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Penalty Charge Notice

How to Check Penalty Charge Notice – How to View a Fine

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Scott
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Scott Nelson

Managing Director

MoneyNerd’s founder, Scott Nelson, has a decade of financial industry experience, including 6 years in FCA regulated loan and credit card companies. Troubled by a lack of conscience in the industry, he founded MoneyNerd to give genuine advice to those in debt and struggling financially.

Learn more about Scott
&
Janine
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Janine Marsh

Financial Expert

Janine Marsh is an award-winning presenter and a valuable member of the MoneyNerd team. With a wealth of experience as a financial expert, she's been featured on BBC Radio 4, BBC Local Radio, and BBC Five Live, and is a regular on Co-op Radio.

Learn more about Janine
· Feb 27th, 2024
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how to check penalty charge notice

Did you receive a Penalty Charge Notice (PCN) and not sure what to do next? Don’t worry. This guide is here to help you. Every month, more than 130,000 people use our website to learn about fines and parking tickets. Believe it or not, Churchill Motor Insurance reports that in 2022, UK councils issued an average of 19,631 daily parking fines, a 12% increase from the previous year.1

We know that receiving a PCN can be quite upsetting and tricky. So, in this guide, we’ll help you to:

  • Understand what a PCN is and why you might have one.
  • Learn if you have to pay it at once.
  • Know how to challenge the charge if you feel it’s not right.
  • Find out situations where you might not need to pay.
  • Discover what could happen if you decide not to pay.

We’ve been in your shoes before, and we are here to assist you. Let’s help you understand the details…

64% of Appeals Succeed

In some circumstances, you might have a legitimate reason not to pay your fine.

It’s a bit sneaky, but the last time I needed legal advice, I paid £5 for a trial to chat with an online solicitor called JustAnswer.

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

Chat below to get started with JustAnswer

*Around 35,000 people dispute their tickets each year with the Traffic Penalty Tribunal, and a striking 64% of those appeals are successful. In partnership with Just Answer.

How Can You Check Your Penalty Charge Notice?

Most local authorities provide an online portal for paying, appealing against, or checking the status of a PCN.

The link that follows takes you to the Transport for London website, and shows the initial portal page, where you have to enter your PCN number and vehicle registration to find the PCN.

This is typical of how these portals work, regardless of which one you have to use, depending on the local authority that issued the PCN.

» TAKE ACTION NOW: Get legal support from JustAnswer

Penalty Charge Notice vs private parking fine

As previously mentioned, a Penalty Charge Notice is not the same as a private parking fine (Parking Charge Notice).

Penalty Charge Notices are covered by UK law whereas a Parking Charge Notice is an invoice which is only enforceable when a court order to pay is issued.

Successful Appeal Case Study

Situation

Initial Fine £100
Additional Fees £171
Total Fine £271

The Appeal Process

Scott used JustAnswer, online legal service to enhance his appeal. The trial of this cost him just £5.

Total Fine £271
Cost of legal advice £5

JustAnswer helped Scott craft the best appeal possible and he was able to win his case.

Scott’s fine was cancelled and he only paid £5 for the legal help.

Get started

In partnership with Just Answer.

What To Check on Your Penalty Charge Notice

If you can check the penalty charge notice you have been issued using an online portal, but there are a few pieces of information you need to look at.

We have listed these below.

  • The date the PCN was issued. This is a very important date, as this is the date from which payment time limits run from.
  • Your name, address and contact details. This is important, as if a mistake has been made, this may mean you miss important communications from the council related to the PCN.
  • Details of the offence the PCN was issued for. Based on this information, you can work out whether you were actually guilty of the offence or not, or if the PCN has been issued wrongfully.

This is the basic information you need to check.

However, depending on any action you have already taken, you might need to check more info, as I have explained below.

