Home > Common Complaints > Complaining About a Private Parking Ticket

Complaining About a Private Parking Ticket

By: Elizabeth Mugan BA/BSc, PGDipLaw, BVC, CIArb - Updated: 25 Apr 2017 |
 
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 was given a parking ticket back in Feb 2017 when I was visiting a clinic after having breast surgery.This was not my normal clinic as it was a weekend and my clinic is closed.I appealed the ticket which was rejected, I then went onto the IAS website which wouldn't except my issue number saying I had to contact UKCPS for another one, on doing so I was greeted with a message that the answerphone was full.I have now received yet another letter - in red - demanding payment!!! As I am still undergoing medical treatment I really could do without this stress.
Chrissy - 25-Apr-17 @ 2:57 PM
I have been trying since Friday it is now Wednesday to pay a parking fine. Mail box full. Now it's changed sorry know ones there right now. Is this a ploy for ticket to go up????? All calls recorders. How come there's no recording to leave a message an someone will get back to you. Surely that needs to be sorted!!!!!!
Doyley - 19-Apr-17 @ 9:57 AM
Hi I've just received a letter chasing payment for a parking fine (PCN) for parking on private land. I made an appeal to the independent appeals body that was rejected. Do I now have to pay this so called administration fee (£60.00) to this company, who are chasing the said fine? Regards Chris Hamblin
Hambo - 20-Mar-17 @ 9:41 PM
@Annie - it depends if you contravened the terms of the parking ticket and the parking notice in Sainsbury's car park. If you can prove you didn't then you'll have grounds to appeal.
AmyM - 2-Mar-17 @ 1:47 PM
I have recieved a parking fine from a debt recovery plus ltd has I over stayed in Sainsbury's car park winterstoke rd Bristol I am refusing to pay it has I was only shopping in there store and across the road have I got rights to refuse to pay
Annie - 1-Mar-17 @ 3:36 PM
I recently bought a new car from a garage who took my old car to "scrap". I didn't receive any payment for it. Two days later it was parked in an Aldi car park for longer than allowed and I have received a charge notice from Parking Eye. I advised them I was no longer the owner and the name of the garage I had passed the car to but they have now written to me saying I have 28 days to prove the car was not mine or they will persue me for the charge. Can't they do this?
thebigpanda - 19-Feb-17 @ 9:40 AM
Wheel Forge Way , Trafford Park , Manchester .I was parked in an unused gated entrance outside of the fenced area where I work as was five other work colleagues. We all received tickets off a company called Excel (VCS). They had recently put up parking notices around the industrial estate where I work stating no parking at any time but I wasn't parked on double yellow lines or obstructing any other road users whatsoever. We have four gated entrances where I work . Two with barriers and gates for security reasons which are used 24/7. Two others are never used and vehicles park both inside and outside of these said areas which are permanently locked . For over a year I've parked here , as have other staff members , with the understanding that it is perfectly fine to do so. When I returned back to the unit to find this ticket I was fuming. After weeks of trying to contact both the landlords , whom own the roads entering out site , and the issuers of the tickets to give verification of restricted parking areas , we never heard anything back. I then received the usual fine letter through the post stating it would be £60 for immediate payment or £100 after a certain amount of time. I appealed it and sent in my own photographic evidence to back up my case . It was rejected surprise surprise . I was offered a chance to re appeal to another firm but if I did I would lose the £60 option. Bottom line is I paid it. You read all sorts of things posted by all manner of legal heroes that think they know it all. It's the person who has the fine who has to make the decision in the end. Companies like this that use the threat of court and debt collectors that really need to be closed down. The stress it puts people under is in itself illegal or should be. To rub salt into the wounds , I can't clean off the residue where the issuer put his ticket. Can I claim against them for damaging my daughters car ?The day after I was ticketed I stopped an employer for the parking enforcers who was about to place a ticket on another work colleagues car. In the same plac eI parked previously. When I questioned him why and pointed out the lack of lines and actual use of the gates he agreed and said he was told to do it regardless. After a while I thought he had seen sense as I I said I'd get the owner to remove it and park it inside the compound as there were now spaces available. He got in his vehicle to drive away but as I went to get my friend to move his car the unscrupulous ticket leech placed one on and left . Disgusting . Annoying thing is we are near Bowlers and on a Sunday you can't get down to our unit because of cars parked on double yellows and up pavements . We have HGV vehicles we have to try and squeeze through ridiculous gaps left , but not one single ticket issued to them. We park , off road , adding double security to our gated areas , totally safe causing no hazards whatsoever and are fined. Our manager agrees it's totally wrong and he tried endlessly
