/ Motoring

Parking fines: your questions answered

Have you ever had a Parking Charge Notice (PCN) that you felt was unfair? Do you know how to challenge or appeal it? We’ve rounded up and answered your questions.

Every month, thousands turn to Google to find answers on how to challenge or appeal a Parking Charge Notice (issued by a private company) or a Penalty Charge Notice (issued by a local authority).

But regardless of which type of fine they get, many come to Which? Conversation to air their frustrations or to seek advice.

And what’s more, we know the majority of council-issued PCN appeals are actually successful.

Which? Consumer Rights: Parking tickets

More than 8.6 million PCNs were issued in England (excluding London) and Wales for parking, bus lane contraventions and the Dartford Crossing charge in 2016/2017, according to the most recent stats from the Traffic Penalty Tribunal.

And while a miniscule 0.43% were appealed, 57% of those were successful.

That means you may want to challenge any PCN you get which you think was wrongly issued or is unfair.

Your PCN queries answered

More than three years ago we published Barry Beavis’s account of why he decided to fight a £85 PCN in court.

Mr Beavis’s gripe was with a charge issued for parking on private land at a retail park. He argued the £85 fine was not a genuine reflection on the company’s loss by his overstaying.

He may have lost in the County Court, Court of Appeal and Supreme Court, but the post attracted more than 1100 comments from people applauding Mr Beavis’s efforts and seeking advice for their own PCN woes.

Here are some of the common complaints and reasons why you might appeal.

If you’re in Scotland or Northern Ireland, the rules are a little different so you’ll need to look up your local rules for appealing.

‘I paid for parking but accidentally put in the wrong registration number’

This is unfortunate and a very frustrating situation, but could have good grounds for an appeal if you can prove you paid (with your bank card statement) and a picture of your car’s actual registration.

When you pay for parking on private land, the contract is with you and the private parking company or landowner. So if you can prove you have not breached the contract on your end, your appeal may well be successful.

You can use our parking appeals tool to write a bespoke letter for free to help get you started.

But remember, challenging the ticket doesn’t extend the 14 day limit for paying a reduced charge – unless the operator agrees to extend the period, which they’re not required to do.

‘The car is mine, but I wasn’t driving it’

In cases where you receive a Parking Charge Notice from a landowner or private parking company, you can appeal the notice on the grounds that you weren’t responsible for the car when it was parked.

You can contact the company which has issued the fine and give them the full name and address of the person who was responsible for the car at the time.

Be sure to keep any emails, letters or make notes of the conversation if you opt to call. The company must cancel the parking ticket against you and send it to the other person. This is known as ‘transfer of liability’.

But if the person was a friend, family member or loved one you can opt to pay the fine instead of appealing and follow it up with them yourself.

You can also appeal a Penalty Charge Notice and a Parking Charge Notice if the car was stolen at the time the PCN was issued.

‘I bought a car and got sent a PCN for the previous owner’

In this scenario, you’re not responsible for the parking ticket and can appeal on the basis that at the time the PCN was issued, you were not the owner of the car.

Make sure you include any details you have about the previous owner, a copy of the registration certificate and evidence of when you bought the car.

‘I got a Parking Eye fine – can I challenge it?’

As with any parking ticket, you can challenge it – but whether you’re successful will depend on whether it was justified and fair (ie you actually broke the terms and conditions of the carpark).

We understand most of the successful appeals against Parking Eye are because you were a legitimate user of the land.

Before appealing, contact the business you were using and show them evidence you were a customer.

Often they will then write to Parking Eye themselves or give you a letter you can use to appeal your ticket.

For example, if you were a genuine shopper and only overstayed a short time, you may want to provide evidence of purchases (such as receipts and bank statements) and the letter from the business you were using.

Or if you were at a hotel for a conference which over-ran, you could provide evidence of your invitation and confirmation from the host that the event ran on longer than expected.

Another avenue is inadequate signage – go back to the carpark and look for signs about time limits. Are they clear? Are they visible?

Make sure you always follow the appeals procedure set out by the private company or the council. You can find this on their website or in the correspondence they’ve sent you.

Have you had any successful PCN appeals you can share? How did you do it? Or what about any unsuccessful ones? Why did you lose? Tell us below.

Comments

A success story – hot off the press – and a possible exemplar for those happy to escape from private parking firms on a technicality.

The car was parked in a hospital car park, which had coin/card payment machines that dish out tickets which must be displayed in the windscreen. For whatever reason a ticket was not seen by the enforcement patrol, who left a PCN neatly affixed to the windscreen looking to all intents and purposes identical to that in the photograph at the head of this convo. The ticket had a face value of £80, with a discount of £40 if paid within 14 days (and a threat of escalation if ignored). If this notice to driver/PCN had been acted upon in any way, the chances of an appeal being successful was very low. The driver ignored it – as did the registered keeper. Accordingly, and fully as expected, a notice to keeper followed through the post around 6 weeks later, the private car parking company having obtained the keeper’s details from DVLA.

In the specific condition of a driver having previously been notified (that’s what the thing stuck to the windscreen did) when the private company approaches the registered keeper, the registered keeper can be held responsible instead of the driver if the driver’s detail is not disclosed/identified, provided that the notice to keeper is fully complaint with Paragraph 8 of Schedule 4 of the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012 (“PoFA”).

The majority of notices to keeper are not compliant with Schedule 4 of PoFA – and this one was no exception, falling short in three key areas of Paragraph 8:
1) The notice failed to state that the company had previously contacted the driver (noncompliant with Clauses 2(b) and 2(e)
2) It started at £80 threatening escalation without offering the discount of £40 if paid within 14 days. It is a condition of PoFA Schedule 4 paragraph 8 that identical terms be offered to the registered keeper in the first letter as was offered in the notice to driver; the letter to keeper was therefore noncompliant with Clauses 2(c) and 2(g)
3) Although there was evidence on line, the notice to keeper in this instance never embedded or had with it enclosed the photographic evidence of the alleged breach. This lack of evidence means the notice to keeper was also noncompliant with Clause 7

On the basis of this non-compliance in several ways, the registered keeper appealed. The points included were:
* Evidence that a PCN had been served on the driver (referring to their own online images showing a before and after shot of the windscreen ticketing), and therefore stating that Paragraph 8 of PoFA applies.
* Confirming that the notice to keeper was noncompliant with Paragraph 8, citing the three examples above
* Ending with words to effect “Since the Notice to Keeper is noncompliant with the PoFA, I have no obligation to notify you of the driver at the time, and decline to do so. Should this matter be referred to POPLA, it is on the above I shall rely.”
If adopting this approach it is imperative not to infer any hint of who was driving by careful use of pronouns and passive voice.

