/ 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.


Hi there. I need your advice
As I’m uber driver I pick up a costumer to the destination and he requested me to wait for him outside a private residence for a return .
So I did wait for my costumer inside my car.
Now I received a pcn from private firm.
Advice me please.

Hello Mo

I am sorry to read that you have received a PCN following a recent fare. I am afraid that it seems as though you have parked in an area which was subject to parking terms and conditions.

If you do not consider that you have breached the terms and conditions of parking in the area, that there was not adequate signage in the area to show that terms and conditions were in place or that you were parked there for a very short period of time, then you may be able to appeal the fine.

Unfortunately, without further information about the parking contravention, I cannot given any specific advice on how you should proceed. However, you can find some useful information on our Which? information pages here: https://www.which.co.uk/consumer-rights/advice/appeal-a-parking-ticket .

I hope the above information is of assistance. Should you require any further legal advice then please do get in contact with Which? Legal to explore your membership options.

This information is provided by Which? Legal. To join call 01174 054 854 or visit Which? Legal to find out more.

Lauren Stacey
Which? Legal – Lawyer FILEx

Hi, I have a question. I received 2 letters on the 4th of April which were 2 Charge Certificates for stopping in the restricted area, 2 days in a row, it was for the 3rd and 4th of February. It was telling me that I have to pay £165 each. ticket, However, I never received the original penalty charge which I would pay if I would get it as it would be £55. As there is nobody available to talk to during coronavirus lockdown I wrote a letter to the council to inform them that I never received the original penalty, therefore, can they please sent me the original penalty charge. Today I received a letter in the post saying that Barking and Dagenham council has no obligation to consider my correspondence because the penalty was not paid in time and the time to challenge the ticket has passed. They completely ignored my letter, what do I do now?

Maggie – The Council seems to have misdirected itself. You were not making representations against the enforcement of two parking contraventions [which you are not disputing] but against the Council’s failure to issue penalty charge notices properly. I don’t believe there is any time limit for that. I suggest you write to the Council pointing this out and asking the Council to supply evidence that it affixed PCN’s to your vehicle on the respective dates and issued any subsequent notices to owner to the address at which your vehicle is registered. If the vehicle was parked in a location subject to camera enforcement there would be no PCN’s placed on the windscreen but they should have been sent to your address within a short period after the date of enforcement in each case. For two PCN’s and subsequent notices to go missing in the system or in the post would be unusual since they would have been registered and administered separately.

Hi, thank you for your fast reply, yes it was caught on camera, and I understand the offence and would not have a problem with paying but if I would receive the original penalty it would be discounted giving me a chance to only pay £55 each which is not the end of the word, instead of after 2 months I received the charge certificate which asks me to pay £165 so times 2 it is £330! that a lot of money. Can you please advice me if I should write to the council again or appeal to traffic adjudicators? I am afraid that in the meantime I will have Civil Enforcement Agent knocking at my door.

Maggie – I think you should write to the Council again because it is an administrative failure rather than an enforcement issue. You could offer to pay the original penalties without the discount. I don’t know what will happen next but you might get a chance to make representations to the county court if the Council applies for a warrant to seek recovery. The problem is that if it reaches that stage there could be further costs and bailiff fees.

Ok, thank you but it really feels very unfair taking a current difficult situation that I have to pay triple for something just because I did not receive the original penalty payment. I did not have many penalties in my life, but when I did I always paid it, and this time it was just my overlook that caused me to have 2 penalties as I stopped in the restricted area twice. Its a lot of money, especially in those difficult times.

28 April 2020

Hi i received a parking ticket on the 26th april the ticket was issued on the 21st feb for £195 i am so lived as i was at work this day and my car was with the garage. do i have to contest this ticket then take the garage to small claims court i am so angry right now. i need some advice on this situation.

Hi, I received a parking fine for being 1 hour over the 2 hours allowed free time. Problem is, I paid the £2.00 excess at the parking machine before I left the car park! I didn’t however get a receipt so I have no proof. I know which machine I paid. I appealed but they rejected it. What do I do next as they have now said if I don’t pay they will send a debt recovery agent round

Isabel Spence says:
30 April 2020

Hi,got parking fine at car park shopping mall, i entered my registration and bought ticket(i no longer have this to prove i paid)how can i prove i did buy a ticket?

