Home > Common Complaints > Complaining About a Private Parking Ticket

Complaining About a Private Parking Ticket

By: Elizabeth Mugan BA/BSc, PGDipLaw, BVC, CIArb - Updated: 19 Jul 2019 |
 
Private Parking Company Fine Vehicle

Parking tickets issued by supermarkets, private companies and train stations are private tickets. These have different rules to public tickets as they are governed by contract law rather than civil or criminal law.

Unfair Tickets

Private tickets are issued if you have parked improperly on someone’s land. They can however, try and make a profit by catching people out, which is unjust. In these circumstances, you are right to try and fight the ticket. It is important to note that many private companies try and imitate public authority notices called PCNs to trick people into thinking they must pay the fine. If there is no council authority or police force mentioned on the ticket then it is likely to be a private one.

Private companies are entirely unregulated and can charge what they like. About a third of companies however, are part of the British Parking Association (BPA) which have a code of practice for ‘fines’, clamping and towing. Companies actually have no legal right to fine you and are just charging for a breach of contract. The good news is that most people who fight a private ticket win it.

Acting Immediately

When you are issued with a private ticket, you are sometimes required to pay an amount within so many days before increasing so it is important that you act immediately. Do not pay the fine as this is admitting liability. If your car has been clamped or towed away then you will have to pay the fine but make it known to them that you are paying in protest.

Supporting Evidence

Gather as much supporting evidence as you can such as photographs of where the vehicle was parked, signage or lack of, parking metres or bays etc and anything that you believe can support your case, such as witness statements, proof of mitigating circumstances, or a crime reference number if your car was stolen or taken without permission. Also keep copies of all correspondence between yourself and the company.

Who is Liable for the Ticket?

Unlike official parking tickets, it is the driver and not the owner of the vehicle that is responsible for the ticket. When you receive a ticket, do nothing and wait to see if they send an invoice through the post. If they do, the letter will go to the owner of the car. If you are the owner but weren’t the driver of the car, you are under no obligation to pay the ‘fine’ or give details of who the driver was. If however, you were the driver don’t be tempted to lie in case they have CCTV footage as if the case got to court it would make things much worse.

How to Fight Your Parking Ticket

If you were not the driver of the car but have received a notice, write a polite but firm letter saying that you were not driving and are under no obligation to provide details of the driver. If you were the driver and believe that the company is being unfair, you need to write to them explaining that you refuse to pay any money. Do not say that you are appealing as this gives unnecessary legitimacy to the ticket.

Grounds to Fight a Ticket

There are five main grounds to fight a ticket. The most popular ground is that there was no, or insufficient, ambiguous signage. The idea is that you read a sign and impliedly accept it when parking on the car park. If however, you can demonstrate that you didn’t see it because the sign is too small or hidden then you can’t be deemed to have accepted it. You can also dispute if a ticket is issued on public land or if you have mitigating circumstances as to why you were parked there in breach. The ‘catch-all’ is that the charge is disproportionate because they’ve lost no or little money by you parking there.

What Happens Next

If one of the above grounds applies to you, then you should write to the company detailing your complaint with any supporting evidence. They may send a letter saying action will not be taken or never write back, in which case you win. They may also say they refute your claim but will not be taking action further. The worst case scenario is if they do not accept your claim. Most companies however, will say this before eventually giving up so it is best to keep refuting the claim and sending the evidence in the hope that they will give up.

Most companies do give up rather than taking it to court, which is the next stage. The case would be in the Small Claims court so the worst that could happen is that you are asked to pay the charge and maybe some expenses or administrative fees but no court fees.