Had the Notice to Keeper been ignored, it would have given the private company six years to hound with escalation galore and increased guilt trip pressure – and the option to go to court if they feel they have a good case; by appealing as above you cut the time down to just a month or two – and should in any case have the appeal upheld. Of course, in the unlikely event that the Notice to Keeper had been fully PoFA-compliant, the registered keeper could have paid the discounted sum of £40 within a few days of receiving the notice, bringing the matter to an end.

Excellent, Roger; and an extremely useful link.

I would not be surprised if many of the enforcement companies’ documentation is legally deficient. I wonder how long it will take before details of this case get round the parking industry and they close the loopholes – as they should, of course.

Ambiguous, or misleading, or downright incorrect documentation is in no-one’s interest and relying on technicalities to escape a fine is not an open, transparent and equally-accessible process.

“I would not be surprised if many of the enforcement companies’ documentation is legally deficient. I wonder how long it will take before details of this case get round the parking industry and they close the loopholes – as they should, of course.”

They do it deliberately, John.

They want to step up the pressure on the chancers – by removing the first discount to pay for their DVLA fee. After all, most pay from the first ticket (on the window) – and most of the rest when they get something through the post – so double bubble (by removing the discount) nets them much more money overall than offering the discount to everyone through the post and roping in the few who have the front to stand up to them. Given that they’ve decided to go non-compliant, they save themselves a few more coppers per letter by not using the toner printing off the many photographs of their evidence.

“Ambiguous, or misleading, or downright incorrect documentation is in no-one’s interest”

Regrettably it is in their interest – and of course their right to ASK for driver’s detail oer ASK for an elevated payment on non-compliant paperwork. Trouble is most don’t realise that they don’t have to hand over the information – and pursuit of the keeper if no appeal is lodged is acceptable in the law even if the paperwork is noncompliant. The logic from a ruthless businessman to go non compliant is compelling – and I’m afraid, much as one should not stereotype, my experience and from what I’ve researched, most if not all of the private parking firms are tarred with the same brush.

“relying on technicalities to escape a fine is not an open, transparent and equally-accessible process.

Three things here:
1) It is categorically not a fine. Fines can only be imposed by the judiciary. The distinction is important for many reasons.
2) The information is public domain. It is equally accessible – I accessed it and have no special powers. The deductions are straightforward – clauses exist in plain English – not gobbledegook – check they comply one by one – it is straightforward.
3) Generically, if I get a demand for money through the post, I want to be sure I am getting value for money and that it is what I signed up for. Most (though not all) people who appeal a parking penalty have paid their way, and either failed on a technicality (wrong number entered on car park machine, got way laid by a short while and were late back and no obvious means to top up the payment). Most would think that £80 for a missed £1 was a steep and unjust charge, particularly if the car park was not bursting at the seams and nobody could possibly have been deprived of anything by the overstay etc.

Interesting arguments, Roger.

I’m not disagreeing with you but assumed — because I am a law-respecting person — that the Courts and lawyers would take steps to thwart such deliberate non-compliance. Surely, the company in the case you cited will not be able to carry on issuing documents with the intention to deceive? I must admit, in my naivety, I thought it was just sloppy admin.

If nothing else the enforcement company must have fallen foul of their own trade association’s code of practice and deserve to have their access to the DVLA database revoked for misuse of data.

All the more reason why a competent consumer representative organisation should step up to the plate and act on our behalf.

You are right — it is a charge, not a fine. Both are forms of penalty but parking enforcement is a civil, not a criminal, matter, and on private land it is a parking charge, not a penalty charge [which is the local authorities’ instrument of torment on the public highway].

Unfortunately respect for the law or even the most basic principles of morality and decency have no place in the private parking “industry”.
I’ve been reading of a national supermarket chain which was granted permission for a town centre store with car park some twenty years ago. A planning condition provided that it must allow all town centre shoppers to use its car park. Presumably this was the council’s way of trying to minimise the detrimental effect the supermarket would have on local businesses.
No sooner had the store opened than notices in the car park declared it was for the use of supermarket shoppers only, and “fines” were issued to anyone caught leaving the car park to shop elsewhere. (Please excuse my use of “fines” – it’s quicker than “Parking Charge Notices”.)
I’ve only just become aware of that planning condition – because the supermarket is seeking to remove it. They’ve had twenty years of breaching planning agreements while expecting motorists to stick rigidly to their terms and conditions. No doubt the supermarket chain will get their way – they always do. It’s brazen hypocrisy. But what’s new?

Vincent – The Tesco store just outside our town centre was allowed to use what had previously been a public car park, provided that anyone could park free for three hours. When it became difficult to park at busy times, Tesco tried to reduce the time to two hours but there was strong local opposition. Eventually, enforcement was introduced and this stopped people who worked in town from parking there all day, with the result that it is now much easier to find a space, whether visiting the Tesco store or other businesses in town.

Parking enforcement has benefits but regulation of the companies in charge cannot come soon enough.

Wavechange – I couldn’t agree more. While I have little time for those who argue that all enforcement of motoring laws – speed limits, yellow lines, box junctions etc – is “only done to make money”, it is clear that the main object of private parking enforcement is making outlandish profit. There are other ways to make sure motorists don’t stay too long at a supermarket, though those methods are not as profitable.
As a member of the Cameron cabinet Eric Pickles was an outspoken opponent of (in his words) using the motorist as a “cash cow “and advocated restricting the powers of local authorities to deal with on-street offences. He was particularly opposed to the use of cameras in parking enforcement. Strange that this would have been the very government which introduced PoFA (2012) – the measure which legitimised private parking enforcement and has led to the bonanza currently being enjoyed by private parking companies.

Roger, my earlier comment to which you replied ( “I thought everyone know they were chancers”) seems to have been put out of place in the thread. It was in response to https://conversation.which.co.uk/motoring/parking-fine-penalty-charge-notice-questions/#comment-1630746. Specifically to the non-compliant notices.
My comment about Which? was to include this, along with other useful defences, in a readily-accessible document.

“Roger, my earlier comment to which you replied ( “I thought everyone know they were chancers”) seems to have been put out of place [……] My comment about Which? was to include this, along with other useful defences, in a readily-accessible document.”

I latched on to it, Malcolm. I’ve put it as a generic suggestion in the revamp discussion. It is awaiting moderation, and when visible will be Comment number 1630769 (I won’t paste it as a link as that would also prevent you from seeing this answer until probably Monday).

Hello can I ask a question please. I payed for a parking ticket in a private car park. But couldn’t input the regeneration as machine wasn’t working properly. It still issued me with a ticket for an hours stay. I was only there for 20mins then left. I recieved a letter with a £120 fine. I emailed the company with proof of parking. They have emailed back saying I must pay half of this within 14 days.is this correct? As I am not looking to pay as I still have the ticket for my time spent

Marion – From your comment I cannot quite understand what happened. It seems there is no doubt you parked in the car park but whether or not you paid the right amount for the time spent there seems to be at issue. On the face of it I think you have strong grounds for appeal.

