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How to appeal a ticket
How to appeal a parking ticket

Lost PCN Number – The Simple Solution

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 1st, 2024
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Lost PCN Number

Have you got a penalty charge notice (PCN) but you lost it? You may be worried. This happens to many people – in fact, every month, over 32,000 people come to this site for guidance on tickets and fines, so you’re not alone.

In this article, we’ll help you to:

  • Understand what a PCN is and why you might get one.
  • Learn how to win an appeal against your PCN.
  • Find out if a fixed penalty notice is the same as a PCN.
  • Discover what to do if you lost your PCN number.
  • Learn how to pay a PCN once you have the reference number.

We know many people who have been in your shoes, so we understand how you may be feeling. It can be confusing, but we’re here to help you. Let’s learn how you can sort out your lost PCN number.

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

In partnership with Just Answer.

Is a fixed penalty notice the same as a penalty charge notice?

No. They’re not the same, although both are fines! A penalty charge notice is a civil offence, whereas a fixed penalty notice can result in criminal prosecution!

Can’t you find the PCN reference number?

All penalty charge notices come with unique reference numbers, which are found at the top of the notices (usually). That said, different offences are identified by two-letter prefixes attached to them.

In short, the prefixes are supposed to make it easier to know what minor offence you committed to merit a PCN.

Now, all of the above information is pretty useless when you can’t find the penalty notice. Maybe, you tossed it away out of frustration. Or maybe, you just misplaced it!

No matter how a lost PCN happens, don’t panic! There’s a simple solution.

What you should do when dealing with a lost PCN number

First, stay calm. Don’t waste time searching for the PCN. All you have to do is contact the issuing authority. It’s a simple process that doesn’t take up too much time or effort (usually). But it’s a lot faster than searching for the lost ticket and less stressful.

You must provide the following information when asking the issuer to retrieve the details:

  • The vehicle registration number (VRN)
  • Approximate date of the offence (not absolutely necessary, but it can help)

Also, you must be the registered keeper to retrieve a lost PCN number from the issuing authority.

Note: You can’t pay the fine when you don’t have the PCN reference number.

How to pay a PCN once you’ve got the reference number

Things get easier once you’ve retrieved the PCN reference number from the issuing authority. Plus, some local councils and other authorities let you pay over the phone.

But if not, you should be able to pay the PCN online. First, you’ll find a page on the issuer’s website that handles all PCN payments. Plus, you need to provide details of how you’ll pay. Whether it’s by using a debit card or a credit card.

Now, this is why you need the PCN number because, without it, you won’t be able to pay the fine. Why, you ask? Because you need to provide the following information when paying:

  • PCN reference number
  • Vehicle registration number
  • Payment details

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.

Wondering what happens when you don’t pay a penalty charge notice?

Things get messy (and expensive) when you don’t pay a PCN on time or not at all. First, you’ll receive a Notice to the Owner in the post if you’re the registered keeper.

Still don’t fancy paying? You’ll get a Charge Certificate which gives you 14 days to pay up. Plus, the penalty increases by 50%. So, an £80 fine becomes £120!

Not paying the penalty charge after the 14 days are up means bailiffs get involved. You’ll have to deal with enforcement officers armed with a warrant of execution.

So, what if you disagree with the PCN being issued?

Of course, you always have the option to challenge the PCN. You have the right to file an appeal when you think the fine is unjustified. But beware, there’s an appeal process and deadlines!

The process of appealing a PCN explained

There are three processes to appeal a PCN. Plus, there are deadlines which must be respected. If you don’t meet the time limits, you lose the right to challenge the penalty charge notice!

First, you need to know how the PCN was issued. Was it left on your car, handed to you in person, or sent through the post?

This matters because it impacts how you appeal a PCN and the time limits for doing so.

You must file an informal appeal with the issuer when the PCN was handed to you or left on your windscreen.

If you got the PCN through the post, you’d have to make a formal appeal to the issuer. This is known as making representations. It involves writing to the issuer explaining why you’re challenging the penalty.

Note: You should provide as much evidence as possible with your formal appeal.

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

Get started

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So what happens if an appeal against a PCN is rejected?

You can escalate the appeal if the issuer rejects it. The appeal goes before a tribunal, and that’s final when they decide on a case. The adjudicator’s decision is legally binding.

In short, if the adjudicator upholds your appeal, the issuer has to respect the adjudicator’s decision. When the tribunal sides with the issuer, you’ll have to pay!

If you got the PCN in London, your appeal is handled by London Tribunals. When the PCN is issued outside London, it’s the Traffic Penalty Tribunal.

Note: You can’t contact an independent adjudicator until you get a Notice of Rejection!

Will you have to tell your insurance provider about a PCN?

No. You won’t have to tell your insurance provider that you got a PCN. But you may have to declare it when you apply for a visa, although it shouldn’t affect a decision.

Lost PCN number. Not a problem!

A lost PCN number needn’t turn into a drama. In fact, don’t waste time searching for the penalty charge notice. Instead, get in touch with the issuer and ask them to retrieve the details for you. It could save you time and money!

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.


Get started

In partnership with Just Answer.

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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.