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Private Parking Companies – Pay or Appeal? 2022 Laws

Private parking companies can issue you with a fine if they believe you have broken the rules of parking on their premises. But are these real fines and do you have to pay? We reveal everything you should know about parking tickets from private companies 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 with 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.

What is classed as private parking?

Private parking is classified as parking facilities on private land not owned by the local authority. They are usually privately operated car parks in urbanised areas, such as city centres. Private parking may also be attached to a private business, such as a university, shopping centre or supermarket. 

What is a private parking ticket?

A private parking ticket is a fine for not paying for parking on private land, or for overstaying the amount of time paid for. The official name for these fines is Parking Charge Notices, not to be confused with Penalty Charge Notices issued by local authorities.

They are issued by private companies that operate car parks, which may be a part of other premises, such as a hospital. However, as we will uncover in this guide, they aren’t really fines at all. They are more like a bill the company has sent you. 

How much are parking tickets from private companies?

As of 2022, private companies in England and Wales outside of London cannot fine motorists more than £50 for a parking contravention on their land. Companies inside of London can charge a little more. 

This is a 50% reduction on the previous £100 private car parking fine cap. A new grace period has also been introduced, which means car park operators must give you ten minutes to get to your car and exit the car park before issuing a fine. 

Do you have to pay private parking fines UK?

You aren’t legally obliged to pay a private car park fine unless told to do so by a court. Parking Charge Notices aren’t real fines like council parking fines or Fixed Penalty Notices. They are invoices from a private company because they state you broke the terms of parking on their land. 

However, just because they aren’t real fines doesn’t mean you don’t have to pay. You may want to pay to avoid further stress and potential legal action. Or you might want to appeal the fine instead. More on this shortly. 

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

If you don’t pay a private parking ticket it’s highly likely that the company will send payment reminders, add late charges or threaten legal action. They could employ a debt collection agency to send you threatening letters and request payment. It’s important to remember that these agencies have no additional powers, and they’re certainly not bailiffs. 

In reality, there is nothing they can do to collect the money unless they take you to court. If they go to court the fine may become more expensive due to court costs and a judge could make it your legal responsibility to pay.

If you ignore a court order asking you to pay, the courts could give the company permission to use debt enforcement action. We forgot to mention that the court order makes the fine officially a debt. The type of enforcement action can vary, but it usually means getting bailiffs to chase you for payment or seizing your goods. 

Bailiffs charge expensive fees for their work. But instead of these charges being paid by the car park operator, they get added to your debt. It’s best to avoid the fine escalating to this stage. 

Can you appeal parking tickets from private companies?

Yes, you can appeal private parking tickets from companies that are members of the British Parking Association (BPA) or the International Parking Community (IPC). 

How to appeal private parking tickets

You can appeal directly to the car park operator or appeal to an independent tribunal for free. 

You must send your arguments against the parking ticket along with evidence to either the Parking on Private Land Appeals (POPLA) or the Independent Appeals Service. Send it to the former if the company is a member of the BPA, and send it to the latter if the company is a member of the IPC. 

DON’T appeal these private parking fines!

Don’t write an appeal to any car park operator that isn’t a member of an Accredited Trade Association (ATA). These companies cannot ask for your address from the DVLA, which means you will never hear from them again unless you write to them, possibly to appeal.

You can check if they are an ATA member by calling the British Parking Association (BPA) on 01444 447 300. The call is not free. 

Should I pay my private parking ticket?

You are only required to pay your private parking fine if you have been instructed to by the courts. However, not paying can result in court action and additional expenses. Although many times private parking companies are all bark and no bite. 

Yet, it’s a risk to assume they’re making empty threats, and you might just want to pay. Only you can make this decision based on the information provided. 

Private Parking Companies FAQs

Is NCP part of BPA?
NCP is a private car park operator and is a member of the British Parking Association (BPA). In fact, they are a founding member of the BPA.
Is UKPC a private company?
UKPC is a private company and a private car park operator. They send threatening letters after issuing a parking fine, but they don’t often take the matter to court.
Where can I get further parking fine help?
Further help dealing with private parking tickets can be found at MoneyNerd.

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.

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