Were you required to enter your vehicle number but the machine was not functioning properly so the ticket did not show it?

Did the number fail to come up on the screen on the machine but you continued to operate it?

What was your method of payment?

If the machine was not working correctly — and there was no notice on it to take it out of service — then the driver should not be penalised.

If you could provide more information on what went wrong for you we might be able to give you some helpful advice.

Sadly just getting in touch may have closed off the easiest way of getting this overturned. It may have effectively admitted to being the driver at the time of the alleged contravention.

If you are sure the machine was faulty and there was no way you could have entered the number (correctly or otherwise) I would definitely appeal formally. What was the precise wording (leaving out any reference numbers/addresses) of what you sent? Do you live sufficiently close to get a photo of the signage in the car park?

Only just noticed. Can I respectfully request that the heading of this article be changed to Parking penalties:… instead of …fines:.., please?

Fine by me, Roger. 🙂

Of course I meant parking charges not penalties {blush} Was a late night!

It should be parking penalties, not fines, as a title? Parking charges are what we pay to park.

Strictly speaking, there are no penalties for parking contraventions on private land because the issue of a Parking Charge Notice is a civil process for recovering the parking charge which, as Malcolm says, is what we pay to park there and it includes any supplementary charge for a contravention of the site’s regulations.

There are no charges for parking on the public highway [except for permits in controlled parking zones and payments for parking in metered spaces] but penalties are levied for contraventions by the issue of a Penalty Charge Notice which is a decriminalised process for imposing fines. The recovery of unpaid fines is a civil process.

Public car parks operated by local authorities are deemed to be parts of the public highway and are covered by statutory road traffic orders for their regulation and charges.

A fine is not necessarily a criminal penalty, it is just a form of sanction. For generations fines have been levied for overdue library books or for the return of lost property.

Crystal, now?

[I don’t know why I carry all this junk around in my head; I wish I could just delete it once and for all].

Better than fine that is most illuminating, thanks John.

Vincent, I agree about the outlandish profit from parking misdemeanours. Not just private companies but also public authorities. However, it is necessary to dissuade people from unfairly parking. A less extortionate/excessive penalty charge would seem to me appropriate.

I agree Malcolm. Local authority pay and display penalties have always been grossly excessive. It can be cheaper to abandon your car on a yellow line outside the car park entrance than to overstay in a car park. Many of these car parks have been converted from pay-on-exit to pay and display, presumably because there is greater profit to be obtained from the latter.
Illegal parking on the road may cause danger. Overstaying in a car park may cause nuisance but doesn’t threaten life and limb. As a country we’ve got our priorities wrong.

Barriered car parks seem the fairest solution where you cannot leave until you have paid for the actual time you stayed. I’m not sure how they deal with other penalties though; parking in a disabled space or outside a marked bay, for example. But they do not help when the penalty is simply for parking on private ground without permission.

I have always considered the primary purpose of public highways parking enforcement to be orderly parking and rational use of street space with due regard to the interests of road safety, local residents and other road users.

Most towns have broadly achieved these aims with a variety of measures including parking meters in business districts, controlled parking zones in residential districts with various special permits available, time-limited free parking spaces, on-street pay-&-display facilities, yellow lines at junctions and potential hazard spots, and economical patrolling by qualified enforcement officers.

Generally, local authorities seem to have followed similar approaches in their off-street car parks where pay-&-display seems to be the predominant means of paying [although multi-storey car parks usually have pay-on-exit systems]. It is likely that pay-&-display generates more income as drivers buy more time on entry than they might need in order avoid a charge for overstaying. Multi-storey car parks are generally found in town and city centres where the continuing demand and more variable durations of occupation can justify the capital cost of the infrastructure.

This reasonable, rational approach to parking control all goes badly wrong when it comes to parking on private land where a host of upstart companies with a more mercenary attitude now dominate. There are a few responsible operators that have been around for a long time but the prevailing objective is to make as much money as possible for the least possible expense. It is significant that the overwhelming majority of complaints and criticisms cropping up in these columns arise from the private land parking regime, even including at railway stations and hospitals where an element of public service ought to be an important aspect. It is highly likely that the operating companies get their contracts by claiming to be able to make more money for their clients [the landowners and retail park developers] than their competitors so, in terms of operating standards, it has become a race to the bottom.

Local authority penalty charges were originally quite high for a number of reasons: (a) as a deterrent to unauthorised parking, (b) because the manual patrols and payment processes were quite expensive operations, (c) the overall chances of getting a ticket were not very high, (d) there was a 50% discount for early payment, and (e) local authorities tended to be considerate [even sympathetic on occasions] in dealing with challenges and cancelling PCN’s for minor contraventions and misdemeanours which they thought they would lose on appeal to the adjudicator.

With new entry/exit camera technology, automatic number plate recognition, and DVLA-linked computer systems for identifying registered keepers, the economics and reliability of parking control have been transformed. Not only are the operational costs dramatically reduced with the abolition of human patrolling but the efficiency of enforcement is hugely increased, with timings recorded to the second, and every single occupation of a car park registered and an image retained. It is now a money-making machine on a vast scale generating enormous profits.

Malcolm has cited the billions being captured. Some tweaks have been made to the enforcement codes of practice to remove some of the more egregious niggles that were disproportionately giving the industry a bad name [like minor overstaying and miscoding of number plates on P-&-D machines] but that was more in the interests of public relations than service to motorists. I would certainly argue that the price of parking in most places is too high, that the penalties for contraventions are far too high in general, and I strongly support Malcolm’s ‘campaign’ for a much lower level of penalty for trivial contraventions that are not critical to the overall availability of parking provision or the rights of other car park users or residents.

Alongside this private parking regime there is evidence, as Roger, Vincent and Reginald have put forward, that the parking companies are abusing their substantial legal privileges by acting against the public interest, denying people their rights to settle parking penalties economically and reasonably, threatening aggressive means of enforcement with court and bailiff action, and employing law firms to issue officious debt recovery notices prematurely or without justification in an attempt to forestall the correct legal processes for recovering what is actually just a small civil debt.

The bailiff trade has also woken up to the lucrative opportunities that these practices offer and, rather than being merely a responsible enforcer and executor of court orders with due concern for the welfare of subjects, has aided and abetted the parking industry in pursuing parking penalties with utmost vigour knowing that where there is a parking charge there is a vehicle which can be seized for an easy conversion into cash. Thankfully, bailiffs still have to wait for a warrant to be obtained before they can execute it but that has become a semi-automatic process and there is no doubt that some of the ‘legal’ letters that are being addressed to drivers are tantamount to coercive.

