I’ve received a parking ticket, what do I do?

So, you’ve received a private parking ticket, what do you do?

This is a question Parking Cowboys gets asked a lot, especially on our Twitter account. And this question is exactly why we set up this site; to help people learn about private parking tickets and work out how to deal with them. This article provide a quick overview about what to do should you receive one of these tickets. NB. each of the points includes links to the relevant content on this site.

1) Read up about private parking tickets. You need to have a basic understanding of the background in order to decide how to handle the ticket. Start here. There are many basic principles you need to understand – such as keeper liability.

2) Decide whether you want to pay it. Despite what the ticket or letter says, it’s very much a grey area from a legal perspective, so its very much your choice whether to pay or fight it.

3) Assuming you want to get it cancelled, you should ask the land owner or occupier to get it cancelled. This is the quickest and cleanest way to get tickets cancelled. This is a good tactic if its a retail or hospital site – they have no interest in customers being punished. Often such sites have secret cancellation clauses allowing tickets to be cancelled at the discretion of the land owner, or if the motorist can demonstrate they were a genuine customer. There’s a good thread on the Money Saving Expert site giving a detailed guide on this. If they agree to cancel the charge, get it in writing in case you ever need to rely on it later.

4) Whilst that is going on you should start the appeals process. Appeals are in two stages; first to the parking company, and then to an independent appeals service. For the initial appeal we have an example letter, or you can write your own. This appeal, direct to the parking company, may fail because the appeal is heard by the parking company themselves (and therefore there is a clear conflict of interest). However, sometimes if the right arguments are used, the parking company may cancel it rather than incur the cost of going to an independent appeal. If that appeal is turned down then the next stage is to…

5) …make an independent appeal. There are two independent appeals services, one for each of the Accredited Trade Associations (ATAs); POPLA for BPA members, IAS for IPC members. We have compiled a list of winning arguments for POPLA appeals based on previous decisions. For IAS appeals it is not so straightforward since it does not publish the reasoning for its decisions. You would be advised to do as much research as possible to find out how people have fought tickets from that specific company in similar circumstances. The forums are a good place to look. The more research you do and the more you understand, the more likely you are to succeed.

Best of luck!