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I parked at a local leisure centre. Later than normal. It is also a college car park. Where I park the bays are blue, which I assumed was for the gym. I got tickets on two consecutive days. Sent in the post on the same day. No mention that is was a ticket.I thought it was junk and only opened it today which is beyond the 14 days. So they are looking for £200. What a scam
AMG - 19-Jul-19 @ 4:49 PM
Hi, I am usually able to appeal PCNs but on this occasion it was a franchise car, and we were on holiday. The company we have the franchise with paid the fine to Private Eye, any advice on how to appeal this? Get a refund? Thanks!
Fiona - 19-Jul-19 @ 3:54 PM
Parked in a parking eye car park. Put my car registration on the laptop provided to allow free parking and still got a charge even though it stated that would allow me to park. They are HIGHWAY THIEVES
Jezmondo - 4-Jul-19 @ 6:46 AM
I want draft a letter to company that employee runaway who had wrongly parked his car in others parking slot he took away his car without paying fine and also braked the lock without knowledge of security
kunal - 1-Jul-19 @ 10:07 AM
My mother in law got parking ticket from parking eye but wasn’t the driver I was . As soon as the letter got to me I contested it as the machine on site didn’t work and I’m not a member of parkingeye I don’t want to be , I received a email from them saying they have received my account of that day and they say I’ve 28days for the outcome.dated 16,6,19. Today another letter came in post saying I now owe them 100 saying pay now Is this bullying? What are my rights?
Dave - 20-Jun-19 @ 7:01 PM
The parking attendent let me into a secret, if you are.parked a little over then it's allowed. They measure from your 1st letter on your plate to edge of your car then that measurement is.allowed over from the bay line. Tell them to send you a.photo of your car as you are allowed some allowance over. Say you refuse to pay not that you are contesting.
Fines123 - 17-Jun-19 @ 10:24 AM
I went to drop my daughter and husband to station. There was marking that I can drop and pickup. I didn't realise that I was little bit out of parking bay. Now we got notice to pay to PCM 100 pounds if we don't pay in 14 days. We appealed the notice but they have rejected our claim saying that parking attendant was there and he recorded that we were parking outside of bay. Car was on and I left after I dropped them. I don't know what to do.
Sonia - 13-Jun-19 @ 8:08 PM
Hello, I work down in a little village where one of the pubs owns a car park and has recently had CCTV fitted. I used to always park there and everything would be fine but now they are sending fines. I have now recieved 6 fines. Each for £100! Others have also received some too and people are saying to ignore them and others are saying that they've had loads before but done nothing with them. What should I do?
S - 9-Jun-19 @ 9:57 AM
your guidance about the registered vehicle owner not having to identify the actual driver has been out of date since the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012 which renders the registered owner liable if the driver can not be identified
baffey - 8-Jun-19 @ 6:08 PM
Parking on private land whereby the authority is given under a lease or easement. (a right to park in a designated area) The freeholder of the land is responsible for the actions of its agent (the parking enforcement company) I believe any such parking ticket is illegal and when place onwindow ofthe car is a form of trespass against the property (owner of the car) and a harrasment to the right of enjoyment under the terms of the lease or easement. An action may be taken jointly against the agent and the freeholder by way of injunction to void the strees and "harassment" for the demand of money. Any comments would be appreciated.
gamesmanship - 21-May-19 @ 10:07 AM
I parked on nhs land where I work from daily. The land - car park is manned by a company called Amtrak. I had, as always displayed my pass with reg no on clearly. This was nt enough as they wanted the Location code as well so I was fined on duty as a nurse at my work place for not displaying a location number. I am currently fighting this.. sadly, duty nurses, working from their base still equals unfair penalties.. Stress of the job equals nurses leaving the NHS
Apple - 13-May-19 @ 7:45 PM
Hi, ON the 7.12.18 while shopping at Asda Leytonstone parked in a disabled bay wel as am a holder. On that occasion I forgot displaying my badge & I received a PCN from UKPC, On my return roughly after 30minutes only to find a PCN displayed. I had my badge with me and I immediately got back to Asda showing the security my badge who advised it was best to contact ukpc. I took photos of my badge & receipt as proof of shopping which had a spending of £109 .On taking pictures, the time & place of where the picture has been taken records on the photo. On appealing, they respond “ thank you for the evidence provided, as an act of good will we reduce your penalty to £15 which you will have to pay in 35 days or else they would escalate the matter further! I panicked & then paid £15, however I’m still disappointed on how Un considerate this company is! I’m now looking forward to raising a complaint to Asda store. Please advise on how to go abou this, thank you
Martha - 4-Apr-19 @ 9:56 AM
Hi We live on s private estate on the left hand side there are the leasehold flats which UKPC operate a parking control Scheme for the landlord. On the other side of the car park the homes are owned as Freeholds , with that you get a parking bay which is land formed as part ofthe title of ownership. We are not part of the parking control scheme operated by UKPC. For years now UKPC have being putting tickets on our card parked on our bays. They then demand that we appeal against the ticket or pay the fine. Neither of which we are prepared to do. Dispite sending plans of the car park and informing them that we are not part of the scheme the harassment continues, with debt companies sending letters either pay or appeal that’s the stance. All the freehold residents are at their wits end. Has anyone got any advice...??
Jas - 18-Feb-19 @ 7:53 PM
Advice please we received a letter from ukcps the picture with a manual number plate recognition stamp says 18.59 but be have a ticket that we kept says issued at 18.35 also paid by visa. It says reason for issue: without a valid permit or authority? In the car park Lincoln free school Lane
Iceman - 5-Feb-19 @ 12:59 PM
hi I parked in a car park and paid with a ticketusing a machine10yards away - I subsequently received a parking fine as I paid at the incorrect ticket machine. I have appealed but it has been rejecteddo I have to pay or shall I continue to appeal to the IAS
shiv - 8-Jan-19 @ 12:44 PM