An excellent summary, John. I would add that the automated enforcement/ANPR arrangement/removal of human patrols has had other disbenefits too.

1) Until and unless a reliable means to detect and validate blue badges on ANPR entry points is developed, blue badge holders will not be able to have favourable terms in such car parks

2) Violations of disabled bays, parent-and-toddler bays and generally terrible parking that blocks in others which patrols used to pick up are not captured

3) The period driving around in search of a parking spot used to be effectively the driver’s, but in this regime is the land owner’s on the ticketing time.

4) Depending on the grace period, it is possible that in busy car parks, one can be driving around for quite a while, then have to walk a while longer to the nearest working machine, and then wait in a queue behind other motorists.. violation to the stated terms even before you’ve left the car park having done all you reasonably can to comply – and indeed having (soon after) coughed up the parking fee.

Is it any wonder that people explore and exploit what has been described as evading a payment by a technicality? Incidentally, in the success story I conveyed, I did not suggest or imply that the original parking had not been paid for – although the logical steps documented would apply regardless.

Good points, Roger.

Of course, there is no obligation on the providers or operators of parking facilities on private land should make any provision for Blue Badge holders whereas local authorities usually do so in public off-street car parks.

I presume private operators take the view that Blue Badge holders have extensive rights to park on the public highway where waiting is not permitted by other vehicles [provided there is no obstruction but that tends to be interpreted favourably] so there is no necessity to give them reduced price and relaxed enforcement ‘privileges’.

The operators might also take the cynical view that Blue Badge holders are supposed to be incapable of walking more than fifty yards without serious difficulty, pain or shortness of breath so would not be using such car parks [but they might have walking or mobility aids to which they can transfer when leaving the vehicle].

I agree that without parking enforcement patrols there is no opportunity to pick up other aspects of parking behaviour but, again, I assume that the cost of human coverage would exceed the loss of revenue so they don’t bother.

“I agree that without parking enforcement patrols there is no opportunity to pick up other aspects of parking behaviour but, again, I assume that the cost of human coverage would exceed the loss of revenue so they don’t bother.”

Correct – but here’s the rub: inconsiderate parking – on hatched areas making life all-but impossible for those trapped in – or those aiming for empty spaces the other side – or those hogging blue badge bays – *should* be brought to book, but won’t be. Not for revenue but as a dissuader for the greater good. Come back patrollers all is forgiven.

Em says:
4 July 2021

… operators might also take the cynical view that Blue Badge holders are supposed to be incapable of walking more than fifty yards without serious difficulty, pain or shortness of breath …

That would be both cynical and wrong. A Blue Badge holder does not need to be physically disabled in any way. They can be issued to people who suffer from severe anxiety. Or their behaviour might be a danger to themselves or other road users; both particularly strong reasons for needing quiet, off-road parking.

A young child with a severe medial condition like epilepsy or diabetes can be issued with a Blue Badge, if it is important that they stay close to the vehicle, either for access to emergency medical supplies or to have rapid transport to hospital or home where treatment is available.

Absolutely correct, Em.

The parking industry is not noted for its general intelligence or insights into the human condition [other than the exploitative mercenary one].

In order to avoid penalties I avoid the risk by paying for more time than I need. That can be expensive if this precaution proves to be unnecessary. With card or phone payments it should be possible to register the time of return to the vehicle so that the payment can be adjusted, in the same way that the cost of an online grocery order is adjusted if items are missing.

It is always worth paying for more than you need. It saves a lot of worry. Being cautious is the right strategy, and the cost of unused extra time is far less than the penalty. I am far more concerned to address the extortionate cost of penalties than to pay for exactly the time I have used.

My only penalty was £25. I’ve payed far more than that in unused time. It matters to me.

“It is always worth paying for more than you need. It saves a lot of worry. Being cautious is the right strategy, and the cost of unused extra time is far less than the penalty. I am far more concerned to address the extortionate cost of penalties than to pay for exactly the time I have used.”
An interesting perspective. Pay on exit overcomes the overpayment issue. For patrolled pay and display, I don’t typically worry if I overstay the time by a few minutes as I have what I believe is a solid strategy for an equitable outcome (which at worst will cost me the discounted early payment option after a few weeks).

The ones that bother me are those where the mode of operation is designed to trip you up. I tend not to give my custom to such car parks and the patrons of the shops served by them – and let the shop owners know why.

Unfortunately pay on exit is often not a possibility but now that we are moving away from stuffing coins in meters to electronic payment there is the possibility of recovering part of an overpayment.

I agree about letting shops etc. know of problems, Roger. Unless someone does, the problems remain and if the attitude is that it’s not their responsibility they will lose me as a customer.

I suppose most stores on retail parks have no influence over the choice of parking enforcement operator since that is the decision of the developer, landlord or managing agent.

Nevertheless, it does no harm to inform retailers of problems and of any inconvenience, especially if that means you won’t trade with them again, as feedback can be useful and it might make the retailers more sympathetic towards their customers’ parking problems and less disobliging in future.

Most, if not all, commercial management companies have periodic dialogues with their tenants, sometimes collectively and also individually, and the more sensible ones will wish to ensure there are no impediments to a satisfactory retail experience for the stores’ users because a poor reputation quickly spreads.

“Unfortunately pay on exit is often not a possibility but now that we are moving away from stuffing coins in meters to electronic payment there is the possibility of recovering part of an overpayment.”
With EITHER ANPR on ingress/egress OR a barrier it becomes readily possible. A barrier is certainly not always possible – or appropriate. However, ANPR is these days a much more feasible proposition, taking up minimal space and with technology that is no longer essential to be installed close by (eg it can be on the side of buildings on the opposite side of the road provided planning permission is obtained).

“I suppose most stores on retail parks have no influence over the choice of parking enforcement operator since that is the decision of the developer, landlord or managing agent.”
Correct, John. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean that shop managers can’t exert influence. Only about 40 miles from me pressure from retailers augmented by help from local councillors, managed to get a cowboy company ousted – the replacements are less bad and some trade has been restored. For a while parking was free and trade picked up again, but not too long after the selfish all-day brigade saved their fiver a day at the station and made it impossible for local shoppers to find a bay and retailers again lost out – proving some sort of enforcement is necessary. My suggestion – before the next private firm stepped in – was to let shopkeepers police it themselves to new terms prohibiting parking all day – the shopkeepers could have patrolled just a couple of times a day and ticketed those there both times with unrotated tyres.

For anyone interested the story is https://www.echo-news.co.uk/news/17477309.westgate-car-park-basildon-free-smart-parking-loses-control/ – and it did feature on Channel 5’s Parking Wars a couple of years ago.

Some recently released YouTube videos may for of interest.

