/ 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.

Jack says:
4 October 2020

Hello wonderful people,
i have a print screen of the ANPR code of practice which it states
Parking firm should let drivers know that they will contact DVLA to obtain driver/keeper detail and it should be stated on the sign post. i have lost the link to the source of this info. did anyone came across this or know?
The paragraph states ‘As with all methods of enforcement on private land proper enforcemnet is dependant on the clear signage…..including the fact that car park is monitored by ANPR technology and that DVLA WILL BE CONTACTED TO OBTIAN KEEPER DETAILS IN THE EVENT OF A PARKING CONTROVENTION OCCURING”. I need the source of this for a court hearing.
many thanks

Hi Jack,
When searching for exact text, put it in double quotes and check for spelling errors.

“As with all methods of enforcement on private land proper enforcement”
Your text is there but says
“DVLA with be contacted to obtain keeper details in the event of a parking contravention occurring”
(will is written as with in the document)

“DVLA will be contacted to obtain keeper details” returns:
(all your highlighted text is on page 2)

If you look at the search results in Google images, there are copies of other documents that might be useful.

Good luck.

Trevor Bailey says:
5 October 2020

I have received a parking ticket today dated October 2nd for an alleged parking offence in a private car park managed by Smart Parking It says that I either didn’t pay or overstayed at a car park in Ingoldmelds It doesn’t say which This occurred on August 28th , nearly 6 weeks ago .This is the first time I have heard from them Are they too late in notifying me ?

Carl says:
5 October 2020

Hiya I received a parking charge notice from a company called NE Parking. I was parked on a pay2park car park. The letter stated I wasn’t parked in the bay correctly? Is this a scam?

Bill says:
6 October 2020

Hi. I got a parking penalty from Parking Eye as I overstayed at a service station. My car had broken down (flat battery) but I was not aware of the 2hr limit. Has anyone successfully won an appeal based on a breakdown? I supplied evidence from the AA recovery who attended the vehicle on the day.

Hi Bill – Around five years ago I wrote to BPA, the trade body that many parking companies are members of. I was concerned that motorists might be charged if they overstayed at a motorway service area and gave various possible scenarios why a driver might be unable to move their vehicle or it could be unwise because a. problem had been discovered. BPA responded promptly but did not provide a useful answer.

In my view, what you should have done was to pay for extra time when you realised that you would be there for longer than two hour free period. If you did not have a means of payment with you, the only alternative would be to appeal or pay-up. It seems unfair that you are expected to pay in the circumstances, unless the company has evidence that this is not the first time that you have made a similar appeal. Best of luck.

Julie haley says:
6 October 2020

I recieved a fine from UKPS for allegedly leaving the Ravensfield retail park, chesterfield. on 8th August..which I did not. The only evidence they gave me was a photo of my car and registratin. I appealed and asked them to provide evidence. They sent me a bog standard letter and an ambigous email. I waited for the evidence which never came but after 28 days a letter did come and the fine had gone up from £60 to £130. By that time it was too late to appeal to the IAS. I called them and advised them I was waiting for their evidence and they were still not prepared to waive it. I now have a debt recover letter requesting £160. I did not leave site, they have not provided me with evidence. What happens next if I dont pay.
Will I get the chance at court to present my case or will they just issue a CCJ because I have not paud and send the Bailiffs round? If I had overstayed I would have paid to but to be presented with a photo of my car, accused of leaving site and asked for what was originally £60 and is now £160 really feels like I am being scammed.

Muhammad Taha says:
7 October 2020


I want to know the list of allowed parking ticket appeals in the UK. Is there any such list I can go through ?

biagio mazzotta says:
8 October 2020

hi i got a parking fine in prospect place car park, i have a disabled badge,

[edited] HOW DO ISTAND


[Moderator: we’ve edited this comment to remove personally identifying information. Please don’t post anything which would personally identify you or others, as this is to protect people’s privacy. For more information see Community guidelines

Biagio, a disabled badge does not entitle you to free parking. It is at the discretion of the car park owner and will be displayed on the parking terms notice.

kevin newton says:
9 October 2020

entered carpark dropped some 1 off came straight out later that day came back and waited for person now i,ve got 2 parking fines but only stayed the once

Helen says:
12 October 2020

My ticket was damaged in the rain so I can’t determine the number. What to do?

Helen – I assume that by “ticket” you mean a parking charge notice [or penalty charge notice if issued by a local council]. Is there not at least a name on it for the company issuing the notice that you could look up on-line?

If not, you could try the relevant local authority and see if they can give you the name of the car park operator.

Another way is to look up the location on Google Maps and see if there is a label giving any parking information. While there you could use Streetview to see if there are any signs at the entrance that show the operator’s or enforcement company’s contact details.

Failing all that you could revisit the parking place and look at the signs and notices.

I received a parking ticket for being parked on a yellow line. The parking restriction sign was almost entirely covered by a tree. My challenge to the PCN got refused. Can I still challenge it

Ben – If you are within time you can appeal against the refusal. If the penalty charge notice was issued by a local authority I think an appeal would have a fair chance of success but without knowing the situation it is impossible to forecast the outcome. If the tree has subsequently been pruned that would count in your favour since it would indicate that the enforcement authority recognised there was a problem. The counter argument from the authority would be that yellow lines indicate a no waiting area so there will be a sign which the driver should look for and try to read, and if in doubt not park there. The enforcing authority should have provided details of your appeal rights and timescales on the decision notice on your challenge.

Graeme says:
15 October 2020

I paid the parking charge but made a mistake when entering my registration number, yet they still insist that I pay a penalty charge

The guidance recently changed:
The British Parking Association (BPA) has announced details of a new code of conduct ahead of an anticipated country-wide code being introduced by the Government.

