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Are Private Car Park Fines Enforceable? 2022 Laws

Private Car Park Fines Enforceable

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

Are private car park fines enforceable? The answer to this question is not black and white. In the beginning, they are not enforceable but at later stages, they could be. Get a clear and complete answer to this question and related queries right here. 

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.

Private road parking enforcement

A private road parking ticket is called a Parking Charge Notice. They are issued by private car parks across the UK when the motorist has failed to pay to use the private car park or has not paid for the correct parking ticket, i.e. they have overstayed.

You can get a Parking Charge Notice for unauthorised parking in privately owned car parks, as well as car parks connected to hospitals, supermarkets and business premises. They may be left on your vehicle or sent in the post (when you’re caught on camera instead of in-person).

Parking Charge Notices Vs Council parking fines

A Parking Charge Notice is not the same as a parking fine from the council, which is officially called a Penalty Charge Notice. The two terms are similar but they are far from the same. 

A Penalty Charge Notice is issued by a local authority when a motorist is deemed to have parked illegally in a public area. They can be left on your vehicle, handed to you in the street or sent in the post to your registered address with the DVLA. 

Are private parking tickets enforceable?

A private parking ticket – i.e. a Parking Charge Notice – is not a real fine and is initially not legally enforceable. You should consider a private car park fine more like an invoice sent from the private car park operator, rather than a legally enforceable fine. 

However, this isn’t the whole story – read on!

Can I just ignore a private parking ticket?

As private car park fines are not real fines and not legally enforceable at the start, you could technically ignore it and never have to pay. But this can be risky because the private car park operator could take further action against you for not paying. This further action could result in you having to pay, and you may incur further charges due to the delay. 

Can private parking tickets be enforced?

Although private parking tickets cannot be enforced initially, the car park owner could take you to a small claims court for not paying. They will argue in court that you broke a contractual agreement by entering and parking on their private land. If they win the small claims court case, the private car park ticket becomes enforceable and you’ll have to pay. 

What happens if you don’t pay a parking ticket?

If you don’t pay a private car park fine, the company may do nothing and send you reminders to pay. Or they could take the matter to a small claims court. It’s difficult to know whether the company will stop chasing you for payment or if they will take further action. 

There is also the chance they could sell the debt to a debt collection agency (not the same as bailiffs!) and they’ll chase you for payment instead. The debt collection agency has no more rights or powers than the car park company. 

Not paying a Penalty Charge Notice from a local council is a different matter. You are initially given 28 days to pay, and once this period ends, you are sent a charge certificate. The charge certificate increases your fine by 50% and provides a further two weeks to make the payment in full. 

Ignoring a charge certificate allows the council to get a court order that forces you to pay or face bailiffs. The local authority will employ a bailiff company to recover the debt or seize possessions for sale at auction if you ignore the court order to pay. 

Can you appeal a private car park fine?

You are allowed to appeal a private car park fine. This can be a good middle ground if you don’t want to pay or ignore the car park ticket and believe the car park “fine” is unfair. 

How do you appeal a private car park fine?

Each private car park operator will have its own appeals process. But in general, you’ll be required to explain why you think the car park ticket is unfair and provide evidence. For example, you might say that the ticketing machine was broken, and send a picture you took of the machine not working.

If the car park operator rejects your appeal without good reason, you can take your appeal to an independent tribunal that gets the final say. The independent tribunal used depends on the trade association the car park operator is a member of. You’ll get to restate your argument to get a final decision. 

Are private car park fines enforceable? (Quick summary)

Private car park fines are initially not legally enforceable but can become legally enforceable if the car park operator wins a case against you in a small claims court. This can make it difficult to know whether to ignore the private car park ticket or pay it. 

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.

Fight back against private car park fines!

Knowing your rights is the best way to fight against unfair private car park tickets. MoneyNerd has other free guides to help equip yourself with the facts to do just that. We’ve also written articles to help people fight and claim against council parking fines. Check them out soon!

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