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Pay Parking Ticket – Guide and FAQs 2022

pay parking ticket

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

How do you pay parking tickets in the UK? We answer this question while considering the different types of parking tickets you can receive. If you have a parking fine and want to pay, this is the guide for you.

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.

What are the different types of parking tickets?

There are two types of parking fines in the UK. They sound similar so can easily be confused. They even have the same abbreviation – PCN. 

#1: Penalty Charge Notices

A Penalty Charge Notice is a fine from local authorities and transport groups. They can be given for some traffic offences and for parking contraventions on council land, such as high streets and inner-city residential areas. 

The Penalty Charge Notice could be left on your vehicle’s windshield if the contravention is spotted by a council enforcement officer. Or it could be sent in the post if spotted on CCTV cameras. The council will retrieve the vehicle owner’s address by contacting the DVLA. 

#2: Parking Charge Notice

A Parking Charge Notice is a parking ticket issued by a private landowner or private car park. These car parks are often attached to other businesses, such as supermarkets, universities and hospitals. 

They’re usually issued by companies that provide services to the car park, such as payment options, manned patrols and monitoring technologies. They can also be sent in the post or left on your vehicle. 

How much is a parking ticket?

The cost of Penalty Charge Notices can differ based on location and the severity of the parking contravention. For example, the cost may be higher in the centre of a city or in London boroughs. 

The average cost ranges from £60 to £80 but can increase if you don’t pay by the deadline. A 50% discount must also be offered to drivers who are willing to pay within the first 14 days, so a council parking fine could be as low as £30 for some people. 

Parking Charge Notice fines have recently been lowered. The cap on these fines was reduced by 50% outside of London. Previously the most a private car park could charge was £100, but it’s now just £50. In London, the cap is set slightly higher at £80. 

However, private car parks must also offer a reduced rate if the motorists pay the parking ticket within 14 calendar days. They must offer at least 40% off, meaning Parking Charge Notices could end up being £30 or £48 outside and inside of London, respectively. 

How do you pay a parking ticket?

Most Penalty Charge Notices and Parking Charge Notices can be paid using different payment methods. The easiest way to pay is to pay online by visiting the local council or private company website. You can usually pay by cheque in the post and through an automated payment hotline as well.

When you go to pay your parking fine, you’ll need some details to hand. You will need your vehicle registration number and a parking fine reference for the council or the car park operator to identify your vehicle and the outstanding fine. The reference will usually be found on the top of your fine letter. It may also be referred to as a PCN reference number. 

Can I pay a parking fine in instalments?

A Penalty Charge Notice and Parking Charge Notice will request a full payment within so many days. They don’t typically allow for payment plans. 

However, if you are experiencing financial difficulty, you may want to raise the possibility of a payment plan with your local council or private company. They may be willing to allow you to pay in instalments – but it’s not common at all. 

If you’re struggling to come up with the money, you could delay having to pay and buy yourself some time. This would be possible by appealing against the parking fine just before the deadline. You might not get a decision on your appeal for many weeks, which would give you time to save.

However, by appealing, you’re likely to lose out on the discounted rate. So you should factor this into the decision to appeal. 

Do you have to pay parking fines?

You should pay or appeal against all types of parking fines by the deadline to avoid legal action and court orders. Very few people get away with not paying a private parking ticket. 

If you don’t pay a council parking fine, you will be issued with a Charge Certificate which increases your fine by 50%. You’ll have to pay the increased fine within 14 days or be subject to a court order. 

If you ignore a court order to pay, the council could employ enforcement officers to collect the money or seize some of your assets to be sold. The bailiffs apply their own fees to your debt, which are expensive and significantly increase the amount you owe. 

Not paying a Parking Charge Notice could also result in court action and bailiffs. However, this all depends on the private parking company and if they want to take you to court. Whereas councils will always take further action, private car park operators don’t always go down this route. 

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.

How to avoid paying a parking ticket

The only sure-fire way to avoid paying a parking ticket is to lodge an appeal against the fine and win your case. You can appeal against Penalty Charge Notices and Parking Charge Notices, but you will have to make your PCN challenge within 28 days. Appeals made after the deadline don’t have to be accepted. 

An appeal should include an argument or arguments against the fine, along with evidence to support these arguments. For example, you might state you overstayed because a hospital appointment ran over. To support this you may need a letter from the hospital to confirm the delay.

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