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Pay Parking Ticket – Guide and FAQs

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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Have you received a private parking fine and aren’t sure if you should pay or appeal? This is the right place for you. Every month, over 130,000 people visit our website for help with fines and parking tickets.

This article will give you clear and simple details on:

  •  Different types of parking tickets.
  •  If you need to pay these tickets.
  •  How to pay a parking ticket.
  •  Making payments for a parking fine in instalments.
  •  Ways to avoid getting a parking ticket.

The DVLA report that over 11 million parking tickets were issued last year, which is up by 29% year on year!1. You’re not alone in this situation.

We know getting a private parking fine can make you feel frustrated. But don’t worry; we’re here to support 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?

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. 

Appeal Process Steps

POPLA is working hard to address issues that cause unfair parking fees. Main issues are often with technology and third party ticket issuers. 2

So, it’s common to think that the ticket was unfairly issued. If that’s your case, you should never ignore it, as you have the option to appeal.

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.

Here’s a quick table that explains the appeal process. If you want to learn more about the steps involved, be sure to read our detailed 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.

How do you pay it?

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. 

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 I pay 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. 

How much is a fine?

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. 

» TAKE ACTION NOW: Get legal support from JustAnswer

What are the different types?

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. 

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

Get started

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How to avoid paying fines

The only surefire 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.

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. RAC Foundation – Parking Tickets Statistics
  2. POPLA — Parking on Private Land Appeals Annual Report
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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.