After being rather shocked at receiving a PCN from a "parking eye Type company" my wife was extremely upset and distressed...especially as it claimed she owed £100 for parking in a small car park whilst she popped into a local convenience store.....10-15 minutes max. They said she had been there for ...wait for it...27 HOURS! Now, whilst my wife is a prolific shopper, even she would find it impossible to spend that long shopping in only 3 stores...2 o f which are food outlets!. She immediately called the company to express her disbelief and concern about the allegation and was told "we will look into it". The following day , having heard nothing I then called and had to leave an answer phone message in which I too expressed my annoyance and disbelief that such a notice could be sent with obviously flawed data. I was left an answer phone message telling me to appeal! Now the good part. It appears that the manager of the convenience store knows of many similar situations ...because his customers (3 or 4 a WEEK!) call him up having received similar PCN letters.....so it is a known problem which it seems the company either can't or won't sort out . Today my wife received a letter from the company which simply said words to the effect that "The Notice is being cancelled, no further action is being taken" No explanation, No APPOLOGY.....No customer relations skills that is for sure!. My question is Who do I make an official complaint too about this farce? Can I report them to the regulator ? Is there any recourse to force them to explain the way in which a PCN was issued without reason? I am pretty damned angry that these faceless fools are seemingly able to send out unsubstantiated charges to innocent drivers without having to provide any details or photographic evidence....especially to elderly motorists who may, to avoid the stress and worry, pay up out of fear or retribution.
cranwellpoacher - 29-Oct-18 @ 6:05 PM
I received a parking charger notice I appealled as I didn't think signs were signed very well sent pics in they refused appeal so I payedsince then they have changed all the signs is there anything I can do .To me they must think that I'm right else why change the signs
Don - 6-Oct-18 @ 7:49 AM
I recently received a parking charge for having one wheel on a double yellow line on private land (the garage area for residents where I live). However, the charge stated the incorrect vehicle registration number, so I wrote to the parking company to inform them that I would therefore not be paying the charge. They have now responded by saying that they have photographic evidence showing the correct vehicle and will be re-issuing the charge with the correct details. Is the parking company able to issue the charge retrospectively?
Jonny 5 - 22-Sep-18 @ 1:38 PM
I don’t know why websites that advise people on how to dispute parking charge notices don’t just give the basics people need to know. Firstly, if you appeal the PPC will always reject it. They pay DVLA £2.50 to access the owners details so they have no motivation to let you off. The appeal is all part of their tactics of turning the screw on you. Giving yourself enough rope to hang yourself so to speak. So don’t appeal!! Secondly, NEVER EVER admit who the driver was. This stuffs them wholeheartedly from the off. Thirdly, don’t fall for their nasty rhetoric and threats. Don’t be intimidated. 4. It’s an invoice not a fine. They can legitimately only chase you for the money you owe. So if you paid to stay in a car park for 2 hours at a rate of £1.00 an hour but stayed for 3. Technically they can only come after you for a £1.00. 5. If you park in a disabled bay on private land the PPC will say you didn’t display a blue badge. Blue badges have nothing to do with them. They are issued by councils for parking on their roads, streets and car park. Also if you park in a place where no fee is payable then they can not invoice you as such as there is no direct loss to themselves. 6. If you’ve got the bottle then play hardcore with them from the outset. They don’t know how to handle it. They will try and play a nasty well rehearsed set of tricks on you from the outset if they get the slightest sniff of weakness from you. 7. Stick to all of the above and they’ll soon drop you and move on to easier prey.
Bear - 5-Jul-18 @ 11:59 PM
I received a private parking charge notice back in March 2018, from a company called NGPM .I wrote a letter, sent to them a few days later by recorded delivery, disputing the notice quoting various legal points that backed up my dispute and reasons for not accepting the alleged parking offence. I asked them to respond within 35 days - whichthey did not. Now 3 months later I have just received a 'Final Reminder' asking for payment , saying 'despite our previous correspondence , this account remains outstanding'. The charge has also gone up for 60 pounds to 100 pounds. What should I do now as they are threatening to pass this 'account' to a debt collection agency and extra costs will be added?
Aljocookie - 29-Jun-18 @ 4:47 PM
HELP, HELP, HELP - NEW, YOUNG DRIVER. I parked overnight at a friends which has no signs about private parking as it is part of the flats. She lead me to believe she paid for the space and that others park there too. I have parked many times without issue. I returned to my car to a ticket saying the owner of the property has complained but the land is owned by the flats in which I was visiting so I feel this may be mislead.
Lolly - 10-May-18 @ 5:32 PM
Why are supermarkets allowing private companies to skam andunjustifyably try and take money from people,generally older people who have to leap thro hoops to try and prove there innocence after using there car parks to spend money in there store What has happened to customer loyalty when there is no help from the store involved.After being accused of parking ror over 5 hours when in fact I had two ten minute visits one in the morning and one late afternoon it seems I now have to prove that didNOT park for five hoursMy weekend has been spoilt by anger and frustration and dissapointment at how difficult life has become .Now I will spend the next few days worrying about what to do next I most certainly will NOT be paying any money to this company Furious SAINSBURY shopper!!!
Angie - 29-Apr-18 @ 9:33 PM
Sadie - Your Question:
Please could someone advise me. I parked in a free car park outside b&m spalding in what I thought was a normal space as there were no markings in the space. I was in the shop for about 15 mins and when I came out I had a UKCPS slip stating that it wasn't a parking charge but that I had to pay an *unstated* amount to them either on the phone or online as I may have broken the car park terms. When I came out of the shop a space next to me had a faded wheelchair painted in it but there was a car parked there when I pulled in so I didnt see it and was not used to the car park as visiting my daughter for a few days. The slip itself looks very unprofessional and has worried me as I have to give these people my bank details yet cant find any details of the proprietor of the car park to ask them if its legitimate, especially as it doesnt state how much I owe them?

