/ Motoring

Parking fines: your questions answered

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

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

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

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

Which? Consumer Rights: Parking tickets

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

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

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

Your PCN queries answered

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Comments
Tommy says:
21 January 2021

Has anyone used the ‘ Appeal a Parking Ticket’ website? Is it a genuine site?

Have you got a link at all please @tommy?

Ian Chapman says:
22 January 2021

this company is issueing parking tickets at a covid 19 immunity site where people go for their injection lowlifes

If the car park requires payment then normal parking rules will apply.

We parked car on road where there was NO yellow lines, when returned to the car the lorry in front of our car had moved and there was very faded yellow line…all broken up, no start or end point. On this stretch of the road there was a No Parking sign – but as no road markings didn’t inspect signage

Sandra – Did you get a penalty charge notice? If so, I think a challenge would be worth while.

Today I received a Civil Enforcement parking charge on private land from over a year old; 11/01/2020. The outstanding debt has risen to £182.00.
I have not received any previous communications before this date, despite them saying they have issued letters on several occasions.
All address details for the vehicle in question were correct at the time of the alleged offence, up to and including a change of address in August 2020. This also included a Royal Mail redirection service until December 2020.
I have today been given the time in/out from Phone and Pay who manage the car park, and I have corresponding payments to them on my bank statement for that date.
At this stage, I am not able to see or recall whether the vehicle did, or did not, leave the car park before or after the time that it was booked until.
I am concerned that not having received the letters that they say were sent, and only receiving a first communication over a year later, that something is not right.
Any thoughts are most welcome.

I suggest you subscribe to Which? Legal, Mark: https://www.which.co.uk/consumer-rights/talk-to-an-adviser

You have a complicated case and it would be interesting to learn how it is resolved. Best of luck.

There seems to be no requirement to send these communications in a way that requires a receipt. I think any important documents like this should require a signature as evidence of delivery. The penalties are big enough to fund the cost.

It seems strange in your case that nothing has been received over 12 months. You could ask for copies of the letters they claim they sent, to check they were to the correct address for example.

BTW, I’ve seen advice elsewhere that it’s best to appeal online through the parking company’s debt collection agent, in this case, Civil Enforcement Ltd. However, on their online fill-in form, it will not take the postcode which matches the one on the only correspondence they have sent (after a year). I can only assume that a previous address when the alleged offence took place will be the correct one, but I’m loathed to enter it and submit, given I have NEVER received any NtK or earlier claims for debt at the previous address. Advice always welcome.

I parked my car in a shopping centre car park on Christmas Eve and paid the £0.70p fee via my Visa credit card.

I later received a PCN advising that my car registration was photographed coming and going, but that I had not paid the parking fee.

I appealed, advising I had paid and I has used my credit card – as evidence, I provided a copy of my credit card bill.

My appeal was refused by Euro Car Parks on the basis that “no valid pay and display ticket/pay by phone session matched my VRM

I replied that I did not pay by phone, but by credit card and that my credit card had made the required payment – they say I must have input my own registration incorrectly – therefore the penalty stands

Unfortunately I don’t have the ticket I displayed on my dashboard, but I did pay and ECP are shown as the recipient on my Credit card statement – I find it hard to believe that I would input the wrong registration – but surely, if they have accepted my payment, that is technically a contract and therefore I was not parked without paying

It beggars belief that ECP has not accepted you explanation, Eddy. The British Parking Association has a code of practice covering keying errors, providing advice to its members: https://www.britishparking.co.uk/write/Documents/AOS/AOS_Code_of_Practice_January_2020_v8(2).pdf It can take years for a little common sense to apply. I wonder if this could be of any help in your case.

ECP will have the time of the claimed contravention. I don’t know whether your credit card provider keeps the time of a transaction but if they could give you that it would seem to give both evidence you paid for parking and cause to ask the parking company to provide a copy of a ticket issued at that time. That would confirm you bought a ticket and you could then see if you made an entry mistake.

Even if you had put in the wrong registration there is no penalty for one wrong digit and a maximum of £20, I think, for two.

I have received DCBL notice of debt recovery – unpaid parking charge of £170.

This supposedly offence was done on 2019 where I parked my car on the staff area of the building I worked in. This has not been the first one, my previous Parking Eye encounter was back in 2018 with the same offence (parking where I work) since then I have contacted my manager to which they registered my vehicle to be permitted to park in the area. Still I received fines up to 2019. I was forced to pay due to this harassment but with POPLA intervening; they (Parking Eye) retracted the fine and issued a refund. Also with manager’s email to Parking Eye they confirmed that I am cleared.

Fast forward! 2021 I get a another letter regarding the parking issue. Now it is £170. I still have my evidence from previous encounters and this harassment is really breaking me down, especially with work super busy. I am really worried that this would affect my credit ratings in the future. Where do I go from here? Do ignore it? The letter is a bit vague on how to contact them and resolve this just via telephone and explain that its a misunderstanding.