Susan says:
30 April 2020

Hi, I received 2 charge certificate letters today from Barking and Dagenham Council. The Contravention was dated 9th and 11th at the exact time on both days, just seconds apart. I did not receive PCN’s for either of them and now they want me to pay £390 within 11 days. (due to the date on the letter, usually 14 days). Had I of received the original parking fine, I would have paid it immediately but I didn’t and I think it is totally unacceptable that there is no one to call and no one from my borough to advise me on what to do. During these times, it just adds unnecessary stress. They enclosed another letter stating ‘we can help’ but that just offers instalment plans and extensions. I don’t really know what to do and my time is limited as I am still working.

Susan – Further up this page is a comment from Maggie and subsequent responses with a similar complaint about Barking & Dagenham Council not issuing PCN’s by post following camera enforcement. You might like to read that thread and consider writing to the Council to complain about their administrative processes. See – https://conversation.which.co.uk/motoring/parking-fine-penalty-charge-notice-questions/#comment-1594249

Patsy says:
1 May 2020

Got caught up in the Coronavirus lock down in Lanzarote end of August. Two flights cancelled so ended up flying back to a different airport to where our car was parked. Son collected us and my mobility scooter, took us home, two days later he dropped his Dad off at East Midland Airport in the petrol station so he could pick up the car. Didn’t see notices, not parked at pumps or blocking anyone. PCN from IPC. I appealed on their form 2.4.20 but not convinced it went through so emailed next day offering to send all flight tickets/parking information for meet and greet. Nothing heard until today when son received another letter with increased charges. I have mobility problems and husband on shielding so can’t go to court. Is it too late to appeal again.

Patsy says:
1 May 2020

Should say end of March 2020

Patsy says:
8 May 2020

Sorry it should have said parking notice was from ‘My Parking Charge’ who cover East Midland Airport. I ‘phoned the airport who were unable to help. I have now filled in the appeal online again as I saw you could for some cases and this time I got an e.mail saying they had received it, so probably first one hadn’t got through. Says answer will be 28 days but fine due today HELP /ADVICE PLEASE.

Ebenezer says:
5 May 2020

I need your advice please. I parked unintentionally on disable area for two days without seeing the faded marks and signage of ‘Disabled badge Holders’ covered by leaves. I appealed to Southwark Council today then I received emailed hours later stated the PCN won’t be cancelled, even though, its admitted the faded marked but not addressing the singing post near tree covered by leaves’ Instead stated that its satisfied by the photographic evidence received by Traffic warden I did sent pictures evidence for both the faded marks and the tree’s leaves covered the signage.

Ebenezer – Since your challenge to the PCN was denied you have the right to make a formal appeal to the Environment & Traffic Adjudicators for London. This is the statutory tribunal for penalty charge notices issued in respect of parking contraventions in Greater London. The documents you have received from Southwark Council should have included information on how you can do this. There is a time limit for when you must make your appeal. If you need further information on this, ask the Council to tell you. Bear in mind that if your formal appeal is rejected by the tribunal you will have to pay the penalty at the full rate.

Ebenezer says:
6 May 2020

Thanks for your replying to my comment, Yes I am aware about the Environment & Traffic Adjudicators for London and if my appeals are rejected I will have to pay the full rate. This is why I’m in a dilemma whether to take the case further. I just don’t know how the Adjudicators will view the case. My car was parked in the designated bay for two days therefore if I lose the case I would have to pay £260 instead of £130. I just feel the council could have made the disabled bay more visible for motorist. I have no doubt many motorist have been caught out by the unclear marks and the hidden signage.

I cannot release you from the horns of your dilemma, Ebenezer. It is impossible without a lot more knowledge of the specific situation to know how an adjudicator will judge your contravention in the light of any evidence submitted by the council. Personally I think you have a 55-45% chance of having your appeal upheld but only you can tell if that would make it worth taking your case to appeal. Because it happened twice there is double jeopardy so, on balance, paying up at the lower rate might be the safest option – but then you will never know whether the adjudicators would have allowed your appeal.

Before making a final decision you might like to revisit the site and see whether the council has taken any action to make the signage more conspicuous. If it has that would indicate that the council recognised that it was deficient. That could be a useful point to present to the adjudicator.

