/ Motoring

Barry Beavis: why I fought my parking penalty in court

Parking fine

When Barry Beavis was served with a £85 Parking Charge Notice by a private parking company, he wasn’t willing to just accept it and pay up. Here’s Barry himself on why he decided to fight the charge in court.

My name is Barry Beavis and I am involved in a legal battle that could save all motorists millions of pounds.

Parking tickets are a right royal pain the whotsit. We’ve all had a parking ticket and we’ve grudgingly paid what’s due. But are the charges actually fair?

There are two types of charge and two types of parking “ticket”. The first one is a parking ticket issued by your local authority, normally in the guise of a traffic warden or police officer. If you get one of these then you have usually done something wrong, as these are issued pursuant to the Road Traffic Act.

The second type of charge is for parking on private land. Something like a retail centre, a supermarket, an out of town shopping centre and cinema or even a hospital car park.

Fighting my parking penalty

I received one of these Notices from ParkingEye. I visited Riverside Retail Park in Chelmsford in April 2013. It offers motorists two hours free parking, but I had stayed for nearly three hours. I received a PCN (Parking Charge Notice) for £85 which I argued in a test case in Cambridge County Court was an unenforceable penalty, was not a genuine reflection of the parking company’s loss from motorists overstaying, and should not be allowed.

I had to research private parking companies to put together my defence in Cambridge. What I found made me so incredibly angry. I read experiences of people who had felt intimidated by letters asking them to pay the ‘fines’. This egged me on even more to fight my case on behalf of everyone who has been affected.

Yet, I lost. The judge ruled that there was a ‘commercial justification’ for the charges. New law was being written. Bad law, I think.

Taking it to the Supreme Court

I was amazed that the judge ruled against me. Contract law is simple in my opinion: if it’s a penalty then it is unenforceable. In my view, these parking companies had been getting away with it for far too long, yet here was a judge ruling in their favour. I was firstly shocked and then I became incensed; literally hopping mad.

I was given permission to appeal to the Court of Appeal and in February 2015 the case was heard. Last week the judgment was handed down.

Lord Justice Moore-Bick, Lord Justice Patten and Sir Timothy Lloyd agreed that the £85 charge is intended to deter motorists from overstaying in the car park. Yet, they also held – in an unprecedented ruling – that the charge is still enforceable as it is not ‘extravagant or unconscionable’. Simply put – £85 is not too much.

I have been given leave to appeal the decision to the Supreme Court. I think I should. Do you?

This is a guest post by Barry Beavis, who took ParkingEye to court to contest his parking ticket. All opinions expressed here are Barry’s own, not necessarily those of Which?. Which? intervened in the Court of Appeal proceedings to protect the wider consumer interest, to safeguard existing consumer rights and to ensure the law is fair for consumers across all markets.

21 July 2015 update – off to the Supreme Court

This case is now being heard in the Supreme Court. The hearing is due to end later this week, with a ruling not expected until later this year.

4 Nov 2015 update – Supreme Court Ruling

The Supreme Court today gave its judgement on Barry Beavis’ case. Disappointingly, he lost. Parking fines issued by private companies have been ruled as fair and proportionate by the Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court agreed with Parking Eye that the £85 charge Barry received for overstaying by 56 minutes was justified as it discouraged people from overstaying at a site close to a railway station and law courts.

We intervened in the case to ensure important consumer rights that protect people from excessive fines in all sectors were not watered down. However, the ruling could now lead to people being more severely fined for things like missing appointments or being late for a nursery pick-up.

Our executive director Richard Lloyd said:

​​’This is a thoroughly disappointing judgment based on a narrow​ ​interpretation of the law. It will cause chaos if cowboy parking firms​ ​choose to take advantage of the ruling by hitting drivers with even​ ​more excessive charges. Our advice to consumers is to be on your guard​ ​and always appeal if you think a parking fine is unfair.’

We’re now planning to take the issue up with government ministers since a reversal of the judgment will require changes to the law.

Comments
Profile photo of wavechange
Member

One thing worth watching for is changes in the rules for parking. The only time I have had a ticket was when I parked to walk into a city and I forgot that the time allowed for on-street parking had recently been decreased from 3 to two hours. The parking attendant had not forgotten. That was years ago.

Recently I heard of someone who had been ticketed for using a car park but not visiting the shops it serves. I use this park occasionally and the last time I checked there was no requirement to be a customer.

Member
Dennis Armstrong says:
24 January 2017

hi
excel parking sent me a ticket for parking in kiethley cavendish retail park i went to pick my partner up from shopping at b&m stores on the park i waited for her never got out of my car i never parked but waited outside b&m stores according to there camara 1 was parked for 19 mins in fact when i checked there camara it was 18 mins i appealed i got no reply i rang excel up they would not discuss the case saying they had sent a reply and to email excel for a copy which i did they denied receiving it next thing i received a letter of bw legal for £154 i took it to court and lost i have 14 days to pay £260 they even put £3.06 int on top is it worth taking it any further
cheers dennis

Profile photo of John Ward
Member

Dennis – I doubt it would be worth the trouble, and risk of additional interest if you lose, to challenge an alleged timing discrepancy of [probably] less than sixty seconds.

Profile photo of wavechange
Member

Hi Dennis – I’m sorry to hear your story. I don’t know what to advise, having no experience but as John says, there is no point in arguing over the time discrepancy. It might be worth informing the owners of the retail park.

Profile photo of John Ward
Member

Dennis – If we assume that your car entered the parking area at 15:00:00 and that the enforcement camera clocked the contravention at 15:18:55 there might be a short processing interval before the parking charge notice is generated at 15:19:05. The seconds are disregarded for the purpose of recording the duration of the contravention.

Profile photo of malcolm r
Member

Dennis, I doubt you would get away with claiming you were not “parked”. Stationary in a car park for 18 minutes, whether in the car or not, counts as parking I’m afraid in my book. What is more you were not, presumably, in a designated place to park. However, if you did not receive a response to your appeal then you may have a case there. I’d suggest you look at the BPA Code of Conduct to see just what they say about how their members should deal with appeals. You can also check whether they met the requirements of the Protection of Freedoms Act http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2012/9/schedule/4/enacted.