TIA

GRAHAM NEPORT says:
29 January 2021

What does the sign mean NO ENTRY EXCEPT FOR ACCESS, access being the operative word

Graham – It means entry is prohibited except by those requiring to access a premises beyond the sign, that, is [and not exhaustively] to gain entry to it, to collect something from it, or to deliver something to it. It wouldn’t allow looking at something or just being there. I guess there is a back-story to this comment . . .

Hello, I got yesterday (30/01/2021) a penalty charge notice for being in a bus line. But warrant issued date is 01/07/2020 offence date is 11/12/2019. Is it legal? Do they can still change me for it?
Regards

Zaneta – This does seem a bit odd, but I do not know the timescales for the issue of a warrant and enforcement. Was receipt of this document the first you knew of the parking contravention? Have you not received any previous notices? Presumably the PCN was issued by a local authority. I suggest you contact them to query the dates.

Enforcement date is 26/01/2020. I don’t have any previous notices.

Thanks, Zaneta. So after seven months the formal recovery process under a county court warrant is starting. Something wrong must have occurred – there are several possibilities – I think an urgent call to the issuing local authority would be in your best interests.

Thank you very much.

DAVID ROBINSON says:
6 February 2021

I received a letter today from a parking charges collection company. The letter has my address on it but the name is not mine it also has a photo of a car that is not my car parked in a space. I have googled the company and it does seem to exist, my concern is around this vehicle being apparently linked to my address and the possibility of some sort of identity theft.

David – I suggest you discuss this problem urgently with the DVLA so they can check the registered keepers database.

If this is not rectified there is the possibility of more parking tickets coming your way.

Have you contacted the company, David? I suggest you also contact the DVLA, which provides parking companies with the address of registered vehicle keepers.

Edit: John has beaten me to it.

Is the car older than the time you have lived at your address? It is possible that the keeper simply failed to inform the DVLA they were moving.

For next time:

As the letter was not addressed to you, it would perhaps have been simpler not to open it, mark the envelope: “Not known at this address” and return it to Royal Mail. Since it is illegal to open mail without a reasonable excuse, that is the perfect defence against any unpaid parking penalty.

Moira McCormick says:
8 February 2021

Why do you lose the discount that you would receive for paying within fourteen days when firstly you didn’t receive the letter until 5 days after the date of issue and secondly you want to appeal the ticket. This is blatantly unfair

The discount is there to incentivise immediate payment and avoid the cost of further proceedings for the body that issued the parking ticket. If you have received a penalty charge notice from a local authority there is usually an opportunity to make a challenge within fourteen days but if the challenge is not upheld then the full charge becomes payable. If you think the ticket was issued without justification or that there were mitigating circumstances it might be worth challenging the ticket [but if you lose, you also lose the discount]. The same should apply in the case of a parking charge notice issued by a private company enforcing parking restrictions on private land.

If you lose a challenge you still have the right to go onto an appeal before the independent adjudicator; if you win at that stage the penalty or charge will be cancelled but if you lose the full penalty or charge will be payable.

If you don’t pay within the given timescales then additional charges will be incurred.

The late receipt of the notice is probably a consequence of the coronavirus emergency but it still allows time to act within the fourteen day discount period. You could speak to the issuing body and see if there is any tolerance because of such delays although I suspect not, because the law was framed with timescales that allow for such contingencies.

Julie says:
11 February 2021

Hello. I have now received the County Court letter from Civil Enforcement. I would like to defend it (on mitigating circumstances) but don’t want to risk my credit rating being affected should I lose. If the court upholds the charge is it immediately entered on the Registration of Judgments or is there time to pay it before this happens? I initially appealed the charge, but missed the deadline to go through POPLA. The charge is now £270. I had parked there in error (assuming it was the carpark that the holiday apartment provided, following the satnav) and moved the car as soon as I spoke to the owner and realised this, but had stayed 10 minutes over what the company allowed. Thank you for your advice.

I received a parking ticket from Britannia Parking. A mistake was made whereby a friend paid for the parking on her phone (pay-by-phone) but accidentally paid for her registration (which was not in the car park) instead of my car. We paid for a 2-hour ticket and left after 1, so even overpaid. I have provided evidence of payment covering my time in the car park, as well as proving access to both cars. However, they have increased the fine and told me I still need to pay. Would this win in court or am I obliged to pay?

Bella – I wouldn’t rate your chances highly on winning an appeal. Unfortunately the wrong vehicle registration mark was entered in the payment process which means that your car was not registered as being paid for, and that has triggered a parking charge; It’s not like a simple error of inserting a wrong letter or numeral. If the parking charge has already escalated to the full level it is possible that it is now too late to appeal anyway. I think you should now divide the charge equally with your friend!

