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Appealing a Parking Ticket

POPLA Appeal – Everything You Need to Know

Scott Nelson MoneyNerd Janine Marsh MoneyNerd
By
Scott
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
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 25th, 2024
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Have you received a private parking fine and are unsure of your next steps? You’re in the right place. This article is here to help you understand everything about POPLA Appeals in 2023. 

Every month, over 130,000 people visit our website for advice on fines and parking tickets. So, remember, you’re not alone in this. 

In this article, we’ll explain:

  •  What a Parking Charge Notice is and how much it might cost
  •  How you can appeal a Parking Charge Notice
  •  What POPLA is and who can use it
  •  How to make a successful POPLA appeal 
  •  The process and the time it may take for a POPLA appeal

The DVLA report that over 11 million parking tickets were issued last year, which is up by 29% year on year!1 A private parking fine can be really annoying. But don’t worry; we’re here to help guide you through the appeal process.

Most Ticket 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

*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.

What is POPLA?

Parking on Private Land Appeals (POPLA) is an independent service for UK motorists who want to appeal a private parking ticket, i.e. a Parking Charge Notice. It cannot be used to appeal against council parking tickets. 

Is a POPLA appeal free?

Using the POPLA service is 100% free of charge. However, if you lose your appeal, you will have to pay your fine to the parking company. 

The Process

The POPLA appeal process can be split into five stages:

  1. Receive a verification code
  2. Collect your appeal evidence
  3. Submit the appeal
  4. Monitor the appeal
  5. Receive a decision 

To make the process clearer, please take a look at the following table.

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.
POPLA appeal 2023
Source: MSE Forum.

It’s important to prepare for your POPLA appeal efficiently.

When you receive the initial appeal rejection from the car park operator, they should also provide you with a 10-digit verification code. If they haven’t sent you one, ask for this immediately. You will need this code to submit a POPLA appeal. 

You’ll also need some other information to submit your POPLA appeal, namely your car registration number and your Parking Charge Notice reference number. The latter should be located on the top of your Parking Charge Notice letter/fine. 

You’ll also need to prepare by gathering the evidence for your appeal. POPLA states that they prefer evidence in the form of photographs and videos taken from your smartphone or scanned copies of relevant documents. You may also use a witness statement if applicable. 

» TAKE ACTION NOW: Get legal support from JustAnswer

Check the BPA Code of Practice

Car park operators that are members of the British Parking Association (BPA) must abide by the BPA Code of Practice.

If the car park operator has issued you a fine without abiding by all aspects of the code, you could use this as grounds for a POPLA appeal.

The code frequently gets updated, which means that car park operators could miss something and not be allowed to fine you.

For example, there have been recent changes that prevent tickets from being issued to motorists who enter a car park, decide not to park, and then leave (all within 5 minutes). This is now counted as a non-event, and no parking fine can be issued. 

Similarly, car park operators must now give all paying motorists a 10-minute grace period after their allotted parking runs out.

They must leave the car park by the end of this additional ten minutes and cannot be fined for taking an extra 9 minutes and 59 seconds to leave. 

What makes a good appeal?

POPLA states that providing as much detail as possible will make a better appeal. Paint a picture of the whole event, such as why you visited the car park in the first place. The best appeals are accompanied by compelling evidence

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

*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.

Who can use it?

Motorists can only use the POPLA appeal service if they have already had an appeal rejected by the company that issued the Parking Charge Notice. Moreover, the company must be a British Parking Association (BPA) member.

Some private car park operators are members of a different ATA, namely the International Parking Community (IPC). If the company that issues you a private parking fine is a member of the IPC, you cannot use the POPLA appeal service. Instead, you must use the Independent Appeals Service to escalate your parking ticket appeal. 

Some companies aren’t a member of any ATA. In these cases, they cannot ask the DVLA for your address. So they can only send you the fine by collecting your address from other means, which might not be legal. For this reason, it’s important never to contact a car park operator that isn’t an ATA member.

What are the grounds for an appeal?

When lodging your POPLA appeal, you must select the grounds for your appeal. There are no restrictions on what reasons you can give to make your appeal appear valid.

But POPLA has shared the grounds which are most accepted by their panel and are, therefore, the most successful. These are:

  • Your vehicle was stolen. You may need a police report or crime reference number.
  • You weren’t improperly parked, or you did, in fact, pay.
  • The Parking Charge Notice asks for the wrong amount. This may be more likely considering these fines have recently been reduced, and not all companies may be adhering to the new laws.
  • Extreme circumstances prevented you from parking correctly, such as a broken-down car or a medical emergency.
  • Other reasons not listed above.

When can you make a POPLA appeal?

Your POPLA appeal must be made within 21 days after your initial appeal to the BPA car park operator was rejected.

You will not be able to lodge an appeal after the POPLA appeal timeline has passed.

This is a slightly different timeframe compared to using the Independent Appeals Service, which is only used to escalate appeals against companies that are members of the IPC.

You also have 21 days to escalate the appeal for free. But if you pay a £15 fee, you can still escalate the appeal to the Independent Appeals Service up to one year after your first appeal was rejected. 

Can I appeal for someone else?

POPLA allows individuals to make an appeal on behalf of someone else, providing they have the authorisation to do so.

The person making the appeal will need to explain why they’re representing someone else and provide evidence that they have permission to do so. 

How long does an appeal take?

POPLA appeals lodged online will take between six and eight weeks on average.

POPLA parking violation appeals submitted by post can take a little longer, especially if there are any Royal Mail delays. 

Because POPLA appeals are entirely free, escalating an appeal could also buy you more time. If you need some additional time to save up for the parking fine, making a free appeal could give you that breathing space. 

After all, you’ll have already lost the chance to pay the discounted fine by making an initial appeal to the car park operator. 

But…

Some car park operators may add further fees due to the delay in payment while the POPLA appeal is processing. You need to be aware of this!

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

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What if it’s approved?

POPLA will write to you to inform you of their decision. If they tell you that your appeal was successful, they will ask the private parking company to cancel the parking ticket, and you won’t have to pay anything

What happens if the appeal fails?

If POPLA refuses your appeal, they will write to inform you of their decision. You are then given a further 28 days to pay the car parking company the amount owed. 

If you refuse to pay the fine, the car park operator could take legal action against you. Alternatively, they could pass the fine on to a debt collection agency, who will chase you for payment and also threaten legal action. 

Debt collection agencies aren’t the same as bailiffs. You can still be contacted and asked to pay, but they can’t demand to come to your home. And they certainly can’t seize any of your goods.

It’s impossible to know whether the parking company will take legal action against you. Even for smaller amounts, they may still decide to take you to court.

However, sometimes they may not, and you could get away without paying. Nevertheless, it’s a big risk to assume the parking company won’t take legal action, as things could get even more expensive the longer it drags.

Can I appeal a decision made by them? 

You cannot appeal a decision made by POPLA. If you strongly believe that the parking fine shouldn’t stand but have been told to pay, the only remaining option is legal action.

However, this could become more costly than the fine itself. I suggest you seek professional legal advice to discuss your options.  

Can you make changes to a POPLA appeal?

You’re not allowed to edit or change your POPLA appeal after submission. Therefore, it’s important to take the time beforehand to prepare your POPLA appeal and include everything you need for it to be successful. 

How to contact POPLA

You can speak to someone at POPLA by calling 03301 596 126.

Lines are open on weekdays between 9 am and 5 pm. If you would prefer to send a message instead of calling, you can use the POPLA web contact form instead. 

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. RAC Foundation – Parking Tickets Statistics
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The authors
Scott Nelson MoneyNerd
Author
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.