/ 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.

1 November 2020

Hi, i am a DHL delivery driver, making stops every 3 minutes to deliver parcels, just like the post office, why should I get a parking ticket from the guys giving a ticket, after they told me its ok to park, I don’t understand, please can you kindly explain, if delivery vehicles are not supposed to park and make deliveries, according to the law, we have five minutes to park and deliver.

Raymond – Most local authorities that have introduced waiting and loading restrictions offer special permits for use in controlled parking zones or where restrictions are in force.

There is a charge for the permits and they could be specific to a particular vehicle so getting a temporary exemption is not straightforward. If you regularly deliver in a defined area or town it might be worth you or your employer discussing the need for a special permit with the local authority concerned. Some towns and cities allow parking by delivery vehicles in restricted places between 8:00 and 9:30 am [for example] but where traffic is heavy or there is a priority route that is less likely.

Until recently there was little chance of getting a parking ticket on the public highway if the duration of the contravention was only a few minutes, however, nowadays with extensive camera enforcement, especially in busy commercial areas, tickets can be issued almost immediately a vehicle waits or loads/unloads in a prohibited place. This does make things very difficult for delivery personnel.

I believe there is some unofficial tolerance for Royal Mail vehicles, possibly dating from the days when it was a state-run public service, but I suspect that would always be denied. Different practices between the Royal Mail and other carriers are not fair on the other companies.

The London Councils website has guidelines for loading and unloading and as long as you make it clear the van is doing so, you can appeal the ticket. You must park on single yellow and make sure there are no loading restrictions. It might be worth getting a dashcam as well.

For private land, you should avoid parking there at all costs because some use cameras. You are better off walking to the house if possible. Loading and unloading doesn’t apply on private land, so prevention is better than cure!

Frances Elizabeth Burns says:
3 November 2020

Hi I am Frances. I was issued with a parking charge from Excel Parking for parking outside the marked bay on the site. I refused to pay because the site was very poorly managed and did not have marked bays. It looked like a bomb site. Yesterday I succeeded in winning my case in court. The court was convened using telephone technology, however, the judge was clear that this was to be treated as though we were in court. I want to thank Martin’s website which explained my options and I chose to refuse to pay and go to court if necessary.

Well done Frances. Hopefully your success will encourage others to fight unfair charges. Maybe it’s less intimidating to ‘go to court’ from the comfort of your own home.

Amazing news. I would just add, people are better off appealing than just refusing to pay. Not all cases are equal and those without any court experience could end up paying more than they should. Don’t ignore, use the appeal process first, if that fails, then go to court.

28 November 2020

Well done Frances.

Jonathan says:
9 November 2020

I’ve just received a Parking Charge Notice today, 9/11/2020 for an alleged offence 0n 18/07/2020, 5 and a half months ago, the issue date is 06/11/2020, is this legal?

Jonathan – The enforcing company has twenty-eight days after the contravention in which to issue a parking charge notice by post. You may either ignore the notice or write in to explain that the notice was served out of time. If you ignore it, it is almost certain that you will receive further notices or an attempted escalation of the charge, so it is likely to be in your interests to reject it for being out of time [but keep it and a note of the relevant dates and times].

I received a PCN at an airport as I pulled over whilst trying to identify the correct car park I had pre-booked. The date of the alleged offence was 6th February 2020. I have appealed and the appeal has been acknowledged, yet each month I simply receive an email advising me that the appeal is still pending. Is there a time limit that a decision must be made within?

This sounds like private parking. BPA and IPC rules state that your appeal must be responded to within 35 days. Take your case to the tribunal and state this whenever they reject the appeal.

Colin Anderson says:
10 November 2020

I entered a car park to charge my car. No signs at the designated EV parking bays saying i needed to pay. Signs did mention no concessions for disabled drivers but again nothing about the EV users. paid £13 to charge my car and got a fine from parking eye for £100. if i paid my parking charge would it would have been 80p. how can this be justified. im determined to take this to court.

You can take them to court for sure. But first, make a complaint to Parking Eye and collect evidence from them. You might be able to get a refund before going to court. You can find the complaint process on the parking eye website and contact details for the data protection officer in their privacy policy.

