Every year thousands of motorist are issued parking tickets. Many are issued rightly to motorists who disregard parking rules. However, a significant amount of parking tickets are issued to motorists unlawfully or unfairly.
There two main types of parking tickets that can be issued. The appeal process will differ depending on what parking ticket has been issued.
- Penalty Charge Notice (PCN) issued on public land by the council.
- Parking Charge Notice issued on private land from landowner or parking operator.
The most common type of parking ticket is a Penalty Charge Notice (PCN) issued by local authorities. However, the focus of this newsletter is on appealing a ticket on private land.
Private parking companies can issue parking tickets and may also call them PCNs but they are not the same. On private land, a parking charge notice will either be on the window screen of the vehicle or the non-compliance will be detected by camera and the correspondence will be sent by post to the vehicle’s registered keeper.
Most private parking spaces are made available for use with terms and conditions attached. Therefore, by parking in the car park the motorist is entering into a ‘contract’ whereby he or she agrees to the terms and conditions of the car park providing the terms are reasonable and displayed clearly on signage.
If it is accepted that the circumstances under which the ticket was issued were fair then payment should be made as soon as possible. A discounted price may be applicable to tickets that are paid soon after the ticket is issued. However, if it appears the ticket has been issued unfairly, the appeal procedure will need to be followed to challenge the ticket.
Appealing a Ticket
Most motorists have the right to contest a parking ticket. Parking tickets can be appealed in the first instance by following the parking operator’s internal appeal process outlined on the ticket. It will usually require writing to the parking operator and explaining the reasons why the ticket is being challenged. It is always recommended to use recorded post when sending an appeal letter.
When challenging a parking ticket it is paramount to outline why the parking ticket issued was unlawful or unfair. For example:
- The alleged contravention did not occur (the vehicle was parked validly)
- The signage was unclear or insufficient
- Mitigating circumstances
- The charge is excessive and not a genuine pre estimate of loss to the landowner
If the parking operator accepts the appeal then the charge will be cancelled and the contact from the parking operator should stop.
If an appeal is rejected by the parking operator, a rejection notice and reference number will be issued outlining the reasons why the parking operator disagrees.
Independent Appeals Service:
The Independent Appeals Service is a process which will determine an appeal after it has been rejected by the parking operator. A motorist can only appeal to this process after receiving a rejection notice from the parking operator. The independent appeals service is independent to all parties and will assess the evidence put forward by both parties impartially. The appeal will be assessed by an independent trained adjudicator who will assess all the evidence and conclude whether the motorist is liable to pay.
The parking operator should be accredited by the British Parking Association (BPA) or the Independent Parking Committee (IPC). If the parking company is a BPA member the appeal will be made through POPLA (www.popla.co.uk). If they’re an IPC member the appeal will be made through the Independent Appeals Service (www.ias.org
When an appeal is being submitted to either POPLA or IAS, evidence should be included to support the reasons for appeal:
- Pay and display ticket
- Witness statements
- Proof of mitigating circumstances
If POPLA or Independent Appeals Service agree with the motorist the charge will be cancelled. The decision is binding on the parking operator and they should stop contacting the motorist.
If the appeal is not granted in the motorists favour the parking operator can carry on seeking payment for the ticket. If the ticket is not paid, the parking operator can ultimately take action in the small claims court to enforce the ticket whereby additional charges may be incurred for court fees. It is possible that non-payment of a private parking ticket could result in a County Court Judgement which can affect an individual’s credit rating if not paid in full within 28 days.