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Initial Parking – Should you Pay or Appeal?

Scott Nelson MoneyNerd Janine Marsh MoneyNerd
By
Scott
Scott Nelson MoneyNerd

Scott Nelson

Debt Expert

Scott Nelson is a renowned debt expert who supports people in debt with debt management and debt solution resources.

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&
Janine
Janine Marsh MoneyNerd

Janine Marsh

Financial Expert

Janine is a financial expert who supports individuals with debt management, cost-saving resources, and navigating parking tickets.

Learn more about Janine
· May 23rd, 2024
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Initial Parking

Have you received an Initial Parking fine and are wondering whether to pay or appeal? Welcome to the right place.

Every month, over 130,000 people visit our website seeking advice on fines and parking tickets. So, you are not alone.

In this article, we’ll provide helpful information on:

  •  Understanding Initial Parking fines.
  •  Deciding if you should pay these fines.
  •  Learning how to appeal an Initial Parking fine.
  •  Tips on how to avoid such fines in the future.

Research from Which? revealed that although 78% of members consider private parking fines unfair, many don’t challenge them due to doubts about the success of their appeal.

If that’s your case, don’t worry; we’re here to guide you through the process.

Let’s dive in!

Most Ticket Appeals Succeed

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

*According to Martin Lewis, 56% of people who try to appeal their ticket are successful and get the charge overturned, so it’s well worth a try.

Who is Initial Parking?

Initial Parking is a private operator with a whole host of clients. They manage car parks for:

  • Supermarkets
  • Pubs
  • Restaurants
  • Retail parks
  • Shopping centres

Initial Parking has the right to issue you with a Parking Charge Notice because the landowner has authorised them to do so.

But tickets they give must comply with the rules set in the British Parking Association’s (BPA) Code of Practice. 

In short, the operator is a member of the BPA and must also comply with DVLA and Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) regulations.

Failure to do so could see a Parking Charge Notice cancelled due to non-compliance.

» TAKE ACTION NOW: Get legal support from JustAnswer

Why did you get a Parking Charge Notice?

There are many reasons for receiving a Parking Charge Notice in a private car park.

They are not enforced by the police or local highway authorities.

Private operators often hand out parking fines for minor violations. Also, mistakes are made, or the Code of Practice is not followed.

The most common parking infringements for getting a Parking Charge Notice on private land include:

  • You didn’t pay or forgot to pay
  • You returned to your car after the allotted time you paid for
  • Your vehicle was incorrectly parked
  • Your vehicle was left in a bay reserved for the disabled and families with children

Private car parks operated by Initial Parking must have signs detailing the Terms and Conditions of using the car park.

When the signs are not clearly visible or not apparent, and you get a fine, you could contest it.

If you are not aware of the T&Cs of using the car park, you can’t be in breach of the operator’s contract!

Are parking charges legally enforceable?

A Parking Charge Notice is an invoice Initial Parking raises when you ‘break’ the T&Cs of using a car park. It is not the same as a Penalty Charge Notice, which traffic wardens and the police issue.

They should not be treated in the same way.

Private companies don’t have a legal right to ask you to pay a Parking Charge Notice.

However, things change when an operator starts legal action. When there’s a court order issued, you’ll have to pay.

If the ticket is correct and you pay it within 14 days, the amount is significantly reduced.

But first, make sure the ticket is yours and that the operator followed the Code of Practice. Don’t automatically assume you have to pay it!

In short, it would be a mistake to pay a Parking Charge Notice without first verifying it was correctly given. Plus, you should make sure it was fairly given.

Will a Parking Charge Notice affect your credit score?

No. Getting a Parking Charge Notice won’t impact your credit score.

However, if you ignore things and refuse to pay, Initial Parking could take you to court.

A judge could issue an order to pay and if you don’t, a CCJ will be registered on your credit file if you don’t pay the judgement within 30 days.

A County Court Judgement remains on your credit history for six years making it hard to get a loan, mortgage or credit card.

In short, the financial implications of parking fines that go unpaid could be far-reaching.

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.

Can you appeal a Parking Charge Notice?

Yes, you can file an appeal when a Parking Charge Notice was incorrectly given or the operator failed to follow the Code of Practice.

But you must provide evidence when you appeal the penalty and follow the correct parking fine appeals process.

Initial Parking is a BPA member and must follow the Code of Practice. So, could challenge an Initial Parking fine if you can show any of the following:

  • You got the Parking Charge Notice in the post over 14 days after you parked in the car park
  • Your vehicle was parked correctly; therefore, no rules were broken
  • The signs and road markings were not clear or visible – hidden by trees, bushes etc
  • The payment machine was out of order
  • The Parking Charge Notice was for over £100
  • You had a good reason for being late back to your car. For example, you are pregnant, have a young child with you, or are disabled. By law, you cannot be discriminated against in the UK
  • Your vehicle broke down, and you were waiting for a recovery truck
  • You got back to your car 5 to 10 minutes late but still got a Parking Charge Notice
  • The parking fine was sent by post, but there were no signs indicating there was surveillance in operation at the car park

All of the above could be grounds for contesting a parking fine on private land.

See the message posted on a popular forum about appealing an Initial Parking Charge Notice.

Source: Moneysavingexpert

Appeal Process Steps

I understand that the appeal process may seem confusing and challenging. But don’t worry! I’ve put together this quick table that explains each step you should take to appeal your Initial Parking fine.

If you require further advice or want to learn more, please check out our specialized guide.

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.

What evidence do you need?

Your case could be stronger if you have evidence to support an appeal.

I suggest gathering the following if you can:

  • Photos of the Parking Charge Notice, signs, road markings, parking meter, payment machine and the bay you were parked in
  • Receipts from a recovery vehicle if your car had broken down
  • Correspondence you have with the operator which you might need if you take the case to POPLA
  • Statements from witnesses if there were any

You are not obliged to provide evidence when you appeal a fine, but supporting documents for parking fine disputes help strengthen your case.

Common mistakes when appealing parking charges

You must follow the appeals process when you challenge an Initial Parking ticket.

Plus, you should provide sufficient evidence to support an appeal although, as I mentioned, it isn’t obligatory.

You should also:

  • File an appeal within 14 days which prevents the operator from taking the matter further, or
  • Make sure you file your appeal within the deadline which is usually 28 days but you’ll have to pay the full amount

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

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Initial Parking Contact Details

I’ve included contact information for Initial Parking in the table below.

Address: Initial Parking Ltd
Suite 83, 51 Pinfold Street, Birmingham, B2 4AY
Email: [email protected]
[email protected]
[email protected]
Website: www.initialparking.co.uk/

What is a 10-minute grace period?

Initial Parking is a BPA member and therefore must abide by the Code of Practice.

In addition, the operator must allow you a mandatory 10-minute grace period when you return to your car.

When you get a ticket just after the time on your ticket elapses, say 5 minutes, you could contest the fine.

Then, initial Parking should cancel it because they failed to follow BPA guidelines.

Note: You have the right to appeal a Parking Charge Notice if it is incorrectly issued.

First, file an informal appeal with Initial Parking. You can do this on their website.

Next, if the operator rejects your appeal, you can take the matter to the Independent Appeals Service, POPLA.

It costs nothing to appeal a fine with the operator, and lodging an appeal with POPLA is also free!

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.

References

  1. Which? – The rise of private parking fines
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The authors
Scott Nelson MoneyNerd
Author
Scott Nelson is a renowned debt expert who supports people in debt with debt management and debt solution resources.
Janine Marsh MoneyNerd
Appeals Expert
Janine is a financial expert who supports individuals with debt management, cost-saving resources, and navigating parking tickets.