I need some advice on whether to pay the parking charge notice while waiting for POPLA to resume their appeal process. The contravention was because my payment was made 17 mins late from when I arrived at the car park @ Vicarage Field, Barking. I couldn’t make payment on time as the App kept crashing – I feel aggrieved as Parking eye didn’t even acknowledge or take into account the the Pay By phone App kept crashing in my original appeal. Should I pay the reduced fee of £60 or risk waiting for POPLA to make a decision. This could cost me £100 if my appeal is rejected or can I reclaim if my appeal is successful?

I HAVE BEEN GIVEN A PARKING TICKET BY A PRIVATE COMPANY CALLED PCM IN MY OWN PARKING BAY . JUST HAD THE PERMIT UPSIDE DOWN BY MISTAKE ONE DAY AND THEY GAVE ME THE TICKET. THATS MY OWN PARKING BAY ALLOCATED TO MY FLAT . I EXPLAINED THEM THIS BUT THEY REFUSED MY APPEAL AND ASKING FOR A £100 FINE WHICH IM NOT GONA PAY THEM ATALL. NEED SOME ADVICE WHAT TO DO . MUCH APPRECIATED

Ali – If one of the regulations concerning the use of your allocated parking space is that the permit must be clearly visible, then if you left it upside down so that the validity details could not be seen it will attract enforcement.

As residents, you benefit from a parking regime that deters people not entitled to park there from occupying your space; it is therefore important for the permit showing [presumably] the vehicle registration mark and date of expiry to be visible as this data will be reconcilable with your occupation of the property. How else would the parking operator know that your car was entitled to be there?

If you don’t pay the parking charge the company might take you to court for non-payment of a civil debt, but they don’t always do that and the matter could be dropped – there is no way of knowing at this stage but you could take a chance. What I would do is offer to pay £60 to close the case and see what they say. It’s still a lot of money but it could get them off your back.

Patrick Taylor says:
15 February 2021

When you say allocated do you mean it is part of the property you own as per the deeds of purchase? Or are you renting?

The employment of PCM to monitor parking is something that I doubt very much is written into the lease. Therefore it must be an arrangement between the management company and PCM. The nature of this and how residents are informed, and your status as renter or owner would seem relevant.

I find it unlikely that a court would enforce a fine against someone occupying their owned parking space as that would be rather an affront to natural justice. However the relationship for a renter is less strong.

Management companies can have regulations of course for the sensible running of the site and having a contract to monitor parking to prevent abuse on the face of it is reasonable. However one might expect an “out” in respect implementation when it comes to lost or upside down permits. The management company therefore should be approached to explain the policy in these instances.

Management companies can be run by the freeholders – and that may be all flat owners, or be by a commercial company. I knwo which I prefer : )

Anybody have experience with DRP who is the collection company on behalf of a private parking firm. I have totally ignored these jokers now it has escalated to Debt recovery plus… Thanks in advance

I need some advice on whether to pay the parking charge notice while waiting for POPLA to resume their appeal process. The contravention was because my payment was made 17 mins late from when I arrived at the car park @ Vicarage Field, Barking. I couldn’t make payment on time as the App kept crashing – I feel aggrieved as Parking eye didn’t even acknowledge or take into account the the Pay By phone App kept crashing in my original appeal. Should I pay the reduced fee of £60 or risk waiting for POPLA to make a decision. This could cost me £100 if my appeal is rejected or can I reclaim if my appeal is successful?

Dappy – I have no idea what the track record for appeals to POPLA on the basis of your case is. My guess would be that you have a 40% chance of being successful. You cannot pay at the reduced rate and pursue an appeal. If you pay at the reduced rate within the time allowed the ticket will be cancelled and the case will be closed. If you pursue the appeal and it is upheld the ticket will be cancelled. If you appeal and lose you will have to pay the parking charge at the full rate.

You say “while waiting for POPLA to RESUME their appeal process” – is the process currently suspended because of COVID or some other cause? If so it seems only reasonable that any deadlines should be extended to take account of this.
You are right to be aggrieved – it appears that you did pay, but it took you 17 minutes (I think usually ten minutes are allowed) because of technical difficulties – which in themselves could have been the fault of the App. It’s akin to having to stand in a long queue to use a machine which isn’t working properly then being out of time when you finally get to the front of the queue.
You are in an invidious position. You could pay £60, which, on the facts you present, would be unjust. You can gamble on POPLA, but might end up with a bill for £100. If you don’t pay then you might get taken to court (though you might not) where you might be successful – a District Judge confronted with evidence that you paid a few minutes late ought to be sympathetic to your position. After all, what were you supposed to do – drive out after nine minutes before the time limit expired?
Whatever you do, you are faced with stress and possible financial loss. Parking firms have nothing to lose. Reform (better still repeal) of the legislation is long overdue to put an end to the private parking racket. I don’t understand why organisations which purport to represent the interests of motorists seem to be so silent on this issue.

