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Are Private Car Park Fines Enforceable? 

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
· Mar 18th, 2024
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Have you received a private parking fine and are unsure if it should be paid or appealed? We’re here to help. 

Each month, over 130,000 people visit our website for guidance on fines and parking tickets, which is unsurprising, as over 19,000 parking fines are issued each day in the UK1. You’re not alone in your confusion.

In this easy-to-understand piece, we’ll explore:

  •  The rules around private car park fines.
  •  If you have to pay these fines.
  •  How to appeal a private car park fine.
  •  The role of the British Parking Association.
  •  The possible effects on your credit score in the UK.

It’s normal to feel frustrated about a private parking fine. But don’t worry; we’re here to help you understand your options and feel confident about your next steps.

Let’s dive into the world of private parking fines together.

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.

Private car parking fines enforcement

A private parking ticket is called a Parking Charge Notice.

They are issued by private car parks across the UK when the motorist fails to pay to use the car park or has not paid for the correct parking fee.

For example, they overstayed an allotted time.

You can get a Parking Charge Notice for unauthorised parking in:

  • Privately owned car parks
  • Car parks connected to hospitals
  • Supermarket car parks
  • Business premises

A ticket may be left on your vehicle or sent in the post when you’re caught on camera instead of in person.

We were recently featured in The Sun about parking tickets, where we encouraged everyone to check whether the ticket was issued by a member of a trade association. If they aren’t, then they probably can’t get your details from the DVLA to pursue you.

» TAKE ACTION NOW: Get legal support from JustAnswer

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.

If you don’t pay a private parking ticket, you could end up in a small claims court for parking fines.

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.

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. 

The RAC found that the number of parking tickets being issued is up by nearly 30%! The report also found that misleading and deliberately confusing signage in private car parks is part of the problem2.

If you want to save time and write an effective appeal, you can download MoneyNerd’s free parking ticket appeal letter template. This free resource gives you a fantastic starting point to launch your appeal.

Download The Parking Ticket Appeal Letter Template

Download the parking Appeal Template today

Can you 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 them and never have to pay. But in our experience, 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.

In short, ignoring UK supermarket parking fines is risky.

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

Get started

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

The impact of non-payment of parking fines should not be overlooked. 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

Here’s a quick table explaining the standard steps of a parking ticket appeal process.

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 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, or
  • The ticket was issued before the grace period had expired

We suggest you send a picture you took of the machine not working.

First, contact customer service and see if they will cancel the parking ticket for you. If not, next contact the car park management company by filing an appeal.

If the car park operator rejects your appeal without good reason, you can take your appeal to an independent appeals service that gets the final say.

The independent appeals service used depends on the trade association the car park operator is a member of.

You’ll get to restate your argument and receive a final decision. 

Is there ANPR in car parks?

Yes. There is ANPR in many private car parks.

It’s a technology often seen in private car parks that operators manage on behalf of the owners.

ANPR Technology in car parks registers your number plate as you enter a car park and then again when you leave.

Each entry and exit is time-stamped.

Does not paying private parking tickets affect credit UK?

A private parking ticket will not impact your credit score.

But if you don’t pay the fine when there’s a court order, a CCJ is registered on your credit file. It will affect your credit rating if you don’t settle the CCJ within 30 days.

The County Court Judgement remains in your credit history for 6 years. You would have trouble getting:

  • A bank loan
  • Credit card
  • Mortgage

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

Get started

In partnership with Just Answer.

References

  1. Sky News — Parking Tickets Statistics
  2. RAC – 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.