Few sights can ruin your day more quickly than a parking ticket tucked beneath your car’s windscreen wiper. However, there are many circumstances where you can appeal –and perhaps avoid the fine altogether.
According to Hippo Leasing, council-owned car parks in England generated £930 million in parking fines in 2019 – yet 56 percent of motorists who appealed a parking fine were successful.
Here are some easy-to-follow tips for appealing a parking ticket.
Reasons to appeal your parking fine
If you’ve parked and not paid, or knowingly outstayed your welcome, then obviously the fine is fair. But there are a number of situations where appealing might be worthwhile.
Car broken down
If you’ve outstayed your parking period because your car has broken down, you should certainly appeal. Evidence will be needed, such as a recovery receipt, but the appeal should be successful.
If you pulled over spontaneously because you were ill, it’s also worth appealing.
This is where reading the notice carefully can pay off. Know the charge, and know your story. If the timings don’t match up, or the car number plate is incorrect, state your case. Evidence is always useful, so keep your parking receipts.
Unclear or incorrect signs
Signs that aren’t clearly worded or positioned somewhere obvious can be cause for appeal. Photo evidence will help you here (you could always revisit the street or car park if needed).
Council-run car parks operate a 10-minute grace period. If a parking warden has been over-eager, provided you can prove it, this is grounds for your fine to be cancelled.
Paid and not quite displayed
Finally, if you have paid, but haven’t displayed the ticket as well as you could have, an appeal is also worth a shot. It may be declined, but nothing ventured…
In any case, it’s always worth establishing a dialogue with the authority that issued the parking ticket, by email or even on the phone.
Appealing a private parking ticket
Private parking tickets, while they look official and often come with photo evidence, are not a fine. They are a breach of contract and can be challenged if you think you’re in the right. Private firms can be more trigger-happy in sending out fines, too.
Here at Motoring Research, we’ve experienced fines for exceeding time limits when we haven’t, plus fines for being somewhere on an entirely different date.
Stories are rife of ANPR (Automatic Number Plate Recognition) systems penalising people for simply turning around in the entrance to a car park. In all cases, it is worth an appeal, following the process detailed on the ticket.
If the parking firm is part of a trade body, like the British Parking Association, you can help yourself by going through its independent portal. If the company isn’t a part of an official body, write a letter detailing your claim for exemption.
Don’t worry if you don’t hear back: it’s a habit of private firms to go quiet if the case has been dropped, but a cursory phone call or email a couple of weeks down the line just to confirm can’t hurt.
You could also appeal via the venue you were visiting. We successfully appealed a fine received at Morrisons via the supermarket, rather than the parking company. Time limits catch people out when they’re new or not clearly signposted.
Again, dialogue is key. If you don’t try, you won’t succeed. A call or email to explain the situation, and that you weren’t exploiting the facility, can go a long way.