Parking tickets and your credit rating
One of the methods private parking companies use to scare drivers into paying for parking tickets is to threaten their credit rating. This is based on the fact that credit reference agencies report on County Court Judgements against applicants when performing a credit check. It is possible that non-payment of a private parking ticket could result in a County Court Judgement against you and that it would affect your credit rating. However, it is not as simple as the parking company makes it sound, and it is completely within your control to stop it. Here, we’ll explain exactly why that is.
Often private parking companies will make statements about credit ratings when writing to the driver to chase payment, such as the following extract from a template Graham White Solicitors letter on behalf of Parking Eye (see original here):
You should also note that any judgement registered against you could seriously affect your chances of obtaining credit in the future, as this information can be made available to any interested parties via the Register of Judgements, Orders & Fines, and will remain there for 6 years.
On first glance, that statement would seem quite worrying, as it is intended to. But, what they don’t tell you is that there are a lot of things that must happen before your credit rating is affected. These are as follows:
- A claim is filed against you – The parking company must make a county court claim against you. In the event of a claim, you would then need to file a defence or pay it. Filing a defence is quite straightforward, and there are plenty of knowledgeable people willing to help (see further help). Failure to file a defence would likely result in the parking company registering a default judgement against you – in which case jump to step 3, otherwise go to step 2.
- You lose in court – If you go to court, you may win or lose based on the merits of the case. If you win, then the claim has failed and you owe nothing. If you lose then go to step 3.
- You don’t pay – If you were to lose your case, then a County Court Judgement would be made against you. However, you still don’t need to panic at this stage. In the case where a CCJ is made against you, you have 28 days to make a payment in full. If you make the payment, then the CCJ is settled, and that is NOT registered with credit reference agencies. If you fail to make the whole payment, then the CCJ would be put on the Register of Judgements, Orders & Fines and that would be picked up by credit reference agencies.
It should be noted that there may be opportunities to pay the charge in installments. However, choosing to pay the charge in installments is not paying the debt. As per point 3 above, if you do not pay the whole charge in 28 days, then the CCJ would be put on the Register of Judgements, Orders & Fines.
So, as you can see, it is firstly unlikely that it would ever get that far, and if it did, it is completely within your control to make the payment if you did lose your case. To be absolutely clear, you won’t get a CCJ for ignoring the parking ticket alone – the parking company must go through the steps outlined above before that can happen.
Check out our fightback section for more information of fighting parking tickets.