For parking penalties on public land see:-https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0KSknTHw4nE

For parking charge notices from private land see:-https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zy3MY_j7JYw&t=918s

For appealing parking charge notices see:-https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=betK9QpiRZE

Back in March I posted that a local shopping park had reduced its time limit from three hours to two and that I expected them to have a bonanza in parking charges at Christmas. Well it seems Christmas has come early for one parking predator company. My local paper reports that people visiting restaurants or the cinema on the site are permitted to stay longer provided they enter their details into a device at the premises concerned. But it seems the system doesn’t work and they are getting “fines” through the post. And intimidated by threats of escalating charges,court action and bailiffs they are paying up at £60 a pop.
Most people are not lawyers. They are terrified by visions of judges in wigs and heavies knocking at their front door so although they know they are in the right, they pay up for a quiet life. That’s how these predators are raking in the profits.
The parking “industry” has a trade association which clearly has the government in its pocket. What a pity there are no motoring organisations in this country to represent the victims of this monumental national scam.

Perhaps a consumers’ association is out there that could help…..?

I haven’t read all the comments so forgive me if this is a popular query. I parked in a private car park which was indoors – I then had to find the payment meter which was outside the building. I paid the fee entered my registration number which is printed on the ticket and put the ticket on my windscreen – as I was rushing because I was now late for a meeting – the ticket was the wrong way up. I appealed to the car parking company and they rejected my appeal saying that it was in contravention of the notice. I have still not paid it and I am now being chased by the debt collectors. My question is – What is the crime? I have paid the correct parking fee, the parking attendant took a picture of the ticket which is exactly the same shape as the one that I have. Am I now being charged £160 for the ticket being upside down on my dashboard. I am absolutely flabbergasted and can understand if I hadn’t paid the fee or overstayed but the ticket was there and it has my registration number clearly on it. Do I just pay and shut up – I just feel so strongly about it.

Jilly — If the printed face of the payment ticket was not visible then it would be deemed not to have been properly displayed, which is no doubt a condition set out in the regulations for the car park.

It could have been a ticket for a different car or a different time or a different day if the details on the ticket could not be read by the parking attendant.

To save the parking charge escalating I would recommend you pay the present demand as quickly as possible and put the episode down to experience.

I agree with John. The attendant needs to know that a valid (current) ticket has been purchased otherwise they would not know, for example, whether you parked beyond the time you had paid for.

I would suggest you email a copy of the ticket (if you still have it) to the parking company to show you had, in fact, paid. Otherwise, accept you had not observed the (sensible) requirement and put it down to experience – you fouled up! No one else is responsible.

However, what is wrong is the extortionate penalty imposed quite legally for making such a relatively trivial error, in the gamut of incorrect behaviour. What you could do is try to persuade some organisation to attack this iniquitous behaviour.

Which? have shown absolutely no interest in coming to the consumer’s aid on this issue, despite it attracting annual penalty charges several times greater than are lost to bank fraud – a topic they continually pursue. I suppose it simply doesn’t generate the same tabloid headlines.

Phill says:
19 October 2021

Hi just wondering if anyone can help. i’ll try & keep this as short as i can. my mum has got a fine from euro carparks. they are saying she din’t get a ticket. (but she did & still has it) she has wrote to them but the only reply she has got it the fine has gone to £100 from £60. but no reply to her letter with proof of ticket & blue badge. they did this last time to her. & she paid £170. although she had paid the other fine in time it just went up. We have tryed all ways to contact euro carparks to talk to them but no way you can talk to them, it’s all automated responce. there must be someone you can contact. sureley not everone just pay’s when you have done nothing wrong.

Hi Phill – It might be worth paying Which? for legal advice: https://legalservice.which.co.uk

I hope your mum can avoid the current fine and obtain a refund for the previous one.

Hilary S says:
14 December 2021

Any advice please?
Briefly, while being responsible for my car ie being the driver, my son received a parking charge notice, while parked in the space allocated to his apartment and which is included in his rent. He was not displaying a permit as he had not yet been issued with one despite having requested it, (he’d only moved in a month ago). He was told by someone from his rental agency (who are also the management company for the apartments) that he would be ok to park there until he received his official permit and to put a notice on the dashboard that he was awaiting the official permit. This he did, but unfortunately it had blown onto the floor and was not visible at the time of the notice being issued. The charge was for £60 if paid within 14 days. He appealed the same day to PPS and then to POPLA but was turned down on both occasions. The PCN stated that if he appealed to POPLA and was turned down, he would lose the right to Pay £60 and it would then be £100. At this time, I was unaware of the incident.

PPS then wrote to me as the keeper of the vehicle. I have been informed the amount due is £100 with no right to the lower charge. No mention is made of the fact that they already know who the driver is. I’ve written to them to appeal against the charge as it says I may on the back of my letter but I have received a response saying I have “reached the end of our internal appeals procedure”. This contradicts what is in the letter I received as on the back of the letter it says I have the right to appeal within 28 days of receiving the letter. In addition, and with reference to my son’s increase of the charge from £60-£100, Citizen’s Advice actually recommend NOT paying any charge before contacting POPLA and I pointed this out to PPS when I emailed them.

I feel this charge is unjust a) it’s my son’s space that he pays for through his rent b) He’d been told by the rental company that he COULD park there despite not having a valid permit to display c) Nobody is out of pocket or inconvenienced because he parked in his own space d) I’ve not been given the same terms as the driver on first contact.
What chance do I stand of winning if I refuse to pay and go to court over this? I feel it is such a ridiculous and unfair situation I’m blowed if I’ll pay the charge nor let my son pay what he can ill afford.

Hilary — My view is that your chances of having the parking charge notice cancelled or the charge reduced are no better than 50/50. What you have written is entirely reasonable but there was a technical failure to display a permit or a notice explaining its absence. That is an absolute contravention and I doubt the parking enforcement company will concede. There is the possible hope that the block management company might be persuaded to direct the enforcement company to waive the charge as a goodwill gesture so I suggest you explore that possibility. The question arises whether the enforcement company would actually pursue your son all the way to court to recover the ‘debt’. The general view is that that is unlikely but cannot be relied upon.

There have been countless reports here about parking permits, payment receipts, and waiver notices being blown off the dashboard. It happens when the final car door is closed; modern vehicles being almost hermetically sealed the air disturbance does tend to displace anything like a small piece of paper and it ends up in the footwell. Too late now, but for future reference it is always best to use a bulldog or foldback clip to attach any such item to the lowered passenger-side sun visor or, if that is not practical, to check that it is still in place before leaving the car after shutting the doors.

Hilary S says:
28 December 2021

Thanks, John. I’ve decided to take my chance as after further research, I think PPS have not complied with sections of the PoFA 2012.

That would not surprise me, Hilary, and, if you are reasonably sure that is the case, your son should inform the enforcement company of that, request cancellation of the parking charge notice, and take no further action.

