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PCN Issued After 28 Days – Should I Pay or Appeal?

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Scott
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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.

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Janine
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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 27th, 2024
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pcn issued after 28 days

Have you received a Penalty Charge Notice (PCN) more than 28 days after the event and wonder what to do? This guide is here to clear things up. Every month, we assist over 130,000 people in understanding fines and parking tickets.

Interestingly, in 2021, Churchill Motor Insurance reported an 8% increase in penalty charge notices (PCNs) in Britain, with over 5.2 million issued1, so you’re not alone.

We know that a PCN appearing out of the blue can be a big worry and often a puzzle. So, in this handy guide, we’ll explain:

  • What a PCN is and why you might have one.
  • If you must pay it straight away.
  • How you can challenge the charge if it seems wrong.
  • Times when you might not have to pay.
  • What could occur if you decide not to pay.

We’ve gone through this before, and we’re ready to lend a hand. Let’s walk you through the necessary details.

64% of Appeals Succeed

In some circumstances, you might have a legitimate reason not to pay your 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

*Around 35,000 people dispute their tickets each year with the Traffic Penalty Tribunal, and a striking 64% of those appeals are successful. In partnership with Just Answer.

Can a PCN Be Issued After 28 Days?

The local authority should issue you with a penalty charge notice, within 28-days of the offence taking place. However, there are situations where this time limit is extended.

» TAKE ACTION NOW: Get legal support from JustAnswer

For example, if the local authority needs to contact the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority (DVLA) to get details of the registered owner of a vehicle. The local authority should request this information within 14-days of the offence taking place.

However, there may be further delays, depending on how long the DVLA takes to respond to the request. In such cases, the time limit for sending a PCN to you, could be extended for weeks or months.

Do You Have To Pay a PCN After 28 Days?

Unfortunately, just because a local authority did not send you a penalty charge notice within 28-days, does not mean the PCN cannot be enforced. 28-days is a soft time limit, not a hard one. Put simply, you “should” receive the PCN within 28-days, but if you don’t it makes no difference whatsoever, you will still need to pay it or appeal it.

Successful Appeal Case Study

Situation

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.

What Happens if You Don’t Pay the PCN After 28 Days?

28-days seems to be the magic number when it comes to penalty charge notices. Not only should the local authority serve the PCN within 28-days, but when you receive one, you have 28-days to pay it

If you don’t pay the penalty charge within this time frame, you will then be sent a court order to pay it. You have 14-days to do so. If you still don’t pay the PCN, the local authority will pursue the debt in the same way any creditor would.

Eventually, you might find you have a County Court Judgment (CCJ) taken out against you. This would negatively impact your credit record for several years.

» TAKE ACTION NOW: Get legal support from JustAnswer

Can You Appeal a PCN After 28 Days?

Oddly enough, you have 28-days to appeal a penalty charge notice. As we said before, 28-days seems to be the magic number when it comes to dealing with a PCN. 

The appeal against the PCN must be made in writing unless the applicable local authority offers an online service for registering an appeal. The resolution of your appeal will always be sent to you in writing, and one of three scenarios will have occurred, as listed below.

  1. The local authority will ask you to provide more evidence to support your appeal.
  2. Your appeal is upheld, and the penalty charge will no longer be due.
  3. Your appeal fails, and the time limit for paying the penalty charge is reset.

Notice the final scenario on this list. Because the informal appeal process doesn’t cost anything apart from a postage stamp, and the payment time limit is reset even if it fails, you have nothing to lose by trying an appeal.

Here’s a quick table showing what the appeal process looks like step by step.

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.

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

Get started

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What if an Informal Appeal Fails?

If your appeal is overturned, you have the option of taking the matter further. You can move on to the formal representation stage. You would need to find a solicitor to represent you legally, and begin preparing for your appeal to be heard in court.

If you lose the court case, you will need to pay your solicitor, the court costs, and the penalty charge. Common sense says to only take matters this far if you are sure you will win your appeal in court. Losing the appeal at this stage could be costly.

In many cases, it makes more sense to simply pay the penalty charge, even if you know you were innocent, rather than take this risk.

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.

References

  1. Direct Line Group — Parking Fines Statistics
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The authors
Scott Nelson Profile Picture
Author
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.