strettiered - 16-Feb-17 @ 9:11 AM
Wheel Forge Way , Trafford Park , Manchester .I was parked in an unused gated entrance outside of the fenced area where I work as was five other work colleagues. We all received tickets off a company called Excel (VCS). They had recently put up parking notices around the industrial estate where I work stating no parking at any time but I wasn't parked on double yellow lines or obstructing any other road users whatsoever. We have four gated entrances where I work . Two with barriers and gates for security reasons which are used 24/7. Two others are never used and vehicles park both inside and outside of these said areas which are permanently locked . For over a year I've parked here , as have other staff members , with the understanding that it is perfectly fine to do so. When I returned back to the unit to find this ticket I was fuming. After weeks of trying to contact both the landlords , whom own the roads entering out site , and the issuers of the tickets to give verification of restricted parking areas , we never heard anything back. I then received the usual fine letter through the post stating it would be £60 for immediate payment or £100 after a certain amount of time. I appealed it and sent in my own photographic evidence to back up my case . It was rejected surprise surprise . I was offered a chance to re appeal to another firm but if I did I would lose the £60 option. Bottom line is I paid it. You read all sorts of things posted by all manner of legal heroes that think they know it all. It's the person who has the fine who has to make the decision in the end. Companies like this that use the threat of court and debt collectors that really need to be closed down. The stress it puts people under is in itself illegal or should be. To rub salt into the wounds , I can't clean off the residue where the issuer put his ticket. Can I claim against them for damaging my daughters car ?The day after I was ticketed I stopped an employer for the parking enforcers who was about to place a ticket on another work colleagues car. In the same plac eI parked previously. When I questioned him why and pointed out the lack of lines and actual use of the gates he agreed and said he was told to do it regardless. After a while I thought he had seen sense as I I said I'd get the owner to remove it and park it inside the compound as there were now spaces available. He got in his vehicle to drive away but as I went to get my friend to move his car the unscrupulous ticket leech placed one on and left . Disgusting . Annoying thing is we are near Bowlers and on a Sunday you can't get down to our unit because of cars parked on double yellows and up pavements . We have HGV vehicles we have to try and squeeze through ridiculous gaps left , but not one single ticket issued to them. We park , off road , adding double security to our gated areas , totally safe causing no hazards whatsoever and are fined. Our manager agrees it's totally wrong and he tried endlessly
strettiered - 15-Feb-17 @ 11:22 AM
not got one- Your Question:
I have recievedd a parking ticket when I di buy one for the day but it fell off the dashboar and laned near the clutch area as a very windy morning should I appeal against this and give them my details like they are asking or just ignore like a lot of people saying

Our Response:
Ignoring the issue will not help as your fine will accrue charges and the amount you owe will increase. If you feel you were give the ticket unfairly then you will need to challenge the complaint. However, you will need evidence (through the ticket). A ticket falling off the dashboard is the most common excuse that people use to try to get out of paying a fine. That's why the parking officials will need to see evidence you had the ticket before they will consider dropping the fine.
ComplaintExpert - 10-Feb-17 @ 12:41 PM
i have recievedd a parking ticket when i di buy one for the day but it fell off the dashboar and laned near the clutch area as a very windy morning should i appeal against this and give them my details like they are asking or just ignore like a lot of people saying
not got one - 9-Feb-17 @ 11:41 AM
My husband has been given a ticket by parking eye saying that he has overstayed in a supermarket car park when he was at work and so was his car on the other side of the city
Mrsbunny - 7-Feb-17 @ 11:15 AM
I parked work van in shopping centre parking and paid using mobile app ring and go but i accidentally used my car number plate instate the van so i got ticket. I have evidence of receipt from ring and go with time and date my account number. Do I have chance if I appeal.