Member
dennis armstrong says:
25 January 2017

hi
thanks guys for all your advice i think i will pay up wont be parking on any excel parks anymore
cheers dennis

Member
Umamaka says:
27 January 2017

I had a valid one-month Parking Permit to park in designated parking spaces at Salford University. The Parking spaces were contracted to Parking Solutions 24 Limited. Twenty-three days into the use of the ticket, I was issued a PCN of £100.00 for not seeing my permit displayed on my dashboard. I was given the right of appeal against the penalty. I submitted my appeal to Parking Solutions enclosing my valid one-month parking permit. Parking Solutions rejected my appeal. I appealed to POPLA – an independent body, again the appeal was unsuccessful. What should I do next? I believe it is wrong for Parking Solutions to demand Parking Charge from a motorist who had a valid one-month parking permit. Your advice, please.

Profile photo of John Ward
Member

It will depend on the conditions applying to the parking permit, Umamaka. It could be a requirement that the permit must be displayed, face upwards, in a certain position on the front shelf. Was any photographic evidence put forward by Parking Solutions when you challenged the PCN? Since you have exercised your initial challenge and been turned down on appeal to POPLA I don’t think you have any alternative now but to pay the parking charge. It seems to me rather unfair to penalise for a first contravention a driver who actually has a parking permit, especially when, I presume, you are a member of the university that is taking action against you through its contractor; I think they should issue a caution in those circumstances because there is no reason why their PCN-issuing database cannot hold such information [and it probably already does]. I also feel that the parking charge is excessive in the case of a designated space because there is no loss of revenue involved or other detriment to the university. The only slight consolation is that it is good to know that the university is protecting your parking space from unauthorised occupation.

Profile photo of malcolm r
Member

Further to John’s comments, if the parking permit was not specific to your vehicle (registration number) then not displaying it could, in the parking company’s eyes, leave the possibility that someone else might have been using it whilst you were also using a parking place. Rather like a disabled badge that can be used in any vehicle.

Member
BIG ISSUE says:
1 February 2017

On 12/11/16 my vehicle was issued with a Parking Charge Notice for the reason parked without displaying a valid pcm uk ltd permit. parking control management (UK)ltd

On 12th November 2016 I went to visit a friend Green as I have done on several occasions AS usual he came down to give me the parking permit, That day I left the car park not even knowing I had been given a pcn as there was nothing on the car stating I had been given a ticket until I received a letter. I was shocked at this as I always ask my friend for the permit. I went online to look at the photographic evidence. They have provided me with pictures from all angles except through the drivers side which would clearly show the valid permit, I have continuously asked for this picture but they will not supply it and they have dismissed my appeal. I have adhered to all the regulations in this matter and I will pursue this matter to the fullest. my case was dismissed by the IAS adjudication panel.

any offers of support or tips? I can’t bear giving my hard earned cash to this self centred people for something I never committed

Profile photo of John Ward
Member

It is frequently a condition that the parking permit should be displayed face-up on the nearside of the vehicle either attached to the inside of the windscreen or placed on the shelf above the dashboard. If the permit does not specify a position then the photographs need to show all possible views of the interior of your car to prove there was no permit on display. If the adjudicator has dismissed your appeal I do not think you have any further opportunity to contest the PCN. Did you appear at the adjudication hearing in person?

Profile photo of malcolm r
Member

You could try getting a sworn statement from your friend that he had given you a permit, told them where on the car it had been placed and insist they provide a picture that shows that area. Otherwise I don’t see they have proof. You might have to let them take you to court but this could cost you money. Try Citizens Advice for a legal opinion on your position and the best way to deal with it (unless you belong to Which? Legal, or perhaps you have legal insurance through your motor policy that could lead to advice. Once upon a time a motoring organisation would have assisted but I don’t know if they offer this any longer).

Profile photo of John Ward
Member

I agree with Malcolm’s advice but I recommend you avoid being taken to court for non-payment; the court will only consider the fact that the debt is outstanding, not the legitimacy of the parking ticket since the court will regard the official appeal process as conclusive. This would result in substantial costs and interest payments on the unpaid parking charge.

If, like Barry Beavis, you can afford to take the parking company to court for illegitimate enforcement you might have a better chance of succeeding but it would be a risky venture; ultimately Barry lost his case in the Supreme Court. Your issue is different but the Court might still find against you; there is also the possibility that on the eve of the trial the parking company would make you an offer that you could not refuse and pull the rug from under your feet leaving you with costs but no satisfaction as to the rightness of your position. If your case eventually went to court and you won you could get back less than the whole experience has cost you and might have to fight an appeal, and if you lost you would be seriously out of pocket and, as Mr Beavis found, the Court would consolidate what many consider an injustice.

Member
Dave Sutton says:
4 February 2017

Just to mention that in Scotland there is no legal requirement (as in England) to state who was “in control” of the parked vehicle – and it does not automatically default to the main registered owner (as per the English legislation – that Private parking operators secured). Thus in Scotland private parking operators will send increasingly threatening letters to the registered owner (which you shouldn’t respond to in any way – as this would de facto imply a responsibility) but won’t actually take any formal legal action within the required 12 month period. Note – this ONLY applies to private parking operators – NOT on-street or local authority car parks.
My understanding is that POPLA is funded by the private parking operators – so an inherent bias is hardly unexpected. Are there any stats on the appeal success rate? (to illustrate this bias)?

