THE last thing you want to see when your return to your car is a parking ticket.
How do I appeal a parking ticket?
The best way to beat a parking charge is to avoid getting one in the first place – but if you do come back to your car and find a ticket there are some ways of beating the system.
However, how you appeal will depend on the type of parking ticket you have – so it’s important to check before you start the process.
Here’s how the process of an appeal works.
Once you have received a parking notice, the first stop is hold of paying the amount find if you’re hoping to appeal.
The second step is to read the information provided on the ticket so you know how long you have to challenge then fine.
Once you’ve got an idea of how long you have, you can make an initial appeal to the ticket issuer.
You can do this by phone, post or email – make sure to include supporting evidence as to why you believe you have been incorrectly fined.
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One example would be to provide evidence showing the parking signs weren’t clear.
According to Money Saving Expert Martin Lewis, it is best to appeal within 14 days as this allows time to pay the fine at the reduced rate if your appeal is denied.
The next stage is to make a formal appeal – this happens if you’re initial appeal was turned down.
Some ticket issuers belong to independent appeal schemes which provide a free and impartial service.
When making a formal appeal, make sure to include a space for you to put the grounds for appeal.
The council has 56 days to respond to a formal appeal or you win by default.
When can I appeal a parking ticket?
A fine may be deemed unfair by the council or an independent adjudicator if:
- Signs were wrong – If the signs weren’t visible or gave the wrong information
- The traffic warden got it wrong – for example if a parking attendant thinks you stayed too long when you were in fact within the time limit
- An error on the letter or ticket- if they’ve left out any information on the ‘Notice to Owner’ letter, then you could get it waived
- You didn’t own the vehicle at the time – you’ll have to prove this, such as information you provided to the DVLA
- Your car was stolen – if a thief parked the car illegally then you can get it waived
- There was no way to pay – if a parking meter or machine was broken and there was no other way to pay
- Your car broke down – if you were given a ticket while waiting for your car to be fixed or towed away
- You couldn’t get back to your car – you should appeal your ticket if you couldn’t get back to your car because it’s difficult for you to walk because you’re disabled, you’re pregnant or you have a very young baby
How much is a parking fine if you don’t pay?
The fine on a parking ticket varies from one council to another, but most give you 28 days to pay before it increases.
In some cases, the fine is reduced by 50% if you pay within a shorter time frame, usually 14 days.
If you don’t pay a penalty charge notice (PCN) within 28 days, you’ll get a ‘charge certificate’ and you’ll have 14 days to pay the original fine plus 5% on top too.
You’ll get a court order demanding payment if you don’t pay a charge certificate within 14 days.
What are private parking fines?
An estimated 22,000 parking fines are issued daily by private firms in the UK to often unsuspecting motorists.
Any private land offering space to park can issue a PCN.
This includes supermarkets, who will usually give shoppers a 2 to 3 hour slot to park.
Strictly speaking, private parking fines aren’t even fines, they’re invoices for parking from the owner of the land.
But ignoring the charge can result in the fees dramatically increasing and threats of debt collectors, court action and damage to your credit rating.
Here’s how to spot the difference between an “official” parking fine and a private parking notice.
How to beat private parking charges
If you get a ticket, speak to the parking company straight away and ask them to hold fire on charges while you gather some evidence.
Put this in writing or put them on notice through online complaints firm Resolver.
Photograph your receipts and tickets too, just in case the originals go missing.
Explain the circumstances that lead to the charge, keep a record of all your comments and ask them to respond in writing.
Some parking firms may be intimidating to deal with – this is to get you to get you to pay up.
Photograph the car park (make sure your licence plate is visible), notices, ground markings and payment machines.
Parking information should be clearly placed and not hidden.
Lots of people have successfully appealed fees after bushes or trees swallowed up the warning signs.
Do a bit of research online – wonky payment machines, dodgy attendants and firms and other problems are often discussed on online forums.
Take a screenshot or links that prove there’s a problem with that parking area or firm.
Some people get caught out by a sudden, unannounced change of rules.
If you’ve been regularly parking and suddenly been ticketed, ask for proof as to how people have been notified about this new policy.
Talk to the landowner – many supermarket managers can cancel your ticket for instance, so stay calm and explain what’s gone on.
Many parking companies have free periods – if these aren’t clearly explained – or you’ve been charged while still in one, you have the right to take it further.
If you want to make a complaint about a private parking company you could use a free service like Resolver.
The system allows you to construct a complaint, keep track of any communication, and escalate your case to POPLA (Parking on Private Land Appeals).
You can use a template from Citizen’s Advice to write to them.
If the company is part of the International Parking Community (IPC) you can appeal to the Independent Appeals Service.
Both of these are independent services.
Unfortunately if the company is not part of these bodies you can’t use the schemes.
What did Joe Lycett say about his parking fine?
Joe explained he had been “up North” doing a show when he returned to his car and discovered a parking ticket.
He emailed York Council asking for evidence of illegal parking.
Colin from the team’s Freedom of Information team replied with a photo “of your car clearly parked in a taxi rank”.
The photo showed Joe’s car with “taxi rank” scribbled on it.
He emailed: “I see that your evidence is nothing more than a picture of the words ‘taxi rank’ written on my car. I would argue this evidence is insufficient.
“PS Apologies for the delay in replying to your previous email, I am currently on the Costa del Sol. I have provided evidence of this.”
Attached was a photo of Joe in sunglasses holding up a handwritten sign saying: “Costa del Sol”.
But Colin at York council hadn’t given up.
He emailed Joe back: “In order to reverse the fine, you will need to provide evidence that your vehicle was not in a taxi rank.”
Defiant Joe then replied: “Evidence supplied. I was actually parked on the moon as you can see clearly” with a picture of his car and The Moon scrawled on it.
Colin finally cancelled the fine.