How To Avoid Or Reduce Parking Ticket Fines

With over 3,000 parking tickets being issued every day, here we look at how to avoid or reduce your overall parking ticket fine.

Public Parking Fines
Receiving The Ticket
  • Public parking tickets are those which are issued by the local council or Transport for London (TfL). Generally, a public parking ticket will be issued in the form of a Penalty Charge Notice (PCN).  
  • Always make sure that your ticket is a Penalty Charge Notice, as private parking companies often issue similarly named Parking Charge Notices, which are far more difficult to enforce.
  • If you find that you have lost your ticket, this can be easily amended by simply contacting the ticket issuer to find out how to pay.

Paying The PCN

  • A standard PCN will carry a fine of £70 or £50 for a smaller violation, although it can depend upon the area of where the ticket was issued. In London, PCN’s can be as high as £120. In most common cases, you have a maximum of 28 days to pay the full amount, however, the fine can be reduced by 50% if you pay within 2 weeks of the ticket being issued (dropping to £35).

  • If you don’t pay within the notice period, a reminder of the PCN, known as the Notice to Owner (NTO), then will be sent to the registered owner of the car at the time of when the ticket was issued. Furthermore, you’ll have 14 days to pay the original fine plus 50% more.
Challenging The PCN
  • In some circumstances, you may think the ticket was issued unfairly. Therefore, instead of ignoring it (which you must never do, as previously mentioned this could leave you with a larger fine or just a worse position), challenge it within the 28 days of the issue by writing a letter or via online to the issuer like the council, an “Informal Challenge”.
  • Next, if the council decide to reject your challenge, further down the line once you receive your NTO, you can then make a “Formal Challenge” which allows the issuer an additional 56 days to make the decision if to concede and cancel the fine or not. On the other hand, if the issuer was to reject once again the challenge, this will result in them sending you a “Notice of Rejection”.
  • Finally, the last step you can possibly take to challenge the PCN is to appeal to the Traffic Penalty Tribunal and with the same allocated 28 days you have, to make this appeal of the Notice of Rejection.

What Grounds Do I Have When Appealing A Parking Ticket?
  • You weren’t at fault e.g. this if the relevant signs were misleading or obscured.
  • You were not driving the vehicle at the time e.g. if you can prove that you were not driving the car at the time, you should be able to avoid the fine such as if your car had been stolen, you’d have to provide the crime reference number for theft.
  • You didn’t own the vehicle when the violation happened e.g. if DVLA’s records were out of date such as if you had recently sold that vehicle, the new owner’s information may not have been transferred over to their database.
  • The council failed to follow correct procedures in issuing the PCN e.g. if they did not include specific vital information to ensure its validity; such as the size of the fine, the nature of the infraction, the date and time of the infraction and the information on how to pay the charge and who to pay it to.
  • The fine is too expensive; if you find the fine is greater than the council or the issuer can fine you, you can appeal on this basis.
  • Mitigating circumstances; this is related to if these caused you to commit the violation such as if your car had broken down, or you stopped to deal with an emergency. 
Private Parking Tickets
  • This type of ticket is issued by non-public bodies for parking in areas such as supermarkets or hospitals. This is a harder type of violation to enforce, since these are not formally fines, therefore the only way that parking companies are able to punish you is by taking you to court. Therefore, parking companies try to make their notices look like public PCN’s, which is why you should always inspect your parking ticket carefully before deciding upon a course of action. 
  • Look to see if the company is registered with the British Parking Association (BPA); if they are a part of the organisation, then they have the authority to obtain all your details through the DVLA, however, if they are not, they cannot do anything beyond the point of giving you the notice.
  • In terms of paying a private parking ticket, again they work on a similar basis to a public PCN, as you would generally be given up to 28 days to pay within two weeks of the notice being issued.   
  • If you think that the parking ticket is unfair, you can contact the company to challenge it, and their appeals process should be detailed on the ticket. Alternatively, you may just be able to ignore it, since the company cannot make you pay the charge without taking you to a small claims court. As the cost of doing so is likely to be greater than the cost of your charge, there is a good chance that they will not take the matter further. Without a court ruling, the company is unable to send bailiffs to your house, contrary to any threats they might make.

In summary, make sure you abide by the rules of conduct set out by law and become vigilant to your surroundings, in terms of parking signs and road markings.
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