How to appeal a parking ticket

Nobody likes receiving a parking ticket but if you believe you’ve been given one unfairly or by mistake you can appeal. Here’s how

Written by Verity Hogan
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As a driver, you’ve probably seen countless examples of careless, illegal, and downright dangerous parking on UK roads. Now, few people would disagree that penalties are needed for those who break the law or endanger other drivers and pedestrians.

But sometimes responsible drivers can get caught out by unfair parking tickets, due to a simple misunderstanding or a technical error.

How to appeal a parking ticket

Don’t pay if you intend to appeal!

The Citizens Advice Bureau advises that motorist don’t pay for a parking ticket if they intend to appeal.

Paying can be interpreted as an admission that you’ve done something wrong, which means you’ll lost your right to appeal.

Start by making an informal appeal

The best way to appeal a parking ticket (if it’s a penalty charge notice or PCN) is to write to the council that administered the ticket, within 14 days (or 21 days if you received the PCN by post). Provide as much information as possible, including evidence to support your claim, such as a valid pay and display ticket, a repair note, or a photo of a sign that was obstructed by something (like a tree).

Other important things to remember:

  • Don’t forget to include your address, vehicle registration number, the date the penalty was issued, and the penalty notice number
  • Send copies of your documents rather than the originals
  • Send copies via recorded delivery so you can prove when they’ve arrived

The council will then consider your appeal. If you’re successful, the charge will be cancelled, and you won’t need to pay anything.

If your appeal is unsuccessful

You’ll either pay the outstanding balance before the deadline or challenge it again. You should do this as quickly as possible, within 28 days of the Notice to Owner letter you’ll have received.

There’s no cost to making a formal appeal and you can find more information on how to make formal representations in the Notice to Owner letter.

If your formal appeal is rejected

In this case, you’ll receive a Notice of Rejection letter. If the council has a strong reason for upholding the notice, you may want to consider paying the penalty charge. You may receive a 50% discount if you pay within a certain time frame.

Appealing to a tribunal 

If you still believe the penalty was issued unfairly, you can appeal to a tribunal to challenge the council’s decision.

This is free and you don’t need to attend a tribunal. Instead, you can submit your appeal and evidence online via the Traffic Penalty Tribunal (outside of London) or the London Tribunals (London only).

If the tribunal rejects your claim, you must pay the penalty within 28 days. If you don’t, the penalty will increase by 50% and the council could even take you to court. You may have to pay court fees and your credit score could also be affected.

How to appeal different types of parking tickets

If you want to appeal a Parking Charge Notice

First, check if the parking company is a member of an Accredited Trade Association (ATA).

Visit the websites of the British Parking Association (BPA) and/or the International Parking Community (IPC) to check whether the issuer is a member and follow their guidance for making an appeal.

If you want to appeal an Excess Charge Notice (ECN)

You must submit an appeal within seven days. If you decide to pay, you may be entitled to a 50% discount if it is paid quickly.

If the council rejects your appeal and you don’t pay, they can take you to a Magistrates’ Court. If the court rules in the council’s favour, your credit score could be affected, and you may be responsible for court costs.

If you want to appeal a Fixed Penalty Notice (FPN)      

Check whether the ticket was issued by a council or the police. Write to the authority and explain your objection. Make sure you provide as much evidence as you can, as this will improve your chances of a successful appeal.

Verity Hogan

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