It really is time to limit by regulation the extortionate penalties and extra costs for not submitting promptly.

As Which? does not see this as consumer detriment of sufficient magnitude to warrant its attention – after all, it is only a modest £1500000000 a year – who else might help?

I agree it’s an issue in which every consumer organisation should take an interest. But this applies even more to organisations which – I believe – exist to represent the interests of motorists. The most obvious are the AA and RAC and the Alliance of British Drivers – I imagine there are several more. The Parking “industry” no doubt has immense lobbying power. Motoring organisations should be presenting a united front to counteract this.
And while I don’t support extra-legal action, I am puzzled that there are people who are prepared to vandalise speed cameras but are apparently unconcerned about ANPR cameras dishing out grossly excessive fines at car parks.
There has to be something wrong when a short overstay at a supermarket (endangering nobody) will land me a charge of £100 and 100 percent certainty of being caught. On the other hand, if I parked across the yellow lines and pavement (causing a dangerous obstruction) just outside the car park the fine would be £70 in the unlikely event of a traffic warden appearing.

The problem with the AA and RAC is they are no longer motoring organisations but insurance companies, as far as I can see. You would think with 30 + million motorists there would be scope for a dedicated organisation with a voice to represent them, wouldn’t you? I was not aware of the Alliance of British Drivers. I’ll have a look.
I did. Membership £25 for a lobby group does not seem very attractive. I searched for “parking penalties” and although it said 1 result it went nowhere.

Perhaps drivers covered by the AA and RAC think Which? represents their interests as much as it does broadband users, householders, television viewers, et al.

I would guess a high percentage of Which? subscribers – possibly 75% or more – run a car, have the occasional parking problem, and consider the penalty regime is unjust; but Which? refuses to deal with this issue, yet in the January Magazine it reported briefly on the Porsche 911 [from £82,795] and awarded it a measly 79%. Would that be of compelling interest to a high percentage of Which? readers?

Quite apart from its poor fuel consumption and high emissions why are Which? spending time and money testing such an exclusive and impractical (for most) car when they are promoting electric? Maybe they just buy in the short report to pad out the magazine and try to attract a different class of member? It is hardly a useful “just tested” report as there are no test results. Just an advertising piece.

What is Which? about?

Patrick Taylor says:
15 February 2021

Good question.

It makes poor use of its subscribers knowledge and experience and seems to be seeing itself as a consumer news purveyor. This mixed in with red-top campaign cries.

On the background of past work it has monefied Legal advice and recommending Traders whilst diminishing drastically the role of Trustees and of those members allowed to see the accounts.

I fear that what we have is a charity that has lost it’s way and is now more interested in a large on-line presence rather than addressing issues in detail. The rot set in over a decade ago with allowing high end executives to run what is essentially a very simple consumer charity. There is a deliberate confusion that lots of articles equals effectiveness.

Over the past decade it has missed most of the major stories managing to arrive years after the problem has been highlighted. For instance the dangers of plastic backed appliances was flagged up by Fire Brigade professionals in 2012. The unfair leases nearly a decade late.

As soon as it adopts the Shoddy Awards then I might believe it has a future as a proper consumer organisation. It also needs to have a specialist group, or to tap into existing groups , on deep or forthcoming problems that will affect consumers.

If they find it difficult to find targets [!] then each year members should be allowed to choose a subject out of a range. This will link the organisation more closely to its subscribers.

Some years ago I recall the ABD campaigned vigorously on the subject of speed cameras. A year or so ago they were essentially the group called to represent motorists on the Select Committee enquiring into a ban on pavement parking. I have not been aware of them making representations on the parking predator issue, and I find this surprising. But then even Captain Gatso doesn’t seem concerned. Could it be that only aspiring speed merchants can be bothered to stand up for their “rights”? Without support from campaigning groups, individuals stand little chance and the parking “industry” can ride roughshod over all of us.

Patrick Taylor says:
16 February 2021

I agree Vincent.

LegalBeagles is a site that covers a lot of legal subjects for free. I regret I have not used it or contributed to it as much as I might in the six years I have been a member.

My personal opinion is that it is more practical use than most sites and perhaps is the future for concerned consumers.

Another site I have great admiration for is OERML which highlights and fights bad practice in the optical surgery industry. Sasha Rodoy is a campaigner to admire.

The site CrowdJustice might also be a way to help get change. One might think enough people are hacked off by CurrysPCW that a test case could be bought.

