Monday, 2 April 2012

Got a Parking Ticket recently?

I got a parking fine after parking in a shopping centre car park. I had bought a ticket and displayed it on the windscreen but it must have fallen on the floor when I closed the car door as it was in the foot well when I got back. I can’t afford to pay the £120 fine. What can I do?

Shopping centre car parks tend to be classed as private land – which means it might not be the council who fined you but a private company. You should check if that is the case before going any further – and make sure you keep the ticket you bought as proof.

If it does turn out to be a private company then the fine they gave you isn’t an official fixed penalty, although it may look like one. It's a notice that they intend to take you to court for breaching the conditions relating to parking there (because they think you didn’t pay), and will offer to let you pay some money to settle the case out of court i.e. this is the ‘fine’ you were given.

There is no independent appeal process for parking fines on private land. You should write to the parking company explaining what happened. But if the parking operator decides to take you to a county court, the court may decide that you don't have to pay the fine. This might be, for example, because you did buy a ticket and it accidentally fell on the floor.

A parking operator doesn't have a legal right to recover a parking fine without first taking court action against you. Every situation is different, so get advice from your local Citizens Advice Bureau on how to proceed – go to CAB adviceline 08 444 111 444 or 0300 3300 650(mobile)

For general advice visit

Your local CAB is in Market Square, Thame.