Few things can spoil your day more quickly than finding a yellow plastic envelope tucked under your car’s windscreen wiper. However, there are many circumstances where you can appeal a parking ticket – and perhaps avoid paying the fine altogether.
In the most recent set of statistics, the success rate for parking appeals across England and Wales was 64 percent. In London, which has its own separate tribunal, 51 percent of parking fines were overturned on appeal.
Here are some easy-to-follow tips to help you appeal a parking ticket you think is unfair.
Reasons to appeal your parking fine
If you have parked and not paid, or knowingly overstayed your welcome, then obviously the ticket issued is fair. Still, there are a number of situations where an appeal might be worthwhile. Details of where and how to appeal will be printed on the parking ticket, or the letter you receive in the post.
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 felt ill, it’s also worth appealing. Any evidence you can provide, such as emails from a doctor or receipts for purchase of medicine, will be helpful here.
This is where reading the notice carefully can pay off. If the timings don’t match up, or the car number plate is incorrect, state your case. Again, evidence is always useful in an appeal, so keep your parking receipts.
Unclear or incorrect signs
Signs that aren’t clearly worded or positioned somewhere obvious can be cause for appeal. Photos will help you here (you could always revisit the street or car park to gather evidence 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 (perhaps it fell on the floor when you closed the car door), 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. In our experience, private firms can also be more trigger-happy in sending out fines.
We’ve experienced fines for exceeding time limits when we haven’t, plus fines for being somewhere on an entirely different date. Always check the details on the ticket carefully.
There are also stories 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, such as 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. However, 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 visited. We successfully appealed a fine received at Morrisons via the supermarket itself, 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 parking provision, can go a long way.