Profile photo of malcolm r
Member
Member
Malcolm Hawley says:
6 February 2017

I parked on an excel car park for approx 1 hour.but excel said I parked 3 hours and demanded £100.In actual fact on leaving the car park after 1 hour I drove the length of Selby High Street;passing numerous CCTV cameras,Then went for a pub lunch;which also had CCTV coverage..Excel not interested and still continued to demand £100 .I informed them to forget the appeal; all my evidence and documentation has been handed over to the POLICE. I strongly suspect they are systematically adding time to departure times to exceed 2 hours then demanding £100 illegally I’m also liasing with the Selby times ;who have received numerous complaints regarding Excel. Renshaw-Smith ;the only cowboy with a double – barrel name I’ve ever come across
anybody who has been similarly scammed—please feel free to contact me

Member
Jennie F says:
7 February 2017

My daughter received a parking penalty from Parking Eye in April 2015. Which, she appealed using the correct procedure. No more correspondence was received from Parking Eye for over a year. Then almost 18 months later they decided to reject the appeal. The trouble was we had moved house 10 months beforehand, (changing address details with DVLA and electoral register). My daughter knew nothing of the rejection and therefore had no opportunity to pay or respond. She found out that PE had taken her to court and a CCJ had been granted only when her mortgage offer was revoked one week before completion.
We’re now planning to apply to the court to get the CCJ set aside on the grounds that it was an unreasonable timescale and a breach of the data protection act 1998, which states that all data kept on file should be accurate and up to date. The effect of this CCJ has been distressing, stressful and far reaching. Now unable to get a mortgage they can afford!!
Your advice would be much appreciated..

Member
Rhian says:
7 February 2017

I parked in an area where I believed I could stop for 30mins, but it seems there is no parking between 4-7pm. My problem with the ticket is that the warden was standing by my car as I parked, and watched me get my daughter out and pull in my mirrors etc. Surely he has a duty to say to me that the restrictions applied- he was so close he wouldn’t even have had to raise his voice. What do people think?

Member
Paul Gould says:
10 February 2017

Hi I parked on a shoppers car park run by Parking eye, I bought a ticket and paid the £1 fee, unfortunately I had not got my reading glasses with me and I entered the wrong registration. I had a parking penalty arrive for £80. I appealed and said that I had entered the wrong registration number but I had still got the ticket to prove I had paid the fee. I had an Email back to say that as a gesture of goodwill the charge was only £20,i appealed again stating that I didn’t see why I had to pay the penalty charge when I had paid the fee and had the ticket to prove it. This appeal was turned down and I now have 14 days to pay the £20. Should I just pay the £20 or should I take the appeal further?

Profile photo of malcolm r
Member

A view could be taken perhaps that you may have acquired someone else’s ticket (I am sure you didn’t). I’d pay the £20.

Member
Scott says:
14 February 2017

I have a blue badge and I parked in a loading bay which said 15 mins. I parked to go to the Argos which is next to the loading bay. I displayed my blue badge. However I required help from store staff to help me with the goods to the car and the store staff took longer than I needed which meant I was parked in the bay for 28 minutes. What can I do?

Profile photo of duncan lucas
Member

Sorry to say Scott on HMG website for Blue Badge holders it specifically states that (in England ) under places where you cannot park it states -parking places reserved for specific users such as residents bays or LOADING BAYS –but you must also check to see if the relevant local authority has chosen to exempt Blue Badge holders from these restrictions. So I cannot add more unless I know which relevant local authority applies to you. Please be aware generally it does not matter what time is displayed on the bay if you are not using it as a loading bay it is still illegal.

Profile photo of malcolm r
Member

In principle you exceeded the permitted limit and are liable to a penalty. A disabled badge does give privileged parking in some places but it is not universal. You could explain the situation and see if the parking operator (was it private or local authority) will relent.

Member
fromwestmidland says:
16 February 2017

I had a parking ticket for parking within a tesco store with the 2 hrs free limit for customers. It clearly shows on the pcn the time i entered and left the car park which is within the 2hrs. Because i dispose of my shopping receipt i can not provide those evidence. Now they are saying parking should be validated with parking voucher for customers when their signage at the time did not reflect those changes. It was after they had sent me the notice i took photo evidence of them changing the signage in the car park. Clearly the pcn would not be valid when they issued the notice as the signage did not have the new terms and conditions they are now enforcing. They signage at the entrance says 2hrs free customer parking no other information was clearly visible to motorist. They have rejected my appeal and so i have sent appeal to popla with photo of them changing the signage after they sent me pcn and also photo of signage not clearly visible to customer when entering the car park. Customers have also been complaining on social media that the company do not have clear signage and tesco did not make customers aware of changes to their car park.

Profile photo of John Ward
Member

I would say you had a good case for appeal. Best of luck, and please let us know how you get on.

Member
Sally says:
22 February 2017

Advice would be helpful…… I parked at Crown wharf Shopping Centre, Walsall on 27th December2016. I saw the notices about parking as I entered but in order to read them properly I would have had to stop my car, get out my reading glasses and take a few moments to read all the rules and regulations. by doing so I would have caused a traffic hazard by blocking the entrance to the site and cars would have backed up behind me on to the main road, again causing a hazard, so I drove in to the site, parked up by the shop I wanted to go into. The nearest pay point was about 5 shops down and I knew I had no change in my purse. So I popped my head into the shop to ask for change only to be told by the shop assistant that I didn’t need change as it was a bank holiday. The inference was that it was free to park on a Bank Holiday. On 6th February I received a PCN from Parking Eye demanding £50 for non payment of a parking ticket. The PCN was dated 2nd February which is 38 days after the date of the so called offence. I appealed to Parking Eye and not surprisingly it has ben rejected. I also got the contact details for the site managers a Mr Ken Bruce of Broadgate Estates who I believe manage it on behalf of British Land. I emailed him asking for his help as it was a shop employee who had given me wrong information. He has never bothered to reply.
Does anyone think it is worth appealing via Popla now ?

Member
Chris says:
26 February 2017

I must have had over 20 private tickets over the last ten years. I never appeal, never respond in any way, and after several increasingly threatening letters they stop.

Profile photo of malcolm r
Member

Access to DVLA data:
Our local council installed anpr in many car parks, so it could trace drivers who had not paid. It is now having to stop this and revert to pay and display. It says:
“We have been left with no alternative other than to make changes to the payment system in some of our car parks, following the government’s decision to restrict its access to data held by the DVLA. This is in spite of positive conversations we have had directly with the DVLA about using ANPR in its car parks. While we have been led to believe that the government has for some time been working on a parking package which includes wider ANPR usage for the public sector, there is now no clear timescale in which this will be introduced.”

Does this mean that private companies (if members of BPC or IPC) can still obtain this information, but public authorities are denied access? I can delve deeper but wonder if anyone out there, or Which?, knows.

