Getting a parking ticket is one of the most frustrating aspects of being a driver, especially when the fine seems considerably larger than you would expect.
Occasionally, though, the ticket is issued in error or without a justifiable reason and that is where you, the driver, have a strong chance of successfully appealing it.
There are a few options open to you regarding the appeal of a parking ticket, but you’ll need to know what type of parking ticket you have to get the process started and get it done right.
Yes – if you have reason to believe your parking ticket has been issued in error or is unjustified, you have every right to lodge an appeal and try and have the penalty overturned. You will need to know what type of parking ticket has been issued first, however.
There are commonly three forms of parking fine, each issued by a different form of authority:
Tickets issued by the council will be labelled as such and indicate which local authority is issuing them. If there is no such indication, then the parking ticket will fall under the governance of a private company.
If you have reason to believe the parking ticket has been issued incorrectly and plan to appeal, do not pay it. This will invalidate your right to appeal as it will admit your liability for the parking offence. If you are concerned that not paying could cause you further problems, contact the issuer and inform them that you are appealing it and have them confirm that you do not need to pay if you are appealing it.
Depending on the type of ticket you have will determine how long you have to appeal and what you need to include within it.
The PCN is issued by the council and it is them you will need to contact. You have 14 days from when you received the penalty charge notice to make an informal appeal. This extends to 21 days if you receive your notice by post.
You will need to provide evidence to support the reason for the appeal. This should include:
With the evidence you have ready to provide, you will need to write a letter outlining your reasons for appeal that must contain, as well as the evidence, the following information:
If this informal appeal is successful, your penalty charge will be revoked. Should the council reject this initial appeal, you are allowed to launch a formal appeal. This process begins when you receive a letter from the council called a “notice to owner”. In this communication from the council, you will have the option to pay the bill or begin the formal appeal process. In most cases, at this stage you will be offered a chance to settle the ticket with a 50% discount, If the council have a strong case, this can be the most suitable resolution. If you choose not to proceed with the appeal and don’t pay the reduced amount within 28 days, the fine will return to its original value.
You now have 28 days from receiving your “notice to owner” to either settle the ticket or start the appeal. The notice will give a full outline of what is required for you to appeal in this manner. Should the formal appeal not work, you have one last avenue to pursue: the independent tribunal. This is a free service and can be found here. If the tribunal disagrees with your appeal, you will be required to pay within 28 days. Should you not pay within this period, you could find additional charges added to the total and the council could take you to court.
Before we look into the appeals process behind privately issued parking tickets, it is worth clarifying how they work compared to PCNs, ECNS and Fixed Penalty Notices.
If you receive a parking ticket for overextending your welcome in a retail car park, supermarket or any other areas where marking may not fall under the remit of the local authority, you will have received a Parking Charge Notice. You should understand that these are not fines and can NOT be imposed upon you. However, the company issuing them can seek to take you to court to get their money and any associated costs incurred by the legal action.
Before launching an appeal or paying anything, find out if those who issued you the ticket are members of the ATA (Accredited Trade Association). You can find this out by calling (01444) 447300.
If the company issuing the ticket is not an ATA member, do not do anything. Only ATA members have access to the DVLA and will be able to contact you regarding a parking ticket.
If you receive notice of a parking ticket from a company that is not an ATA member, there is every chance you have had your data taken illegally. You should contact the DVLA about the potential illegal obtaining of your data before doing anything else.
Aside from this, ignore them. If you reach out, you are providing them with not only confirmation of your address but also allowing them to pursue a charge that they may not be legally allowed to enforce.
If you have found that the issuing company is an ATA member, you can now start an appeal process. You should locate their contact information on either the BPA or IPC website if it doesn’t appear on the parking charge notice itself.
Write them a letter or send an email including the following evidence:
This letter should also contain your name, address, car registration and any information relating to the reasons you don’t believe it should be paid.
Should your appeal fail, you can seek a further appeal with an independent appeals service. How you do this will vary depending on whether the ticket-issuing company is with the BPA or IPC.
If your appeal to the ticket-issuing company has not worked, you must appeal to the relevant organisation that handles appeals for these tickets.
For a ticket issued by a BPA member, you must contact POPLA (Parking on Private Land Appeals). You will have 28 days from when your informal appeal was rejected to make your formal appeal.
Should the ticket have been issued by the IPC, you must appeal within 21 days to the Independent Appeals Service. This is a free service and should this formal appeal be rejected, you have up to a year to appeal again but will be required to pay £15 to restart the process.
No matter who you launch your formal appeal with, collate as much evidence as possible to support your case. This may be just the same evidence as lodged in your informal appeal, or it may contain additional evidence you have since discovered.
They may then assess the evidence and agree that your ticket should be cancelled.
If your formal appeal is rejected, you will be expected to pay the penalty but should you remain adamant that you should not pay, you could decide not to. It just could wind up very costly.
The first option is to wait for the ticket company to take you to court. If they decide to go ahead with this, you could find that you not only have to pay the fine but also additional costs such as late payment charges and court costs. This could soon make the overall ticket very expensive.
However, if a court agrees with you, the ticket will be cancelled and you may even have your court costs covered.
The next option is to pay it but make a claim to the small claims court. To do this, you should pay the fine to stop the chances of court action being sprung on you. When doing so, indicate in writing that you are “paying under protest”.
You can then go to court and make a claim. This does involve a fee and it could rise if a court rejects your claim.
When opting for this method, assess why you are going to the court. Was the ticket unfair? Or was the ticket correctly issued but the fine amount unjustifiable? For example, if the amount charged is £100 or more, you could claim that the fee is excessive.
If this is the case, you actually have two claims and must therefore pay two fees for the court to process the two claims – one for the ticket being unfair and the second to decide how much the fee should be if the issuing of a penalty was justified. If you win the first one, the ticket is deemed unjustified and the second claim will not need to proceed.
If you have received a fixed penalty notice, you should first check if it was issued by the council or police.
Make your informal appeal to the relevant authority explaining why you feel the penalty notice was wrong. This, like with the other forms of parking tickets, is the informal appeal stage.
Include any evidence to support your claim. Include:
For council-issued notices, send this appeal to the address shown on the penalty notice. If it was issued by the police, you will need to locate the central ticket office closest to where the penalty notice was issued. Unfortunately, not all police forces allow informal appeals, so you will need to contact the issuing police force to find out if yours does.
If your appeal is rejected, you may find it a better option to pay the penalty. Your remaining option would be to pursue it through the magistrates court. This can see costs escalate much higher than expected. If the court is in favour of the police or council, you could see your penalty notice amount raised by as much as 50%. Furthermore, court costs will also be added to this amount.
Should you win, though, you will have the ticket cancelled and may even have court costs refunded to you.
We must state that if this is an avenue you would like to consider, you should seek legal advice first.
After reading all the above, you may be wondering if you have a justifiable reason to launch an appeal. Below are the common reasons you could launch an appeal:
If you agree to the penalty, you can receive a discount for paying it early. For tickets issued by the council, you are entitled to a discount of 50% if it is paid within 14 days. If the ticket is issued by post, you have 21 days in which to make a payment and receive the discount. Paying this will invalidate any chance for appeal. However, should you want to appeal, do it within 14 days and the discount will remain frozen until the resolution of your appeal.
For tickets issued on private land, if you pay within 14 days, you may be offered a discount but the rates vary and tend to be up to 40%. Launching an appeal does not freeze any discount unless the ticket-issuing firm agrees to an extension.
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