Sandra Brookes says:
15 May 2020

Received a PCN from PCN Parking Solutions . Date of posting was 06/05/2020 BUT the date of the incident was 25/02/2020. I have appealed on the grounds that we were not notified in what I believed to be a legal timescale (have seen a couple of differing opinions on this but non exceed 3 months). However, the appeal has now been rejected. Just wondering where we stand legally on this. Our vehicle was not issued with a ticket at the time of the incident and the noticed received on Monday was the first we knew of the incident.

Good Morning Sandra

If the letter dated 06.05.2020 is the first letter sent by PCN Parking Solutions in respect of an alleged contravention on 25.02.2020 then I would certainly recommend that you continue to appeal the fine.

In accordance with the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012, notice of a parking fine must be served on the registered keeper of the vehicle within 14 days of the date of the parking contravention. If this is not complied with by the parking company, then the argument is that the fine cannot be enforced.

As your appeal to PCN Parking Solutions has been rejected, the next step would be to escalate your appeal to the Independent Parking Committee (IPC), of which PCN Parking Solutions is a member. Please note that if you chose to escalate your appeal, you will lose the option of paying the reduced fine option.

For more information on appealing parking fines, please visit the following Which? information page: https://www.which.co.uk/consumer-rights/advice/appeal-a-parking-ticket

I hope the above information is of assistance. Should you require any further legal advice then please do get in contact with Which? Legal to explore your membership options.

This information is provided by Which? Legal. To join call 01174 054 854 or visit Which? Legal to find out more.

Lauren Stacey
Which? Legal – Lawyer FILEx

Morning All,

In April we received a PCN regarding the car being found to have overstayed its welcome in a local retail park…not once but on two separate occasions.
The car was in the care of a motor garage and was apparently a non runner. It seems that they have been driving my car without authorisation and thus incurring these charges.

When I received the charge letter it was dated 06/04 and the incident was logged on 05/02. I appealed this the following day and have heard nothing back. Due to the Covid-19 I could not raise a response on the phone lines so had to complete an online form. I gave all of the garage details and explained that we were 200 miles away and had no idea they were driving it.
I have had no response regarding the appeal and its outcome and received a letter from a debt collection agency regarding payment.

I am a vulnerable adult and I don’t know what I should and could do. I have no idea what my rights are but have no way of paying the fine (was £100 and is now £340)

Am I correct in saying that this charge is indeed a charge and that I am not obliged to pay since this occured on private property? They have also not sent the PCN within the first 14 days.

What should I do next please, any help/guidance is hugely appreciated.

Fran Dickson says:
28 May 2020

Good morning,
I parked in a private retail car park and keyed in an in correct licence number. The parking company sent a a penalty notice which I responded to and challenged as I had made a payment so there was no material lose. This was in 2016. At the time they also sent further requests and they sent mine and someone else PCN to me. I requested information from them but had no response. I have now received a letter advising that they intend to send bailiffs to my house with the letter stating it has been 1515 days since the incident.
Is there a time limit that is applicable?
Can they send bailiffs without me having the chance in court to defend this?

Kabambe Chapusha says:
29 May 2020

During the covid crisis I lost my employment and began driving as a delivery driver, during one of my deliveries I had to go collect from a restaurant called Shahi Masala that is situated within a car park (Euro Car Park). Wasn’t parked within any of their bays but they had cameras looking at reg plates on exist. For me to go to the restaurant to pick the food I have to enter via the camera. one of the orders where delayed and my waiting time was about 15 minutes aiting for the food and i got charged £100 for it which i appealed showing them i was a deliveroo driver nd dairgrams of the layout showing them that it was the only means of access to the resturant but rejected it. Is there any way this can be conttested further.

Clare Jennings says:
4 June 2020

After getting a 3 hour parking ticket, I returned to my car in time with my daughter. I started the car but had a warning light concerning tyre pressure. I spoke to my partner about what to do and then did the checks. After not seeing anything obviously wrong I thought it would be safe to drive. I was more concerned as I had recently had a puncture without noticing and had to change the tyre by the roadside. I left the car park 17 minutes late! £60 fine. I appealed but they simply stated my entrance and exit time therefore pay fine! Should I pay it? Private car park in Devon.

By all means appeal and explain your case, but I don’t understand how it could take 17 minutes to check a tyre. If you had had to change the wheel you would have had a good case.