Member
Castle says:
26 February 2017

It’s true; Councils mustn’t use ANPR to enforce Car park regulations following the Deregulation Bill in March 2015. The proposal was first announced by the Government in June 2014 so councils have had almost 3 years warning.

Private car parks can still use ANPR.

Profile photo of malcolm r
Member

Thanks Castle.

Can someone explain why private operators should have access to driver data, while public authorities cannot.

I presume our council was expecting the restriction to be lifted, and it certainly made parking payment more convenient – you paid only for what you used and little need to employ enforcers. It also made it easy for exempt users – just a bar-coded card negated any fee.

Profile photo of malcolm r
Member

I can find this in the Deregulations Act 2015:
“Section 53: Civil penalties for parking contraventions: enforcement
244. This section inserts two provisions into Part 6 of the Traffic Management Act 2004
(“the 2004 Act”), both of which apply in relation to parking contraventions on roads in
England. Section 53(2), inserting section 78A, adds to the existing power under section 78 of
the 2004 Act and requires regulations under that section to provide for notification of a
penalty charge to be given by way of a civil enforcement officer affixing a penalty charge
notice to the vehicle in question. This is subject to a power to provide for exceptions, to cater
for particular contraventions or circumstances in which a contravention may take place.
Unless an exception applies, local authorities will no longer be able to issue penalty charge
notices through the post.
245. Section 53(3), inserting section 87A into the 2004 Act, provides the Secretary of State
with an enabling power that allows for the prohibition of CCTV or other devices in
connection with parking enforcement. The prohibition may be general or limited to particular uses. The power could be exercised by setting out the prohibition in free-standing regulations or in amendments to Part 6 itself. Section 53(3) also allows for exceptions in the same way as section 53(2).
246. The section forms part of the law of England and Wales but applies only to parking
contraventions in England. It comes into force on the day on which the Act is passed so far as
is necessary for enabling regulations to be made. It comes into force for remaining purposes
on a day to be appointed by the Secretary of State in a commencement order. ”

I ask, why one law for local authorities, and another for private operators.

Would Which? like to comment?

Member
Castle says:
26 February 2017

Public authorities still have access to driver data via DVLA: what they can’t do is use ANPR Cameras in their car parks.

Profile photo of wavechange
Member

This may give an insight into the reasoning, Malcolm: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/government-delivers-on-parking-promises-to-help-local-shops

I’m not commenting on the rights or wrongs but many people ignore parking rules, which I presume why the DVLA was asked to help companies and local authorities track down the offenders.

Profile photo of malcolm r
Member

Thanks for this wavechange. I can sympathise with condemning spycars, and the 10 minute rule – that also applies in our CCTV car parks so you can pick up a newspaper or put rubbish in the recycling bins without having to pay. And all that works well with anpr in car parks. But what I do not understand still is why private car parks can get personal data from dvla, but not local authorities, to track down parking miscreants. It means our local authority will now have to scrap expensive equipment and divert funds to pay for more parking enforcement officers.

Profile photo of malcolm r
Member

Castle, thanks. It seems then that only manual ticketing is permitted by public car park operators. I read from the deregulation act that local authorities are not permitted to send parking penalty notices through the post whereas from other commenters stories, private operators have done this. I would think one system should operate across the board. Are you able to fill in the details please? 🙂 Probably got hold of the wrong end of the stick.

Profile photo of wavechange
Member

I was a bit surprised to find that explanation, Malcolm. I’m coming up to a year since I last payed to park, so it’s not a topic I follow.

After learning that the car park serving Maplin and a couple of other shops is now for customers only and hearing of someone being charged because they had parked to shop elsewhere. Does that mean that in order to park without risking a penalty you have to make a purchase or just go into the shop?

Member
Castle says:
26 February 2017

Councils can still send penalty notices through the post but ONLY after issuing a manual ticket to the driver, (well, leaving a ticket on the vehicle).

Profile photo of malcolm r
Member

Castle, thanks, I assumed that was the case. The reminders of further penalties, if you don’t pay up, I assume are posted and to do this they will get details from DVLA. It just seems wrong to scupper an efficient CCTV/ANPR scheme in council car parks. Where no barrier exists this allows payment just for the time used rather than paying in advance for time you might not use (or worse, time you might inadvertently exceed).

Member
Sally says:
26 February 2017

Were any of them with Parking Eye?

Profile photo of John Ward
Member

I am wondering whether local authorities have misconstrued the terms of the Deregulation Act. The extract from the notes provided by Malcolm makes it clear that the change brought about by the new Act applies to parking enforcement on roads. Car parks, even if operated by a local authority, are not part of the public highway and perhaps it is legitimate for local authorities to act in exactly the same way as private enforcement operators. A legal opinion would be useful.

Although I can see the economic and practical advantages of carrying out enforcement of car park regulations by means of CCTV and ANPR, I am not particularly happy about it. These techniques were developed for the enforcement of driving offences which are part of the criminal code. Parking violations were decriminalised several years ago and are now described as contraventions. They are not part of the criminal code since the penalty is a civil fine and the enforcement is largely in the hands of local authorities and companies belonging to the British Parking Association which applies a code of conduct. Only BPA members that abide by the code of conduct are permitted access to the DVLA database for the pursuit of penalties. I don’t think when these measures were drawn up that it was ever imagined that the enforcement of parking in car parks would be carried solely by the use of camera and automatic number plate recognition technology at the entry and exit gates with no officer attendance. This must have enormously increased the revenues from off-street parking places because every contravention is captured while at the same time massively reducing the costs of the operation. This should now be reflected in a proportionate reduction in the maximum penalty.

Profile photo of malcolm r
Member

John, agreed. The Deregulation Act notes is a very long document with lots of items in it, and I may have missed a specific reference to car parks. I was just pleased to alight on a clause that seemed relevant. I have no objection to ANPR being used to operate car park charging more efficiently and saving my council money they can spend on better things. But, like you, I have strong views on extortionate parking penalties and wish Which? would campaign to get them revised.

