ticket for an hour as there is no charge for this. When i returned to my car I noticed the PNC and was confused. when I looked around I saw the pay and display machine which I didn’t even realise before the only sign I saw was next to the machine I assume I didn’t see it as it is a busy area and there were probably something blocking by view.

Please can any one help.

the ticket was issued for Parked in a car park without clearly displaying a valid pay & display ticket or voucher or parking clock. Which is code 83.

I presume you have to get a 2-hour pay-&-display ticket for no charge in order to indicate the time when your use of the car park commenced. If the signage was inadequate that could help you. The Council will defend its ticket but it’s worth giving them a call and listening to their response. Your shopping receipt will show the approximate time you returned to your vehicle but did you keep a note or some evidence of the actual time you parked your car? Without that I wouldn’t rate your chances highly unless there is an outbreak of compassion.

I’ve just done something similar, Parked my car in a car park I had never been in before, it said 2hrs free parking. Being a bit rushed I didn’t see the very small sign that said I needed to display a ticket. Anyway I parket my car at 8:50, returned at 10:15, found a ticket on the windscreen timed at 9:03. The car park only starts charging from 8:00 so given the ticket was slapped on at 9:03 I hope common sense will prevail as I wasn’t even parked there for the 2hrs, but I know what these pedants are like!

Renny Mulhearn says:
12 February 2015

I heard a banging sound coming from rear of car I immediatley pulled over I was parked for less than 2 minutes when I emerged from under rear of car I was astonished to find warden writing ticket I explained banging sound to warden to no avail, but my question is this= the warden did NOT take photo of ticket on windscreen!! The only photo he took was me in driving seat driving off am I still liable for ticket?? Thanks

I thought there was supposed to be a five-minute observation period to ensure the vehicle was actually parked and unattended rather than stopped for a legitimate reason like mechanical defect or road safety. Certainly worth challenging that ticket. I can’t understand why a photograph was necessary at all – it cannot justify the parking ticket, and nor can the parking enforcement officer probably.

I am pleased to read this morning that the government is introducing a “ten minute grace” period before a parking ticket can be issued. This would only apply to local authority parking schemes, both on-street and in public car parks, and not cover private property [including hospitals, railway stations. I thought the code of practice that councils followed already provided a five minute overstay tolerance but this was not a statutory requirement nor consistently exercised, so this is a little bit of good news.

There are other changes including
:: guidance for councils banning them from “using parking to generate profit”
:: a right for residents and businesses to demand – by a petition – that a council “reviews parking in their area”
:: new powers for parking adjudicators [appeal bodies] so they can “hold councils to account”
:: protection to stop drivers being fined after parking at out-of-order meters
:: a ban on the use of CCTV “spy cars” except in no-parking areas such as bus lanes and near schools.

At my local hospital, the Samuel Johnson Community Hospital, at Lichfield, which is part of the Burton Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust use ParkingEye to control the car parks at the trust’s three hospitals. This contractor shows no mercy to people who are aged, disabled, distressed, or having treatment.

PE says that by entering the car park you formed a contract with them – ‘The NH’S Constitution for England . . . the NH’S belongs to us all’, I cannot find the legislation where the NHS has authority to compel patients, or careers who are entitled to use its services being forced to enter into contracts with outside contractors. And then farm out court action to this predatory firm if their cameras show a short time overstay.

We are told that ‘Access to NHS services is based on clinical need, not an ability to pay. NHS services are free of charge . . .’ PE say that the SERVICES only apply to medical services, but included in the services are the catering service, and the chaplaincy, etc.

The hospital says if there is a dispute, you should commune directly with PE. Why should anyone disclose their business to PE? Is NHS confidentiality a thing of the past? And where has the hospital’s duty of care gone?

As you know, Jeremy Hunt, the health secretary, in August last years guided that NHS ‘Contracts should not be let on any basis that incentivises fines, eg ‘income from penalties only’, which is what ParkingEye does.

Lets hope when this election is over, whoever wins will have the patients’ interest at heart and stop these predatory people imposing a ‘tax on the sick’.

