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Transport for London Penalty Charge – Pay or Appeal? 

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.

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&
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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Transport for London Penalty

Did you just get a Transport for London Penalty Charge and are feeling worried? You’ve come to the right place. Every month, over 130,000 people visit this site looking for guidance on fines and parking tickets.

In this article, we will explain:

  • What a Transport for London Penalty Charge is.
  • If you need to pay these parking fines.
  • How you can appeal against this charge.
  • What could happen if you choose not to pay the fine.
  • Ways to avoid getting a Penalty Charge in future.

In 2021, Churchill Motor Insurance reported an 8% increase in penalty charge notices (PCNs) across Britain, with over 5.2 million issued.1 So, rest assured, you’re not alone.

We’ve got plenty of useful advice and examples to help you decide what to do next!

Most 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

*Around 35,000 people dispute their tickets each year with the Traffic Penalty Tribunal, and a striking 64% of those appeals are successful, so it’s well worth a try. 

What is Transport for London (TfL)?

Transport for London is a government body responsible for the capital’s transport network, including buses, trains, cycling routes, and the London Underground network.

They also oversee the Ultra-Low Emissions Zone (ULEZ) and London Congestion Charge, a fee motorists pay when they enter central areas of London.

It is important to note that the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) is expanding across all London boroughs from 29 August 2023 and will include residents within these areas when they drive.

If your vehicle does not meet the emissions standards and you drive within these areas, you will have to pay a daily charge of £12.50.

What is a TfL Penalty Charge Notice?

A Transport for London Penalty Charge Notice (PCN) is a fine issued by the authority when a motorist breaks the rules.

You might be issued TfL fines for parking on a red route, not paying the London Congestion Charge by the deadline, entering an Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) in a vehicle that does not meet the emissions standard, and not paying the daily ULEZ penalty.

This penalty will likely be sent to the registered vehicle owner’s address.

Transport for London gets this information by using your car registration plate and asking the DVLA. After this, you have to pay TfL penalty charge notice fines within the deadline or choose to appeal it.

A Transport for London unpaid penalty charge will result in a charge certificate being sent to you.

Is a TfL Penalty Fare the same thing as a PCN?

No, you could get a TfL penalty fare for not paying to travel or not paying on time on a train, bus or underground or for ‘tapping in but not tapping out’ on the underground.

A TfL PCN is specifically for motorist offences.

What happens if you forgot to pay the London Congestion Charge?

If you forget to pay a London Congestion Charge, which must be done by midnight on the third day after you travel, you will be issued a Transport for London Penalty Charge Notice (PCN).

To avoid forgetting to pay after your journey, you can pay the charge in advance if you wish. 

» TAKE ACTION NOW: Get legal support from JustAnswer

The London Congestion Charge of £15 must be paid every day your vehicle enters the Congestion Zone between 7am and 6pm on weekdays or between midday and 6pm on weekends and bank holidays. 

If you don’t pay the Congestion Charge in London, the fine is £160, so as I see it, it is better to pay the congestion charge in advance if possible or set a reminder to do it afterwards as the cost of neglecting charges is much higher than the original charge.

Or, if you think you have valid grounds, you can appeal it.

It’s far wiser to lodge a TfL penalty charge dispute or, if not, pay the fine rather than ignore it.

tfl pcn

Here you can see this forum user on MoneySavingExpert has received a PCN for not paying the congestion charge and is looking for advice on whether to appeal.

What are Red Routes in London?

Red routes are just 5% of the roads in London but handle daily heavy traffic and congestion.

Driving regulations in London state that you can never park on a red route unless you have a dispensation, as parking here could cause even more serious congestion.

How much is a TfL penalty?

A Transport for London PCN is initially £160.

This is the fine if you are caught parking on a red route, fail to pay the London Congestion Charge on time, or one of the other TfL contraventions.

However, you will receive a 50% discount on the fine if you pay within the first 14 days. This means you only have to pay £80 when you receive a Transport for London Penalty Charge Notice.

You can pay TfL fines in many ways, including online and over the phone. 

Once your Penalty Charge Notice payment is received, that’s it; the matter doesn’t go any further.

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

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What happens if you don’t pay the charge?

You are given 28 days to pay the TfL Penalty Charge Notice; if you don’t, you’ll be sent a charge certificate.

This certificate increases your fine by 50% to £240 and provides you with another 14 days to make a full payment.

If you don’t pay the increased £240 fine, you’ll be subject to an Order of Recovery, where the fine is registered as a debt, but it won’t affect your credit file.

The debt is registered at the Traffic Enforcement Centre, and a small fee is added to your debt. You’ll then have 21 days to pay the debt. 

Ignoring the debt will result in Transport for London using bailiffs to get their money.

When bailiffs get involved, they add their own fees, which can be very expensive.

