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Private Parking Fines
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Parking Charge Notice Ignore? What’s the Law

Scott Nelson Profile Picture Janine Marsh Profile Picture
Scott Nelson Profile Picture

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 Marsh Profile Picture

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 23rd, 2024
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Parking Charge Notice Letter

Have you received a private parking fine and are unsure if you should pay or appeal? You’ve come to the right place. Every month, over 130,000 people visit our website for help with fines and parking tickets. 

In this article, we’ll help you understand:

  •  What a Parking Charge Notice is.
  •  If you must pay this notice.
  •  The difference between a Parking Charge Notice and a Penalty Charge Notice.
  •  How to appeal against a Parking Charge Notice.
  •  What happens if you ignore your private parking fine.

We know it can be very annoying to get a private parking fine. But you’re not alone! Over 19,000 parking fines are issued each day in the UK1.

Don’t worry; we’ve got plenty of handy advice and real-life examples that will guide you through.

56% of 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. In partnership with Just Answer.

Should You ignore a Parking Charge Notice?

You should not ignore a Parking Charge Notice even if you don’t agree with it.

You will need to engage with the parking company quickly if you want to appeal against the parking ticket. You have the right to dispute parking tickets on private land.

Moreover, ignoring a Parking Charge Notice could result in more serious action, starting with a court order.  For example, a private operator cannot charge you more than £1002 for a parking infringement on private land.

But if you ignore things and the car park management takes you to court, you’d incur court costs if they win the case.

Plus, you’d have lost the right to pay the discounted fine.

What happens when you ignore private parking fines?

Ignoring a private parking ticket could result in the fine increasing, and the parking company might ask a judge to issue a County Court Judgment (CCJ) against you, which forces you to pay.

Or, ignoring the fine could result in no further action but this is risky.

If you ignore a CCJ against you, the parking company may be permitted to use enforcement measures which are part of the debt recovery process, such as:

  • Bailiffs
  • Property charging orders
  • Apply to take the debt from your wages

You have 31 days to settle a CCJ and if you don’t, the record remains on your credit file for 6 years.

The legal repercussions of ignoring a parking ticket on private land should never be overlooked.

Private parking fines debt collectors

Private parking tickets can be chased by the private company that owns the private land where you parked incorrectly.

However, the company may decide to sell the debt to a debt collector if they have been unsuccessful at recovering payments. Debt collection agencies are known to be persistent and rarely give up.

The company will usually sell the debt to a debt collector for much less than its actual worth. The debt collector will then chase you for payment to make a profit and threaten further legal action. If you receive a parking ticket payment request from a debt collector that you don’t recognise, this could have happened to you. 

But you should also be wary of fake parking ticket scams!

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.

Can you get a CCJ from a Parking Charge Notice?

You can be issued with a County Court Judgment (CCJ) for private parking fines that go unpaid.

It’s part of the legal enforcement action when you ignore or refuse to pay a parking ticket.

Before a parking company or debt collector will take you to court for a CCJ, they will try to recover the payment a number of times and are likely to offer an affordable repayment plan if required. 

I suggest you negotiate a debt settlement offer before things get to court.

A CCJ makes you legally responsible to pay the debt or to make an arrangement with the parking company to pay in an affordable way.

If you do not acknowledge the CCJ and continue to avoid paying, the parking ticket company can ask the courts to allow debt enforcement, which may involve the use of bailiffs (enforcement agents)

It’s essential that you update your address with the DVLA.

If your private parking tickets are sent to the wrong address, you may be taken to court without actually knowing.

However, you could use this as an excuse to have a CCJ set aside but there’s never any guarantee it would work.

Plus, you have the right under the Data Protection Act, to know what information a company is collecting about you and how long they will keep it on file. 

Bailiffs for private parking fines

Bailiffs (Debt Enforcement Officers) can only be used to recover the parking ticket debt after a CCJ has been issued and you still haven’t paid.

The bailiffs will send a Notice of Enforcement letter to request a payment or to get in touch and discuss a payment plan. 

If you do not engage with them, these bailiffs for private parking fines will visit your home to try and recover payment.

If you cannot or won’t pay, they have the power to seize possession of your goods and sell them to clear the debt.

With a court order in place, asset repossession is possible when bailiffs get in touch.

However, they cannot physically harm you or break into your locked home

At each stage of the bailiff’s work, more fees are charged and your debt grows bigger, so it is worthwhile to engage with the bailiffs at the earliest opportunity.

The only exception is if you believe the bailiffs are not allowed to visit your home, which can be the case for vulnerable people and in specific circumstances

Can you appeal against a Parking Charge Notice?

You have a right to challenge a Parking Charge Notice if you believe you have received an unfair parking ticket which is your third option.

Janine, our financial expert, advises to formally appeal a parking ticket within 28 days of receipt, providing evidence such as a photo of your car’s registration number if the PCN is incorrect.

Appeal Process Steps

If you want to appeal against a Parking Charge Notice, it’s important to understand the process.

Here’s a table that explains the steps you should take. If you want to learn more, don’t forget to read our complete 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.

A successful appeal could result in a cancelled parking charge and you won’t have to pay the car park fine anymore.

» TAKE ACTION NOW: Get legal support from JustAnswer

What is the best excuse to appeal a parking ticket?

The best excuse to use when appealing against a parking ticket from private companies is that you did in fact pay or there has been an error on their part.