I hope you can find the parking enforcer has failed on a technicality as that would be a sensible result. However, as John said earlier, your son failed to comply with the parking regulations he was aware of by not displaying any notification. As far as a parking officer was concerned he could have been anyone parking without consent. That the note fell from the dashboard was his responsibility and caused his problem.

I think the big issue here is the allowable penalty and surcharge demanded in this and other cases. Which? seem to have no interest in campaigning against this. I think a consumers’ association should either show more interest or explain why they don’t tackle a £1500 000 000 a year consumer rip-off.

Rose says:
23 January 2022

I have received a parking charge notice from Smart Parking just over 3 weeks from the day I had parked there. I had, however paid the parking fee on the day and displayed the ticket on the windscreen. Three weeks down the line, there was no reason to save the ticket and unfortunately the ticket was paid by cash. Is it possible for me to appeal but have no evidence to prove that we had paid.

Rose — It will depend on the reason for issue of the Parking Charge Notice and this should be stated on it.

If you recovered the receipt from the windscreen of your car when you exited the parking area I am presuming that the PCN will not have been issued because you parked without paying. It might have been issued because the receipt was not visible, or because you overstayed the permitted time, or parked outside the marked lines, or something else. Ask the operator for full details of the contravention and evidence.

Submit your appeal in accordance with the information given and declare that you paid the parking fee in cash and displayed the receipt as required.

Outside London, parking fines on private land are to be capped at £50 apart in certain circumstances such as parking in an area reserved for disabled drivers: https://www.theguardian.com/money/2022/feb/07/most-private-parking-fines-to-be-capped-at-50-in-england-and-wales

With a 50% prompt payment discount the driver will pay only £25. I expect that this would work fine in many areas, including where I live, but I wonder if £25 is a sufficient deterrent in areas where there is a chronic shortage of parking. Unless there are cameras, drivers may take the risk of not being caught. It will be interesting to see how this develops.

Viewing this controversy from both sides, I would propose keeping the initial penalty of £100 or £75 as a deterrent against driver complacency when parking, but reducing the concessionary charge for early payment to a minimum of £20, always taking into account the monetary value of the pound and it’s inflationary decrease in value over time.

It will be interesting to see if Which? report on this.

I have posted many times that extortionate charges should be abolished and suggested around £20 would be appropriate for most contraventions. It reads as though a £50 limit is subject to a 50% discount if paid within 14 days. If that were the case it will test my contention that far fewer people will complain when they have been penalised for breaking parking restrictions, and just accept a fair(er) outcome.

In other discussions, especially those about scams, the importance of taking responsibility for your own actions is rightly mentioned. I’ve now been driving for over 50 years and have only faced one penalty, having forgotten that the parking time outside the city had been reduced from three to two hours. It’s a few years ago and I think I paid £25.

What has cost me much more is overpayment because I don’t know how long I will be away. That could be an outpatient appointment, a meeting with a solicitor or one of the many meetings I have attended. Parking meters do not generally give refunds but as we move towards paying for parking by phone there is the opportunity to get a refund for unused time. I doubt this will happen unless consumers push for it. Perhaps Which? could help.

This would seem difficult where there is no controlled parking – barrier or ANPR for example – as you need to buy time to put on display for an enforcement officer. However, many car parks have pay on exit machines where you pay for the time you have stayed, at least in time steps.

I visit a local shopping centre where the charge is modest – 70p up to hour 1 and £1.50 up to 3 hrs. I wouldn’t worry about a refund if I left in an hour having thought I might stay longer. But other car parks have less friendly charges. Our local hospital is free for 30minutes but the first period after that – 31 minutes on – will cost £3.50.

Pay-on-exit is ideal but not always possible, for example on-street parking where you generally pay on arrival.

Not knowing how long I will be staying (e.g. when attending a meeting that can vary in duration) I have frequently payed for an hour or more than has been necessary. If that happens I want to be able to recover some of my money. It would be difficult with a coin meter but I cannot see why it would be with parking paid for by phone.

None of our local retailers charges for parking except for Marks & Spencer. People were parking there and shopping elsewhere.

Except in permit zones, on-street parking seems usually to be time-limited to two hours and there is no opportunity to pay for less. There is generally a restriction on returning to the same place within a further two hours. These arrangements are workable because enforcement is carried out by walking patrols rather than by cameras.

Our city council is moaning that it has lost a lot of money from on-street parking meters, pay-&-display tickets in car parks and penalty charges for contraventions, due to the working from home policy, the closure of big stores, and the reluctance of the population to go out. I am anticipating a hike in the charges.

I’m not certain about on-street parking but here are the prices for one of the larger car parks in town. I’ve included a photo because there are interesting long-stay options.:

Since moving to the outskirts of the town I have discovered where I can reliably park free within about a fifteen minute walk of the council offices, where I have attended many meetings and as a result payed a lot in parking charges. I recall the figure of £5.40 so maybe the charges have not changed in recent years.

Surely Parking Charges should come down.

I thought parking charges were introduced to keep traffic moving and shoppers find a space to shop in short/day but non permanent parking areas. Those working from home, such as council workers themselves had a field day and could/can still park in the town staff/public car parks whenever they want.

Councils up and down the country introduced their cash cow, Anti-visitor Parking restrictions, deterring many from using the town centre high streets to shop over many years now – together with Sunday Trading – this is what has reduced in part peoples dislike to use their town centres with a view to enjoying facilities. This applies in particular to towns in more suburban/rural – outside M25 etc. Everything is rushed, from a quick cup of coffee and eyes continually on the clock, forget leisurely mooching in the town. Guildford, High Street on a steep sloping hill, where I live is not easy to use.

And those thinking that it is OK for everyone to use a bike, like themselves or shop on foot are generally those working for university or public offices or analysts who just love to see sad people standing at forlorn horrid bus stops, in the pouring rain, waiting for a bus while passing cars spray dirty water all over them.

MSE News
Private parking fines to be halved to £50 – here are all the details
https://www.moneysavingexpert.com/news/2022/02/private-car-parking-fines-cap-to-be-reduced-by-half-from-p100-to/

Despite being widely reported in the press Which? have, so far, made no mention of it in their online Which? News that is updated daily with diverse items ranging from “Ten surprising things we learned testing kitchen utensils” to “Cheapest mortgage deals revealed as base rate rises for a second time”.

@jon-stricklin-coutinho, hello Jon. Have Which? any interest in this announcement, a topic that has been running here for years ever since the Barry Beavis Convo? It does seem quite a major change that I, and some others, had hoped Which? would campaign for, but didn’t (well, not to our knowledge).

It should have been covered – that it hasn’t is more likely an issue of capacity than oversight. Believe it’s within the Consumer Rights team’s domain and I know they’ve had some unexpected absences this week. I’ve followed it up.

