Car parking charges: Don’t be afraid to appeal
Published 28 October 2016 by Linzi Nuttall
Don’t get stung by car parking fines, know how to appeal them.
Parking your car can be a nightmare at times, especially when all you’ve done is pop down to your local shops for a few items and it ends up costing you a fortune due to getting a parking penalty. Regardless of whether you agree or disagree with the fine, this unnecessary cost usually leaves a bad taste in the mouth.
But could you be successful if you contest the parking fine? Let’s take a look at whether you could appeal your ticket.
Attention to detail
A recent story in the press explains how one driver made a typo error on a ticket machine and was hit by a huge fine. The simple mistake of typing an ‘O’ instead of an ‘0’ while putting in her registration number cost £84 on top of her £3 to use the private car park. Though she lost her appeal lodged with the Parking on Private Land Appeals Ombudsman, it’s a harsh reminder how important it is to watch out for smaller details when parking on private land.
If a car is parked on private land, or the ticketing machine requires you to input the registration of your vehicle, be sure to get it right. Don’t let this catch you out. A small slip of the finger should fall under ‘de minimis’, meaning a minimal and trivial detail that shouldn’t really count legally.
So if this happens to you and you believe there’s a genuine case to appeal, stick to your guns and see it through to the end. But if you fail, be prepared to pay the full fine with possible charges added on.
Charges on council land
If you get a ticket from the council for leaving your car in a Controlled Parking Zone, this will be a Penalty Charge Notice. You can appeal this within 14 days of receiving it. If you choose to do so and the council rejects it, the council must issue you with a formal ‘notice to owner’. This gives you an extra 10 days to appeal. If you lose this again, the council could expect you to pay the full penalty. You don’t need to assume this is the end though – you can still appeal this decision and escalate it to an independent adjudicator.
At this point, the council must send an ‘appeal notice’ with their final rejection letter and explain that you can take this further to an independent adjudication via the Traffic Penalty Tribunal.
Charges on private land
A ticket issued on private land is different, as it’s issued with a Parking Charge Notice – not a Penalty Charge Notice. This is likely to be governed by the British Parking Association or the International Parking Community. If it isn’t, you can refuse to pay if you think you have a good reason for not doing so. In this case, the private company can choose to take you to court – this will cost them a £25 application fee. It’s highly unlikely they’ll do this, but again it’s your choice to refuse or appeal. Similarly, if you aren’t happy with a fine on private land, appeal it.
You can do this via the independent Parking on Private Land Appeals, who consider disputes between members of the British Parking Association and motorists. Remember, the law has changed and you can no longer be clamped, nor will they send out a debt collector, unless the court has agreed they’re right to fine.
How to appeal a parking charge
In order to appeal a parking charge, it’s always vital to have “a well-reasoned argument for not paying”. Be sure to have all your facts written down and any photographs that could be necessary for your side of the appeal. If your car broke down in a car park or something happened to you or a family member and you couldn’t get back in time, be sure to keep all the details and evidence.
It might be worth trying to fight a ticket if the car park is poorly signposted, or you feel the charge is excessive. In this circumstance, you might be able to send a cheque with the amount you feel is fair. AppealNow and DoNotPay can help you tackle an unfair parking charge. If there is a genuine and honest reason for a fine to be appealed, there’s no reason to be aggrieved by it – fight it instead.
But remember, don’t be caught out by a slip of the finger – be sure to type your registration details correctly whenever you park!