If you have received a parking fine, you should never ignore it even if you do not agree with it. If you want to dispute a fine that you have received, the first thing you need to do is contact the company with all your evidence to appeal it. Ignoring any sort of parking fine/ticket can lead to court action and you could hand up being liable to pay an enhanced amount which could be 5 times the original amount!

There can be two types of parking fines, a Parking Charge Notice, and a Penalty Charge Notice. A Parking Charge Notice is issued by a private company for incorrectly parking on private land whereas a Penalty Charge Notice is issued by local Councils. A Penalty Charge Notice can also be sent by the Council for minor traffic offences, such as using a bus lane when you’re not supposed to. A Parking Charge Notice will be issued by private companies in charge of the private land in the event of a ‘breach of contract’. By using the private car parks, you essentially enter into a contract with them and if this is breached in any way, by not following the instructions for usage, they can issue a fine.

If you find yourself in a situation where a ticket machine is out of order or a payment hasn’t been taken, you should always take photographs of the machine so that you can use it as evidence if needed. As well as this, take photographs of any signs that you see advertising the parking charges and document the time you entered the car park and exited. We would advise that you also do this if you are parking within a ‘free stay’ as you may have needed to show a valid ticket.

If you want to challenge a fine the first step is to contact the company involved and explain your situation. Usually, an internal investigation would be carried out and you will then be advised of their decision. Be aware that if they do not uphold your appeal then you can be held responsible for the original debt plus a percentage of the debt on top of that (as a ‘late payment’ fee). You may also realise that the parking fine was issued in error, if that is the case then you must contact the company without delay to discuss.

Some people think that by ignoring parking fines – especially those issue by private companies – they will just go away but you risk having a county court money claim issued which can eventually lead to a County Court Judgment (CCJ) being made against you which will appear on your credit file for 6 years. What can seem like a small parking fine can lead to 100’s of pounds of court fees and legal costs which will be added to the original debt. Once in possession of a CCJ this can also lead to further enforcement measures being taken such as bailiffs attending your property to seize and remove goods, money being deducted from your wages (Attachment of Earnings) or even charges against your property (Charging Order).

If you have any queries about parking fines or CCJ’s in this regard, then please contact our litigation department to arrange an appointment.