Patricia Kelly says:
12 November 2020

I have been issued a pcn,i have a new car and a hazard warning light came on the dash,we pulled in to the nearest safest place to park,the road is a small road we had no other choice,my husband got out of the car to check the sensor which is shown clearly on the evidencial photos,a lady passerby stopped her vehicle and made us aware of the restrictions and we left the site,at no point did we obstruct a vehicle entering or exiting the property.,i have appealed and have been turned down by the company,the company stated that we were there for minutes which we were,what can i do?

Unfortunately on private land, they use the law of contract. If a driver does not obey the rules of parking, mitigating reasons don’t apply. The best avenue is to contest if there were no clear signs and you can provide evidence. If the operator is a BPA member, you must have at least 5 minutes to consider the signs. If the operator is a member of the IPC, focus on contesting based on signage as the IAS need compelling evidence to overturn a case.

Adrian says:
12 November 2020

My daughter picked up a PCN on a car park run by NCP in September 2017. We wrote to their agent Trace Debt in Jan 18 disputing the alleged parking offence which basically my daughter paid for 2 hours and they claim she left the carpark 17 minutes late. We heard nothing the until April 2020 (COVID lockdown) when Trace Debt contacted us to state we had not paid the parking fine. We explained we had heard nothing since disputing it. Now BW Legal have just issued county court papers against my daughter it seems NCP are short of cash during COVID and have now engaged heavy handed tactics to get in as much money as possible. The money they are now claiming is £260 adding on the BW legal costs based on an original £2.50 parking fee. How have we allowed these companies to harass and threaten without providing conclusive evidence.

You can easily send a cheque of £100 to NCP, that is all they are owed. BW Legal will dream and add all sort of costs. But your dispute is with NCP. Send a cheque to NCP and they will drop the case.

If your daughter left the car park 17 minutes left, you may be able to show them sense. The BPA rules state the following:
Consideration time is MINIMUM 5 minutes
You paid for 2 hours
So you also have 10 minutes grace period at the end of your parking session
Meaning, you have at least 15 minutes you can factor into your parking session, so 17 minutes is not that bad.

Make sure you acknowledge the county court papers and within 28 days, write a summary defence.
At the same time, send a cheque to NCP. NCP can ask BW Legal to drop the claim once payment is made. You can inform the court that payment was made to NCP when you send your witness statement.

christina lavertue says:
13 November 2020

it took me 14mins to leave the carpark after my ticket expired, so allowing for the 10 min grace period HX management are asking for £60 for overstaying by 4 mins

Christina – I think you should challenge the PCN if you are still within time to do so and the hold-up was through no fault of your own.

This is one of the problems with parking systems that require drivers to book a specified time period. The operators make money on both the swings and the roundabouts – if it takes too long to get out of the car park they can issue a parking charge notice, or if the driver makes allowances for a problem they buy excess time. I have often paid for six hours just to be on the safe side where in practice we were only there for three and a half hours. Pay on exit per fifteen minutes occupation would be a fairer system.

Unfortunately, the charges for minor overstays are exorbitant. If it routinely takes drivers over ten minutes to leave a car park there is something seriously wrong and motorists should not be penalised.

The problem with pay on exit is that this often requires a visit to a pay point. If there is a hold up at the exit you can still get penalised.

Unless charges for extra time are exorbitant, the best policy is to buy a bit more time than you think you need and avoid a last minute panic. You should not normally have to go down to the wire.

They key here, as John says, is the exhorbitant penalties for what are generally minor offences. We should be campaigning to abolish such penalties and have them regulated to more acceptable ones (acceptable to the average motorist and not a wealthy judge). However, we see no interest in protecting consumers from this form of extortion.

I think with contactless payment, pay-on-exit systems could be made more manageable. Operators should provide enough pay machines to accommodate a rush to the exits.

I agree with John. If my local authority can operate a pay on exit system in its car park (using number plate recognition to raise the barrier), I don’t see why the adjacent supermarket can’t use a similar system. They could even let customers use credit built up on their loyalty cards. Of course there wouldn’t be mega-buck profits for car parking companies from this system.

