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How to appeal a ticket
How to appeal a parking ticket

Do You Legally Have to Pay Private Parking Fines?

Janine Marsh Thrifty Family
Janine Marsh Thrifty Family

Janine Marsh

Financial Expert

Janine is a financial expert who supports individuals with debt management, cost-saving resources, and navigating parking tickets.

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· Mar 4th, 2024
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Do You Legally Have to Pay Private Parking Fines

Have you been slapped with a private parking fine that you feel isn’t fair? Each month, over 32,000 people visit this site looking for advice on tickets and fines. It can be a worry, but we’re here to help.

In this article, we’ll guide you through:

  • The difference between private parking tickets and Penalty Charge Notices.
  • Reasons you might get a parking ticket on private land.
  • The steps to beat your ticket.
  • The enforceability of private parking fines in England.
  • What happens if you don’t pay a parking fine to a private company.

We’ve dealt with many cases and understand that getting a parking fine can be hard, especially when you think it’s not right. So, sit back and read on to learn how you can deal with your private parking fine.

Our aim is to provide you with clear advice and help you understand what to do if you have a parking ticket. We understand your worries about paying a fine that you think isn’t fair or the stress of leaving a private parking fine unpaid. We’re here to help you through it. Let’s dive in.

Do You Have to Pay?

In some circumstances, you might have a legitimate reason not to pay your fine.

It’s a bit sneaky, but the last time I needed legal advice, I paid £5 for a trial to chat with an online solicitor called JustAnswer.

Not only did I save £50 on solicitor feeds, I also won my case and didn’t have to pay my £271 fine.

Chat below to get started with JustAnswer

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Private parking tickets vs Penalty Charge Notices

A private parking ticket or Parking Charge Notice is not like a Penalty Charge Notice. It’s made to look the same and even has the same acronym which can be confusing.

However, they are not the same and you shouldn’t deal with them in the same manner either.

For starters, you should take getting a Penalty Charge Notice more seriously than you would a Parking Charge Notice.

That said, you shouldn’t bin a parking ticket on private land either. Just don’t pay it because you feel intimidated by threatening payment demands!

Are private parking fines enforceable in England?

A private operator or landowner has no legal right to demand you pay a Parking Charge Notice. It’s a civil matter over a breach of their parking contract!

In short, parking tickets on private land fall under Contractual Law. The fact you get one for an apparent parking infringement sees the issuer raise an invoice, not a ‘fine’!

Can DVLA give my details to private parking companies?

Yes. The DVLA will provide your details to private parking companies providing they are part of the AOS!

The DVLA gives your details to a company that’s either a British Parking Association or an International Parking Association member for non-compliance with their T&Cs.

Can I refuse to pay a private parking ticket?

You could refuse to pay a private parking ticket, but I advise you not to go down this route. Instead, you should appeal the notice as soon as you can.

It stops the operator from chasing you for payment or from starting legal proceedings against you.

Do I have to pay a parking charge from a private company?

No. Not immediately, but you shouldn’t wait too long to either appeal the ticket or pay the Parking Charge Notice!

First, check if all the details on the parking ticket are yours. Next, see if the operator issued it correctly!

If you find that the operator failed to follow the Code of Practice, you could have grounds to challenge the parking ticket.

That said, you could also pay the ticket within 14 days. You’d get to pay a much lesser amount which could be up to 60% less than the original amount!

For instance, if the fine is £100, you’d only have to pay £40 if you settle things early.

Successful Appeal Case Study


Initial Fine £100
Additional Fees £171
Total Fine £271

The Appeal Process

Scott used JustAnswer, online legal service to enhance his appeal. The trial of this cost him just £5.

Total Fine £271
Cost of legal advice £5

JustAnswer helped Scott craft the best appeal possible and he was able to win his case.

Scott’s fine was cancelled and he only paid £5 for the legal help.

Get started

In partnership with Just Answer.

What happens if I don’t pay a parking fine to a private company?

If you don’t pay the private operator for a parking ticket on private land, it could lead to court proceedings against you.

If a landowner or operator takes you to court and wins, the judge will order you to pay. You’d end up with a CCJ on your credit file, which you should avoid at all costs!

A County Court Judgement on your credit history will negatively impact your ability to get a bank loan, credit card or mortgage for six years.

What happens when you can’t pay a parking ticket?

