Martin Lewis explains council and private company parking fines
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Car insurance experts from Rooster Insurance have urged Britons to do their research before parking in certain car parks, as well as before paying any potential parking charges they may be faced with. When slapped with a PCN, motorists will likely first identify them from their black and yellow appearance.
However, the car insurance expert has pointed out that not all PCNs are official notices from the council, despite the fact they look very similar. In a video posted to their TikTok page @roosterinsurance, an expert from the company said: “This will catch you out if you’re not careful, be wary of where you park and do your research.”
He compared two PCNs, both in similar black and yellow packets, but pointed out a crucial difference between the two. The insurance expert said the two PCNs are made to look similar “by design”.
However, while one is an official Penalty Charge Noice from the council, the second is a Parking Charge Notice from a private parking company. The expert explained: “This is also a PCN but it’s not a fine. This is an invoice.
@roosterinsurance This will catch you out if you’re not careful, be wary of where you park and do your research ������������ #fyp #uk #driving #pcn #parking #parkingticket #penaltychargenotice ♬ Spooky Ooky – NotYeti
“They are designed to look identical but Parking Charge Notices are actually an invoice to you the driver because according to them you will have broken a contract on private managed land.”
On driving into a private car park, many drivers may mistake the parking information signpost to be similar to those in council-owned car parks, but this isn’t the case. The expert explained how the parking information signs in private car parks are actually contracts, at the bottom of which are usually all of “the little details”.
“If you break or misinterpret those rules you are in for a hefty charge,” he warned.
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Experts from MoneyNerd explain that “only a Penalty Charge Notice is considered a real fine. Penalty Charge Notices aren’t just for parking contraventions and Penalty Charge Notice enforcement is more stringent and effective at recovering the money.”
However, there are some similarities between Penalty Charge Notices and Parking Charge Notices. “Just like a council ticket you can appeal this, but unlike the council, private parking companies will start to send letters from solicitors and escalate quickly,” said Rooster Insurance.
Both local authorities and private companies must also offer a discounted fine if the motorist agrees to pay within 14 days. The Rooster Insurance expert added: “Do your research before you park, do your research before you pay.”
How can I appeal a Parking Charge Notice?
Citizen’s Advice offers a helpful guide to fighting Parking Charge Notices, warning that some private companies can not access your personal details from the DVLA.
“If the parking company put the ticket on your car and it isn’t an ATA member, don’t contact them unless they write to you first,” they explained. They probably won’t be able to find your details – only ATA members can get your name and address from the DVLA.”
If you have received an invoice from a private land owner, you can check the British Parking Association (BPA) or International Parking Community (IPC) websites to see if a parking company is a member of an ATA.
In the event the car park is a member of the BPA or IPC, you can write to them with your reasons for objecting. You must write to them before you make a formal appeal to an independent appeals service.
Citizen’s Advice recommends including any evidence you have for your appeal, including:
- a valid pay and display ticket
- photos of signs that are hard to see or understand, or where the information is misleading
- a letter from someone who was with you saying what happened, make sure to write ‘Witness statement’ at the top of this
- a repair note in the event your car broke down
- permission to park there from the landowner
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