Lee Juggurnauth fumes after getting parking ticket on his car
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Between 2019 and 2020, hundreds of thousands of drivers had parking fines slapped on their windscreens, costing up to £70 (or £130 in London). According to The Sun, more than half a million pounds worth of fines were dished out over two years from just eight local councils. Luckily, nearly half of these tickets that are appealed are wiped so it’s definitely worth challenging a fine you feel you don’t deserve. Express.co.uk reveals how to challenge an unfair ticket and get your money back, according to Citizens Advice.
Never settle for a parking fine that you think isn’t deserved as you might not have to pay it.
Although parking fines are halved if you pay within two weeks, don’t rush to pay to solve the situation.
Nearly half of parking fines that are appealed are wiped, so make sure you follow the correct procedures to appeal the fine before you give in.
Do you think you have a legitimate reason to appeal a parking ticket? Citizens Advice lists the following as reasons to appeal:
- You got a Parking Charge Notice more than 14 days after parking (but only if the notice says Protection of Freedoms Act)
- You were parked correctly (e.g. you were within the time limit or can prove you stuck to the parking rules)
- The parking signs or road markings were unclear (there were none, they were hard to read, or they were misleading or confusing)
- There was no way to pay (e.g. broken meter or machine and no other way to pay)
- You were charged too much
- You weren’t driving when the ticket was issued
- You couldn’t get back to your car (e.g. you’re disabled and it’s difficult to walk, you’re pregnant, or you have a very young baby)
- Your car broke down
- You were only just out of time (e.g. five or 10 minutes)
How to challenge an unfair ticket and get YOUR money back
How you appeal your parking ticket totally depends on what type of parking ticket you have.
The ticket will normally be a Penalty Charge Notice or Excess Charge Notice, a Parking Charge Notice, or a Fixed Penalty Notice.
Citizens Advice warns: “Don’t pay a parking ticket that you’re appealing. Usually, paying is seen as admitting the ticket was right – so you won’t be able to appeal it once you’ve paid.
“If you’re worried about not paying, call whoever gave you the ticket and ask them to confirm that you shouldn’t pay if you’re appealing.”
How to appeal a Penalty Charge Notice
To appeal a Penalty Charge Notice (PCN) you need to do the following.
Write to the council to explain why you object to the parking fine within 14 days (or 21 days if the ticket was sent by post).
Include any evidence you have, the date the ticket was issued, your address, your vehicle registration number and the penalty notice number and send the letter by recorded delivery.
If your appeal is successful, the PCN or ECN will be cancelled and you won’t have to pay.
If the informal appeal isn’t accepted, to make a formal appeal you’ll then be sent a letter and a form called a ‘notice to owner’ and you’ll have 28 days to make a formal appeal.
If this is rejected, you’ll be sent a rejection letter and you can still challenge the decision at an independent tribunal.
How to appeal an Excess Charge Notice
If you are appealing an ECN, you need to do it within seven days.
You can usually get a 50 percent discount if you pay soon after your informal appeal is rejected, so it’s a good idea to pay at this point if the council has a strong reason for rejecting your appeal.
If the appeal is rejected and you don’t pay, you could be taken to the Magistrates’ court.
If the court rules against you, this could affect your credit rating and you may also need to pay court costs.
How to appeal a Parking Charge Notice
Appealing a Parking Charge Notice is a little more complex because there are more steps to the process.
Start by checking if the parking company who gave you a ticket is a member of an accredited trade association by visiting the British Parking Association website or by ringing 01444447300.
If they are, get the company’s details on the BPA or IPA site and write them a letter before you make a formal appeal to challenge a private parking ticket.
If they aren’t an ATA member, you can appeal to an independent appeals service.
If your appeal is rejected, either way, you can either let the parking company take you to court or pay and make a small claim to get the money back.
However, Citizens Advice suggests that you might be better off just paying for the ticket.
How to appeal a Fixed Penalty Notice
Start by checking if the Fixed Penalty Notice was issued by the council or police and then write to the relevant group explaining why you reject (this is your informal appeal).
Include any evidence, the date the ticket was issued, your address, your vehicle registration number and the penalty notice number.
If the appeal is successful, you’ll get a refund.
If the appeal is rejected, Citizens Advice suggests paying the FPN, otherwise, you’ll have to ask for a hearing in the magistrates’ court.
The site explains: “This can be expensive as your fine will increase by 50 percent if you lose, and you’ll have to pay court costs.
“It can also be quite stressful – you’ll need to go to the hearing to plead not guilty.”
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