It seems to me that NHS trusts have realised that profits from parking can subsidise their services, so they outsource parking management and enforcement to the highest bidder. That in itself might not be a bad thing but they have not necessarily ensured that the hospital parking scheme which they arre responsible for is fair, reasonable, equitable and properly applied. The trusts could, if they chose to, make the conditions more tolerant on overstaying for short periods, parking slightly outside a bay, and on payment and penalty arrangements. They seem to be disinclined to so because such measures impact on the profitability of the scheme – or so they are told by the parking management companies that bid for the contracts. Having let a parking management contract, probably to the firm that promises to give them the most income, that firm then has to make sure it achieves a high enough income from parking charges and fines to be able to afford to pay the trust what it has promised, so a degree of ruthless pursuit of income ensues. It is highly likely that companies have over-promised in order to get their hands on these lucrative contracts. I also feel that hospital visiting is seen as as an exploitable revenue stream.

Having built mega-hospitals in out-of-town locations and often with very extensive catchment areas to then penalise patients and their carers for driving to them and having to park there seems to be a highly questionable stance for an NHS trust. In many cases there is no alternative but to use the hospital car parks; patients need to get to the hospital early for their appoinments so often need to park for much longer than their consultation time would suggest; appointments are often running late so over-staying in the car park might be unavoidable; and parking difficulties are an additional stress factor that makes the experiece of going to hospital or visiting patients unnecessarily fraught. I am aware that season tickets and free passes might be available for people requiring regular out-patient attendance but many people either do not know about them or have got bigger things to worry about.

I don’t think you will get very far with these arguments. It is not obligatory to use a hospital car park and many people don’t even have a car.

I believe that we should push for car parks where you pay on departure, so that there is no possibility of an overstaying penalty. It can be difficult to predict how long you might have to wait to be seen for an outpatient appointment, for example. Parking charges should also be reasonable.

I agree that it is not obligatory to use a hospital car park but the alternatives might be far worse. Conditions in rural areas obviously will be different to those in urban areas. The main hospital for Norfolk is located a considerable distance outside Norwich and a long way from other towns. There are no alternative parking possibilities closer than a mile from the hospital entrance. There are buses from Norwich railway station and from the city centre so people coming in from rural areas might be able to manage it by public transport but the time and difficulties [and discomfort] involved could be considerable. There are voluntary car schemes for patients and there is an NHS patient transport service that operates like a bus service picking people up from their homes on a circuit and returning them later.

The hospital is enormous and the statistics are awesome.with over 6,500 staff plus 600 volunteers, 27 operating theatres, and over half a million outpatient appointments a year. As well as patient arrivals there are 2,800 visitors a day. The transport logistics are impressive with 210 buses arriving each day and with parking for 2,800 cars of which 850 are for patients and visitors [though it’s a lengthy hike from some of the outlying spaces]. To its credit the hospital does a good job managing all this but there is criticism of the car parking arrangements in terms of both adequacy and management although I am not aware of any complaints about enforcement. The weekday charges are: <3 hrs £2; <4 hrs £4; 5 hrs+ £6 [all stays under 30 minutes are free]. You get a ticket on entering the car park, pay for it on leaving the hospital building, and insert it into the exit control on leaving the car park. Out-patient appointments exceeding 3 hours can be validated by the clinic for the minimum charge of £2.00. So the arrangements here seem fair and reasonable. Obviously other NHS trusts act differently and there have been questions in Parliament about some in other parts of the country where the whole car parking operation has been externalised. The Lichfield hospital that Best Speaker wrote about has numerous complaints on its website about the car parking there and about ParkingEye in particular. I think on balance we in Norfolk have very little to complain about because the hospital itself is superb once you've got there. There are satellite hospitals on the west coast and east coast of Norfolk to serve people in those areas.

Here is guidance regarding NHS car parking: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/nhs-patient-visitor-and-staff-car-parking-principles/nhs-patient-visitor-and-staff-car-parking-principles

Many of us will have taken a family member or neighbour to to accident and emergency services for urgent investigation/treatment. If someone needs emergency treatment then finding money to pay for parking charges should not be the first prioriy. Is it too much to expect free parking or being able to leave contact details for subsequent payment of parking parking charges when a driver is taking a sick person to hospital? I am referring to emergency cases rather than outpatient appointments.

