McDonald’s Parking Fine – Pay or Appeal? 2022

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mcdonalds parking fine

McDonald’s is getting more expensive. But a burger and fries shouldn’t be setting you back over £50. Well, it could do if you’re hit with a McDonald’s parking fine after your visit. 

We take a look at how you can get a McDonald’s parking ticket in their free car parks, and most importantly, what you can do about them! 

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.

Can you park for free at McDonald’s?

McDonald’s offers free parking at their restaurants. However, some locations have time limits. They state that they have to impose time limits to prevent people from using the car parks for free and then going elsewhere. Moreover, they do this to stop taxi drivers from using their car parks as a place to wait in between journeys. 

Can you get a parking fine at McDonald’s?

Yes, you can be sent a parking fine for parking at McDonald’s even though their car parks are free to use. If you overstay the time limit or don’t use the restaurant, you can be sent a parking ticket. 

Just as this customer experienced:

“I’m in need of assistance as I went to my local MCD for many years many times and had never noticed the signage of 90 minutes stay only. We went there with our twins and to be honest we stayed there to have a chat and we overstayed for 90 minutes. Apparently, according to their Notice to Registered Keeper, we overstayed by 12 minutes. […]”

  • Tatty123 (Money Saving Expert Forum)

The official name of these McDonald’s parking tickets are Parking Charge Notices. We explain more about them shortly. Keep scrolling! 

How long can you park in McDonald’s UK?

The duration you can park in a McDonald’s car park for free depends on location. Some restaurants allow customers to park for free for up to one hour, some 90 minutes and others as long as two hours. 

There have been some instances of the fast-food chain imposing ten-minute time limits in some UK locations. This caused one man who attended the same chain four times to receive 4x£100 fines. The full story can be found here

You should check the time limit in the McDonald’s car park that you attend.

McDonald’s parking fine explained

McDonald’s don’t issue parking fines themselves. They outsource the management of their car parks to specialist car park management companies. They don’t use one specific company and may use multiple companies at different UK locations. 

These companies add special CCTV cameras to the McDonald’s car park, which are able to detect and track vehicle movements based on their number plates. If the vehicle is parked for too long at McDonald’s, the company will then issue a parking ticket called a Parking Charge Notice. These are sent to the registered vehicle owner in the post, after consulting with the DVLA. 

Parking Charge Notices used to charge the driver up to £100 with a discount available for paying within the first 14 days. However, new laws will prevent car park operators from issuing such severe penalties. At some point in 2023, the most they can fine the driver is up to £50 in most cases. And they still have to offer a discount of up to 40% if the driver pays within two weeks. 

Are McDonald’s parking fines enforceable?

The short answer is yes. McDonald’s can take you to court and get a judge to tell you to pay if you have in fact breached the terms and conditions of using the car park

But things aren’t that straightforward. Parking Charge Notices are not classified as genuine fines. They’re considered to be an invoice from the car park operator for a service provided, i.e. parking for free for a longer duration or parking for free but not eating at McDonald’s. 

Should you pay a McDonald’s parking ticket?

You should pay a McDonald’s parking fine if you want to avoid potential court action and if you know you’re guilty of the contravention. If you do decide to pay, you should pay within 14 days so you only pay the discounted rate. 

Alternatively, you might want to challenge the McDonald’s parking fine and hopefully be let off the hook. 

How do you appeal a McDonald’s parking fine?

You can only appeal a McDonald’s parking fine within 28 days and by appealing to the car park management company – not McDonald’s!

The appeal must be in writing, which may require you to write a letter or it could be lodged in writing via the company’s website. You’ll need your fine reference number to make the appeal. 

You must state your reason for appealing and support your statement with evidence when possible. Even the best excuses can be rejected if you don’t have sufficient evidence. 

For example, the company might state that you didn’t use McDonald’s. But you know you did and could send them a copy of your receipt or your bank statement to show the time and date of the purchase. 

Interestingly, you can’t be fined if you only overstayed by 10 minutes. This is because private companies must grant all drivers a 10-minute grace period to leave the car park. 

What if the PCN appeal is rejected?

If the company rejects your appeal, you may or may not be given time to pay the discounted rate. Alternatively, you can escalate the appeal to an independent tribunal. 

The service you use will depend on what ATA the company is a member of. For example, you’ll escalate the appeal to POPLA if they are a member of the British Parking Association. 

So, should you pay or appeal?

Only appeal if you have a genuine reason and appropriate evidence. Otherwise, you could miss out on the discounted rate and end up paying more. This means the decision to appeal or pay can only be based on your specific circumstances. 

Got another private parking question?

Further private parking ticket questions have been answered on our Parking Charge Notice guide. Give it a read for free. It could help you fight back against McDonald’s parking fines.

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.