First Parking – Should I Pay or Appeal? 2022

HomePrivate Parking FinesFirst Parking – Should I Pay or Appeal? 2022
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Has a recent trip to a hospital or university open day ended up costing you more due to First Parking? This private company can issue private parking tickets called Parking Charge Notices. Learn what to do when you receive one, right here. 

Do You Have to Pay?

In many circumstances, parking tickets are not enforceable.

It’s a bit sneaky, but last time I had a parking fine, I paid £5 for a trial to chat with an online solicitor.

Not only did I save £50 on solicitor fees, I also won my case and didn’t have to pay my £271 fine.

You can try it out now, just remember to cancel the trial once you’ve got your answer.

Who are First Parking?

First Parking is a car park management company that helps private businesses to operate their car parks and identify parking abuse. They offer a range of technologies to help drivers pay for parking at the car parks they manage, and they use special cameras to spot when people don’t park or overstay.

First Parking has a number of clients, many of which come from the higher education sector. They manage the car parks of colleges and universities across the UK. They’re also known to manage car parks for the NHS and some property management businesses. 

Is the Just Park app free?

JustPark is free to download from the Apple Store or from Google Play. You can use the JustPark app to pay for parking at car parks managed by First Parking. You can also use other apps to pay at these car parks, such as Ringo and Pay by Phone. 

This is possible because their technology merges with existing technologies used to pay for parking in the UK. 

First Parking PCNs explained

First Parking doesn’t just identify car park abuse, they also try to punish it. When you don’t pay for parking, overstay or incorrectly park (i.e. not parking in a designated bay), you can be issued a Parking Charge Notice (PCN) from First Parking.

The PCN could be left attached to your vehicle windshield if the car park has on-site staff that can place it there. But it’s more likely that your parking contravention will be caught on their specialist cameras that track vehicle movements. 

When contraventions are caught on camera, First Parking will ask the DVLA for the vehicle owner’s address and send the PCN in the post. 

How much is a First Parking PCN?

First Parking can only charge drivers up to an amount capped by law. The current PCN caps stop private companies from issuing PCNs for more than £100. However, there have already been legal changes which will prevent Parking Charge Notices from costing more than £50 in most cases. But these laws won’t come into effect until some time in 2023. 

Moreover, private firms must offer a discount to any motorist who pays their PCN within 14 days of the parking contravention. They must offer at least 40% off in these situations. 

Do you have to pay a First Parking ticket?

If you’re guilty of a parking contravention in a car park managed by First Parking they have the right to issue you a Parking Charge Notice. Whether you do or don’t pay is slightly more complicated.

Parking Charge Notices aren’t considered to be real parking fines. Real parking fines are only issued by local authorities and they’re called Penalty Charge Notices. It’s not a coincidence that private firms have made their parking tickets sound like real parking fines – and with the same PCN abbreviation. 

The document you’ve received from First Parking is actually considered an invoice for a service provided. The invoice amount is higher than the service fee (paying for parking) would have been if you’d paid the right amount while in the car park, as per the terms and conditions you agree to by entering the car park. 

Invoices should be paid when due, but you’re technically not forced to pay them until a judge orders you to pay. This is why so many online forums tell people not to pay Parking Charge Notices. They’ll tell you to sit tight and hope it goes away.

This is a possibility and some people do get away without paying. But you might experience something different when you don’t pay…

What happens if you don’t pay First Parking?

When you don’t pay a First Parking PCN you will receive further letters and payment requests. They may even add fees to the total owed. 

First Parking could send you a Letter Before Action, which is a letter that asks you to cough up or expect legal action against you. They may employ a debt collection agency to do this on their behalf. 

Legal threats aren’t always real, but it’s best to assume they are. If you want to 100% avoid being taken to court over the matter, it’s best to pay the parking fine. If you lose in court you could have to face enforcement agents (bailiffs) and they add even more fees to a growing debt. 

But there is one more option. 

Appeal your First Parking PCN instead

You can appeal a First Parking PCN within 28 days of the ticket being issued. You should not pay before appealing because it would make the appeal invalid. Your appeal must be in writing as directed by the parking ticket instructions, and it should include the reason why you want the ticket cancelled. 

To improve your chances of getting the PCN cancelled, you’ll need to support any statement you make with evidence. For example, if you were broken down and waiting for a mechanic, you could show the invoice from the mechanic. 

Read the best excuses to get you out of a PCN at MoneyNerd. 

Do You Have to Pay?

In many circumstances parking tickets are not enforceable.

It’s a bit sneaky, but last time I had a parking fine, I paid £5 for a trial to chat to an online solicitor.

Not only did I save £50 on solicitor fees, I also won my case and didn’t have to pay my £271 fine.

You can try it out now, just remember to cancel the trial once you’ve got your answer.


Appeal rejected – now what?

If your appeal is rejected you have the right to take the appeal further. You can usually ask POPLA to look at the appeal one last time and make a final decision. This service is free of charge. 

Should you pay or appeal the parking fine?

The decision to pay or appeal should be based on individual circumstances. There’s no blanket answer for everyone. If you do pay, make sure to take advantage of the discounted rate by paying early.