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Private Parking Tickets Court Cases – Examples and Tips

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By
Scott
Scott Nelson Profile Picture

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.

Learn more about Scott
&
Janine
Janine Marsh Profile Picture

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
· Mar 18th, 2024
Fight back against parking tickets with JustAnswer, get legal guidance now!

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private-parking ticket court cases

Do you have a private parking fine and are not sure whether to pay or appeal? This is the perfect place for you. Every month, more than 130,000 people visit our website looking for guidance on fines and parking tickets, and believe it or not, over 19,000 parking fines are issued each day in the UK1.

In this article, we’ll help you:

  •  Understand what a private parking ticket is.
  •  Decide whether you need to pay private parking fines.
  •  Learn what happens if you don’t pay private parking tickets.
  •  Get tips on how to avoid a private parking court case.
  •  Discover how to appeal a Parking Charge Notice.

Getting a private parking fine can be a lot to handle, but don’t worry; we’re here to help with a wealth of helpful advice and real-life examples to guide you every step of the way. 

56% of 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. In partnership with Just Answer.

What happens if you don’t pay private parking tickets?

You are usually given 28 days to either pay or appeal against the Parking Charge Notice. If you don’t pay or appeal within this period, the parking firm could:

  1. Send you reminders
  2. Add late fees and charges to the amount
  3. Ask a debt collection agency to chase you for payment
  4. They might even sell the “debt” to a debt collection company

Each private company or car park operator is different and may follow a different process to try and recover the money. Some of them work with the same debt collection agency each time, so they instantly outsource the task of getting the money to their usual debt collection company

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 companies take you to court?

Private parking companies can take you to court if you haven’t paid or appealed against the Parking Charge Notice within 28 days. They will ask a judge to issue you with a court order that makes it your legal responsibility to pay.

If this occurs, you should do your best to pay the money owed, which may have now increased due to court costs. 

If you were to ignore a court order requesting that you pay the parking fine (plus costs), the private company could ask the courts to allow them to use enforcement action. If approved – which is likely – they could then use bailiffs to recover the money or seize your possessions ready for sale at an auction. Or they could use other methods, such as taking money from your wages. 

Will a private parking company take you to court?

There’s no way of knowing for certain whether a private parking company will take you to court or not. They might just try to scare you into paying with legal threats, but they might really be planning to take you to court. This is why ignoring a Letter Before Action (LBA) is a risk, especially when court action could create further costs. 

It could be more likely that the private parking company will take you to court if the letter comes from a law firm or solicitors working on their behalf, compared to a debt collection company with no legal staff.

However, even this isn’t a predictable indicator. 

You could check forum posts to see other people’s experiences with the same companies and try and work out how serious the company is about taking you to court. Although this may not be very telling either. 

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.

Notice of intended court action unpaid parking charge

Before a private company can take you to court over a parking fine or any other debt, they must make an effort to resolve the issue. Part of this process involves writing a letter to the motorist. They must write to them and explain how much is owed and why it is owed.

The letter should then explain that if the amount isn’t paid then the company will pursue court action. 

These letters can be sent by the car park operator directly, but it’s more common for them to be sent by a debt collection agency or law firm working on their behalf. Take a look at this experience from a popular forum:

“Now I have received a letter again from DRP saying notice of intended court action – unpaid parking charge £130 and that if I don’t pay what I owe by 07/08/2014 or not agreed to a payment option then they will pass the file to the solicitors recommending commencing court action against me.”

  • Bean666 (Money Saving Expert Forum)

Even though no firm is supposed to send these letters unless there is a reasonable chance of pursuing legal action, some still do it solely as a scare tactic. They send them in the hope that you’ll get worried about court action and further expense, and so you will pay the fine.

Of course, many parking firms send these with a genuine intention of going to court if you don’t pay.

And that’s why assuming they won’t take further action is a risk. 

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

Get started

Reviews shown are for JustAnswer.

Do private parking companies win in court?

A judge will usually side with the car park company when it has been operating the car park correctly, followed the correct procedures, and when it had the right to serve you with a Parking Charge Notice.

For example, the car park company might need to show that they had the correct signage in place when you used the car park. Moreover, the company will need to prove it has followed the correct procedures, such as issuing the fine within the time limit and offering a discount when you pay within the first 14 days. 

However, every case is unique and who wins in court will be based on individual factors. 

Private parking tickets court cases examples

We have put together a couple of examples of private parking ticket court cases. The two examples below are some of the most interesting in the UK. Let’s take a look:

Parking Eye Limited Vs Barry Beavis

Parking Eye Limited Vs Barry Beavis is one of the most important parking ticket court cases because it escalated to the Supreme Court and set a precedent for future cases. It is this case that often gets referenced by private parking companies to suggest motorists have to pay their fine – despite it not being a real fine. 

Barry Beavis wanted to challenge the legality of private firms issuing fines to motorists. The Court of Appeal ruled in favour of Parking Eye Limited, so Mr Beavis decided to escalate the matter to the Supreme Court, which is the most senior court in England and Wales. 

However, the Supreme Court also ruled in favour of Parking Eye Limited, stating that the company was in its right to charge motorists for not paying or overstaying their parking on the condition that the amount charged wasn’t out of proportion.

At the time, the £85 charged to Mr. Beavis was judged to be in proportion and he had to eventually pay.

Court orders woman to pay £24,500 to private parking company

If the Supreme Court ruled that private companies have the right to issue Parking Charge Notices as long as they are in proportion, how did one lady from Glasgow end up being ordered to pay a £24,500 car park fine? 

The BBC reported how a 28-year-old woman was ordered by the court to pay a substantial amount for repeatedly ignoring parking tickets in the same spot.

The woman had refused to get a monthly parking permit costing £40 and instead chose to park outside the property that her dad was renting. 

The matter has escalated to an eye-watering amount owed simply because the woman was sure that the fines were not valid or enforceable. But after being taken to court, she found out that they can become enforceable – and she found out the hard way. 

Can you go to jail for not paying parking tickets (UK)?

You can’t be sent to prison for not paying a Parking Charge Notice from a private company. Interestingly, you also can’t be sent to prison for not paying a Penalty Charge Notice from your local council. However, both of these parking tickets can result in court action and debt enforcement, such as the use of bailiffs. 

Parking Charge Notice court costs

Court costs to discuss a private parking fee are not as expensive as you might think. They will differ between cases because of varying solicitor fees. But you should only expect to pay around £100-£175, including the filing fee, appearance costs, solicitor fee and travel expenses. 

How long does a private parking company have to take you to court?

The company can only chase a debt within the last six years. If it is older than six years the courts won’t entertain the case. More interestingly, they must serve you with the Parking Charge Notice within 14 days. If they don’t do so without good reason, you could use this as an excuse to not have to pay. 

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

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.

Tips to avoid a private parking court case

The only way to be 100% sure of avoiding a court case against a parking company is to:

  1. Pay the fine (preferably within 14 days to make the most of the 40% discount) 
  2. Appeal the fine
  3. Appeal and then pay the fine
  4. Discuss a payment plan option if you are experiencing financial difficulty (this payment plan could be available to help you spread the cost of the fine. 

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 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.