Of course, this has to be the case

There are a number of other good excuses to appeal against private parking tickets, such as:

  1. You entered a digit incorrectly when typing in your registration number. As per the law, you must be forgiven for this as it is a small error
  2. Your car broke down and you were waiting for help
  3. You were not able to get back to your vehicle in time because of an emergency
  4. They sent you the private parking ticket too late (more on this later!)
  5. The method of payment in the car park was out of order
  6. The signage and road markings were unclear or missing

These are not the only excuses that could get you out of having to pay a private parking fine. And they are not always guaranteed to be accepted either

The burden of proof falls to you to prove you did not merit a parking ticket.

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

Get started

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Your Parking Charge Notice appeal was rejected – what now?

If your appeal was rejected by the parking firm, you can escalate your appeal to an independent appeals service. The Parking Adjudicator will decide whether to uphold your appeal or side with the car park management company.

Parking operators use a specific independent appeals service to assess your case, so you should ask the parking operator for the next steps. 

The parking operator has to be registered with an Accredited Trade Association (ATA) so they can cater to independent appeals. 

If the parking operator is a member of the British Parking Association (BPA), the motorist will use the Parking on Private Land Appeals (POPLA) service to review the appeal, which is free for the motorist and recently made available in Scotland. 

And if the company is a member of the International Parking Community (IPC), the motorist will use the Independent Appeals Service (IAS). 

Parking ticket Frequently Asked Questions

What is the British Parking Association (BPA)?
Many car park operators are a member of a trade body called the British Parking Association (BPA). Members of the BPA use the POPLA service to independently review appeals against private parking tickets. 
What is the International Parking Community (IPC)?
The International Parking Community (IPC) is another trade body that private parking companies can join. If they are a member of this body, any independent appeal from a motorist is provided through the Independent Appeals Service (IAS). 
What is a Fixed Penalty Notice?
A Fixed Penalty Notice (FPN) is neither a private parking fine nor a council parking ticket. It is issued by the police for more serious traffic offences, such as speed or driving under the influence. It is dealt with by the Magistrates’ Court and can result in points being added to your license. They can also be issued by the Driving and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA). 
Should you ignore a Penalty Charge Notice?

Just how you should not ignore a private parking fine, you shouldn’t ignore a Penalty Charge Notice either. Ignoring a Penalty Charge Notice can result in the fine increasing by 50%. You’ll get another 14 days to pay this bigger fine in full, and if you don’t, the local council can get a court order forcing you to pay.

If you do not pay the charge notice (PCN) after a court order has been issued, the local authority can request the right to use enforcement agents, also known as bailiffs. These people will provide another opportunity for you to pay (plus their bailiff fees!) or they will attempt to seize control of your goods to clear the money owed. 

How do you pay a Penalty Charge Notice?

You have 28 days to pay a Penalty Charge Notice. Paying within 14 days can get you a discounted rate so you won’t have to pay the full fine. In many cases, this discounted rate is much less than what the fine would otherwise be – as much as 50% less!

The Penalty Charge Notice should state all the different payment methods accepted. The most popular way of clearing the fine is by paying online. To do this your council must offer a payment portal for PCNs via their website. London for Transport also offers this. 

When you reach the payment portal, you’ll first need to locate your fine. You can do this by entering your vehicle registration number and PCN number, and then making the payment with a debit or credit card. Alternatively, you can probably pay over the phone, but you’ll still need your details and you’ll probably need to be the registered vehicle owner. 

What is a PCN number?
A PCN number is a reference that uniquely identifies the fine attached to your vehicle and the parking offence committed. It usually starts with two letters and is located at the top of your PCN document. If you received a PCN from Transport to London, the PCN reference number is located at the top right corner of the notice above the image of the vehicle. 
Can you appeal a Penalty Charge Notice?

Penalty Charge Notices, like Parking Charge Notices, can be contested. The appeal must be submitted within 28 days of receiving the fine. You must make a formal appeal against the charge notice (PCN) in any situation except if you were left the fine on your vehicle. In this situation, you must first make an informal appeal, and if rejected, you can go on to make a formal appeal.

If the council or Transport for London rejects your representation, you have a legal right to take your appeal to an independent tribunal. The tribunal you use depends on the location of the incident. There are different tribunals for:

  1. Inside of London
  2. Outside of London but in England or Wales
  3. Scotland
  4. Northern Ireland
What is the Penalty Charge Notice time limit?

The Penalty Charge Notice time limit is a time restriction stating how long a council or transport organisation has to serve you with the fine. Penalty Charge Notices must be served to you within 28 days of the day you were deemed to have committed a parking offence. 

If the local council has to contact the DVLA to get your address so they can send the charge notice (PCN) to you, they must do this within the first 14 days after the supposed parking offence. The council can extend how long they have to serve you with a Penalty Charge Notice if the DVLA are too slow to respond to their request. 

The extension can be lengthy and as long as six months. However, overly long delays may be good grounds to challenge a parking ticket.  

Are parking fines legally enforceable?
Despite Parking Charge Notices not being “real fines”, they can become legally enforceable if private companies take you to court and win a CCJ against you. 
Can I ignore a Euro Car Parks fine?

Euro Car Parks is one of the biggest car parking brands with car parks in all corners of the UK. You should not ignore any private parking tickets from the company because they could take you to court and get a CCJ against you. 

Some people have ignored Euro Car park fines and have not been chased to a civil court. But that doesn’t mean you’ll also get away with it. Is it a risk worth taking?

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

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In partnership with Just Answer.


  1. Sky News — Parking Tickets Statistics
  2. Citizens Advice – Parking tickets on private land
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The authors
Scott Nelson Profile Picture
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.