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Initial Parking – Should you Pay or Appeal? 2022

initial parking

For free and impartial money advice and guidance, visit MoneyHelper, to help you make the most of your money.

Many people ask, ‘should you pay or appeal a Parking Charge Notice received from Initial Parking?’. To answer this frequently asked question, it depends on whether the ticket was correctly issued and whether it was fair or not.

I provide some advice on when you could appeal an Initial Parking fine and when you might have to pay it. Read on to find out more.

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.

Who is Initial Parking?

Initial Parking is a private operator with a whole host of clients. The firm manages car parks for supermarkets, pubs and restaurants, retail parks, and 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. 

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.

Are parking charges legally enforceable?

A Parking Charge Notice is an invoice Initial Parking raises when you ‘break’ the T&C’s 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.

Why did I get a Parking Charge Notice?

You could get a Parking Charge Notice for an alleged parking infringement 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 reason for getting a Parking Charge Notice on private land includes:

  • 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 should 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!

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.

Initial Parking is a BPA member and must follow the Code of Practice. You can file a written appeal with the operator when a ticket is issued incorrectly.

You 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 £50
  • 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

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 it helps strengthen your case if you do.

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, 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!

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.

Initial Parking – Should You Pay or Appeal?

To sum up, only pay an Initial Parking fine if you deserve the fine. However, challenge it when you suspect the Parking Charge Notice is incorrect or unfair. Don’t ignore the fine whatever you do because things can quickly get more complicated when you do.

Thanks for reading my post. I hope the information about Initial Parking fines helps you decide whether to pay up or file an appeal.

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