TODAY we brought you the story about Kate Watts, who received a parking ticket in error.
Here’s the advice on what to do if you find youself in the same situation from the Citizens’ Advice Bureau.
If you get a parking ticket in a car park
If you park in a private car park you enter into a contract with the landowner to comply with their rules. If you break the parking rules, you break your contract with the landowner. You might do this by not paying, staying longer than the time you have paid for or parking in the wrong place.
If you break the parking rules
If you break the parking rules private landowners can issue a parking ticket and recover the losses they’ve suffered. Often a parking company will have a contract with the landowner to issue tickets on their behalf.
Most parking companies are members of an Accredited Trade Association (ATA) such as the British Parking Association (BPA) and the Independent Parking Committee (IPC). ATA parking companies have to follow rules set down in the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012 and have to comply with the trade association code of practice. Landowners who aren’t ATA members themselves often contract out parking management to an ATA company.
Paying a parking ticket
If you decide to pay your parking ticket, ATA members must give you a discount for paying early while other parking companies may or may not.
Challenging an unfair parking ticket
If you park on private land and get a parking ticket, you might think this isn’t fair because you didn’t break the rules or the rules weren’t clear. You may also think a charge is unfair if it wasn’t clear to you that you were parking on private land.
If you get a ticket from a parking company that is a member of an Accredited Trade Association such as the British Parking Association (BPA) or Independent Parking Committee (IPC), you are asked to write to that parking company with your reasons if you think the parking ticket is unfair. If you are unsuccessful you can make a formal appeal.
If you get a parking ticket in a private car park and choose to ignore the ticket, an ATA parking company can get details of the registered keeper of the car from the DVLA and pursue them for payment.
If you get a ticket in a car park from a parking company that isn’t an ATA member, you can write to that parking company with your reasons if you think the parking ticket is unfair. As these companies are not ATA members, they might ignore your letter. If you do write and include your contact details for a reply, then decide not to pay the parking ticket, the company could pursue you in court if they wanted to.
If you get a parking ticket in a private car park and choose to ignore the ticket, a non-ATA parking company isn’t allowed to get details of the registered keeper of the car from the DVLA, won’t have your contact details and can’t take you to court.
If you get a parking ticket on a private road
If you park on private residential land without permission, such as a private residential road, you may be trespassing. Companies can charge you for ignoring the rights of the landowner, if they can prove you have trespassed. These are companies that don’t manage parking facilities, but can charge you for trespassing on the land.
If you ignore a parking ticket from a company when you have trespassed on private residential land such as a private road, a company may be able to get details of the registered keeper of the car from the DVLA if you don’t pay. These companies aren’t required to be members of an Accredited Trade Association (ATA).
If you’re taken to court
If you are taken to court there may be good reasons to challenge the parking ticket or the amount of the charge, but if you lose the case, you will have to pay the charge and court costs. It’s possible that the parking company will take action to recover the money.If the case gets to court you can fill out a form for defending the case that will be sent to you with the claim form. You may not have to attend court in person.