I like that guidance, in particular –

• NHS organisations are responsible for the actions of private contractors who run car parks on their behalf.
• NHS organisations should act against rogue contractors in line with the relevant codes of practice where applicable.
• Contracts should not be let on any basis that incentivises additional charges, eg ‘income from parking charge notices only’.

Compliance with the guidance varies around the country and presumably relies on ‘friends’ and patient groups to keep their hospital up to the mark. I guess it’s a long time since the hospital management read those guidelines in some cases.

I agree with you about having a pay-later facility for people going to A&E if they don’t have the right money with them. Not everyone remembers to keep a tin of loose change in their vehicle, especially in areas where paying for parking is not commonplace.

The big bone of contention seems to be rapacious enforcement by contractors and it is good to see that NHS hospitals cannot shirk their overall responsibility merely by contracting out the parking arrangements.

I am very much in favour of an investigation of hospital parking provision and charges, John. The NHS should lay down the rules under with parking is operated and there should be penalties for contractors that fail to comply with the rules.

For many people using a car to visit a hospital is essential – whether taking someone to A&E, attending an appointment, visiting a sick relative, and all often with an indeterminate length of stay. To profiteer from parking charges is a disgrace. We give away £billions in foreign aid, spend extravagantly on defence toys, dish out dosh to host the Olympic Games but cannot do other than squeeze money out of the sick and their families.

It would be interesting to know whether the staff have to pay for car parking, or whether the benefit is a taxable.

I don’t think off-street parking provided by employers is taxable as a benefit in kind, Malcolm, and I wouldn’t advocate it for hospital staff. I think a number of local authorities have been thinking of taxing employers’ private car parks [Nottingham comes to mind in order to pay for tramway extensions] but I am not aware of any that have actually got the legislation and done it. It would probably just be another cost on employers and drive them out of town.

I don’t disagree John – I was just musing on other cynical ways of increasing income from a captive audience. When many qualify for free prescriptions it seems odd we then charge them – slightly indirectly – for visiting a hospital.

13 April 2015

I went to the emergency dentist on Friday (10/4/2015). I parked in a side street thinking it was ok only to return to my car and a parking ticket! I had parked in a loading zone but didn’t see the signs as I was suffering bad toothache (abscess) and thought the area was after hours for parking contraventions. Can I appeal this ticket? thanks in advance!

It might be worth challenging the parking ticket although you would lose the opportunity to pay the penalty charge at the discounted rate. You could challenge it on the grounds that you were unfamiliar with the parking arrangements around the dental surgery, that you were in pain and that available parking space was too far away, and that it was a medical emergency. These are not strong grounds and you need to be careful not to overplay your hand – you were obviously not in such pain that you could not drive the car safely. Essentially you would be seeking a compassionate response. Personally, I would pay the penalty immediately at the lower rate available for a limited period, regard it as a price worth paying to get your toothache treated, and then move on.

karim says:
17 April 2015

Last night I parked my luton van on a parking meter after hrs so I did not need to pay for a display ticket, when I was parking, there was a van on a parking meter in front doing a job and had his back doors open so as I parked and gave the man a little space so he can work also ther was a car parked in the bay behind so ther was a tight space to fit my luton van in I managed to park but as the van in front was takin up nearly 2 parking bays I had no choice that my luton van is big it made me take up a little part of another bay. I put money to buy a parking display ticket next morning I returned to van and saw ticket officer writing me a ticket I asked him why and he said because I’m parking on 2 bays I said to him ther was a van in front of me working so I gave him some space…. The man did not care he said to me I should looked some were else to park but ther was no were else…. I do not think I should pay for this but can someone please help me understand what to do Am I in the right??? I think I am…..

If your vehicle extends beyond the bay you can receive a ticket, and I very much doubt that you would have a valid claim.