Dave - 6-Feb-17 @ 6:48 PM
My son parked my vehicle at a shopping park with 3 hours free parking (confirmed on web site). The Parking Charge Notice stated the vehicle was parked from 16:12 until 17:55 = 1 hour 43 minutes and was issued due to parking "Over Free Time". It then states that when appealing you should send shop receipts to prove you shopped at the park. All my son's purchases were under £10 and he rarely keeps receipts anyway. Nobody is obliged to make purchases anyway. So frustrating!!
jb - 14-Dec-16 @ 11:04 AM
I had received a parking fine for vein 10 min over the time,I didn't realise there was a paking eye,I didn't pay it as everyone was saying don't, later I had a letter from there solicitor saying I had to pay £160 I have but very anoyed on how these people can get away with such a huge fine in the first place,I won't be going back again,we should all be a where of these people and make a stand.
Jackie - 28-Nov-16 @ 10:38 AM
I have threeparking eye tickets now and this getting annoying. The problemis that we have not parked nearly driventhrough the retail parkto the industrialestateto the rear of it. The camerashave not registeredthis fullya b day keep charging us for full days of parkingbetween normalworkinghours. . Who can we a peal to as the parkingeye peopleare processorsaying that do not care. I want to charge them for my wasted time now and should be able to as there systemis at fault. Cheers a c p
Chrisp62 - 20-Oct-16 @ 12:32 PM
Some of the advice in this article is dubious or out-of-date, especially this defence: "The ‘catch-all’ is that the charge is disproportionate because they’ve lost no or little money by you parking there." In the Beavis appeal case, the deterrent effect of the penalty charge was deemed to be justified regardless of the actual loss to the landowner or the parking company. However, a key aspect of the Beavis case rested on the fact that the appellant had freely admitted to having seen the prominent sign, hence the 'contract' was deemed to be acceptable. If you park on land where the signage is too small or unclear or its positioning does not comply with BPA (British Parking Association) codes, you may be able to appeal. There should at least be a prominent sign at the entrance to alert all drivers to the fact that they are entering private land. Sadly, if you ignore the warning letters (on the grounds that they have no right to issue the charge) you will probably get a CCJ by default. Since it only costs £25 to issue the court claim, it's all too easy for them to bully you into coughing up. I just spoke with a driver who got a UKCPS ticket in his employer's own car park. He complained that he didn't see any signs. UKCPS responded by promptly erecting signs. Sorted! It seems there needs to be a new test case to clarify the legal position on the validity of tickets when BPA or other codes are flagrantly ignored and planning permissions for ANPR and signage are breached. Basically, the law in this area seems heavily weighed in favour of the parking companies. It's disgraceful that they can blatantly flout BPA guidelines and still mug you for £175 or more. Perhaps they know too well that many drivers are too simple to even look for a warning sign; never mind read and understand it. Very sad.
Rachel - 13-Oct-16 @ 9:40 PM
I live in a apartament and pay a service charge. My lease hold agreement state at that as part of the serive charge I have exclusive rights of access with out mentioning permits. No one has agreed to have parking controls in the car park and they have put a ticket on my car. UKCPS, are now sending letters through to get money saying I have no authority to park. The actual reason states; without a permit or authority. I have lived here for 10 years and they have shown up in the last 12 months. Should I take legal action against them or just ignore them, as surely they could not take me to court for parking on my property?