@gmartin, thanks George. It would be interesting to know what is being done about London, excluded from this current statement.

One new regulation that addresses an issue that has cropped up in Which? Conversation many times is that drivers will be able to leave any car park within five minutes of arrival if they decide not to park. [For those car parks that use CCTV and number plate recognition, if you leave within five minutes of entering you won’t be liable for a fine if you had yet to pay.]

Extorting a penalty for not parking was one of the grossest iniquities in my view.

I agree. It is easy to spend more than five minutes driving round a large car park in the vain hope of finding somewhere to park, especially if others manoeuvring or waiting for a space get in the way.

There needs to a limit otherwise some would park for a short time for nothing. However, I do think car oarks should have a short free period so if you have to post a letter, buy a paper or similar you don’t have go through the hassle of getting a ticket. Our local car park has new expensive machines out in the open that take quite a time to issue a ticket. No protection while you buy a ticket or to anyone queueing. And it could easily take more than 5 mins if you are back of tbe queue once you have parked.

I seem unable now to sign in on my Galaxy S4 (I know it is a bit old) to correct my spelling above.

Unfortunately, I don’t believe that you can make a correction if you were not logged in when you posted. 🙁

It would be very useful to have a short free period. Our station car park does not allow any time for a driver to drop off a passenger and get their case/bags out of the car or to wait for a short time if the train is late. At the train station in city you are allowed 20 minutes free parking.

The proposed substantially reduced cap on private parking penalties, reported in the press over a week ago, has still not been mentioned, as far as I am aware, by Which?. Given the significant reduction to parkers who contravene regulations, often not deliberately, currently subject to extortionate penalties, and given the relatively trivial offences normally committed, it seems strange not to have mentioned it? I accept they had no part, as far as I know, in campaigning for the change but Which? News might have found space to tell us? And expand on the news, such as what is proposed for London, if anything.

In order to act as an effective deterrent, TfL have increased fines on London’s red routes: https://tfl.gov.uk/info-for/media/press-releases/2022/january/tfl-set-to-increase-fines-for-contraventions-on-london-s-red-routes Hopefully TfL will be denied the revenue by people complying with the rules.

So long as you keep moving there aren’t many ways in which you can comply on a Red Route — unless you are driving a London bus — since almost everything else is prohibited.

PCNs can be issued for contraventions such as:    

”Parking illegally in loading bays    
Blocking yellow box junctions 
Making a turn where this movement is banned, which creates risk for people walking and cycling  
Driving or parking in a bus lane    
Stopping on the red route “

These don’t seem unreasonable, provided they are not applied in an emergency. Are there others that a unreasonable? However, the penalties do seem excessive.

Given that only a limited number of roads in London are designated as Red Routes, being primary arteries, and that their prime purpose is to give overriding priority to buses and taxis, I believe a strong deterrent to the infringements listed as contraventions is necessary. I don’t regard the penalties as excessive so long as the revenue is ploughed back into traffic and highways safety improvements and public transport benefits.

Red Routes have been in operation for many years and Londoners have become used to them and the enforcement regime, much of which is activated by cameras. Those who do contravene know what to expect and, as Wavechange suggests, there will be little revenue from those who don’t.

I presume that TfL has good reasons for increasing the fine and will have information that is not readily available to most of us. Even at the increased price the fine is £80 if paid promptly. Although I have never driven on a red route I understand the need to avoid hold-ups. I agree that it would be useful to make use of revenue for the purposes that John has suggested.

TfL say “Any revenue raised through these penalty notices is invested back into London’s transport network, which includes investing in its road network to improve safety for all road users.”, which is good.

They also say “TfL also recently announced that it intends to make its trial of 24-hour bus lanes permanent, after a trial found that extending bus lane hours on London’s busiest roads cut journey times and helped reliability, making bus use more attractive and helping to encourage more Londoners onto buses. ”. That is also good; but public transport does need to be improved generally to get people as near door to door as possible for it to be attractive. Particularly for those who are less active.

Vincent Edwards says:
19 June 2022

There’s been so little activity on this site for so long I was beginning to wonder if parking firms had started to act ethically! But it was not to be…. As a bit of a parking anorak who has occasionally contributed to this site, I always observe parking regulations scrupulously. So I was flabbergasted to receive a Parking Charge Notice in the post from one of the usual suspects alleging an infraction three months earlier.

This was the first I knew of it. There was nothing left on the windscreen at the time. This is the very first notification more than ninety days after the alleged event. There is no reference in the document to any earlier correspondence or notification.

I have plenty of ammunition with which to fight my corner, however it strikes me that their claim falls at the first hurdle. Although not headed as such, this has to be a Notice to Keeper, governed by s9, Schedule 4 POFA. Para 9 (4) states that the Notice must be given by handing it to the keeper or sending it by post within the relevant period. 9(5) says the relevant period is 14 days beginning with the day after that on which the specified period of parking ended.

So on the face of it the parking firm is approximately eleven weeks out of time.

Am I missing something here? If so, what?

Vincent — I was also wondering why the one-time deluge of parking enforcement complaints to Which? Conversation had reduced to a trickle and then almost dried up completely.

I believe your interpretation is correct and the parking firm has no right to pursue you this late if there was a contravention, and you don’t think there was any wrongful parking anyway. I would keep the paperwork but ignore it.

My only other thought on this is that the much-reported delays at the DVLA might have held up the processing of requests for vehicle keeper details, but that is presumably a largely automatic process so staff absence should not have any impact; even if it did, the deadline for service of a Notice to Keeper has not been altered so far as I am aware.

Vincent Edwards says:
19 June 2022

Unless I hear a plausible opinion to the contrary, I intend to write to the parking company’s appeals department pointing out that they are out of time and inviting them to confirm that the matter is concluded. I will not offer any information as to the driver or indeed anything else they do not already know. Whatever their decision, I very much doubt that they will confirm that they have dropped the matter, but at least I can show I have acted entirely properly should they choose to pursue it further.

I see that the government’s code of practice that included halving of parking fines has been withdrawn for review: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/government-clamps-down-on-rogue-parking-firms-with-new-code-of-practice

Parking companies that behave like cowboys should obviously be dealt with but what many people seem to fail to realise is that parking spaces are a valuable resource that needs to be controlled effectively for the benefit of motorists, shops and other businesses.

I had forgotten about the new Code of Practice. I note that it has been temporarily withdrawn by the government “pending review of the levels of private parking charges and additional fees”. I hope the government has not been persuaded by the industry to leave the charges and fees at their present levels; I think the new charge of £50 [£80 in London] for a minor contravention is still on the high side but if it is reduced to £25 [£40] for payment within 14 days that is probably acceptable if it remains at that level for some years ahead.