  • Has payment cleared? – if you recently paid the PCN, you can check to see whether payment has been received.
  • The status of an appeal – if you are currently going through the informal appeal process, you can check to see the status of the appeal. I’ve prepared the following table to help you understand what stage of the appeal process you’re int.
Process: Steps you should take:
When you receive the ticket… You should gather as much evidence as you can to support your appeal claim and prove that the ticket was unfairly issued.
If you were given the ticket in person/attached to your car… You must make an informal appeal (sent to the local authority/council that issued the PCN) within 14 days. This should be a letter with the evidence proving why the ticket was incorrectly given.
If it was posted to you… You will be given 21 days to submit an informal appeal (from the day you received the letter). Your informal appeal should be a letter with the evidence proving why the ticket was incorrectly given.
If the informal appeal is rejected… You will receive a Notice to Owner and will have 28 days to respond to this with a formal appeal. You can conduct the formal appeal online or via paper form. The Traffic Penalty Tribunal can send you one of these forms.
If the formal appeal is rejected… You will receive a Notice of Rejection. From here, you are free to challenge the council’s verdict at an independent tribunal.
If the independent tribunal disagrees with your appeal… You should pay the ticket within 28 days of the tribunal rejecting your appeal. If you don’t, the fine will be increased by 50%.
If you don’t have the money to pay the fine, you should contact Citizens Advice or another debt charity.

How Do You Check if a PCN Has Been Paid?

If you have paid a PCN online, you should have received an instant notification that payment has been accepted, as your payment card will have been processed by the payment gateway.

But if you paid by phone, or sent a cheque by post, you might want to check to see whether the PCN has been paid.

You can do this by logging in to the online portal, and checking whether there is still a payment request pending.

If there is, your payment has not yet been received or processed.

Getting the support of a Solicitor can take a huge weight off your mind.

Get started

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What if a Paid PCN Shows As Not Paid?

If you pay by phone, the payment may not appear against the PCN until the next working day.

In general, these are automated phone services that simply collect payment information.

Payments then need to be processed at some later stage.

If you pay by post, it could take some days for the payment to actually arrive. The council will wait for the cheque to clear before applying the payment against the PCN.

You could be looking at as long as 10-days for a payment to show up.

What Should You Do if the Details of Your PCN Are Wrong?

The answer to this question depends on exactly what the problem is with the PCN.

If the wrong details are basic problems such as your name or address being misspelt, or a date being slightly wrong, you don’t need to worry about this.

However, if details about the offence that the PCN was issued for are incorrect, or simply not true, then you need to take further action.

We explain the appeal process in the next section.

How do you contact your local council?

You can contact your local council by visiting the government website which provides an option to ‘find your local council’.

You can retrieve information regarding a Penalty Charge Notice by contacting the council that issued it.

It Pays to Check a PCN

If you are issued a PCN for any reason, it simply makes sense to check all of the details are correct, to head off any problems further down the line.

You may also find that you have been issued the PCN for an offence you didn’t commit when you check it.

Hire a Parking Solicitor for less than a coffee.

If you’re thinking about appealing your parking ticket then getting some professional advice is a good idea.

Getting the support of a Solicitor can make your appeal much more likely to win.

For a £5 trial, Solicitors from JustAnswer can look at your case and help you create an airtight appeal.

Try it below

Get started

In partnership with Just Answer.

Additional help and support

If you are struggling to pay a PCN and need more advice, I suggest you contact one of the not-for-profit organisations that provide free advice.

I’ve listed three of them here:

References

  1. SkyNews – Parking Tickets Statistics
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The authors
Scott Nelson Profile Picture
Author
MoneyNerd’s founder, Scott Nelson, has a decade of financial industry experience, including 6 years in FCA regulated loan and credit card companies. Troubled by a lack of conscience in the industry, he founded MoneyNerd to give genuine advice to those in debt and struggling financially.
Janine Marsh Profile Picture
Appeals Expert
Janine Marsh is an award-winning presenter and a valuable member of the MoneyNerd team. With a wealth of experience as a financial expert, she's been featured on BBC Radio 4, BBC Local Radio, and BBC Five Live, and is a regular on Co-op Radio.