If you parked for more than 1 hour, yes you have 10 minutes grace period.
If you parked less than 1 hour, there is no grace period.

There is a new policy being written by government to put these issues under one umbrella. I totally agree with you and there are a few people working to make a change. I will be happy to support such causes. Consumers have protection already, but often don’t know how to use it. We are all doing something to stop the unfairness 🙂

Vicky says:
16 November 2020

Hi everyone – I have a PCN for parking in a private car park and now a county court claim letter. I disputed the fine with the car park company but they rejected it. It was issued around only 2 hours after I had parked there at approx 10am as my colleague noticed the ticket on my car. At the time I paid a monthly fee to park there (subsidised by the company I worked for) so I had effectively paid to park there that day. I also had a permit which my company gave me when they arranged for me to park in that car park. The permit was in the form of a laminated square piece of paper (quite large – around 4×4 inches if not larger) so it would not fit into a ‘pocket’ on my windscreen. Instead I had to sellotape it to my dash. It was during summer 2019 and was around 30+ degrees in my car by this time. By the time the warden had come around 2 hours later it must have fallen off my dash as I did display it in my window and had been doing so for weeks prior to the incident. When I got to my car that morning I noticed the permit had fallen into the centre part of my car by the gear stick – and the laminated permit had curled up in the heat. The sellotape had clearly come unstuck and in the heat the laminated permit curled and fell from the dashboard. Does anyone know if it would be worth advising this to the county court in my form? It was only 2 hours I was parked there so even if they think it is my responsibility in terms of the permit I am shocked that the charge initially of around £100/£110 was issued. It is now just under £250 they are claiming. I’m not sure if it also makes any difference that the car park only accommodated for around 6 cars as it is a very small one. Having parked there for several weeks/months prior the warden would surely have known I was one of the few cars that indeed had a permit and already paid to park there? I also understand they may argue it is my responsibility to display the permit and I agree – but there was little I could do to stick it to my dash save using sellotape as the permit was so large and laminated it made that rather difficult to do.

Hi Vicky – You urgently need legal advice. If your company employs the car parking company, can they not support your case?

There are plenty of parking ticket holders available, though not having one I cannot make a recommendation. When tickets have not had a self-adhesive strip I have laid them on the dashboard and checked that they are visible after closing the door. Cup holders have become a common feature in cars, but perhaps parking ticket holders are more important.

Vicky, Whatever the rights and wrongs of your parking circumstances it is high time we campaigned to abolish extortionate penalties and place an acceptable cap on them.

Vicky has a parking permit so the company but has made a simple mistake. My view is that provided an appeal was made promptly the charge should have been cancelled. The penalties should be saved for repeat offenders.

I hope so too but not displaying a permit to park, or a parking ticket, contravenes most companies’ parking conditions. There is no reason to expect a warden to recognise a vehicle and the permitted parker may be using a different one. So it is legitimate to issue PCN. I would hope goodwill resolves this.

However, while individual cases may be resolved this way, many are not. I am concerned for the many who have contravened and received legitimate PCNs but are faced with penalties that most would argue far exceed the gravity of the offence. I want those who have to pay or who do not choose to, or understand how to, contest their PCNs to be treated far more fairly. I consider in most cases a maximum penalty of £20 should apply with no, or only a small, additional penalty if they go to appeal and lose.

Motorists pay £1 500 000 000 a year in such charges. We campaign for those who lose far less than this. So why not PCNs?

As I have suggested many times, charges should be waived for the first mistake or for trivial reasons. I was delighted to learn that charges will be waived if someone gets one character wrong when entering their registration number when parking. Hopefully that will prevent many vexatious fines for motorists who have paid for parking.

A £20 penalty would simply encourage more people to take the risk of overstaying or otherwise contravening the regulations.

I doubt it is either practical, nor sensible, to waive a first offence. With so many car parks and operators would you be allowed a first offence on each, or only once in your life? And if you know you would not be penalised for a first offence I suspect many would simply not pay until caught for the first time.