It’s also worth noting you can run a TfL penalty charge check via the authority’s website if you need to know a TfL PCN appeal status.

Plus, you can retrieve a TfL lost Penalty Charge Notice online.

Can you put in an appeal?

You can appeal a Transport for London Penalty Charge Notice as long as you lodge your appeal within the initial 28 days.

You can challenge the fine in writing by making an appeal online or by post, along with any supporting evidence you may have.

This could include photographs, videos, mechanic invoices, witness statements, vehicle ownership documents, medical emergency proof (if that was the reason for the violation), or witness statements.

We have a great online template you can use to help you write your appeal letter: PCN Appeal Letter Template – Free Sample.

Appeal Process Steps

There’s a due process that must be followed whenever an appeal is made. Here’s a quick table summarizing the different stages of it.

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.

If you make a representation outside the 28-day PCN period, it will be considered ‘late’, and TfL do not have to consider it.

If your appeal is late, make sure that you provide evidence to outline why your representation is late. Valid reasons they may consider are illness or a holiday.

Keep in mind that forgetting is not a valid reason.

Transport for London will respond to your TfL PCN appeal by accepting it and cancelling the fine, rejecting it, or requesting more information.

What if the appeal was rejected?

If your appeal is rejected, you will receive a notice of rejection which will tell you what to do next.

You can either pay the PCN or appeal to London Tribunals within 28 days of receiving a notice of rejection.

If you want to appeal to London Tribunals, you should complete the form that came with the notice of rejection, providing any evidence and send them to:

London Tribunals
PO Box 10598
Nottingham
NG6 6DR

London Tribunals will notify you of the hearing date. It is then up to Transport for London to contest your appeal or not.

If they contest it, you’ll get a copy of the evidence they send to the adjudicators, who will consider this as well as your evidence.

If an Adjudicator at London Tribunals allows your appeal, TfL will cancel the PCN.

However, if your appeal is rejected and you do not pay, TfL will continue to enforce it. You will normally receive a charge certificate as a result.

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

Get started

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How to win a TfL PCN challenge

Unlike Penalty Charge Notices from local councils, the criteria to win an appeal with Transport for London are more stringent.

There are six Congestion Charge appeal reasons you can make a TfL London PCN appeal and win your challenge if they accept it.

These are:

  • I was not the keeper at the time of the contravention, e.g. I have never been the keeper, I ceased to be the keeper, I became the keeper after the date of the contravention.
  • I had paid the Congestion Charge due for the vehicle used on that date in the time and manner required by the charging scheme.
  • No penalty charge is payable under the charging scheme, e.g. I was not within the charging area during charging hours.
  • The vehicle was used or kept without my consent, e.g. stolen.
  • The penalty charge exceeds the amount payable in the circumstances of the case, e.g. I have been requested to pay a penalty charge amount above that detailed in the regulations.
  • We are a vehicle hire firm, and the vehicle was hired under an agreement at the time, and the person liable signed a statement of liability for any resulting penalty charges.

If none of the six grounds are applicable, you can still make a representation explaining your circumstances.

Should you appeal or pay the TfL PCN?

You should only appeal a Transport for London Penalty Charge Notice if you believe you meet the criteria and can provide evidence to support your appeal.

You’ll have to pay the PCN if you don’t qualify to contest a TfL charge.

Even if you fit the criteria, you may be worried you have insufficient evidence and will be rejected. This can be confusing, especially when you consider that there is a 50% fine discount on offer for paying within the first 14 days.

The ultimate decision should be made on a case-by-case basis.

Even if you qualify to file a TfL PCN appeal, you may choose the reduced fine to avoid a stressful process and having to pay more later. 

The one thing you should not do is ignore TfL penalty charges.

You either pay or make a TfL Penalty Charge Notice appeal against the charge.

» TAKE ACTION NOW: Get legal support from JustAnswer

What about council Penalty Charge Notices?

PCNs can also be issued by a local council.

You may have received a PCN from a local authority for something like parking contraventions or bus lane violations.

A local council Penalty Charge Notice (PCN) is the official name for a parking fine issued by the council and is different to a PCN issued by a transport agency such as Transport for London for contraventions in the capital.

London Contact Details

You’ll find the TfL Penalty Charge Notice contact number in the table below.

Transport for London PCN contact number: 0343 222 3333  Lines are open 08:00-20:00 Monday to Friday
Website: https://tfl.gov.uk/
Pay a PCN online : tfl.gov.uk/ulez pay a penalty charge notice
Appeal a TfL PCN online: https://tfl.gov.uk/ Appeal PCN
TfL PCN appeal email address: N/A
TfL PCN appeal address: Transport for London
PO Box 335
Darlington DL1 9PU

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.

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References

  1. Direct Line Group – 10 parking fines issued every minute across Britain
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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.