Are Private Car Park Fines Enforceable – Questions Answered!

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Janine Marsh
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Janine Marsh

Financial Expert

My name’s Janine, and I’m a mum of two who’s always been passionate about trying to cut down spending costs. I am now sharing as much financial knowledge as I possibly can to help your money go that little bit further.

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- Financial Expert
Updated 18 August 2023
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Private Car Park Fines

Have you ever asked are private car park fines enforceable when one just popped through your letterbox? It might occur to you if the parking charge notice arrives unexpectedly!

I explain why private car park fines could be enforceable, and how you could argue a case against one in my post.

How to appeal and win

If you want to avoid paying a parking ticket then you’ll need an airtight appeal.

The best way to perfect your appeal is getting a little advice from a Solicitor. I’d 100% recommend spending a fiver to get a trial of JustAnswer.

You can explain your situation in their chat and they’ll connect you with a Solicitor who can advise you and give you the best chance to win your appeal. For £5 it’s actually amazing value.

Click here to get the trial offer with JustAnswer.

What does private car parking mean?

Private parking is controlled by a landowner or a car park management company. Most landowners outsource the work to these operators, of which there are many throughout the country.

The operators issue Parking Charge Notices to you when you don’t obey their rules!

Why would you get private car park fines?

You could get a private car park fine because you didn’t follow the Terms & Conditions a landowner or operator has in place. The fine is not a ‘fine’ as such, even though Parking Charge Notices are designed to look like Penalty Charges.

I’ve listed some of the most common reasons why you’d get a parking charge in the table below:

You didn’t pay to park in 
You overstayed an allotted time 
You left your vehicle in a bay reserved for families and the disabled 
You failed to display the ticket you bought correctly 
You parked badly over two bays 
You left your vehicle parked overnight when it’s not permitted 

You could find the parking fine slapped on your windscreen, or the parking charge could arrive in the post. When an operator uses ANPR or CCTV in a car park they manage, the alleged infringement is recorded. 

If an operator is accredited, and you’re the registered keeper, your details are accessed via the DVLA database. Hence, the parking charge arrives in the mail a little while later.

Is a Parking Charge like a Penalty Charge?

No. The two may look the same, but they are not. For instance, a Parking Charge falls under contractual law whereas a Penalty Charge is covered by UK legislation.

When you get a Penalty Charge Notice, the issuing authority doesn’t have to start court proceedings to get you to pay. A Parking Charge Notice, on the other hand, is not immediately enforceable.

The operator/landowner must take you to court and win the case to get you to pay a private car park fine!

Can you beat your ticket?

In many cases tickets aren’t actually enforceable.

It’s a bit sneaky, but you could pay £5 to chat with an online Solicitor.

They’ll give you support in crafting the best appeal possible and give you the best chance of not paying your ticket.

You can try it below. 


Should you ignore private car park fines?

There’s lots of information about ignoring private car park fines on the internet. However, it could be an expensive decision if you don’t deal with the problem. For example, several things could happen which I’ve listed here:

  • The operator will chase you for payment by sending reminders (if you’re the registered keeper)You may have to deal with a debt collection agency if the operator passes your details on to them
  • You could face court proceedings over an unpaid private car park fine
  • You may end up with a CCJ registered against you which would ruin your credit history

Ignoring a parking charge is high risk, as demonstrated below:

Are private car park fines enforceable


What happens when you don’t pay private car park fines?

You could get lucky and the operator/landowner doesn’t chase you for payment. But it could be risky because there’s never a guarantee they won’t. The best way to deal with a parking charge is to appeal it when you think it’s unfair. 

This way you prevent things from escalating any further. Once the operator gets your appeal, they can’t chase you until they’ve assessed your appeal.

Or you could pay the parking charge within 2 weeks. When you settle the parking charge within 14 days, the operator reduces the amount by 40%. But only pay it when you’re satisfied the operator issued it correctly!

Not paying private car park fines could see a debt collector chasing you for payment and you may face court proceedings!

How long do you have to pay or appeal private car park fines?

You’ve got 28 days to pay or appeal private car park fines. But when appealing a parking charge within 14 days, you pay a lesser amount if the operator rejects your appeal. The same is true when you pay the charge within two weeks!

How do you appeal private car park fines?

Most car park management companies have a dedicated appeals page on their websites. You just need to provide the following information when appealing against a Parking Charge Notice:

  • Your vehicle registration number (VRN)
  • The reference number on the parking charge
  • The reason why you want the parking charge cancelled

What’s the best excuse to appeal private car park fines?

There are several reasons you could use to appeal private car park fines. I’ve listed some here:

  • You were parked correctly, paid the right fee, and displayed the ticket correctly on your vehicle
  • The parking charge arrived in the post but there weren’t any signs saying that CCTV or ANPR was in use in the car park
  • You got the parking charge in the mail more than 14 days after the alleged parking infringement
  • The operator failed to allow you a ten-minute grace period before issuing you a parking charge
  • The parking charge was not served correctly
  • An emergency prevented you from getting back to your vehicle in time
  • Your vehicle had been stolen when the parking charge was issued
  • You were broken down and waiting for help
  • There was no way to pay because the machines were broken

Make sure you can back up your appeal with evidence or the operator may not accept or consider it.

Lastly, are private car park fines enforceable?

No. Private car park fines are not immediately enforceable because they fall under contractual law. Only a court order can make you pay. So, in short, the operator must win a case against you in a small claims court for a fine to be enforceable.

A car park management company cannot lawfully demand you pay a parking charge without a court order!

I hope the information about private car park fines helps save you time and money when you have to deal with a Parking Charge Notice.

Don’t submit your appeal yet.

The best way to beat a ticket is to get professional advice.

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

The authors
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My name’s Janine, and I’m a mum of two who’s always been passionate about trying to cut down spending costs. I am now sharing as much financial knowledge as I possibly can to help your money go that little bit further.
How to avoid paying
How to avoid paying

You can increase your chance of not paying a parking ticket by getting legal advice. 

JustAnswer have a deal where a professional Solicitor will help you craft the perfect appeal.

And it’s just £5 to try!

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