Eugenek - 23-Sep-16 @ 7:09 PM
Hoping somebody can help. I have received 4 pcn's over a 2 week period due to anpr cameras. I didn't see the signs and clearly if I had I would have paid and if I had received a ticket on my car I would have paid/not parked there. If the first pcn came within the week I would only have got two tickets as I wouldn't have parked there the second week. How long does the company have to send a pcn? I have read in the popla annual report they must comply with schedule for which indicates they have 14 days to write to you. Is my understanding correct? The gap between the contravention date and issue date on all my notices range from 17 days to 21 days. Thanks
Richie - 30-Aug-16 @ 9:52 AM
Got a parking fine notification from ukcps for over stay at a co op car park when I returned home off of holiday, claiming I was observed over staying a 1 hour only by 30 mins making it a total of 90 mins.on further investigation by myself it is indeed a 90 mins car park so actually no over stay took place. Court action threatened should I pay or not
Stevo - 22-Aug-16 @ 3:25 PM
I received a parking charge today from ukcps stating my vehicle was observed from 0836 30/07/16 last observed 0908 31/07/16 saying overstaying time limit 195mins. The laugh is I park my vehicle on my drive each night and the fact I left the car park as soon as I got my coffee andnot returning until the morning. So how the heck was it observed all day all night!!!!
Husky6 - 3-Aug-16 @ 2:01 PM
Giggles - Your Question:
I received a ukcps parking ticket yesterday while visiting my works head quarters for a very important physio appt. I drove around the industrial estate for around 45 minutes yesterday and no spaces were found , eventually due to me being late and needing to attend this appt I found a parking bay in quiet a empty car park of another company. I didn't notice any parking signs at the time as was in to much of a hurry but has states permit holders for the car park I parked in. This car park was never permit holders the last time I was there. What do I do as I have never been in this situation before ? I'm not the registered keeper of the car used

Our Response:
You can see more about parking tickets complaints via the MoneySavingsExpert link here. However, you would have to prove that the site wasn't clearly signposted in order to have a chance at appeal.
ComplaintExpert - 7-Jul-16 @ 11:02 AM
@Giggles - I think in this case you would have to pay the parking fine - unless you appeal and you can prove the signs are not visible. But car parks generally make sure their signs are pretty prominant and you can't appeal on the fact of not having seen them, as everyone would appeal with the same excuse. Kindly, JK.
JohnK1956*** - 7-Jul-16 @ 10:54 AM
Advice needed please. I received a parking ticket the other day from ParkingEye.I had parked my car in a KFC/Starbucks car park at 4:30am when I got a takeaway from McDonalds across the way.The McDonalds car park was full of gangs of people hanging around their cars so my friend & I didn't feel comfortable siting in the car with them all around, so I drove to the KFC/Starbucks car park around the corner.Their car park was empty, so we parked up and ate our food & sat chatting for a while.I never got out of the car so I didn't notice any signs.A ticket arrived in the post saying that I was 15 minutes over the "allowed" time of 1hr 30mins.As I never left my car unattended - am I still liable to pay the penalty?Any advice much appreciated.
Ash - 6-Jul-16 @ 6:13 PM
I received a ukcps parking ticket yesterday while visiting my works head quarters for a very important physio appt ... I drove around the industrial estate for around 45 minutes yesterday and no spaces were found , eventually due to me being late and needing to attend this appt I found a parking bay in quiet a empty car park of another company. I didn't notice any parking signs at the time as was in to much of a hurry but has states permit holders for the car park I parked in.. This car park was never permit holders the last time I was there... What do I do as I have never been in this situation before ? I'm not the registered keeper of the car used
Giggles - 6-Jul-16 @ 10:06 AM
Hi I received a ukcps parking ticket around the area of my works HQ ,after driving around the industrial site for over 45 mins trying to find a parking space I found one in another area and at this point I was late for my physio apptwhich I couldn'tmiss the parking area had a lot of free spaces.. what do I do ? I have never been in this situation before it states that I parked in a area with no permit I was in to much of a rush to see any signs and I'm not the registered owner of the vehicle ...