Member
Sally says:
27 February 2017

Absolutely agree. Which should campaign against private parking companies being able to get driver details from the DVLA.
It seems to me that since the law was changed the private parking companies are now only using ANPR on their car parks because they do not need to put in and repair barriers and if you drive on to a car park operated using ANPR system, read the parking charges and don’t like how much they are, so decided to not park there, you will have had your number plate clocked in and out and be shown not to have paid a parking charge. So they will send you a PCN even if you have been there for 5 mins! Appeal and it will be rejected as you are deemed to have entered a contract the minute you enter the car park.
Such easy money for the private car park companies. Raking it in at the expense of motorists.
What they should really do is put in barriers, you get a ticket and then pay as you leave the car park ( as many parking places operate). However, if the private companies did this they would lose a lot of income. I am sure people would pay a few pounds for parking to get off the car park but the private companies will lose the £50 charge they demand if you are caught using the ANPR system.

Member
Vincent Edwards says:
1 March 2017

I agree completely with Sally – in most off-street parking there is no need for punitive methods of control. The ANPR cameras which currently send out the enormous penalty charges could be adapted to allow for an efficient pay-on-exit system. For example in a typical supermarket or shopping centre car park the first two hours might be free, then subsequent hours could be charged at £5 per hour, pay on exit. That would stop people staying too long. However it would not create huge profits for parking control companies.

To be fair to “Which”, if I remember correctly it did intervene in the Parking Eye v Beavis Case. Unfortunately six of the seven judges reached a bizarre verdict – they appeared not only to believe that there is no alternative to a penalty-based system (though they said the “charges” are not a penalty – what else are they?!) but also appeared to regard £85 as small change. Perhaps on a salary of over £200,000 it is. The judgement is worth reading – long on gobbledegook and short on common sense.

I find it surprising that individuals and newspapers which some years ago campaigned venomously against speed cameras (which, almost all agree, CAN contribute to road safety) are so silent about the issue of private car park charges – which exist only to create unjust and unnecessary profit.

Profile photo of malcolm r
Member

Which? has gone quiet on this topic of extortionate penalty charges. It could use a petition to get this taken further, if it so chose, and instigate a campaign. Perhaps it does not feel these charges are excessive though? Maybe they will tell us.

Member

i live in Cecil street in Plymouth Devon for 8 years and our road has a 55 cars permit bays and a 15 car 2 hours free space no return in 2 hours and a further 3 free spaces anyone can park all day, we the residents have to buy our permits every year £30.00 which they say it does not guarantee us space for parking, 35 car spaces guys and they are selling permits every day where does that leave us to park?, we get in from work and all spaces are filled by no residents because after 19:00 its free until 09:00am, so we park on the foot way, cobbles, yellow lines in our street no choice of ours but we cant sleep in the cars until a space becomes free? the parking attendants comes around at 0530,0600,even its still dark and everyone is asleep then they ticket the whole street, cobbles yellow line foot way the lot and they bully you for payment on all this illegal stuff, if they would just listen to us if would be much better but its a money making thing for them, we ask them to make our permit bays 24hour so that would mean it will free up more than 20 spaces and residents who are paying get to park, 09:00-19:00 everyone know to park in Cecil street after 19:00 so its not fair on us, make all the 3 free space and the 15 car 2hour free space into permits holders only we asked, and still they will not, that would free up more than 40 spaces in our road and very very sure it would fix all this ticket rampage they go on at hours in the night, PLEASE CAN ANYONE HELP ?, thanks in advance we so need this to get to the right people

Profile photo of John Ward
Member

Corey – I have responded to your comment in the other Conversation where you also posted your appeal for help.

Member
Sally says:
3 March 2017

Update on my comments regarding Parking Eye at Crown Wharf. Mr Ken Bruce finally got back to me and I now have an email which says he has asked Parking Eye to cancel my charge. So I will wait and see what happens. If Parking Eye ignore his request then I will take this all the way to court and claim compensation from them!

Member
Rob says:
25 March 2017

hi, i took my wife and daughter to the Range in saint helens merseyside, it was just before xmas spo it was a busy time , we spent nearly £200 in the Range and when we came out my daughter wanted to go mcdonalds, well i drove to mcdonalds and we had something to eat, anyway a week later i received a p.c.n. with a photo of my car displaying 12 minutes over my time, i was over my time because mcdonalds is on the same land even though i drove my car and moved it from the Range to mcdonalds, i have now got a notice of intended court action or pay £160. I did argue my case but they are not interested.

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They have a photo of my car going into the car park and coming out, the car park has both the Range and McDonalds next to it, i have proof on the receipt when i paid for my items which was about 10 minutes before the 2 hour limit i move my car to mcdonalds. i even went to the Range and showed my receipt, they said care parking dont listen to us. My McDonalds receipt i did not keep, who keeps McDonalds receipts

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I have a lifelong health issue and suffered a crisis that affected my chest. As I the ambulance stated that they have a 30mins delay. To avoid a fatality as my chest was paining, I decided to drive myself to the hospital A& E which was nearby (2mins) my mother’s place that I was staying. I have a health protocol at the hospital pertaining to my situation. I got to the hospital to see that the blue disabled parking are had been handed over to a private parking management group. I have a valid blue badge but, the notice that now required that anyone with the badge require to display their outpatient appointment letter. Unfortunately, the ordinary parking bays outside the hospital was sealed due to work that was being carried out to this central London hospital. I parked on that sunday evening, displaying just my full blue badge but dashed into the A & E dept. hospital with my priority to get some treatment not to go into a cardiac as it was a chest crisis. My only thoughts was to avoid a fatality and that I’d either be an impatient or treated and discharged. I was in survival mood. Eventually, I was admitted and spent 5 days receiving treatment. Now my treatment involved the inducing of pain relief opiates which were quite strong, my ward was on the 13th floor. I’m a single mother and no other person has use of my vehicle. It was impossible for me to display an admission letter on my car during the period. Despite unable to drive the car due to opiates in my system on discharge, I got the car removed from the premises on the day same of discharge . However, the car parking management group has placed 2 separate penalty tickets on my front glass shield by then. These tickets were dated on the first next day of my admission while the other was dated the date that I was discharged.