I wouldn’t take the risk of overstaying or deliberately contravening regulations for £20. For some that may be a trivial sum but for many hard-pressed consumers it is a substantial amount that may not be affordable, when we complain that people have to choose between energy and food, or rely on free school meals for example.

Parking penalties are designed to make spaces available to as many as possible, so some means of controlling that needs to be used for many car parks or road-side parking. It benefits all of us. But penalties need to be fair.

I am keen on waiving only minor offences and only once during a period – maybe six months or a year. I am happy with large fines for repeat offenders. With registration numbers being recorded on computers these days, councils and parking companies could automatically check if the same vehicle has contravened the regulations before.

Perhaps the best approach would be to test different approaches to find out whether your approach or mine is most effective in managing parking and providing the benefit – which we are agreed on – of making parking available to as many people as possible.

Vicky says:
16 November 2020

Unfortunately I no longer work with the company and they were useless at the time when I brought it up with them. They I think just have an agreement with the owner of the car park to let some of their employees use it for a fee as opposed to employing the car park company.

Vicky says:
16 November 2020

Hi Malcolm. I am willing to an extent to pay a small fee for the 2 hours I was parked there without potentially showing the permit, but they rejected my appeal with no real reasoning and now I have the county court letter and am looking at £250 for such a small issue that wasn’t even caused by me deliberately.

Thanks for coming back Vicki.

Vicky seems to have an initial charge of £100 escalating to £250; that is a lot; many are £40 to £60 (then escalating to £80-100 or more). Still a lot. If Vicky repeated the offence, inadvertently or otherwise, would you regard these penalties as fair?

It would be interesting if Which? ran a survey to see what people thought were fair penalties. I am only giving my personal view.

I had one car registered online with the council for free parking under the blue badge scheme. I took a different car and, so used to not having to get a ticket, didn’t. I found out when I got back to the car. The penalty was £40 and, as I had failed the conditions – far cop although unintentional – paid but felt the charge was excessive.

Hi again Vicky – It might be worth giving Which? Legal a call to see if they will help with a case at this stage.

Hi Vicky, wavechange here makes a point if you do want to get some guidance from our legal team. They can advise if they’ll be able to help.

Hope things get sorted out soon.

The parking permit falling down when the car door is closed, not adhering to the windscreen, or not surviving the heat, are problems that have cropped up quite a few times in these Conversations.

I used occasionally to have to display a temporary permit and found that keeping a bulldog clip in the car and using the lowered passenger-side sun-visor was an effective way of presenting the permit without risk of it disappearing from view.

I support Wavechange’s idea for providing a permit mount inside cars and suggest the nearside sun visor would be a good place to put it [upside down, of course, so it shows the right way up when the visor is folded down]. It could also be used to hold pay-&-display car park tickets which seem to have a propensity to end up on the floor.

Hi Vicky, I have not seen any practical advice being given. Your situation is very common but also one that can easily be dealt with. You just need to do the following:
1. Acknowledge the county court letter online and file a defence within 28 days
2. Write a summary defence outlining the reasons you believe the money is not owed. A defence is a bullet list of reasons and then at the end, you can attach your photos as an appendix
3. Submit your defence within 28 days
4. Make a subject access request to the parking company to get a copy of all the data they hold about you. Visit their website and look under the privacy policy, you should be able to find the contact email or address for the “Data Protection Officer”
5. Once the parking company log their response, you will have an opportunity to file a witness statement. This is a bullet list of what happened on the day
6. Don’t worry, the judge has to assess your case on the terms of fairness when he reviews your case, so if you are being asked to pay £250 for a minor error, he will check it

Court hearings are not daunting, just have your prep work done in advance. Often these companies rely on people not turning up to win. You can use our site to write a detailed defence for your case and you will be guided or we can handle this for you.

The problem is how these amounts escalate including court costs.
1. Original charge £100
2. Debt Recovery charge £70 (BPA and IPC have provided this amount as guidance in their code of practice)
3. Court Costs: £50 + £25 (Paid to the court when logging a claim)
Total: £245 minimum excluding interest calculations

Because Parking Eye handle their own claims, they often claim around £185

However, the parking company is only ever owed £100 and that’s all they recover. I have settled a few cases at the original charge with the parking company.