Giggles - 6-Jul-16 @ 9:56 AM
Need advice please.... Received a letter from UKCPS, stating I am liable for a parking charge of £100, which at the date of this notice remains unpaid in full.It also states that the parking charge notice was affixed to my windscreen at the time of issue.But it wasn't and this is the first correspondence about this charge.It states that this charge relates to the period of parking that immediately preceded the issue of that notice. I parked in a private, permit holders only parking area to drop something off to my friend who lives on the fourth floor.I couldn't have taken longer than ten minutes. But there wasn't a parking charge notice affixed to my vehicle when I returned. I rang to enquire and I was advised to appeal in writing to have the penalty charge notice reduced to its usual amount of £60.But it's completely their discretion. Should I appeal?Heard they reject every appeal.
Amber - 1-Jul-16 @ 8:44 PM
I receive latter yesterday from UKCPS. They claim I went to Bradford on May 20/16 Which is I didn't see my Bradford my entire life. SecondlyI brought the car on 6/May /2016 And the day of ticket they issue is 20/May /16 , so on all of May I didn't have road tax Or insurance ,because I have anther car and used that day. Onlythink they searchcars . I sendto dvla the log book that is ,and they get my detail fromplace they should save with them . These is what UKCPSdoing to the people and the government is not taking any action .because is businesswhat a joke!!!!!!!!!!
Yarow - 24-Jun-16 @ 12:48 AM
Bulletthebluesky341 - Your Question:
Hello, I am hoping someone can advise me please. I am currently teaching my son to drive, in my car. A couple of weeks ago, we drove around the car park of our local football club: it was a Sunday, and the car park was empty. At no point did we park the car or get out of the car, but yesterday I received a parking charge notice from Parking Eye. Is it worth me appealing the charge as nowhere on the signs does it say that driving in the car park is subject to charge. My thoughts are to write to the company and pose the scenario of whether they would charge someone who entered the car park on a match day for example, drove round the car park, but could not find a vacant space, so left to park elsewhere. What do you think? I imagine that the onus would be on them to prove that my car was actually parked: it definitely was not at any point. The have photographic evidence of my car entering and leaving the car park; which I do not dispute.

Our Response:
It sounds as though you have been picked up by the cameras on entry and exit and regardless of whether you have parked or not, you may have to pay for the 'use' of the car park (especially if it is private). I suggest you perhaps return to read the signs in the car park, which will have laid out the terms of usage and which the owners are well within their rights to enforce.
ComplaintExpert - 20-Jun-16 @ 11:50 AM
Hello, I am hoping someone can advise me please. I am currently teaching my son to drive, in my car. A couple of weeks ago, we drove around the car park of our local football club: it was a Sunday, and the car park was empty. At no point did we park the car or get out of the car, but yesterday I received a parking charge notice from Parking Eye. Is it worth me appealing the charge as nowhere on the signs does it say that driving in the car park is subject to charge. My thoughts are to write to the company and pose the scenario of whether they would charge someone who entered the car park on a match day for example, drove round the car park, but could not find a vacant space, so left to park elsewhere. What do you think? I imagine that the onus would be on them to prove that my car was actually parked: it definitely was not at any point. The have photographic evidence of my car entering and leaving the car park; which I do not dispute.
Bulletthebluesky341 - 19-Jun-16 @ 11:55 AM
Tom - Your Question:
Hi all,Thought I'd share my story for everyone to see, and I hope it helps. I had parked my car beneath my rented accommodation, but UKCPS seemed to think I'd not displayed my permit. I didn't find a ticket on my windscreen, and was only made aware of the 'charge' through a letter advising my right to appeal had now expired and I was invited to pay £100.I got in touch with my managing agent (not landlord), who emailed UKCPS. They responded immediately cancelling the ticket. I'd therefore advise anyone in a similar situation to contact their managing agent or landlord in the first instance, who can prove you a) pay for your parking and b) have a valid permit. It also helps that the email comes from an objective party.Remember, under contract law, UKCPS have to prove that the landlord/landowner has suffered financial loss for your breach. If you can prove your parking is paid for, there is no financial loss, the charge is not representative and therefore it is deemed and 'unenforceable penalty'.Good luckTom

Our Response:
Many thanks for sharing your comments.
ComplaintExpert - 15-Jun-16 @ 11:13 AM
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