It seems that there are different sized parking bays for vans etc. Information from: http://www.planningni.gov.uk/downloads/parking-standards.pdf

Car 2.4 metres x 4.8 metres
Light Vans 2.4 metres x 5.5 metres

On that basis, you probably should not be park in a normal car parking bay. Having driven minibuses occasionally, I have wondered about the rules.

The whole body of the vehicle has to fit within the parking bay, not just the wheelbase, so in giving the other van driver a bit of room to work from the back of his vehicle you penalised yourself. I don’t think you’ll get any sympathy if you challenge the parking penalty so it’s probably best to pay it quickly at the discounted rate. A tip for next time you find yourself in that situation – go out later to check the availability of space and reposition the van if possible. You have to get up early to beat thes patking enforcers – they even go around at night time in big towns and cities checking for vehicles parked on yellow lines and in loading bays.

karim says:
17 April 2015

Thank you Wave change and John ward I do understand what u had to say but the main rd only have 1 size parking I can fit my van in a bay but as I said early er the car behind was parked on a yellow at night and the van in front was working and I did fit in a bay and yes it was takin 2 bays but I did purchase a ticket and displayed it on dashboard AND I SPOKE to another ticket officer and he said to me the code that is displayed on my penalty ticket that he put in says that the officer thinks he is right but the code put in doesn’t mean that it’s what the law of Kensington and Chelsea agree with he also mentioned to deffently appeal as he said if I said my story and still the would not except they would have to pay for court upto £500 to take me in to pay a £ 60 fine and if court can see I was right they would waist to much so he said they would prob end up voiding ticket…. so it makes me think from what ticket man said I should appeal and not pay….

Joe says:
22 April 2015

Hello everyone
I parked in power court road opposite Luton shopping mall where yellow lines was very old on road & some signs with on walls that pay on phone & there was no meter to buy ticket.where I parked was no signs on both sides of the road.
I got £70 penalty charge notice from Luton council.
Is there any chance to cancel this ticket?
Thank you

Morning Joe, I’m sorry to hear about the parking fine! However, we’ve lots of advice here that I’m sure you’ll find useful:



I hope you’re able to get the matter resolved swiftly. 🙂

Something similar nearly happened to me one day.

I parked in a space that had some very faded road markings on it. When I got out of the car, and looked around, there were no signs but I decided to park elsewhere anyway.

I am glad I did as when I walked past later a traffic warden was issuing a ticket. It was a disabled parking bay although it was very hard to tell.

I mentioned to the traffic warden how unfair it was, and he said he had to issue the ticket but the driver would be able to get it refunded so there is hope for you.

Vicky says:
28 April 2015

Hello everyone,

I received a ticket by post which is actually issued by the traffic warden. The reason was given that I parked the car for 2 minutes on restricted (No Stopping) road and the officer was preparing the ticket and I left from there. This is happened in Ilford Oakfield road Redbridge council. Then I appealed for this ticket as I remember I never parked the car there and got rejection. He uploaded a picture in which my car in the middle of the road. Now I filling the form and writing appeal against this decision as this is so unfair without any valid evidence they are asking me to pay for something which I haven’t done & I am not even aware of. Likewise I was thinking if I was parked there for 2 minutes then why he didn’t take the picture at the first place as it was enough time for picture which normally wardens do as I have seen some of them issuing tickets. He was manage to take my picture when I was in the middle of the road but he couldn’t take the picture when I was parked. Why he didn’t interact me if I was parked and he was preparing ticket. One of my friend was telling me that wardens work on the target basis as well when they are running behind they do this sort of activities because if the you win the representation after its nothing to do with them as they have fulfil their targets on time anyways I am not sure about this. But I am writing here to ask any suggestions what should I write in this appeal as I am confuse how to proof I did not park my car there. Unfortunately this is the last day for this ticket appeal as I forgot about this and this is so stressing now.

If someone can help me quickly that would be much appreciated.

Many Thanks

Afternoon Vicky and thanks for your comment. I’m sorry to hear that you’ve got a parking ticket that you feel was issued unfairly. However, I’m pleased to let you know that there’s lots of advice here on what you can do:




Whichever route you take, I really do hope you’re able to get the matter resolved.

