I’ve got a parking ticket – what are my rights?
We all know that familiar sinking feeling only too well. You get back to your car and there’s a yellow sticker on the windshield. You’ve got a parking ticket. It’s hardly the best way to spend £70 now is it? But is there anything you can do about it or do you have to pay up? Every case isn’t clear cut and depends on a number of factors. We’ve put together some of the basics below to help you.
- Ticket type – check the type of parking ticket you have before you start. How to appeal will be different depending on if it’s a:
- Penalty Charge Notice (PCN) or Excess Charge Notice (ECN) from the council – issued on public land, such as a high street
- Parking Charge Notice from a landowner or parking company – issued on private land, such as a supermarket car park
- Fixed Penalty Notice from the police – issued on red routes, white zig zags or where the police manage parking
- Don’t pay if you’re appealing – don’t pay a parking ticket that you’re appealing. Once the penalty is paid you have accepted the fine. It is imperative that you consider the context of the ticket – how to appeal and who to appeal to?
- It’s not fair – If you believe the ticket has been incorrectly given or has been unfairly issued then appeal the fine
- Don’t ever think of private parking tickets as ‘fines’ – they are not. Private parking companies have no official right to fine you, though they may try to make you think they do. They are effectively sending you a notice for what they deem to be a breach of contract. If it’s a private fine which you wish to dispute, don’t pay up straight away as it’s much harder to get back cash already paid
- Who’s liable? – parking operators in the UK are allowed to hold the vehicle’s owner liable for unpaid charges if they don’t know who the driver was and the owner refuses, or is unable, to name the driver
- Gather evidence – if you plan to appeal and are still at the scene, gather as much real evidence as you can. Photos are essential – for example if the site is poorly sign posted take photos of the area to support your argument
- Prevention is better than cure – remember it’s much easier to avoid getting a penalty fare than to appeal one. Here’s our top 5 tops on how:
- Beware of double yellow lines
- Don’t drop off or pick up at a bus stop
- Don’t park with wheels on the pavement
- Know what floor and bay markings mean
- Understand parking signs