I gathered all my evidence including letter from the department that treat me for my condition and sent them an appeal on extenuating mitigating circumstances. I received a letter by post to state that the due to all that I provided, they decided to cancel one notice. Few days later, I received another letter via email to inform me that despite all the evidence provided, I did not adhere to the rules and regulation of parking on the premises, hence the second notice was upheld and I am required to pay the discounted charge. How confusing could this be when on notice is cancelled and one isn’t while they had a 4 days interval between the issue of both and nothing changed. I really smell something fishy because I feel that appealing to POPLA would favour the parking management group and I’d have to pay the full penalty which would then cover both at £80 (discounted) in total . If I go beyond the deadline to appeal further and fail, I’d have to pay £80 for the one that I’m contesting. And I feel that I need to take it further to POPLA which I don’t trust from what I have read so far. It is such a bias system and I feel it is a ‘rouge’ unfair system. Does anyone have any advice?

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I think you should appeal to POPLA. Your decision to drive to the hospital, park in a disabled bay, and dash into A&E probably saved your life. I think it would be unfair if POPLA dismissed your appeal but that could happen because they might not see further than the clear contravention of the hospital’s parking regulations. Yes, it will be painful if you lose but it won’t cost a huge amount more than if you pay up without appealing.

I think the parking penalties on private land are iniquitous and the system for dealing with them seems to be heartless, but if you had waited for the ambulance things could have been a lot worse. I think the rule that vehicles parked in a disabled bay have to display the out-patient appointment letter as well as the blue badge is offensive; if there is a capacity problem the answer is to convert more parking spaces into disabled bays not make life even more difficult for disabled people. How is one supposed to be aware of such rules before arriving at the hospital? I think this issue ought to be taken up with the hospital which is either responsible for it or has passively condoned it.

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Sally says:
30 March 2017

Did you think to take a picture of both tickets on your windscreen? If you did this would be evidence that your car had not moved in between getting the first ticket and the second one. Therefore, if they have cancelled the first ticket they must cancel the second as the reasons for cancelling the first one have not changed and by default they need to cancel the second ticket. I would definitely appeal as John Ward says, you really are not going to lose much if it isn’t found in your favour.

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Another point on this business of out-patients having to display their appointment letter: in the first place, Bisi was not an outpatient but trying to get into A&E to save her life; and secondly who has the ability – let alone the forethought – to produce a copy of the outpatient appointment letter? If you are an outpatient, it’s no good leaving the original letter in the car; it usually has a bar code on it which has to be scanned on arrival in the department before you can be admitted. I am a solid defender of the NHS but I sometimes have to wonder if it has lost the plot.

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Zoe says:
12 April 2017

Hello,

I wondered if anyone can help. I live in apartment block which has a private car park. I am required to display my parking permit, however it appears that my permit fell of my dash one day when driving. I now have a fine for not displaying the permit. I appealed this with Minster Baywatch but they have refused my appeal because of breaking the terms and conditions (through not displaying the permit).. is it worth appealing furhter? If i pay within 2 weeks, I can pay the reduced amount of £60, otherwise it will be £100.

Any advise would be appreciated,
Thanks!

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Technically you have committed a contravention so the hard-nosed attitude of parking enforcement will surely not sympathise with you and just point out that you should either affix your permit to the windscreen or at least check it is on display while your car is parked in the car park. The fact that they know you have a valid permit cuts no ice I am afraid. My advice is to pay the sixty pounds through gritted teeth and put it down to experience. That will save you £40 and a lot of upsetment, in my opinion.

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Was your permit registered to your car and displays your reg. number? The parking company should be able to check that you are a legitimate parker and I would have thought common sense would prevail and your fine would be reduced or cancelled. However if your permit is a general one then it can be abused – lent to someone else to park.

My gripe is at the size of extortionate penalties for minor offences – simply cash generators. Which? should be tackling this to get penalties that still act as deterrents, but not out of all proportion to the offence.

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I agree. I think £20 would deter most people, and against those that persistently flout the regulations other ways of deterring them are available, the more so on private property. Because of automation [Automatic Number Plate Recognition systems and CCTV] the cost of enforcement on private property has dropped like a stone while the yield has sky-rocketed. Deterrence is now the only significant economic issue affecting the contravention charge.

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I agree Which? should be tackling this extortion racket.

As a child, whenever we went shopping, my mother would rush back to the car after overstaying the hour limit and there would nearly always be a traffic warden stood next to the car pad and pen in hand. He would always say I was just about to write you a ticket but never did.

Whatever happened to decent humanity in situations?

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Parking enforcement is almost entirely remote nowadays Alfa. The genial traffic warden is an extinct creature and even where on-street enforcement staff operate they are armed with cameras and other devices to prevent anyone arguing their way out of a penalty charge notice. It’s only a matter of time before enforcement drones patrol every residents’ parking zone each day.

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Another thing that is abhorrent is the fact that if one loses an appeal against a parking ticket the maximum penalty rate [usually £100 or more] is applied. As Malcolm suggested above, a decent operator would allow for an honest mistake when there is clear evidence that the vehicle owner does have a valid permit covering the relevant period. All or nothing is a very crude form of justice that does nothing to enhance public trust or confidence in the system.

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P atel says:
21 April 2017

I just went in a Car Park, there wasn’t barrier , normally there was a barrier were you will collect the ticket.It was new to us and we did not have any change, I was still in station car and Mrs went out to look for change,by the time it took nearly 10 minute and we come out from car park until I receive the ticket.As every one knows that any changes must be well display otherwise it cost customer like me £60.00 where is a justice for law abiding citizen?

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Sally says:
29 April 2017

This does not surprise me. Read some of my earlier comments!
I would find out who owns the car park where the ticket was issued ( I am presuming the PCN came in the post) and appeal to them direct to see if they will get the parking company to waive the charge. I did that when I had a genuine error and the owner of the site got the parking company to withdraw the charge.

Member
Ken says:
2 May 2017

Hi I hope someone answer a simple question I have been trying for months on this matter. 2 years age I got penelty ticket form Newcastle airport. So can let me know if there is a cut off date for them to stop sending me threatening letters saying if I do not pay I may go to court. I have all the letters and e-mails that have been send both ways
Please Please help
MR Ken Parker

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Castle says:
2 May 2017

If it was a real penalty then it’s 6 months; otherwise it’s 6 years.