The lower level of parking contravention includes the following minor breaches –
Parked in car park when closed
Parked in a pay & display car park without clearly displaying multiple valid pay and display tickets when required
Parked in a parking place for a purpose other than that designated
Parked with engine running where prohibited
Parked without payment of the parking charge
Parked for longer than permitted
Parked after the expiry of paid for time
Parked in a car park without clearly displaying a valid pay & display ticket or voucher or parking clock
Not parked correctly within the markings of a bay or space*
Re-parked in the same car park within the prescribed time period after leaving

* My note: Drivers of larger than normal vehicles [e.g some 4×4’s, SUV’s, motor homes, people carriers, etc] will need to check the permitted dimensions before parking because oversized vehicles will attract the higher level of parking charge.

I hope the new Code of Practice is not watered down significantly and that it is introduced as soon as practically possible because the conduct of parking operators continues to be a cause for concern. The legislation enabling this measure was enacted in 2019 and it was intended to be fully implemented before 2024, so there has been plenty of time to get it right.

The delay at the DVLA has (partly) been intensified by the reluctance to renew online due to the risk involved with scammers.

I recently renewed my driving licence online, after carefully checking every detail before doing so, over the Easter holiday period. The online questionnaire form was duly completed on the Wednesday, my redundant driving licence was cut in half and posted the following day (Thursday), and unbelievably, the new licence arrived by Royal Mail the following Tuesday!

My recent parking dilemma however, really tested my ability to make a rational decision when a parking machine ran out of tickets. One hours free parking notice clearly stated this was applicable between 8am-6pm, but it was still necessary to obtain a parking ticket and display it in your vehicle. Free parking was allowed after 6pm with no ticket requirement until 8am the next day. Some car parks require an 8am-5pm period with one or two hours free parking, so it pays to check this out first.

So my question is: What would you decide to do if you arrived at 5:10pm with another 50 mins ticket requirement, and you are faced with an empty ticket machine? Would you risk it anyway, and just park your vehicle without a ticket? Park your vehicle and display a polite notice on your windscreen, or just drive away and look for alternative parking elsewhere?

Lessons learned from Conversations website on parking fines and all the stress and associated hassle that can ensue, unquestionably helped with my decision to drive away. Fortunately I did manage to find a free parking space on a side road just around the corner.

Interesting question, Beryl.

I think, to be on the safe side, I would have done what you did and gone somewhere else, but with a lingering feeling that it was probably OK to use the car park and challenge any PCN that might have been issued.

I’m another one who would not take the risk if there was a problem with a parking ticket machine because I would not be able to comply with the rules. I recall in the days of individual parking meters at each bay, faulty machines were covered with a bag marked ‘Bay suspended’ but some motorists chose to park there.

As Beryl says, it’s worth checking the conditions, which may have changed. The only time I have had a fine was when free parking was reduced from three to two hours. A sign made me aware of the change but I forgot when I next visited.

I have jury service coming up soon and it looks as if I will have to park in the city. Next week I will be visiting possible multi-storey and other car parks, and taking photos of terms & conditions and charges so that I can work out the best options and also explore the one-way system.

Wavechange, I believe it may be possible for you to claim for ‘out of pocket’ expenses during your jury service, in which case you could take a taxi if parking in a city poses a problem for you. It minimises a lot of the stress incurred by such occasions.

Thanks Beryl. Information about claiming expenses was included with the jury summons.

The cost of taxis to and from where I live would be expensive and they have been known not to turn up, I have been told. If I can do some investigation into availability of parking beforehand I will be more confident about being able to get there on time.

I live about three miles from the station in town and the car park is small. At the other end, the crown court is well away from the city station.

Wavechange, I rely on taxis quite a lot and have always found them to be very punctual or early, and have yet to experience one not turning up. You can book ahead with a local reliable taxi service for a significant occasion, and the drivers are still wearing protective masks by request.

Arriving at an important function stress free is worth paying for in my opinion, and even better if out of pocket expense is included in the proceedings.

With an expected rail strike predicted, roads will be especially busy and taxis in extra demand, so an early booking may be necessary in the circumstances.

An indication that conduct in the private parking industry is a cause for concern is that, in the draft Code of Practice, the government has felt the need to specify certain language used by some Operators and Debt Recovery Agents [DRA’s] as unacceptable in the context of a civil process. I quote –

“Operators must not use the following terms:
offence, offender, offending vehicle
order for recovery
Notice of Intended Prosecution
illegal parking
crime
violation
(anything impersonating a council PCN)
“Fixed” charge or anything impersonating a “NIP” (Police wording);
fine or penalty
Bailiff
Penalty Charge Notice

“DRAs must not use terms which would mislead the average consumer or make them reach a decision that they might not otherwise have made – such terms include . . . the following:
summons
justice
prosecution
excessive use of “County Court judgement” (CCJ)
calling round
earnings attachment or
bankruptcy.”

It seems that a number of parking firms recently launched legal action to challenge proposed caps on the amounts they can charge motorists for suspected infringements of parking regulations on private land and are seeking a judicial review. There is an interesting article by the RAC Foundation here –
https://www.racfoundation.org/media-centre/firms-fight-back-against-reforms-to-parking-on-private-land

It should be up to the government to decide what parking companies are allowed to do. In my opinion, their activities should be under strong control to ensure they are accountable, behave responsibly and do not make excessive profits.

Beryl – Sadly, I don’t have a local reliable taxi service where I live. I did when I lived on the outskirts of a city.

Vincent Edwards says:
21 June 2022

I couldn’t agree more. My main objection to the proposed code is that it is too generous to the parking companies. But if it’s the best we can get, let’s go for it.
Imagine if the people who so ineptly drafted Schedule 4 POFA a decade ago could have got into a time machine and travelled to the present day. They would be appalled at the monster they created and would rethink the whole scheme. Similarly, if the six judges who made the perverse decision in the Beavis case had foreseen the havoc they unleashed, I suspect they would have seen things differently. I say perverse since I recall they were particularly concerned that the parking companies be able to make a profit from their activities. Well they got that bit right, didn’t they! What they got wrong was their decision that Parking Eye was levying a legitimate charge when it was clearly a penalty. Any first year law student could have put them right on that one.
A system in which private companies set the rules, enforce the rules and keep the spoils cannot work fairly and equitably – they are effectively judge, jury and executioner. A complete separation of powers is needed, in combination with restrictions on the ability to levy penalties at all.

Lallu Patel says:
27 June 2022

Is there a time limit for serving the the PCN? by private authority in a restricted zone where there is marking on road or display notice on post? Is there a time limit for change of course for confused driver while still behind the wheels?
I am 82 years old driver and confused with a very very low sunset light which almost made me blind and pulled into a safe bay to stop to recover for a couple of minute.

The PCN arrived 25 days later for a stoppage of no more than 2 minutes!!!

Lallu — The PCN should have been served within 14 days of the alleged contravention.