The RAC Foundation [independent of RAC Motoring Services which provides roadside assistance] has concerned itself over the iniquities of the private parking industry but has stopped short of doing anything about it. It describes itself as “a transport policy and research organisation which explores the economic, mobility, safety and environmental issues relating to roads and their users. The Foundation publishes independent and authoritative research with which it promotes informed debate and advocates policy in the interest of the responsible motorist.

Anybody had dealings with CPM UK car park management please

Update to my original question above (26 January 2021)…
I’ve just received my requested Subject Access Request (SAR) from Civil Enforcement Ltd. (CEL).
The date and time stamped exit photographs clearly shows that I left well within the remainder of the pre-paid allocated parking booking – by a good 23 minutes.
However, to (possibly) complicate my appeal to them with this point in mind, it is now at Pre-action Protocol for debt Claim stage (PAP). This is because my son, who is the owner of the car, inadvertently did not change the address on the V5C for some time. This has meant all related communications also missed the end of our Royal Mail redirection by many months.
I’m trying to decide whether the ‘address change issue’ may be a problem if CEL refuses to accept the evidence that has now come to light, and it goes to court, or whether it’s wholly irrelevant.
If I would have been able to see the very first PCN, I would have been able to refute it there and then.
Interestingly, CEL has offered to reduce the debt to £100 as a gesture of goodwill. No doubt to reduce their own costs now, if the case did go to court and they lost? I guess the same could be said of me!

Do I understand the situation correctly?
You were wrongfully issued with a PCN because of a mistake made by the parking company. You have conclusive proof that you did not overstay and are not liable for any charge. You did not receive notices because of a failure to advise DVLA of change of address/ownership.
While a failure to notify DVLA is an offence, that is between you and them (of course, the parking company can grass on you if it chooses!) But how can you be liable for a parking charge which should not have been levied in the first place?
Of course the best way to deal with it would have been through the appeals process (had you known about the charge). But the original error was made by the company . How can they issue an penalty for an infringement which was not committed?
Or am I missing something here?

Exactly, Vincent.
My concern is that by protesting to CEL on that point alone, at the stage we now find ourselves in, they may wish to agree or ignore that fact and yet still try and pursue the accrued debt at the county court. If so, I could be at the mercy of the judge on the associated DVLA issue which ‘may’ attract a negative view and influence the outcome. Conversely, it may not do, and the outcome may work in my favour. All known unknowns. I think I need legal advice to properly way up the pros and cons of appealing the CEL and/or having to defend at court.

To give valid legal advice a person needs to be properly qualified with a current practising certificate. Even then, it is only an opinion – a court can sometimes return a surprising (and seemingly unjust) decision, no matter how confident a solicitor is that the case will go for or against you. I hope you are able to find good legal advice at a small enough price to make it worthwhile. There is a lot of good and bad advice available on the internet.
Ultimately, it appears that the parking firm is pursuing a debt which arises out of a mistake on their part. You can prove they are totally and utterly wrong. I certainly wouldn’t want to send them £100 as a reward for their error. I have no idea how vigorously DVLA pursues cases of late registration – I imagine in these COVID times staff there have a lot to deal with (there have been reports in the press of outbreaks there).

Clare says:
19 February 2021

Hi, just received a parking charge notice – I feel really aggrieved because I was literally dropping my 16 year old daughter off at a hotel (currently in lockdown obviously) so that she could undergo training to assist with the covid vaccination programme. There was nobody else in the hotel and I was there 20 mins until she started her course … I dare say I will be receiving another one for when I picked her up! This just seems really unfair, and morally wrong – it is worth me appealing or is it just tough? Never had a parking charge in my life! It’s with ParkingEye.

Hi Clare, that’s really frustrating. You can appeal this if you wish too. You would have to go through Parking Eye first to make an appeal where I expect they would need to see some evidence and reasoning for appeal. If you do have it rejected it you can take it to POPLA (Parking on Private Land Appeals). Worth mentioning though that if you pay your ticket within 14 days you get a 40% discount this timeframe isn’t extended if you decide to appeal. So if you choose not to pay in 14 days, and your appeal is rejected, you will have to pay the full amount. Which does seem really unfair!

I’ve included some useful links to follow to find out more –

https://www.parkingeye.co.uk/motorist/how-to-appeal-your-pcn/

https://www.which.co.uk/consumer-rights/letter/letter-to-contest-a-parking-ticket-on-private-land

What is also unfair is paying the extortionate penalties that such minor misdemeanours attract. One day we might persuade someone to take this up on behalf of consumers.

Do you know of a reputable consumer organisation with teeth willing to take this on malcolm?

Regrettably no, alfa.

We have heard a lot about taking responsibility for our actions when buying goods online and from my own experience this is an effective way of avoiding parking charges.

If you contact Which? Legal I believe they will provide personal advice if you do receive a parking charge.