Our Response:
UKCPS is a well-known company. You would really have to call UKCPS directly to see whether the fine is valid and has been issued through UKCPS. You can see more via the link here.
ComplaintExpert - 26-Mar-18 @ 10:27 AM
Please could someone advise me. I parked in a free car park outside b&m spalding in what i thought was a normal space as there were no markings in the space. I was in the shop for about 15 mins and when i came out i had a UKCPS slip stating that it wasn't a parking charge but that i had to pay an *unstated* amount to them either on the phone or online as i may havebroken the car park terms. When i came out of the shop a space next to me had a faded wheelchair painted in it but there was a car parked there when i pulled in so i didnt see it and was not used to the car park as visiting my daughter for a few days. The slip itself looks very unprofessional and has worried me as i have to give these people my bank details yet cant find any details of the proprietor of the car park to ask them if its legitimate, especially as it doesnt state how much i owe them?
Sadie - 24-Mar-18 @ 4:30 PM
Received demand for payment of 'unpaid parking charge notice £160 on the 24/2/18, 4 days after it was issued. PCN claimed I exceeded permitted stay time on shopping centre car park on 5/9/17. Thier letter claimed i had not responded to previous demands for payment and my address traced via DVLA.I sent a letter to both DRP & G24 by recorded delivery requesting proof of this and stated if proof showed I did as alledged I diputed the disproportinate charge and asked they prove the alleged overstay was proportionate to the company they acted for losses. Surprise, surprise, I received a further demand saying'Notice of intended court action re unpaid PCN' from DRP Ltd. The letter I sent to G24 was returned to me (opened) but stated 'Refused', ' Return to sender'. I am considering sending a further letter to DRP Ltd requesting again proof of their allegation and my disputing the disprortionate charge. I'm unsure whether to state 'without prejudice', that if proof is provided I would settle the PCN but at what I know to be half the original charge (£50) as per their 14 day pay period agreement but only on proof/evidence of the alledged overstay permitted time on the shopping centre. Any guidance as to how I should proceed further would be appreciated. Also, if there is a letter template I can use to help me challenge DRP Ltd and avert further bullying from them that too wuld be greatly appreciated. Thank you Garry
Mackie - 15-Mar-18 @ 3:26 PM
I have to use my local health center every few months due to a debilitating condition, since my last visit, which was pay & display an ANPR system has been set up, which offers free 15 minutes period. Unfortunately the 15 minutes is to & from the cameras at the entrance to the health center, which can take up to 10 minutes to park, if very busy, not the actual parking time. A requirement for car details to be entered into the payment machine is also applicable, however this system was not previously required. Obviously none of these details are visible unless you leave your car & read the signs carefully... Even then they're still ambiguous with the 15 minutes free in larger text than any of the other words & highlighted in a bright colour, drawing your attention to that aspect. I was actually parked for 13 minutes & I was recorded by the cameras as being on site for a total time of 17 minutes 23 seconds, meaning Ive been given a £100 (increased to £160 ) parking charge for being just over 2 minutes on the health center property.. not even parked but driving in & out. If this in an invoice, does that mean that I'm paying for services provided? If so can I not argue that the charges incurred are disproportionate to the value of services provided?
Ped - 6-Mar-18 @ 10:20 AM
I have received 2 tickets from UKCPS whilst parking In my employers carpark (prison)one says I was parked outside a bay which is pure nonsense the photo they sent shows absolutely nothing of the sort either. The 2nd ticket which I received today states again I was out of bay again I’m not and it shows I’m not but the space behind me is empty which I was told by colleagues that’s the reason why I got the ticket, cause it stopped someone parking there but there was plenty of space for someone to use it they just chose not to. What can or should I do
Deb - 16-Feb-18 @ 5:39 PM
Caverngirl - Your Question:
Hello there, I went for a break to Fowey in Cornwall 16 th January. I travelled 340mls, in rather awful weather conditions, the worst weather being in Cornwall. The Haverners Inn on the sea front when I arrived, it was dark and very windy, I pulled up right in front, as I have a few mobility needs. I just went immediately in to ask for help to take my bags to the room. My room was situated outside and round the back on the Haverners, I had to climb up lots of stone steps, then up more stairs to my room. I was completely breathless , so had to take my inhaler as I've Ashtma ,a bad chest also COPD, a lung disease. When I came down I was told, to park where I was, I'd have to pay £2-40 to stay overnight. I was told the machine was opposite in the wall of The British Legion, I got change and went and paid the overnight charge, when I went to put the ticket in view in my car, I couldn't believe my eyes, I'd been issued with a parking fine for £100, that was so unfair, as I honestly didn't see the sign to pay the parking. If it'd not been dark, windy and very wet, I probably would've noticed the sign, but I'm almost 70 and I just got out my car, the entrance was right in front of me and made a dash into the place out if the horrible weather. Thankyou for reading my message to you, I appreciate it, yours faithfully M. Williams.