Member
BW says:
30 May 2017

Hi, I was issued a PCN ticket in a private car park for allegedly parking in a disabled space. There were no signs indicating it was disabled area, no yellow marking/hatching around the space and I was in the centre of the car park rather than right outside the shops etc. It appeared to be a normal space. However, upon returning to my car there was the dreaded little yellow sticker on the window. initially I ignored it knowing that they’d have to go through he effort of getting my details from the DVLA if they wanted to chase it up and sure enough the ‘Notice to Keeper’ letter dropped through my letter box a few weeks later demanding payment. It was at this point I spoke to the owner of the car park who agreed that I was not in a disabled space and they immediately called the parking company and the ticket was cancelled. My question is this, since I was not in the wrong and the parking company obtained my personal details (name/address etc) from the DVLA without reason, is this a breach of the data protection act and could I request compensation from them? It would be nice to get one over on these people if there’s a chance to! Any advise would be greatly appreciated.

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Apart from the fact that there is nothing to compensate you for other than the cost of a phone call, I doubt if there was a data protection breach because the parking enforcement company has authority to carry out registered keeper searches and, so far as I am aware, the DVLA does not restrict authorised companies to searching only for details of vehicles that are contravening a parking restriction but allows searches in connexion with vehicles that could be contravening a parking restriction [for example, in a permitted space but overstaying the permitted time]. If the DVLA has evidence that an authorised company is misusing the authority to search for registered keeper details then it can withdraw the authority. All that being said, I see no reason why you could not submit a request to the company for a token payment on the basis that they have wrongly stated, by issuing a parking charge notice, that you contravened the regulations, and in consequence they have unnecessarily searched the DVLA database for your details which they have presumably kept in their records. At the very least I think you are entitled to an assurance that your details will be deleted from all their records.

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SW says:
1 June 2017

Parking Eye are the worst, most faceless organisation I’ve come across. They’ve issued me with a parking charge notice for entering their car park at 17.49:29. The parking charges end at 18.00 and there is a 10 minute grace period – so the ticket machine stops taking money or issuing tickets at 17.50. They’ve issued me with £100 penalty charge as I didn’t get a ticket – but how was I supposed to find a space, park safely, get my 5 year old out of the car, get to a machine and buy a ticket all the space of 31 seconds?!

I’ve appealed to them directly and its been flatly refused (by a computer system I’m guessing) and is now with POPLA. Plus getting letters from some 2 bit collections agency called Equita – who are owned by Capita the same as Parking Eye. If POPLA reject my appeal as well then if it goes to court I’ll gladly Iet a judge tell me that £100 is reasonable for 31 seconds – when I didn’t realistically even have the chance to purchase a ticket.

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Larry says:
1 June 2017

Hi everyone, I have been stung.

I have received a parking charge notice for parking in the wrong car park after my Local Authority Issued me with a permit for Powis Street Car Park in Woolwich. However (maybe through me not paying enough attention) after three weeks I realised I had been parking in the WRONG car park! The problem is there are two car parks sit directly next to each other, the only thing that separates them are a metal railing, and more importantly both Car Parks are called ‘The Powis Street Pay And Display Car Park’ and yes, while the the signage is different, is it actually lawful to have two separate car parks that sit side by side have identical names?
For clarification Excel took ownership of the carpark at a much later date then the car park next door which is owned by the local authority, shouldn’t the onus be on them to call their car park something else?
Im just so upset at the moment, i have received 7 fines so far, i’ve appealed 6 of them which have all been rejected by friggin Excel, I sent one on the the IAS to see what they come back with.

Does anyone have an idea of whether or not I will win this appeal?
All how long does the IAS take to respond to appeals? I’m in a catch 22 atm, as I have up until the 13th June to pay at the rejected appeal at a discounted rate before I have to pay the full whack, but I do not want to pay until I know the outcome of the first appeal I sent through.

Please help 🙁

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Larry larry says:
1 June 2017

[Sorry, your comment has been removed as it’s a duplicate. Thanks, mods.]

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bishbut says:
1 June 2017

I would rather walk some distance from a free parking place than pay to park .Why do disabled drivers pay to park in a pay car park when they can park for 3 hours on double yellow for free some must not even think Councils etc. who charge disabled to park are just causing more hold ups on our town roads

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As a matter of interest Bishbut ,apart from 3 Scottish hospitals all the rest have free parking , every excuse is dreamed up why it should not happen in England but are they legitimate excuses ?

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I would also query why some disabled drivers seem to be able to sprint from their cars and return, carrying numerous heavy bags.

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Hopefully they are shopping for the disabled person in the car – either the driver or passenger. When transporting a disabled person I would not park in a space for the disabled, even though this is allowed.

Here is a link about what Duncan said about hospital parking in Scotland: https://news.gov.scot/news/free-parking-saves-patients-over-25m

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You’d hope so,. Wave, but I was referring to the number of times the only occupant of the car has leapt out and run, yet used their badge to park in a disabled bay.

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I think I might be confusing what named drivers can do under the rules of the Motability scheme with what is permitted for disabled bays, which may depend on the council or company providing the parking spaces.

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Disabled parking bays are usually nearer the destination than normal bays, so reduce the distance the disabled person has to travel. However, if you are just the driver doing the shopping and the disabled driver does not leave the car then you should not use a disabled space.

There are many disabiliites that qualify for a blue badge, which includes people who are mobile but cannot walk too far or deal with hills or steps. By all means criticise those who misuse badges, but I wouldn’t want to change places with someone who is disabled. They need our help to lead as comfortable a life as possible.

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Vincent Edwards says:
3 June 2017

At my local supermarket the parent and child spaces are conveniently located close to the main entrance with flat level access all the way into the store. Disabled spaces are on a slope on the other side of the road from the main entrance. Let go of your trolley and it rolls away. I suspect that those who occupy the parent and child spaces (generally younger, more people in the household) spend more money than disabled people (frequently older, smaller households), and therefore get the best spaces.