That is perfectly true but does not excuse excessive penalty charges whether it is for a genuine error, a lack of attention, or even a deliberate infraction. I believe penalties should generally be applied as it both controls parking and deters those otherwise unwilling to pay. Monitoring parking and imposing penalties is not that difficult but I would have thought a £20 (say) charge would still deter most people but not be seen as such a cash cow and arouse so much resentment.

I cannot remember the figure but many appeals are successful. I want to see trivial penalties waived or better still not issued. We have heard of people being charged while they have stopped to read the parking conditions.

Even with the current high penalties many take the risk of overstaying and I believe that lowering the penalty to what you regard as an acceptable figure would encourage more to take the chance. There is a free car park within a short walk from our town centre. Thanks to introducing a high charge for overstaying and enforcing it I have been able to find a space every time I have visited since. Prior to this, people who worked in the town were parking there all day. There are long-stay parks for that.

Maybe, but I doubt I, or many others, would risk £20 if it significantly exceeds the parking charge, given that parking (in my area anyway) is comprehensively monitored and it is odds on you will be caught.

I agree with Malcolm. A £20 charge would be enough to put me off overstaying in a car park (unless I was in a particularly expensive area where a day’s parking costs significantly more). The reason charges are so high is because it is an unregulated “industry” which aims to squeeze the maximum profit out of its activities. The parking firms are charging as much as they feel they can get away with – they know if they went any higher than the current advisory maximum of £100 they would risk attracting the attention of the sleepy motoring organisations, getting more adverse (to them) decisions in court and ultimately perhaps tighter legislation than POFA.

I would go further than Malcolm. An awful lot of car parks could operate perfectly well with a pay-on-exit system. No need for penalties. Make it free for two hours then £5 per hour thereafter, and most motorists would be out within two hours. Of course these systems do not garner the obscene profits currently enjoyed by parking companies.

Hi Vincent – I am all in favour of regulation of the parking industry. What I have proposed earlier is that tolerance is introduced so that motorists are not charged for an occasional minor offence but they should face the full penalty for repeat offences. It would work where information is recorded on a computer. I agree with your suggestion of escalating rates where this is practical.

Chirag is correct in respect of the driver’s appeal rights, but if you challenge the PCN within14 days [i.e. write to the issuing company or the authority as appropriate] and the challenge is rejected you can then either pay the discounted parking or penalty charge within 14 days of the decision or follow through with a formal appeal to the adjudicator; if the appeal to the adjudicator is not upheld then the fine is payable at the full rate. Specific regulations and timescales might differ between local authority penalty charges [which are decriminalised fines] and private land parking charges [which are a civil debt] but the challenge and appeal rights should be stated with the issue of the PCN.

My view on Clare’s case is that an appeal to POPLA is unlikely to succeed. There are no technical grounds for cancelling the charge so the only hope would be compassionate grounds or goodwill, so if the enforcement company [Parking Eye] rejects her challenge I cannot see the appeal body overturning it because it is within the company’s absolute discretion. I would advise paying the charge at the discounted rate if that is still possible.

I think it is highly likely that Clare will unfortunately get a second ticket for her second use of the car park because Parking Eye rely entirely on automatic enforcement by CCTV cameras. Unlike foot patrols they are continuously active from the second a vehicle arrives until the second it exits, and tickets are issued automatically without human intervention. There is a slight hope that a challenge in that event might succeed on the grounds that Clare had no way of knowing that her earlier contravention on the same day had generated an enforcement action. If a ticket had been placed on her windscreen on the first occasion she would not have parked there a second time.

I presume that the required parking terms notices were clearly displayed? If they were not then that should be the basis of appeal. If they were clear then ignoring them when staying for 20 minutes does not really constitute “dropping someone off”. I presume some time is permitted for this otherwise taxis, for example, dropping residents off, would have a problem.

I agree with Malcolm. If notices were clearly displayed and Clare left her car for 20 minutes without paying, that would constitute a parking offence.

CCTV footage should, by law, be installed in all parking areas used by the public, whether chargeable or free, to be used as a means of providing evidence of any parking transgression or accident occurring therein, in the event of parking disputes or no witness vehicle accidents, and this evidence should be made freely available to all parties involved in such incidences.

It is estimated 20% of all vehicle accidents take place in car parking areas, but the perpetrators, in the absence of any witnesses will often get off Scott free, leaving their victims to pick up the pieces of their negligence without the back-up of CCTV coverage or other laudable photographic means.

I am not in favour of extending the law to make it compulsory for parking providers to install CCTV as Beryl proposes. Many local authority parking places are free of charge so there is no revenue to support such surveillance. Moreover, with the best will in the world, unless it is a very extensive system, CCTV will not provide continuous coverage of an entire car park at all times under all conditions. I realise this is a controversial point but people use car parks at their own risk and the risk of damage to their car in a shunt or in a badly executed manoeuvre is generally insurable.

