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Council and Police Fines
Penalty Charge Notice

Lost PCN Number? What To Do Next

Scott Nelson MoneyNerd Janine Marsh MoneyNerd
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.

Learn more about Scott
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
· Feb 26th, 2024
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Lost PCN Number

Have you lost your PCN number and don’t know what to do? We’re here to help. Each month, over 130,000 people come to us for advice on fines and parking tickets.

In this article, we’ll explain:

  • What to do if you lose your PCN number.
  • How to challenge the charge if you think it is wrong.
  • Times when you might not need to pay.
  • What could happen if you decide not to pay.

In 2021, Churchill Motor Insurance reported an 8% increase in penalty charge notices (PCNs) across Britain, with over 5.2 million issued.1 So you’re not alone.

We’ve been in your shoes and are here to support you. Let’s go through the details…

Most 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, so it’s well worth a try. 

What is a PCN reference number?

Every PCN that is issued has a unique reference number.

The PCN number is used to identify your PCN fine and your details.

These reference numbers start with a two-letter prefix which can be used to work out either who issued the PCN or the type of PCN fine. 

Your PCN reference number should be at the top of your PCN notice. If Transport for London issued your PCN, it would be visible above the vehicle image in the top right corner. 

» TAKE ACTION NOW: Get legal support from JustAnswer

Lost PCN number – how to pay?

If you have lost your PCN number, you won’t be able to pay online.

In this situation, you must contact your PCN issuer and ask them for your PCN number. If you call them, you may be given the option to pay over the phone

You may need to be the registered vehicle owner to be given the lost PCN number over the phone. 

Successful Appeal Case Study


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 should you do if you lose your parking ticket UK?

From my experience, if you have lost your UK parking ticket, it is best to contact the local council or (private) company that issued your parking ticket.

Using your vehicle registration number, they should be able to find your reference number. 

What happens if you don’t pay your parking ticket UK?

If you don’t pay your PCN within 28 days, you’ll be issued a charge certificate that gives you an additional 14 days to pay, but the fine will be increased by 50%.

Failing to pay within the additional 14 days can result in a court order and the use of bailiffs. You can pay a reduced fee if you pay within 14 days of first receiving the PCN.

How to challenge your PCN

You can challenge a PCN if you disagree with it.

If the PCN was left on your vehicle, you must first make an informal appeal. In any other case, you must make a formal appeal called a ‘representation’. This involves writing a letter detailing why you contest the PCN with as much evidence as possible.

If a formal appeal is rejected, you have the right to escalate the appeal to an independent tribunal.

The specific tribunal that takes your case is dependent on whether you live inside London, outside London, in Scotland, or in Northern Ireland.  

Different Types of PCNs How to Challenge
Local council PCN (issued in person or fixed to the car) Make an informal challenge with the council
Local council PCN (sent by post) Make a representation (a formal challenge) with the council
Dart Charge PCN Make a representation with Dart Charge
Red route PCN Make a representation with TfL (Transport for London)
London congestion charge PCN Make a representation with TfL
Low emission zone PCN Make a representation with TfL

You will not have to pay a fine if your informal challenge or your representation is accepted.

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

Get started

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Can PCN affect your credit score?

A PCN is not a credit debt and will not directly affect your credit score.

Please do not confuse it with a parking charge notice issued by a private company.

Unlike unpaid PCNs, if you don’t pay a parking charge notice, a CCJ could be issued against you. A CCJ can damage your credit score.

Is a PCN Enforceable?

A PCN or penalty charge notice is an enforceable fine.

A local council or the police typically give them out. Please don’t mix them up with parking charge notices that private companies give out.

Although a parking charge notice can lead to issues with bailiffs, and you should still pay or appeal it, it is not enforceable in the same way a penalty charge notice is.

Whether you’ve lost your penalty charge notice or parking charge notice, it’s worth contacting the company, council or organisation that issued it to let them know. You do not want it to get out of hand and have the council or bailiffs chasing you.

Private parking companies do not shy away from hiring bailiffs.

As you can see from the example of Parking Eye below, they’ve been known to hire bailiffs sometimes years after an offence.

Source: https://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/discussion/6036015/parkingeye-dcbl-letter-please-help

So, if you lose your PCN, try to recover it as quickly as possible and don’t forget about it.

Lost your PCN number? (quick recap!)

Losing your PCN reference number can make it impossible to pay your PCN quickly, potentially saving some money.

You should recover your PCN number by contacting your PCN issuer.

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.


  1. Direct Line Group – 10 parking fines issued every minute across Britain
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The authors
Scott Nelson MoneyNerd
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.