Private Parking Companies
Q: When is a parking ticket not a parking ticket?
A: When it's an invoice
Spot the difference
If you get an official Penalty Charge Notice (PCN) from a council or the police, it will say it's from them. If you've been issued with a Police or Council PCN, click HERE to find out how to deal with it.
If you have a ticket from a private company, this is the guide for you!
If you get a ticket from a private parking company - don't just pay up. It's far more satisfying to beat a parking ticket issued by a private company than it is to part with your hard earned cash!
Private parking tickets are NOT fines.
A private parking company has NO official right to "fine" you (though some like to think they do).
Private parking companies will go to extraordinary lengths to try to convince you that the thing they stuck on your window is a real fine. But the truth is… it's nothing (At this stage at least).
What a private parking company is actually doing, is sending you a notice for that they consider to be a breach of a contract.
How to deal with a Private Parking Ticket
Option 1 Ignore them
A lot of people have had success by simply ignoring all the letters from the parking company. Sure, it gets passed to a "debt collection agency" and they add fees and try to scare you into paying. But in reality - the "collection agency" is almost always owned by the private parking company. After a few months of not hearing from you, they may well decide to just give up the chase. Simply ignoring a private parking fine at this stage cannot affect your credit (debt) rating. Your creditworthiness can only be affected if the parking company decide to take you to court (which is unlikely) and you then refused to pay a court order. A parking company has no power and cannot force you to pay an invoice unless they decide to take court action.
Option 2 Tell them you aren't paying.
This method involves disregarding the companies "appeals process" and simply writing them a letter before they contact you telling them you aren't paying and the reasons why. Avoid telling the company anything that could be used against you or the driver. In order to do this, you need to be confident and willing to "take on the system." In extreme cases, you may have to attend court.
Option 3 By the Book
If for some strange reason you want to try and win the war using the parking companies procedures, you should follow the instructions on the back of your ticket. You should be aware though, that using this method of appealing a "ticket" means you are acknowledging its validity. Rather than doing that, we would recommend option 2 above.
Reasons for disputing a ticket
You didn't break any rules
If you DID pay correctly or there were no clear signs telling you to pay. The basis for the ticket was never agreed. Therefore, the "ticket" is invalid
Only having a sign at a car park entrance is not "sufficient signage." It is arguable that when driving and manoeuvring, a driver would be concentrating on the road ahead and not the contractual terms of an entrance. Signs need to be visible from the entire car park to be sufficient.
If the signage is insufficient, refuse to pay on this basis, but be sure to take photographs as evidence.
You weren't on private land
Strangely enough, this can happen, so if you think the land you were on is public, argue your case. Take photographs that clearly show the location and position of your car.
There were mitigating circumstances
If you accept you were parked incorrectly, there may be a perfectly good explanation. You could have been attending an emergency or broken down.
Write a letter detailing the mitigating circumstances and explaining why you shouldn't pay the charge.
If you plan on using either option 2 or 3 from the list above, you can use this template as a guide to help get you started.
This download is currnetly broken but will be fixed real soon!