Wrong details on ticket

One of the questions we get frequently is whether a private parking ticket is still valid if it has the wrong details on it? Does it matter if the registration, colour, make, or drivers name is wrong? Generally it wouldn’t matter because private parking tickets are based on contract law, as opposed to legislation on which council-issued tickets are based. However, we’ll consider the various scenarios in detail below.

If the registration is incorrect on a ticket attached to the windscreen of your car, then there’s a possibility that the parking attendant has also not registered it correctly in his notes (although he may have also taken pictures). If the parking company doesn’t know your registration (and you don’t identify yourself by contacting them), then it’ll unlikely they will be able to track you down via the DVLA keepers database. In this case, if you never receive any subsequent correspondence by post from them, then you can likely forget about it.

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If the ticket has details of the car wrong (e.g. colour, model, make), then that likely makes no odds either. The thing that matters whether you are the keeper of the car that breached the rules?

However, the Protection of Freedoms Act specifies a set of mandatory requirements for enforcing keeper liability. If these rules are not strictly adhered too, then there is an argument that they cannot enforce keeper liability. This would mean if you were sent a Notice to Keeper and they do not know the name of the driver (and you do not tell them), then you as the keeper cannot be held liable. It is surprising how many parking companies do not meet these requirements precisely.

If you receive a letter through the post about a parking ticket that has your registration, but clearly wasn’t your car (e.g. they’ve captured the wrong registration), then you should fight the ticket. If they have photographic evidence, then you will be able to show it isn’t your car. You will likely have other evidence that shows it could not have been you.

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So where I’ve said it makes no material difference to the enforceability, why is that? Well, unlike council tickets, the requirements for a private parking ticket aren’t laid down in law (the exception is the Protection of Freedoms Act, but that only specifies some aspects of the ticket, and in certain types of scenario). Since the tickets are based on contract law, simplistically the court’s decision is whether a contract was formed, and whether your broke it or accepted the charges. As such, tickets and letters sent after the event have little bearing on that, so the author would not expect that a court would give it much consideration.

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