Vicky says:
24 November 2020

Thank you so much for this – unfortunately before this was posted I decided to give in any just pay. I’d be reluctant to take this to court when they could say I still had to pay and therefore also losing a days salary at work. Frustrating as I know part of the reason why they issue these fines is because they get away with it but I just don’t have the time to argue it any longer

Hi. My daughter has received 2 PCNs unfortunately. One for 4 August ,but notice sent via post and dated 16/10/20. The second for 19th August with PCN issued 1/10/20. Aren’t these too late?

Adrian says:
20 November 2020

Hi, i have just been issued with a pcn dated 24th September 2019, over 14 months ago. I have not received any correspondence until today (30/11/2020)
And that was sent to an old address where my friend still lives. The letter is from dcbl. What can i do?

Barry Tottman says:
23 November 2020

i did not actually get a parking ticket i was sent a letter informing me i had driven off without paying the parking fee.there is a camera that films your car as you enter.any way what happened was i was taken ill and i phoned my son to pick me up.he never even went into the car park as other people have had trouble just turning round in there and they get a ticket he pulled up outside to wait for me.as i have a heart condition it took me a few minutes to walk to him.assuming the cameras were working they would have seen me struggling to walk.i got to the end of the car park and he took me home not thinking anything of it as we had never entered the car park.first i knew was when i got the letter.we appealed it and asked for photographic proof that we were in the car park which obviously they cant supply. now they have passed it on to debt collection company.we have told them we will not be paying and rather than muck about with another letter(which i was told on the phone is a process that must be adhered to) sort a court date .trouble is i was informed that the cost is going up &up.i assume this is to scare me into paying up.

I was a little shocked to receive a letter from CSB Solicitors dated 2nd November 2020, informing me that a Parking Charge Notice had been issued. There was a PCN number, the alleged location was given, the car registration appeared to be correct but there was no date or time given for the alleged charge. To my knowledge, I have not been issued with a ticket and I have not visited the car park concerned. My son, who has been driving the car recently, has assured me that he has not received any sort of ticket either. The solicitors’ letter was the only correspondence I had received. I have had no previous contact from the car park operator, nor have I previously received any correspondence or request for payment. I am no longer the registered keeper of the vehicle, having sold it in June of this year.
When I received the letter, I telephoned the number given at the top of letter to discuss the contents further; however, I was answered by a pre-recorded message requesting that I call something called Ultimate Customer Solutions. I subsequently called their main telephone number and requested that someone from their office contact me. So far my call has not been returned.
My only other option has been to write directly to CSB Solicitors denying that a charge has been incurred and setting out my responses accordingly. I have also requested certified copies of any evidence they may have. To date, I have received no reply.
Is this alleged PCN contestable and is there anything else I can do at the present time?

I parked my car two wheel over the footpath with double yellow line for less then 5 minutes on Sunday afternoon at Uxbridge road, Hayes, (Hillingdon Council) and got ticket while my 8 year old son was inside the car watching. Could anyone suggest me is there any ground I can appeal and PCN picture evidence clearly shows someone inside the car.

Nagen – I don’t think so; double yellow lines mean ‘No Waiting At Any Time’ [except for a vehicle showing a disabled persons badge and provided it is not causing an obstruction] so parking for even a few minutes is an absolute contravention. It is also a contravention to park on, or partially on, the footway in Greater London unless it has been specifically permitted [which is highly unlikely where there are double yellow lines]. Your son’s presence in the car does not provide any exemption.

Thank John for your kind Information.

hi there . ive received a county court business centre legal notice. on be half of DCB ltd ive sent my defence . i have proof i had a parking permit from the shop i went into . you have to park and go in and collect the permit. then return when finished with. i sent this proof to the parking company and now the county court business centre. what are peoples experence with county court business centre. do they favour the parking company s. i’ve represented myself the ticket was £100 now they want £250 does the court favour the parking firms ?

