What should I do when I receive a parking ticket?

The moment when you return to your car and find that yellow notice tucked under the windscreen wiper is a real sickener.

Anger and upset follow as you find out just how much you’ve got to cough up; but what if you think the ticket was issued in error and want to appeal?

A recent investigation by The AA found that 29 per cent of appeals weren’t even contested by councils, with a further 27 per cent upheld by the watchdog – which means 56 per cent of tickets were wrongly issued.

So, what do you do if you want to appeal?

Check the ticket for specific information on how to complete the process, but to make sure you have the best possible chance of succeeding here’s our quick guide…

Make sure it’s council-issued

Official notices from the council, Transport for London and the police will have Penalty Charge Notice, Excess Charge Notice or Fixed Penalty Notice written on them.

They should also have the issuing authority’s name on it.

Private companies often use similar terminology and yellow packaging to make their tickets look more official, but they require a different appeals process and follow different rules.

Make sure your appeal is justified

Remember: If you pay your fine within 14 days it’s usually half price. Some authorities allow you to make an informal appeal and still pay the reduced fee if you lose, but make sure you read the fine print.

If your appeal isn’t justified and you lose your appeal, you could be liable for the full amount.

You have grounds for appeal in various circumstances, such as incorrect or unclear signage, new restrictions that weren’t implemented properly or if your car was stolen.

There are some mitigating circumstances you can appeal with too, such as receiving a ticket while broken down, helping in an emergency, or you were too ill to move.


Don’t pay up if you’re planning on appealing

If you think that you’re in the right, and are planning on appealing a ticket, then make sure you don’t pay the fine.

This lets councils believe that you’re admitting liability and will make any appeal process redundant.

However, don’t ignore the fine either, as this could make the situation much worse.

Check the time

A law was introduced in 2015 that gave drivers a 10-minute grace period, protecting them from over-eager parking attendants.

At the time, communities secretary Eric Pickles said:

We are ending the war on drivers who simply want to go about their daily business. For too long parking rules have made law-abiding motorists feel like criminals, and caused enormous damage to shops and businesses.

What does this mean for you?

Well, if you’re parked in a pay and display, meter-controlled or voucher parking area then you can’t be fined within ten minutes of your ticket expiring.

If this is the case, then you certainly have grounds to appeal.

Appealing a parking ticket needn’t be stressful. Ensure that you have grounds for appeal, follow it up and stay calm – these are the best ways to make sure you get a fair deal.

Of course, there’s a chance that an appeal won’t be successful, but if you have the right evidence, then there’s no reason why a council won’t look favourably on your case.

Tenfold Increase in Parking Tickets in 10 Years

Parking tickets are becoming the scourge of the motorist, costing drivers up to £100 in locations such as shopping centres, hospitals and motorway service areas.

New figures suggest that almost 6.5 million parking tickets could be handed to British drivers in just 12 months.

Some 1.48 million vehicle keeper records were requested by parking management firms in just the first quarter of 2018/19, according to RAC Foundation analysis of Government data.

If this 14% year-on-year increase continues then an estimated 6.44 million parking tickets will be issued in the current financial year, the motoring research charity said.

Parking companies obtain records from the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) to chase vehicle owners for alleged infringements in private car parks such as at shopping centres, leisure facilities, hospitals and motorway service areas.

Each resultant penalty charge can cost drivers up to £100.

RAC Foundation director Steve Gooding said:

Motorists might well be asking what is going on when the number of records being sought by private parking companies has shot up yet again.

Numbers like these suggest that something, somewhere, is going very wrong.

The Government has committed to back a Private Member’s Bill which would lead to the introduction of a code of conduct for private car park operators.

Tory former minister, Sir Greg Knight’s, Parking (Code of Practice) Bill passed its committee stage in the House of Commons last month. Its next step is the Commons’ report stage scheduled for November 23.

Mr Gooding said: Drivers will be pleased that Sir Greg Knight’s bill has cleared another parliamentary hurdle in the hope that it won’t be too long before some much-needed regulatory oversight is brought to bear on the industry.”

The biggest purchaser of data in the first quarter of 2018/19 was ParkingEye Ltd, which requested 388,000 records.

In July, Capita PLC agreed to sell the firm to Macquarie for £235 million. This is more than quadruple the £58 million that Capita paid for ParkingEye in 2013.

The DVLA charges private firms £2.50 per record, meaning the agency could collect more than £16 million during 2018/19.

The agency says its charges are set to recover the cost of providing the information and it does not make any money from the process.




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