Vicky – You have challed the parking ticket with Redbridge Council and your challenge has been rejected So immediately take it further to the parking appeals tribunal [the Council should have told you how to do that] and repeat the evidence you have posted here. What you have said here is clear enough for this purpose and you don’t need to dress it up any further. The Council will have to state their justification for issuing the ticket and the likelihood is they will concede.

Luigi says:
5 June 2015

Not sure if this is right place for this question.
I was recently fined for stopping in a yellow hatched box. I know the rules about not entering unless you have a clear exit, but what can you do if after you enter, another car enter from a side road and blocks your exit that was previously clear?

Javid says:
9 June 2015


new restrictions came into place where I park near my work place. Several colleagues received parking tickets however I did not have a ticket affixed to my car. I rang Parking Services to check whether I had been issued a ticket and was told that my car was not registered on their system.

Thinking I had a lucky escape, I ensured I did not park in that particular street again. I came back from holiday on Saturday to a NTO letter stating I owe £70 and do not have the option of paying the 50% discount fine.

I have seen the photographs of the ticket affixed to my windscreen online. Either it was removed by a passerby or the traffic warden made a mistake on the paperwork took the photograph and removed the ticket. A ticket can be appealed if there has been a procedural impropriety. Do you think I have a case to appeal the ticket? Any advice would be appreciated.


James Sherville says:
29 June 2015

I recently parked in Retford central car park and purchased a ticket unknown to me on closing the car door the ticket fell from the windscreen to the floor on returning to the car I had a parking ticket I appealed sending photographic evidence of the ticket i had purchased. The appeal was rejected not happy with the outcome. Under the freedom of information act I asked for number of PCNs issued by Notts Parking partnership in car parks under the Jurisdiction of Bassetlaw County Council since 2008 when they removed the adhesive backed tickets for the flimsy tissue paper ones, specifically code 83 violations (failure to clearly show a ticket) answer 15,782, of which 8819 were appealed against, of which 3577 were upheld

Now this is stupid how can you uphold some but not the others if the offence across the board is not clearly showing the ticket Which is what a code 83 is for

Why if you produce evidence that you bought a ticket and by a sheer accidentthe appeal is not upheld

How can you fine in our case £25 yet the same level of fine for someone (dishonest) who makes no attempt to even buy a ticket. Plus they have also kept my ticket money for a USELESS ticket

I know this is a cash cow and the NPP are a private company contracted to Notts county council
Who are raking in the money using a draconian clause. and I suspect manipulating the statistics

I went in to town with my daughter yesterday parked the car for an hour then had an accident i fell in town and had to go off in a ambulance…….yes u guessed it car stayed in car park and i got ticket when son picked up car later.
i am awaiting letter from Hospital to confirm i was in there and hope that will help. me
will this be enough to waive the claim

I have a resident permit which fell into the well of the car having been blown there by the wind when I shut the door.
I received the fine for failing to display a permit. Do I have ground for appeal?

my Husband has a blue badge for parking.we put it in the car this morning unfortunately we hadnt change it from the old to the new one and therefore got a ticket, we caught up with the traffic earden and she explained our reasons for the ticket and as verified we do have an in-date one what are our chances of getting this parking fine squashed

kate, if it was a local authority car park I’d expect it to be looked at sympathetically. I’d suggest you send a photocopy of both badges with your letter but pursue it if necessary to adjuducation.
I find it immoral to impose full parking penalties when you have made a genuine mistake, as here, or if for example you’ve bought a ticket but it is face down or fallen on the floor. At worst, an admin charge should be imposed.
If it was a private car park then assume they simply want an excuse to take money. However, Barry Beavis’s case is likely to be resolved in the next few months; you could point this out as it concerns excessive charges and withhold payment until it is resolved.
However, Which? legal may take another view.

Kate – All you can do is to write a nice letter and hope that you will be lucky, because you have not complied with the rules for parking. Marks and Spencer has put a ticket machine at a small supermarket I visit occasionally. Parking is free for an hour but you do have to display a ticket. I have heard of people being charged for not displaying tickets for free parking, so I’m very careful.