However I do wonder why so many disabled people park on the yellow lines a couple of hundred yards from my mother’s local hospital when they could park much closer to the entrance. Could it be because they would have to pay to park within the hospital grounds? Just how disabled are they?

Hospital car parks cost money to build and maintain. If hospital parking is free, there is less money to spend on doctors, nurses, medicines etc. If I catch the bus to the hospital no-one pays my fare. Why should motorists expect free parking? There is no such thing as free parking – someone has to pay, even if not at the point of use. Charges should only cover building and maintenance costs, and not be a cash cow. Parking at my local hospital is free. It is difficult to get a space – apparently commuters leave their cars the and catch a bus into town. They wouldn’t do that if they had to pay.

All this is, of course, a diversion from the main purpose of this discussion site, which is to air problems with parasitic parking control companies – which operate at both supermarkets and hospitals (including those where parking is free, where some of the worst excesses occur).

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Richard Donkin says:
7 June 2017

POPLA has rejected my appeal against a parking charge notice I received for parking for three hours in a motorway service area. I contested the ticket on the grounds that the penalty fee – £100 – was disproportionate, I did not see the signs (I had absolutely no idea these charges existed), and that I took a nap in my car because of fatigue and after being unnerved in a road rage incident. I overlooked the rejection email and now I have received a letter from CP Plus demanding £140. I know about the Beavis case and don’t know what more I can do. But it just seems wrong to give in to these people. The whole system is wrong and I know that thousands of people out there agree but I feel utterly powerless to do anything else. My wife thinks the system stinks but says I should pay up and have done with it. I understand her point because this is quite stressful but it feels like legalised highway robbery. Having exhausted the appeals procedure Is there any thing more I can do? And what can I expect next if I don’t pay?

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Castle says:
7 June 2017

Do nothing and force CP Plus to take you to court because the most they can claim for is £100. Beavis was about overstaying the maximum time limit in a 2 hour car park, your situation is different; it’s a failure to pay the parking fee which is normally in the range of £5 to £15 for between 2 and 24 hours.

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Alain Rabaeijs says:
18 June 2017

Hi Richard,
I just had a similar situation receiving a charge notice from MOTO Knutsford South for parking for 2.5 hours early in the morning (4:49am to 7:21am). I was not aware that there was a parking limit of 2 hours. Appealed (as took some rest, had breakfast, filled up the car, etc) and obviously the appeal was rejected as I do now understand that they have the power so will probably reject everything. Anyway as many I believe the whole system is unjust, unfair whatever courts have ruled, it is robbery. If they have a system of recognition why do they not say pay the parking fee of e.g. £2, or have a barrier so you take a ticket and then you know there is a limit, when you actually arrived, etc. What should be done? Pay up or fight on and join campaigns so that this system can be changed? As Richard I would like to know what more I can do apart from paying up and shut up.

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If the traditional parking enforcement practices had been in operation a parking ticket would have been put on your vehicle. You would have immediately had a good look round to see what signs or notices were displayed to warn you. With invisible enforcement using automatic number plate recognition [ANPR] and a parking charge notice posted to your home you were unaware of a contravention and did not have the opportunity to check. You might be so far away from Knutsford that it will now be too expensive and time-consuming to check the position, and in any case it could have altered since the date you were there.

You haven’t told us how much the service station wants you to pay having appealed unsuccessfully. Hopefully Castle (above) might rejoin this Conversation and say whether he thinks his advice to Richard would apply to your case. I could understand if you wanted to be shot of it for the sake of peace of mind in which case you could send them a bit less than they are demanding.

I am interested to learn what the £100 court claim limit depends on; it could be the maximum that can be awarded as a result of ANPR enforcement.

Motorway service stations belong to the Department for Transport and are leased to operators. I expect the DfT requires operators to provide a minimum of two hours parking free of charge and leaves it to them how much to charge for longer stays and how to enforce it. Given that drivers are recommended to take breaks every two hours and might need a prolonged rest if they have been on the road all day it seems to me that a two hour limit is inadequate, especially if there is no facility for paying for extra time after the first two hours. A good motoring organisation would be taking this up with the DfT in the interests of driver well-being and road safety.

Even if the system is acceptable, the charges are pernicious.

Member
Castle says:
18 June 2017

if you were filling up your car then that’s not parking. Furthermore, driving around the service station is not parking either.

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John Harvey says:
12 June 2017

Stopping at bus stops is downright anti-social. If a bus can’t park up against a kerb, it can’t put the wheel-chair ramp down and the disabled can’t get on or off.

Fines pitched to discourage this are well within Beavis

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Maybe a nice big fine and a complimentary copy of the Highway Code would be in order.

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Sajida says:
30 June 2017

Hi
I hope someone can help, yesterday I made the mistake of following my satnav to what was registered as Halford’s location in Ilford. I parked in piece land behind Halfords which upon entry did have a legible sign stating it was private land and permit holders only. However, there were lots of other cars parked with no permit. I look around and saw no other signs indicating penalties etc otherwise I would have driven off to a car park further down the road.
I went into Halford’s picked up my preordered goods and was back in the car all within 15 minutes. I was informed walking back in by another driver that I had been ticketed. I opened fine and it has a printed amount of £10.00 which at that time I thought it’s only £10 I will pay it now. I called and the automated UKPC service was requesting £60! I’m not only annoyed at myself but outraged at the parking company.

Once home I went on to the website and had a look at the photos, lo behold there was some signage in the images. I drove back to the car park to check I still couldn’t see it from where I had parked, I had to walk to the back of this carpark it was high up and the keywording which I still couldn’t read, below this was a sign telling people they park at their own risk in the car park which was in large writing. Can I appeal this successfully, I have been on forums and read articles on parking fines from private land owners, but I’m still not sure if I can pay the printed value of £10, to be honest, I haven’t been in this situation before and it is very stressful. Any help and advice will be appreciated, I am now on day 2 of the 28-day limit.
Many Thanks

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You parked knowing it was private land, and that you did not have a permit that was a requirement stated on the sign. So I see no grounds for complaint. However, the penalty charged generally is where I believe reform is needed.