Your guide to parking fines

If you’ve wandered back to your vehicle to find a parking ticket stuck on the window, your heart sinks and you might let out the odd curse or two. But, if you think you’ve been issued a ticket in error, you may be able to challenge it.

Your grounds to challenge the ticket will centre on who it has been issued by – public officials (police officers or council workers) and private companies (multi-storey car parks, supermarkets, hospitals and retail parks) – so the first thing you should do is look at the issuer.

In this article, we’ll guide you through the different appeals processes including what is considered good grounds for an appeal and when you might be better off just paying the fine and moving on with your life.

From an insurance point of view, certain types of parking fines can even result in you picking up some penalty points. So, it’s best to be swift in taking action and not deliberate too much.

Before we get into our guide to parking fines, here’s a bit of terminology to bear in mind as your read it:

·         Penalty charge notice: Issued by local authorities if you park for too long or in an incorrect spot in a public area.

·         Parking charge notice: Issued by private companies for breaching parking rules on private land e.g. parking for three hours in a supermarket car park when the maximum is two hours.

Have you been fairly issued the ticket?

Sometimes it’s an easy decision to make on whether you should challenge a parking ticket or not.

If, for example, your vehicle has spent longer than it should have in the car park – or you’ve forgotten to buy a ticket altogether – then it’s probably fair to say that the penalty/parking charge notice has been issued fairly.

However, there might still be an argument for challenging the fine if you feel like the circumstances you’ve been issued the ticket are unfair.

For instance, a parking dispute made the local news in Peterborough recently, when a man received 20 parking charge notices after a mix up saw him mistakenly pay for tickets for the short-stay rather than the long-stay car park. He said that he will not pay up and is prepared to take the issue to court, although he hopes “it can be dealt with before.” 

The Citizens Advice website lists the circumstances in which it would be worth your while appealing a parking ticket:

·         You were parked in the right place where you should have been
·         The parking signs or road markings were unclear
·         There was no way for you to pay the charge
·         You were charged too much
·         You weren’t driving when the ticket was issued
·         You couldn’t get back to your car
·         Your car broke down
·         You were only just out of time stated on the ticket


Challenging a penalty charge notice

A judges gavel and scales
You usually have 28 days to pay a penalty charge notice (PCN) but it might be reduced if you pay within two weeks (14 days).

If you believe you have grounds to challenge a PCN, you have 28 days to do so. If you do it within 14 days and your challenge is rejected, you may only have to pay 50% of the fine.

Check the ticket – there are different rules for some types of PCN. The following table is from the website:
Type of PCN How you usually challenge it
Local council PCN - received on the spot, for example on your windscreen Make an informal challenge with the council
Local council PCN - received in the post, ie you were sent a ‘notice to owner’ Make a formal challenge (called a ‘representation’) with the council
Dart Charge PCN Make a representation with Dart Charge
Red route PCN Make a representation with Transport for London (TfL)
Congestion charge PCN Make a representation with TfL
Low emission zone PCN Make a representation with TfL
You will not have to pay the fine if your informal challenge is accepted. If it’s rejected, you’ll get a ‘notice to owner’ explain how to make a formal challenge.

Making a formal challenge

You have 28 days to make a formal challenge (called a ‘representation’) after you get a notice to owner. You must:

·         explain your reasons for challenging the PCN in as much detail as possible
·         provide copies of any evidence or documents to support your challenge

You will not have to pay the fine if your representation is accepted. If it’s rejected, you’ll get a ‘notice of rejection’ – it will give you 28 days to pay or appeal to an independent tribunal.

If you do not pay or appeal, you’ll have to pay a late penalty (‘charge certificate’).

Challenging a parking charge notice

Private companies often set similar terms around paying a penalty charge notice – you’ll usually be given 28 days to pay in full, or for a reduced amount in 14 days.

However, the charge can often be higher for an infringement – some private companies will issue tickets demanding over £100.

According to consumer group Which? There is a good chance you might not have to pay the charge if you appeal.

If you do think you have grounds to appeal, the private firm that issued the charge should set out how to do this on your charge notice or on its website.

If the firm rejects your appeal, you can take your challenge a step further if you think it’s unfair. Go to the relevant appeal adjudicator with your rejection reference number.

Much like appealing a PCN, state clearly your reasons for appeal and provide relevant evidence (this can be receipts, witness statements, or even footage from your dash cam if you have one).

Where can I buy car insurance as a convicted driver?

A parking fine is different from a motoring offence. However, if you’re a convicted driver, we don’t discriminate.

Insurance Factory understands that the past is the past, and is dedicated to helping drivers with convictions get back on the road – without paying through the roof for the privilege.

We offer policies to drivers who may have otherwise been denied cover by other insurance companies.

Find convicted drivers insurance

Every driver is different, which is why Insurance Factory will consider your individual circumstances when arranging cover.

The company has over 20 years of experience arranging convicted drivers insurance and that level of understanding suggests that you’re in good hands.

The convictions Insurance Factory considers include:

·         IN10 – Convicted of driving without insurance
·        DR10 – Convicted of driving or attempting to drive with a blood alcohol level
                         exceeding allowable limits
·         SP50 – Convicted of exceeding the speed limit on a motorway
·         DD10 – Convicted of driving in a dangerous manner
·         DD20 – Convicted of driving at a dangerous speed
·         DD30 – Convicted of reckless driving
·         Non-motoring convictions

Affordable premiums needn’t be a thing of the past!

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