It would obviously be useful to have access to CCTV footage in the event of a claim or a dispute but operators are not obliged to release the data or even to retain it indefinitely – and the more cameras required, the more onerous such a requirement would become. One precaution drivers could take when parking is to take a photo of the vehicles opposite and on either side at the time they leave their car; the situation could change during their absence but there is a 50/50 chance of it being useful in the event of an incident.

I must admit I wish parking bays would be reconfigured to take account of the greater length and width of many modern vehicles which drivers struggle to negotiate in and out of parking places. There are usually height limits but I have never seen length and breadth restrictions. The other thing that would make collisions less damaging is a standard universal bumper or crumple zone height so that the other car’s fender doesn’t smash our car’s headlights.

I take your point John, but my comment was based on actual experience, which cost me both stressfully and financially. Insurers are not interested in any mitigating circumstances if no witnesses are present at an accident and will, nine times out of ten, only settle for a 50/50 split.

I would wager most people would welcome convincing evidence if they felt they have been unjustly fined for parking, as the countless comments on the subject will testify.

If you have nothing to hide I fail to understand why innocent victims should not to be entitled to access of visual evidence from both private and public parking organisations. When I was fined for straying into a bus lane, I was forwarded CCTV footage, after which I felt compelled to payi up within the reduced allocated 14 days instead of the full amount for delayed payment.

Beryl – I agree that if a driver is accused of a traffic violation or a parking contravention they must be entitled to view the evidence.

Much as I sympathise with your experience, I would expect insurers to take photographic evidence into account where it is available, which is why I suggested drivers take pictures of vehicles in the vicinity when they park, but I don’t regard it as reasonable to place a legal obligation on car park operators to make CCTV evidence available for evidential purposes involving claims and disputes between vehicle owners and their insurers. The situation in a car park is the same as if you park on the street and your car is hit by another vehicle that does not stop or the driver leaves no details.

I expect insurance companies rarely depart from industry-wide conventions on settling claims. Perhaps they consider that over a lifetime it cuts both ways. They would probably argue that premiums would have to go up if they relaxed their approach.

John, if there is no CCTV evidence, drivers would be unable to view the evidence, which would disadvantage them if they were victims of another’s carelessness or negligence, and they were unfairly fined for a parking contravention.

Clare’s experience was similar to mine when I strayed into a bus lane. I was on my way to an emergency hospital visit authorised by my GP. If I had been in ambulance or driving one, the situation would have been different as ambulances are permitted to drive in bus lanes in an emergency.

Not everyone is in possession of a smart phone or a dash-cam to visually record an incident. Any parking facility open for public use needs to provide proof of any justification for fines sent to unsuspecting patrons.

On the public highway there is always evidence to support the issue of a penalty charge notice. Moving traffic violations [speeding, driving in a bus lane during the restricted period, failing to stop at a traffic signal] are usually captured on a CCTV camera and an image [showing relevant time, date, location and speed details] is the evidence; it would normally be sent out with the notice.

I don’t think the same can be said for all private land enforcements but the operator probably has some evidential means of justifying each parking charge notice that they could be required to produce at an adjudication hearing [e.g. POPLA].

Parking in a bus lane might be dealt with by CCTV or might have been recorded by a parking enforcement officer on patrol who would then affix the PCN to the windscreen; sometimes the enforcement officer takes a picture which is also available as evidence. All parking tickets issued on the public highway by a parking enforcement officer show the relevant details [including the time, date and location, tyre inflation valve positions, the vehicle make and model, and any identifying features of the vehicle] as recorded by the officer in their hand held computer and/or official notebook; if the PCN is challenged the notebook entries can be used in evidence.

Whereas it might be desirable for all parking places to be under total and continuous surveillance to record incidents, that is not necessary for the enforcement of entry and exit times [and thus the length of stay]. It only requires perhaps two ANPR* cameras to record the entry of a vehicle and then its subsequent exit and record the times. If no payment is made, as in Clare’s case, then a parking charge notice is automatically generated. Such systems also calculate the number of spaces occupied and vacant, and the number available is sometimes displayed in real time on external signs. If the car park operator also needs to enforce the correct occupation of parking bays then additional cameras would be required but that is usually secondary to duration and rarely implemented because it would require a very large number of cameras. Any other cameras in a car park are mainly for general observation and security purposes for use by the management.

All PCN’s, whether for public highway or private land contraventions, are open to challenge and then appeal. With moving traffic violations, I would expect a local authority to give very careful consideration to a challenge to a PCN for driving in a bus lane if there was an emergency justification for which appropriate evidence was provided. The camera images would be replayed to check the road and traffic conditions and any relevant factors; if the local authority rejected the challenge the decision could then be appealed to the adjudicator who would review the evidence.

