Parking tickets and penalty charges: know your rights
Parking tickets are getting more common and expensive. RAC research shows total charges rose 4% to £1.5 billion in 2016-17. The good news is you don’t always have to pay. Last year, appeals service POPLA said around 50% of appeals resulted in cancellation. You just have to know your rights.
Types of charge
Parking fines fall into three categories:
1. Penalty Charge Notices (PCN) or Excess Charge Notices (ECN) issued by the council on public land, such as a high street.
2. Parking Charge Notice from a landowner or company on private property, such as store car parks.
3. Fixed Penalty Notice (FPN) from the police for illegally parking in areas forbidden by the Highway Code.
Challenging council penalties (PCNs)
You have 28 days to challenge a PCN. Do it within 14 and you could still keep your 50% reduction for early payment if it’s rejected.
You’ll need to send the local parking enforcement team a clear reason why the charge is incorrect or unfair. Include all the evidence to avoid going back and forth. If they won’t budge, you can appeal to an independent tribunal.
Challenging private charges
Check the British Parking Association (BPA) or International Parking Community (IPC) websites to see if the company is an Accredited Trade Association (ATA) member. If not, you don’t have to give them your details or pay.
If they are members, write to the company explaining your situation. If that doesn't work, appeal via POPLA. It's free, and administered by the Ombudsman Service.
Appealing police tickets (FPNs)
You have to challenge FPNs in a magistrates’ court. The back of your ticket will tell you about the process. Once you send your case in, you have to wait for a summons and plead your case.
Prevention is better than cure. If you’re not sure where to park, use the O2 Drive app to find on and off-street parking. And you’ll find other features like Car Assistant, journey scores and driving tips, to help make driving a doddle.