If you’re struggling with finances and you can’t afford to pay a Parking Charge Notice, you should contact the issuer and appeal the ticket.

Don’t ignore it!

Once you file your appeal, it stops the issuer from escalating the matter any further. It gives you time to seek advice from a debt charity which you should do as soon as you can!

What happens when you can’t pay a parking ticket?

Source: Moneysavingexpert

How long can you be chased for a private parking fine?

Yes. The short answer is that there is a time limit to how long you can be chased for a private parking fine.

But things get a little complicated because it depends on how the notice was issued. Was it attached to your vehicle? Were you handed the ticket by a parking attendant? Or did it arrive in the post?

In short, if the notice is sent to you in the post, the operator has 14 days to send it.

However, if you were given the ticket at the time you parked, the notice would be on your car or given to you. Then a follow-up notice is sent to you within 2 months!

What makes a parking ticket invalid?

You could have a parking ticket cancelled if you could prove the following:

  • There were no signs or road markings on the site you parked
  • You parked correctly following the T&Cs on the signs
  • Payment machines were out of order
  • The notice arrived in the post over 14 days after you used the car park
  • There are clerical errors on the Parking Charge Notice
  • You have a valid reason for not getting back to your vehicle in time
  • The ticket was issued within the 10-minute grace period

» TAKE ACTION NOW: Get legal support from JustAnswer

Should you be given 10 minutes grace?

Yes. A car park management company is obliged to allow you 10 minutes grace before issuing a Parking Charge Notice if they are accredited.

However, you must be correctly parked and paid the relevant fee to park for the rule to apply.

For example, if you were badly parked or failed to pay, the grace period wouldn’t apply!

How do you appeal a Parking Charge Notice?

You have the right to challenge a parking ticket on private land if you feel it’s unfair. The issuer can’t do anything more until they decide whether to uphold or reject your appeal.

Moreover, if the issuer rejects it, you can escalate your appeal to an independent appeals service.

If the operator is a BPA member, you can take your appeal to the Parking on Private Land Appeals Service (POPLA).

However, if the operator is a member of the International Parking Community (IPC), you file your appeal with the Independent Appeals Service (IAS).

Do you have to tell an operator who was driving?

No. You’re not obliged to tell a private car park management company who was driving when the parking ticket was issued.

However, if you don’t give them the driver’s details, you can’t appeal the Parking Charge Notice. Plus, you’d be responsible for the payment!

Will a private parking ticket affect your credit score?

The parking ticket itself won’t impact your credit score in any way. However, things change when a County Court Judgement is registered against you for non-payment!

In short, a CCJ will negatively impact your credit file making it hard to get a loan or borrow money until it expires!

Getting the support of a Solicitor can take a huge weight off your mind.

Get started

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Is a parking ticket on private land a crime?

No. If you get a parking ticket on private land for ‘non-compliance’ of an operator’s T&Cs, it’s a civil matter. If the issuer starts legal proceedings against you, the case is heard in a County Court.

In short, you aren’t breaking any laws when you get a Parking Charge Notice!

Can private parking companies send bailiffs?

No. A private parking company can’t send bailiffs to your home. They can, however, pursue you through a County Court for payment and have a CCJ registered against you!

Lastly, do you legally have to pay private parking fines?

Private parking fines are not immediately enforceable as they’re not covered by UK law. Therefore an operator cannot legally ‘demand’ payment from you.

That said, the issuer could win a case against you in a County Court. A judge will issue an order for you to pay. Once a County Court Judgement is issued, the parking ticket becomes enforceable.

Plus, what was a parking ticket becomes a ‘debt’ which will affect your credit history.

So, the short answer to the question ‘do you legally have to pay a private parking fine’ is no, not at first. But you’d have to settle the debt when a court issues an ‘order to pay’. 

Thanks for reading my post. I hope the information clears up any questions you have about private parking fines and whether you’d have to pay or not.

Hire a Parking Solicitor for less than a coffee.

If you’re thinking about appealing your parking ticket then getting some professional advice is a good idea.

Getting the support of a Solicitor can make your appeal much more likely to win.

For a £5 trial, Solicitors from JustAnswer can look at your case and help you create an airtight appeal.


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The authors
Janine Marsh Thrifty Family
Janine is a financial expert who supports individuals with debt management, cost-saving resources, and navigating parking tickets.