Our Response:
Considering the circumstances, you would have grounds to appeal.
ComplaintExpert - 8-Feb-18 @ 9:26 AM
Hello there, I went for a break to Fowey in Cornwall 16 th January. I travelled 340mls, in rather awful weather conditions, the worst weather being in Cornwall. The Haverners Inn on the sea front when I arrived, it was dark and very windy, I pulled up right in front, as I have a few mobility needs. I just went immediately in to ask for help to take my bags to the room. My room was situated outside and round the back on the Haverners, I had to climb uplots of stone steps, then up more stairs to my room. I was completely breathless , so had to take my inhaler as I've Ashtma ,a bad chest also COPD, a lung disease. When I came down I was told, to park where I was, I'd have to pay £2-40 to stay overnight. I was told the machine was opposite in the wall of The British Legion, I got change and went and paid the overnight charge, when I went to put the ticket in view in my car, I couldn't believe my eyes, I'd been issued with a parking fine for £100, that was so unfair, as I honestly didn't see the sign to pay the parking. If it'd not been dark, windy and very wet, I probably would've noticed the sign, but I'm almost 70 and I just got out my car, the entrance was right in front of me and made a dash into the place out if the horrible weather . Thankyou for reading my message to you, I appreciate it, yours faithfully M. Williams.
Caverngirl - 7-Feb-18 @ 5:02 PM
I have been given a parking ticket at my own a residence car park which I have a parking permit displayed on my vehicle but was still issued a parking ticket. I appealed and I was informed that my parking permit was not displayed on my windscreen and due to that I must be issued a parking ticket, yet the pictures they took of my vehicle does not show the number plate of my vehicle but just a windscreen with no parking permit sticker on it. Again the full picture of my vehicle they took, is unclear ,very dark and the unable to see the windscreen. Can I please be advised on what to do next?
Mee - 2-Nov-17 @ 7:47 PM
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