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Transport for London Penalty Charge – Pay or Appeal? 2022 Laws

Transport for London Penalty

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

Have you been sent a Transport for London Penalty Charge Notice (PCN)? You might be confused as to why you’re receiving this fine, and more importantly, wondering what you can do about it. 

Below we discuss your options for paying and appealing a TfL PCN. And we explain why you shouldn’t ever ignore a TfL Penalty Charge. 

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.

What is Transport for London (TFL)?

Transport for London is a government body that is responsible for the transport network in the capital, including buses, trains, cycling routes and the London Underground network. The body also oversees the Ultra-Low Emissions Zone and London Congestion Charge, which is a fee motorists pay when they enter central areas of London. 

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

If you forget to pay the 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. 

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.  

What is a Transport for London Penalty Charge?

A Transport for London Penalty Charge Notice is a fine issued by Transport for London for a motorist contravention. For example, you might be issued a Transport for London PCN for parking on a red route or for not paying the London Congestion Charge by the deadline. 

Red routes are just 5% of the roads in London but handle daily heavy traffic and congestion. You can never park on a red route unless you have a dispensation, as parking here could cause even more serious congestion.

This penalty is likely to 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.

How much is a TFL penalty?

A Transport for London PCN is initially £160. This is the fine amount if you are caught parking on a red route or if you fail to pay the London Congestion Charge on time. However, you will receive a 50% discount on the fine if you pay within the first 14 days. This means you could only have to pay £80. 

What happens if you don’t pay the TfL penalty charge?

You are given 28 days to pay the TfL Penalty Charge Notice, and 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. You can pay the PCN in many ways, including online and over the phone. 

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 then result in Transport for London using bailiffs to get their money. And when bailiffs get involved they add their own fees, which can be very expensive. 

Can you appeal a Transport for London PCN?

You’re allowed to appeal a Transport for London Penalty Charge Notice, as long as you lodge your appeal within the initial 28 days you get to pay. You can make a “late” TfL PCN challenge by letter, but it may not be accepted. 

How do I challenge a PCN in London?

Your TfL PCN challenge should be made in writing, either by letter or online using the official Transport for London website. 

Your appeal should include your PCN reference number, the reason you want to make a TfL appeal and any supporting evidence you may have. Supporting evidence could include photographs, videos, mechanic invoices, witness statements or something else. 

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

How to win a TFL PCN challenge

Unlike Penalty Charge Notices from local councils, the criteria to win a PCN appeal with Transport for London are more stringent. There are six reasons you can appeal and win your challenge.

Scroll to the bottom of this page to read about them and what evidence you need to make a successful TfL PCN challenge. 

Should I appeal or pay a Transport for London PCN?

You should only appeal a Transport for London Penalty Charge Notice if you fit one of the six criteria permitting you to appeal. If not, you’ll need to pay the fine.

You may fit the criteria to challenge the PCN but are worried you have insufficient evidence and could still be rejected. This can cause a conundrum, 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 appeal, you may choose the reduced fine to avoid a stressful process and having to pay more later. 

What about council Penalty Charge Notices?

You may have also received a PCN from a local authority, usually for parking contraventions or driving in a bus lane. We’ve already covered these and what you can do about them in our other guides. Learn more about your rights with MoneyNerd for free!

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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