What’s the issue?
As landowners and retailers become ever more commercially focussed, charging for parking space has become increasingly common, and even free spaces often come with complex terms and conditions, with drivers liable for a fee if they don’t comply. Remote monitoring systems and number plate recognition technology means policing a car park is now relatively simple. And once a private parking firm has the registration number of a ‘rogue’ parker, they can request the vehicle owner’s name and address from the DVLA in order to send them a parking charge. Over the past three years, the number of such request has shot up by 85%.
Parking fines and parking charges – what’s the difference
If you park illegally on a public road, you might expect to receive a parking ticket. A Fixed Penalty Notice (FPN) can be issued by the police or local council, and a Penalty Charge Notice (PCN) can be issued by a council or a transport authority like Transport for London. But in recent years, there’s been a huge rise in the number of Parking Charge Notices issued by private companies on behalf of landowners. Unlike an FPN or PCN, which are essentially fines, a Parking Charge Notice is more like an invoice – because private companies don’t have the ability to issue fines.
So do you have to pay a Parking Charge Notice?
Any landowner has the right to charge for, and to police, parking on their premises. So, if you’ve received a charge notice for parking without buying a ticket, for parking across two spaces, or for exceeding your allotted time, then it’s probably only fair that you pay up. But if you feel you’ve been ticketed unfairly, then you have the right to appeal. Most private parking firms belong to one of two associations – either the British Parking Association (BPA) or the International Parking Community (IPC). Both associations have a code of practice governing their members’ behaviour, and this also gives you access to an independent appeals service if your initial appeal is rejected.
Is it worth appealing a Parking Charge Notice?
There are a variety of reasons why you might be issued a parking ticket unfairly – unclear signage, an overzealous parking attendant, an honest mistake by the issuer, or a glitch in the automated monitoring technology. So, if you believe you’ve been ticketed unfairly, it’s certainly worth appealing – because around a third of all appeals result in the driver not having to pay the charge.