I parked in a parking area near the shop and went there to do some purchases and I have receipt from that store, fortunately I saved it, but in a few days I received PCN that I didn’t use that parking area whilst Using site Facilities with the photos of my car only, I send them an appeal letter with the evidence that I have receit from that store, but in 1 day they sent me the photos that I’m approaching to my vehicle not from the side of the store, which were not provided in PCN before. But, according to the Parking Notice if i have a receipt or bought something there i can park there for up to 60min, but I’d being there for about 35minutes. Those photos were made from a car of the parking operator as he was tracking on me. Does that amateur photographer have rights to record private person against his will or without his agreement, if yes then in what cases?

Dear Parking Vulture,

Ref: Extortion Notice R1P-0FF

I have already sent you proof that I that I met the conditions of parking by making a qualifying purchase in a designated store and did not overstay the permitted 60 minutes.

Therefore I owe you nothing and will not be paying the money you are trying to extort from me.

See you in court.

Hi there.
Is anyone able to help.
I received a PCN for parking in a space at Crystal Palace from a private company, which on the public highway would be ok, as no yellow lines.
As soon as I received the PCN, I appealed with the company. They supposedly emailed me a response, however nothing received. I then received an increased PCN, which I emailed them straight away to say, I had appealed. They then asked my email address and emailed me a copy of a letter.
On the letter, it said to appeal their decision, I needed to log it at POPLA. Well I tried and it was out of date.
Now I have contacted POPLA asking for help, which I have received a “we are looking at it” letter.
In the meantime, I now received a debt collection agency letter with the charge now increased again.
Tonight, I now receive a letter response from POPLA rejecting my appeal.
What can I do?

Can anyone help? I parked at a car park and paid the permitted time, however Ringo identified me at a car park 100 yards away, therefore I paid for the wrong location. The car park company have refused my dispute, despite still receiving the correct payment for the length of time (just for the wrong location!). They have refused to lower the amount and have sent me a debt recovery letter for £100 or a county court fine?

Steve Lamb says:
15 June 2020

Was issued a PCN on private land during lockdown as I’m a construction worker working on site there was private land that most lads were using an have been for some time anyhow as I’ve come off site out of around 15 vans parked a patch of land only mine was issued a ticket feel very aggrieved by this also victimised can’t get hold of anyone as t ask why and how only mine got done I’ve appealed but doing so lost my early payment discount any help much appreciated

Simon says:
2 July 2020

I got a PCN through the post with photos of my car plates ‘entering and leaving’ a car park. I in fact drove through the car park and parked in a private space next to the car park for the duration. Since I was presumably clocked by the ‘exit’ camera after leaving the private space, I feel screwed by the situation as I can’t prove I wasn’t just using the car park. Is there anything I can do?

Simon – If the only access to the private space where you parked is through the car park, and is not specifically prohibited, then I think you have an irrefutable right to have the PCN cancelled.

Stand your ground – submit your explanation and see what happens.

If your challenge is rejected you will have a right of appeal which should be based on the same objection. If that is not upheld then just ignore any further demands; if the case gets to a court [which I doubt] then it will be the responsibility of the enforcement company to prove that you did park in their car park.

Before proceeding further, it might be worth just checking the physical situation to make sure there is not some loophole, or official notice, that would upset this course of action

Mick says:
2 July 2020

I was given a ticket even though I paid the fee to park and left in the time allowed. I appealed and lost. I have since found the ticket I purchased to park and I have been sent a letter from ZZPS to collect the debt. Who can I appeal to now?

Depending on why you lost, you have two options, you can still complain to the parking company, and if the parking company do not uphold your complaint, you can ask the ICO to support you but it depends on why you lost the appeal. It sounds like you complied with the rules for parking at the car park, so therefore you shouldnt have to pay.

Malcolm Wright says:
6 July 2020

I have appealed against a parking charge by post. I have not received a response to this and the 14 days I need to pay in order to pay the reduced fine of £60 is running out. I have tried phoning Parking charge limited but cannot get through. What do I do?

Wait for the parking company to respond. If you appealed within 14 days, they will hold the discount amount for another 14 days if the appeal is rejected. If your appeal is rejected, you can then send the appeal to the IAS. If you appeal to the IAS, then the full amount of 100 will be due.