/ 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.

John humphreys says:
16 April 2019

I have a parking ticket in
A private car park in leeds. I paid the fee for 12 hours through ringo as I did every
Day before and after ticket.
Fee taken from my bank.challenged ticket, had my challenge rejected.unbelievable. Now willgo to court, as I will not
Be bullied into paying a ticket I paid parking for.
Shame on excel parking.

Kathy says:
17 April 2019

I have just received a parking fine, but I paid for my parking at the machine however the recept which was given to me doesn’t have the correct car registration on it. I kept it as it was the only ticket issued. I didn’t check it at the time but it must have been for another car details The time of on receipt is correct for parking . I can’t appeal as the website doesn’t seem to work and the telephone numbers do not have an option of speaking with anyone. What can I do ?

Diana Kennedy says:
17 April 2019

My daughter has received a parking charge for parking in the designated parking space for the flat that she has just bought. She was informed by the estate agent that that was her space and did not realise that a permit was required, not noticing the signs stating this. She has had no notifications from the management company as they have not been informed by the freeholder that she is now the owner of the flat.

McDoncan says:
17 April 2019

Any advice, on small claim court issues relating to challenging parking on a private land, l feel the ticket was issues unfairly, l wrote to them severally but adamantly refuse then it was taken to county court and now process of either mediation or small claim court

Bridgette Baker says:
17 April 2019

I have received a parking ticket for parking which I paid for, but the machine did not issue a receipt. I have contested it and requested that they check the camera’s. To which their response has been that I only paid half the amount. I know I paid the full amount as I budgeted for it and had the right change.

Premier Parking in Swindon have a numberplate camera which records me entering at 1.00pm. I bought a £2 ticket for one hour at 1.05 with a credit card, and displayed the ticket on the dash as required. I returned and left at 1.58. Only one letter of the number plate was recorded on the ticket. My card statement records the £2 transaction. They claim not to have the payment from my card. I kept the tickets and scanned them with my appeal. They have reviewed the case and find me in contravention of their rules. Is this justifiable behaviour. They stress that their terms and conditions are on the (copious) signage – which is why I was careful to keep the tickets. I don’t see why I shoud rush to pay £60 now or £100 later for a parking period I had paid for, and can prove it. On the other hand I have better things to do than go to court. They say I can go to the Independent Appeals Service which sounds equally suspect and is probably a subsidiary company of theirs. Åny suggestions as to what to do would be welcome.

David says:
18 April 2019

Well, it may cost me £150 in parking charges to have done some shopping at Tesco Express, 300 metres from my home. Normally, we do online shopping with Tesco and have things delivered to us monthly; however, we still use the Express for urgent things like milk or fresh produce. On this evening, I drove our replacement car to the Tesco Express, on way home and found that there was stock delivery to the store at the back, which blocked out about 10 parking spaces in the car park. The other spaces at the front and side were all taken by other parked cars. So I parked on the double yellow lines to quickly buy the necessities. Came out and drove off – about 10 minutes shopping. Few weeks later, we received a letter from the car replacement company, stating that a PCN had been received in respect of our car, which came as a shock, as nothing had been placed on the windscreen.
Replacement car company asked for £50 administration charge and a few days later, we received a letter from PPS to state that we owed £100 for traffic contravention. I appealed this on the grounds that: there was no parking ticket on the car when I came out of the store and also there were no parking spaces. I further said had the car been issued with a parking ticket, I would have paid £60 within 2 weeks, instead of paying an additional £50 fee for a notification letter from the hiring company, Impression I got from PPS was that there is a contract with Tesco and if there was no parking space, then I should not shop at Tesco. For the record, I was not impeding any traffic. I am now advised that challenging the ticket doesn’t extend the 14 day limit for paying a reduced charge. I am minded to write to the parking company to remonstrate about the farcical complaint procedure and copy the chief executive of Tesco to the email. Any ideas?

David, you don’t say whether Tesco had designated parking spaces for their stock delivery, in which case there should have been a notice displayed to this effect. If not, I would certainly write to Tescos CEO informing him that their cut price policy is a complete fallacy if shopping at one of their express stores is costing you £150 + the price of goods purchased there, and would he agree to pay the fine? If not I would certainly consider taking my custom elsewhere.

However, and here’s the rub. Parking on double yellow lines is not recommended in any circumstance and as you made the decision to park your vehicle there instead of driving to an alternate store, which could have cost you less in petrol than the impending fine, then you will have a hard time convincing the PPS that Tescos parking arrangements was to blame on this occasion.

Whatever you decide I wish you luck, but next time you need a pint of milk or other necessity, I would certainly consider driving the extra mile where you are more likely to find a parking space for your car.

Perhaps Which? are reconsidering their stance? there is a poll attached to Convos now:
“Are the costs of parking fines out of control?
No, they’re an effective deterrent
Yes, they’re disproportionately high
Yes, they should depend on the offence

It would be useful, though, in polls like this to explain the structure of parking penalties – their initial costs, the extra costs, the deterrent to appeals……. so people understand what they are voting for.

The polls keep changing malcolm. The current one as I watch is asking ‘Which pets are a best buy’ with unicorns as one of the answer choices getting 26% of the votes.

It would make much more sense to have relevant polls attached to the actual convos.