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Getting a parking ticket from the council can be annoying, especially if you don’t have much free cash to cover the fine. But if you don’t think you deserve it, you could challenge the parking ticket.

You can do this by appealing to your local council and telling them why you shouldn’t have to pay the parking fine. But a recent report from the Local Government Ombudsman for England showed that some councils don’t make this clear to motorists.

Don’t worry – if you’ve got a reason to challenge your ticket, you can do this and you should. We’ll take you through how you can do this.

Are you at fault?

Of course, we don’t just mean you can challenge a parking ticket if you just don’t want to pay it but you were at fault. If you park in a Controlled Parking Zone when it’s in operation, you’ll get a Penalty Charge Notice. If the council was fair in giving you a ticket, you’ll have to pay it.

But if you genuinely think you shouldn’t have to pay your parking ticket, you should challenge it. Here are some of the main reasons why you might look to challenge your ticket.

•  You didn’t break any rules – e.g. you didn’t stay over the time limit but you got a ticket for doing this.

•  A parking meter was broken so you couldn’t buy a ticket to park somewhere.

•  The Controlled Parking Zone markings weren’t clear – e.g. the sign to tell you about the zone was missing or blocked from view by trees.

•  If someone borrowed your car and they got the ticket. The council should cancel the Penalty Charge Notice against you and issue one against whoever borrowed the car.

•  If your car broke down and you were waiting for your insurer to tow it away, you can say that you couldn’t move it.

•  You were only a few minutes late. Councils should give you a grace period of five to 10 minutes before giving you a ticket.

What you can do

You should be as sure as you possibly can that you shouldn’t need to pay a parking ticket before you appeal it – and make sure have some evidence for this. That’s because if you pay off a parking fine in the first 14 days, you can usually pay it half-price. If you appeal, you’ll be out of this time limit so if the council rules that you do have to pay it, it will cost more.

Don’t let this put you off challenging the ticket if you do think you have a genuine case though. If you write to the council as soon as you get the parking ticket, this is an informal challenge. The council should respond to this relatively quickly so if they reject your claim, you can still pay the fine at the lower amount.

But if you’re still convinced you don’t deserve the parking ticket, you can take it to a formal appeal. You council can send you a form to do this. Make sure you put in all of the relevant information and evidence, even the details you put in the original informal appeal. That way, whoever looks over your claim can make an informed decision about whether you’re right or not.

The council should respond to your appeal within 56 days. If they turn you down again but you still want to pursue it, you can apply to the independent adjudicator. The adjudicator you’ll appeal to will depend on where you got the parking ticket. They are:

•  England and Wales: Traffic Penalty Tribunal,

•  Northern Ireland: Northern Ireland Traffic Penalty Tribunal,

•  London: London Tribunals, and

•  Scotland: The Scottish Parking Appeals Service (0131 221 0409).

You can appeal in person or over the phone and you should get a verdict immediately. You can also apply online or by writing – you’ll usually get a letter to tell you what your result is for this. Don’t worry about a face-to-face hearing – this isn’t like going to court and if you’ve got a genuine case, it will be well worth the trouble.

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