* ANPR – Automatic Number Plate Recognition; by a link to the DVLA database these can identify the registered keeper to enable the issue of a PCN. Little human intervention in the process is required.

I spent over an hour on the ‘phone talking to the ombudsman about the need for visual evidence in public and private parking areas. At the same time, I requested the conversation be recorded, as the ombudsman needed to be made aware of the lengths insurance companies will go to in order to profit financially from their law abiding, fault free clients in the absence of obtainable visual evidence. In the majority of cases, mitigating circumstances are rarely sanctioned and most drivers will just pay up within the 14 day period in order to avoid paying the full amount of the fine and the ongoing stress that inevitably ensues.

In caz’s case, he stopped to brush the snow from his car and states he has visual evidence to that effect. This, unfortunately, would indicate that he failed to remove the snow from his car before driving it from where it was originally parked, in which case he didn’t need to stop on double yellow lines. He doesn’t say whether the snow from his car covered the yellow lines or whether they were already covered with snow before he stopped. I think he needs to make that clear if he decides to take the matter further to an appeal.

In the absence of visual evidence however, the only people who stand to profit financially are the owners of the land upon which you have parked your vehicle. The human condition will occasionally cause drivers to disregard or overlook the rules; it happens to most of us, dependent upon whatever is going on in our lives at the time, but if you decide to park your vehicle on someone else’s land and you have adhered to the signs clearly displayed, then you should be afforded visual evidence, essential if you feel you have been unfairly accused of not having done so.

That is why I would advocate the need for CCTV coverage on all public and private parking areas where you will receive some protection from both ruthless profit making land owners, or negligent drivers who will quickly drive off after damaging your property, leaving you to pick up the pieces, or worse, an insurance company that will regard you as guilty unless you have convincing CCTV coverage or a witness present at the scene of an accident.

With regard to the problem of car park hit and run collisions, this is an area where dascams can be a great help. For example see:-https://youtu.be/1XhyDxuKMcc

In this example, the dashcam footage was used hold the guilty party to account.

I cannot see the connection between getting a parking ticket and an insurance claim. So far as I am aware you cannot get an insurance policy to cover your car in the event of a parking contravention, but perhaps I have misunderstood the situation.

Damage occurring in a car park due to a collision is no different to the same happening on the public highway. Collisions might be more prevalent in car parks [albeit at much lower speeds] but I don’t see why car park operators should have to install CCTV cameras in case a collision occurs and the parties wish to have visual evidence.

As Derek has explained, drivers can try to help themselves in the event of an incident by fitting a dashcam. Basic ones are quite cheap, but they don’t give all-round coverage of a scene – but then neither do CCTV cameras.

As I suggested previously, one of the problems these days is the inequality of mass between different vehicles. Some vehicles are so heavy and bulky they can cause much more damage than they suffer. Years ago the repair bills for a low-speed impact were likely to be similar for both parties, which was an incentive to take care when manoeuvring in a tight spot. Now the drivers of large vehicles can hit smaller ones with little impression made on their own vehicle. Unscrupulous drivers will exit the scene a.s.a.p. but we have always had to put up with unscrupulous people.

When issuing a PCN, car park operators must have evidence that the subject vehicle was in the wrong place at the wrong time, not that it was in a specific place at a certain time. In many cases, evidence that the vehicle was in the car park and for how long it was there is all the evidence they need and its exact location is immaterial.

John, I think I have provided more than enough evidence to demonstrate the advantages for drivers who would benefit from CCTV coverage whilst
parking in a public or privately owned car park. If you are not convinced by my endeavours to demonstrate that to you, I am afraid there is nothing more I can add to this particular debate.

Beryl – I don’t dispute there are potential advantages but I question whether car park operators should be required to provide comprehensive CCTV coverage which is not necessary for parking enforcement purposes. For local authority car parks it would add significant operating costs for no particular benefit to the council. Only legislation could make it happen and I suggest there are higher priorities in the world of parking enforcement like reforming the penalty tariff to make it more proportionate to the significance of the contravention, requiring standardised signs and notices in parking places on private land, removing anomalies between the enforcement regime on private sites and the local authority procedures, and a consistent appeals standard across both sectors.

I have just received a parking ticket for stopping to brush the snow off my car, there is a picture of me doing it it was for 4 mins 6 seconds and the snow covered the ground so i didn’t see any yellow lines do you think i should appeal

Certainly, caz. On highway safety grounds alone that is a good and legitimate reason to occupy a no-waiting area for a short period. The fact that any yellow lines were obscured by the snow is another reason why the ticket should be cancelled.

Unfortunately, your vehicle number plate must have been fully visible to the camera at the time.