Part of the BPA code covers instances where a driver has incorrectly entered their car details when paying for parking. Previously, such errors could see them charged up to £100 but under the new rules parking operators will have to cancel the fine at the first stage of appeal.

Increasing numbers of operators are using payment machines and smartphone apps that require a driver to enter their car’s registration number and the move comes after complaints over firms using aggressive tactics to pursue motorist over genuine mistakes.

Minor errors
The new rule means that if a driver makes a “minor” keying error such as replacing a 1 with an l and this leads to a charge being issued, the operator must cancel the charge at the first stage of appeal.

For “major” keying errors, such as entering only part of a registration number or entering the registration of a spouse’s car, operators are advised to cancel the ticket but will be able to apply a “modest” charge of £20.

Thanks malcolm that sounds like good news.

Julian Hatherall says:
19 October 2020

I received a parking charge notice for parking a camper van in a car park and didnt see the T&Cs when I did. Ironically it was parked there whist I stayed in a hotel! When I re-read the board it said “No lorries, HGV’s, buses/coaches, caravans, caravanettes or mobile homes”. However according to my V5 document the van is a motor caravan. I appealed on the basis that these were not excluded. The appeal by the company has been dismissed. Has anyone else done an independent appeal and been successful in a similar situation?!

Julian – I think “camper van” is the modern term for a “caravanette” [think: Bedford Dormobile, Commer Wanderer, and – unsurprisingly – the Volkswagen Caravanette in all their two-tone glory and whitewall tyres].

It’s a bit mean to prohibit camper vans from using a car park since their overall footprint is no greater than many modern saloons. Perhaps they are worried that people might stay the night.

Steve says:
19 October 2020

I have just received a ”fine” from Euro Car Parks for £85 for being at my local M&B Toby Carvery.
The time i was apparently there (i say apparently this will be made clear in a moment) was Twenty Four minutes. This ”occurred” on Sunday 11 October at 14.26.
The problem is i was at home all day that Sunday. My own house CCTV confirms my car was on my drive for that time period. I went to the Carvery and explained this. Yes i was there on Monday 12 October at 18.45 (this was when our meal was booked) i asked them to check their own CCTV at the time and the pub confirms my car was NOT there. However they have told ME to dispute it with Euro Car parks, who are not listening they are just demanding payment. I spoke to a different manager at the carvery who put me down as ”there” that the fine is issued for so i don’t have to pay it.. However the pub have said that they don’t manage the entrance/exit camera’s that Euro car park control. Euro Car parks will not engage with me and they insist their systems are correct. Despite the overwhelming evidence.
Something needs to be done about these cowboy money grabbing companies.

Karen56 says:
20 October 2020

I was issued a car parking ticket for staying longer than the stated time. I appealed the ticket as I have a Daughter who is disabled and has learning difficulties who was taken ill, I appealed the ticket on medical grounds but they won’t take this into consideration, they said I should have telephoned the helpline number on the signage at the entrance to the car park but it was too high and I couldn’t read it without my glasses do I have a case?

Janet W says:
22 October 2020

I received a parking charge notice when I was parked on private land. I work as a caregiver for the elderly and was attending a regular client who needed urgent help. In my haste to get to her I forgot to put a parking pass on display in my car. I was in the property for half an hour and on return had a £60 charge notice on my car. I have appealed this to the company and my appeal has been refused on the grounds that mitigating circumstances are not relevant. My employers along with other residents of the flats where I parked can verify the reason for my visit at that time.

I am debating if to simply pay up or take it further. The letter rejecting my appeal states that if I take it further the reduced amount of £60 will no longer apply and the charge will increase to £100.

jennifer castle says:
25 October 2020

i received a parking fine 9 weeks after i had used the car park i know i paid, but have binned the ticket how do i stand

Denis Law says:
26 October 2020

I have challenged a PCN issued by Parking Eye.

They rejected my appeal which I then escalated to POPLA who found in my favour.

I then had to contact Private Eye asking for my £60.00 back that was paid within the 14 day discount period.

Private Eye wrote back to say the PCN had been cancelled and I would receive a refund cheque within 28 days – or up to 40 days if they were busy. (?).

Note: You CAN get the charge back if you have paid it early for the discount. It is NOT an admission of guilt.

Anyway, here we are, more than 40 days later and still no refund received.

How long do they get to pay a refund before I have to take them to court?

Perhaps Parking Eye should pay you £100 for not having returned your £60 within 14 days, Denis. Well done for challenging the PCN.

I have sympathy with companies under the present difficult conditions but this is ridiculous. Please make a complaint.

Liz Butcher says:
27 October 2020

Hi my daughter has been given a parking fine for, Driver observed leaving the site.
Is this a valid reason and does she have to pay,

Some car parks are provided for the surrounding shops and do not allow people to use their parking facilities but go elsewhere. If that is the case for your daughter then she will have contravened the parking regulations, that should be prominently displayed.

Raham says:
27 October 2020

Dear I received two PCN ticket from private car park management and I did complained and the final steps two of my appeal were dismissed and really I am upset because after all my reason that it was emergency matter that my health were in dangerous , even we did not see clear sign still IAS dismissed two of my PCN, can I ignore them? Also my car is Mobility car, can they clamp the mobility car?
Thank you

Raham says:
27 October 2020

even I tried to take them to the court and asked them I need NOR letter with PIN CODE but they replied to me that they are no longer governed by POPLA, and they are now governed by the IPC. As members of the IPC, their alternative disputes go through the Independent Appeals Service., Could you advise me how can I challenge against of IAS decision?
Thank you