Olly Dyson says:
27 November 2020

Hi, I recently got a parking fine from smart parking ltd from back in august. I got advised to leave and ignore and now DCP have got involved saying they are going to take me to court and took the fine up to £170 when it was £60. I have proof of payment with a receipt to state I paid for the full day but now there saying I’ve left it too late. Is there anything I can do or do I just have to pay it now? TIA👍

I have received a PCN from SMART Parking in Doncaster. We entered and exited the car park twice but we have only been provided with ANPR photos of the first time we entered and the last time we exited. This makes it look like I was in there for a lot longer. I am unsure of the ‘do not return within time’ period but also unsure of the exact times I drove in and out. In addition the second time my dad was driving. I have appealed as I wanted to get clarification on the timings and evidence of the other entry and exit times between. I appealed on SMART parking website but haven’t heard anything back and its been 2 weeks now. I didn’t even get a confirmation email to say I had appealed. What should I do? Should I just pay up or is it worth waiting to get a response? How long have they got to respond to my appeal? Thank you for any advice you can give.

Like most others on this forum, I am very aggrieved whenever I get a parking ticket that was issued unfairly. Of course I always pay, but then I make sure that I tell the shops that I was visiting that I will not be returning as my trips are too expensive, and it’s cheaper to shop at Amazon. Naturally this contributes to the death of shopping centres, so if the law will not protect drivers from unfair treatment, maybe shopping centres can help. To single out a better one, I once lost a parking ticket whilst shopping at Westfield in West London. After searching fruitlessly for half an hour, I then went on the long search around the very large carpark for a human to advise me. When I finally found the hut housing the parking attendants, it turned out they had been watching me on CCTV, laughing and wondering what I was up to. When I explained, instead of charging me for 24 hours, they let me off free. As a result, I am always now happy to pay their rather expensive charges just because I know that they are not cowboys.

I agree with you that the shops could do more to help customers, Karen. As you say, it’s in their interest to keep customers. That could include providing parking that is either free or reasonably priced and supporting customers who have been charged unfairly.

If someone has driven round a car park and failed to find a parking space or dropped off a friend and promptly left the park then it would be ridiculous to make a charge, but sometimes that does happen. Wheel clamps were banned and hopefully the same will happen with daft parking charges. The fact that a substantial percentage of appeals are successful demonstrates that the industry needs to put its house in order.

Of course if everyone adhered to the rules we could put these companies out of business.

Louise Langham says:
29 November 2020

Do you have to pay a parking fine if you drove through the car park (by mistake) and never parked in a space, I just drove straight through without stopping?

I’ve often done the same when I have not managed to find a space. It’s possible that you could be charged if the car park was not managed properly but I would expect an appeal to be successful.

Hi. I was issued a parking fine by Brent council Contravention Code 62 all details correct apart from the make of the vehicle is incorrect. Do I still to pay

I expect so, Lourn, but it’s a fair point and would be worth an enquiry. Do it quickly to get within the reduced-rate payment window [details should be on the Penalty Charge Notice].

Parking enforcement officers used to get the make of vehicle from the tax disc on the windscreen but now that displaying a disc is no longer required they either guess or look round the back to decipher the symbol or logo. Unbelievably, many cars do not have their actual manufacturer’s name on them and a model name or number might not be a sufficient description.

The purpose of requiring the identification details to be entered on the parking ticket was to ensure that the enforcement officer was actually within close sight of the vehicle and not trying to produce it from a distance; that is why they also record the tyre inflation valve positions as a further form of confirmation of the vehicle being in the particular place at the particular time if the enforcement was challenged when the driver returned to the car.

Simply typing the registration number into a government website will provide plenty of information about a vehicle: https://vehicleenquiry.service.gov.uk I suggest that Lourn challenges the fine if it is not justified or pays up before the charge is escalated.

I don’t know whether the hand-held computers that parking enforcement officers use put the internet at their fingertips and their mobile phones are probably dumb with limited capabilities. Half the time they probably don’t know that they don’t know what make of car they are dealing with. Perhaps they should be sent on car recognition courses

It would be interesting to know how traffic wardens work. It’s always worrying to see one taking an interest in my car, even though I play by the rules.