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Private Parking Fines
Parking Tickets

Parking Fines in the UK – Everything You Need to Know

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
· May 26th, 2024
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Parking Fines UK

Got a private parking fine and not sure what to do next? You’ve come to the right spot. Each month, over 130,000 people visit our website for guidance on fines and parking tickets. 

In this easy-to-understand guide, we’ll cover:

  •  The two types of parking fines in the UK.
  •  If you need to pay a council or private parking fine.
  •  What could happen if you don’t pay these fines.
  •  If parking fines can affect your credit score.
  •  How long a parking fine lasts before it expires.

Believe it or not, The DVLA reports that over 11 million parking tickets were issued last year, which is up by 29% year on year!1. So, if you’ve got one, you’re definitely not alone.

Don’t worry; we’ve got helpful advice and examples to guide you. 

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.

Do you have to pay a private parking fine?

The RAC found that the number of parking tickets being issued is up by nearly 30%! The report also found that misleading and deliberately confusing signage in private car parks is part of the problem2.

This might lead you to consider ignoring a fine you believe was unfairly issued.

However, private car park operators actually have the legal right to issue tickets if you don’t play by their parking rules.

But here’s the twist: these tickets are not considered a real fine. They’re instead considered the same as an invoice from the company.

This invoice can become enforceable (meaning you have to pay) if a judge says you do.

Therefore, you might have to pay a private parking fine if they take the matter to court, which could also escalate to the use of bailiffs. 

Do you have to pay a council parking fine?

You must pay or appeal a council parking fine within 28 days.

If you plan on paying, it’s best to do so within 14 days so you receive the 50% fine reduction.

Alternatively, your appeal must be lodged in writing. The parking company will then have up to 56 days to make a decision on your appeal.

If the appeal is rejected, you can escalate the appeal to an independent tribunal, which will have the final say.

Here’s a quick table that will walk you through the appealing process.

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.

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.

How much is it?

The cost of a parking fine differs between Penalty Charge Notices and Parking Charge Notices. Moreover, there are different fine amounts and potential discounts for each type of fine. 

Council parking fines usually range from £50 to £80.

They tend to be more expensive in London or in certain areas of city areas. They can also be made more expensive if the parking offence is considered to be dangerous.

But the council must offer a 50% discount to any motorist who pays within two weeks. 

Recent law changes mean private parking fines are going to be reduced to £50 at most, or slightly more in London or in a few exceptional cases. The cap reduction must be in place by 2023 at the latest.

And just like local councils, the private car park operator must offer a 50% reduction for paying within two weeks. 

» TAKE ACTION NOW: Get legal support from JustAnswer

What happens if you don’t pay?

If you don’t pay a Penalty Charge Notice by the deadline, your fine will be increased by 50% through something called a charge certificate.

You’ll need to pay this inflated fine within 14 days and you’ll lose your right to make an appeal. 

But what happens if you don’t pay the new fine amount?

Well, the council will ask for a court order to make you pay.

Failing to pay after a court order has been issued will result in debt enforcement action, which may include the use of bailiffs and you having to pay even more. 

What happens if you don’t pay a private parking ticket in the UK?

If you don’t pay a private parking ticket you are likely to receive further payment requests and legal threats.

These requests for payment and legal threats are likely to come in the form of a Letter Before Action.

The letter might be sent directly from the car park operator, or they may have outsourced the collection process to a debt collection agency

It’s important to know that a debt collection agency isn’t the same as a bailiff company. Debt collection businesses are just like administration companies trying to get you to pay. A bailiff is someone who enforces debt collection (among other tasks) with a court order already issued. 

If the car park company decides to take legal action, they might win a court order to make you pay.

Refusal to pay at this point could then result in bailiffs or even money taken from your wages. Or on the other hand, legal threats may not be followed through and you could get away without paying.

But this is a huge risk. 

There are plenty of examples around of private companies taking legal action against people to claim their fines.

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

Get started

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Do they expire?

Council parking fines don’t expire because they follow a stringent process with a set timescale.

The motorist will be subject to a court order quickly if they don’t pay. 

Private companies may not be able to take you to court over an unpaid private parking fine after six years, as per The Limitations Act

Will it affect your credit rating?

Experian states that private parking fines don’t affect your credit rating in most cases.

However, if you don’t pay and the debt recovery process is outsourced to a debt collection agency, they have the potential to do so. 

Your credit score will suffer more significant damage if legal action is used and a County Court Judgment (CCJ) is issued against you.

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. RAC Foundation – Parking Tickets Statistics
  2. RAC – Parking Tickets Statistics
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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.