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Over 17,000 Parking Fines Issued a DAY- How to (Legally) Avoid Unfair Fines

January 30, 2018, 1:00 PM
  • Figures suggest 12 fines are issued every minute
  • Huge rise in ticketing by private landowners
  • Government looking to clamp down on unfair fines
  • You don’t always have to pay
The number of parking tickets given out by private firms has massively increased in recent months. Image: Getty

A record number of drivers were fined for parking on private land in 2017, at an estimated rate of 12 every minute.

Between October and December last year, private parking companies issued £100 fines to 1,576,593 cars, according to research by the RAC.

This is a 26% rise on the figures from 2016, and the RAC predicts it will rise even more in 2018.

The believed cause of this rise is the outlawing of clamping on private land, which was banned by the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012.

The Act allowed parking firms to pursue the registered vehicle keeper for supposed parking infringements on private land.

The figures have been revealed a day after the government committed to back a private members’ bill which aims to tackle excessive fines being handed out by private car park owners.

Steve Gooding, Director of the RAC Foundation, said “In the run-up to Christmas we warned drivers that they should not expect much Christmas cheer from parking firms looking to maximise their profits from drivers out and about doing their festive shopping.

“Looking at the latest numbers, it seems we were right.

“It is inconceivable that each year millions and millions of drivers are purposefully leaving themselves open to paying such huge sums of money.

“The fact that ticketing has reached such epidemic proportions demonstrates exactly why legislation is needed.”

Do you need to pay it?

Private parking companies have no official right to fine you- when they put a yellow ‘fines’ sticker on your car, it is a notice that they believe you have breached a contract.

When you park in a private car park, eg at a supermarket or shopping centre, you are entering an unspoken contract with the landowner- they will let you park on their land, and in return you’ll meet the conditions of payment.

If you break the contract, eg leave without paying, then they are permitted to issue you a parking ticket, and under the law they are allowed to.

However, this does not mean that private car park owners can issue tickets at any opportunity, if you don’t believe that you’ve broken the rules, you can dispute the ticket.

How can you avoid a ticket?

Consumers should always be aware of their rights to avoid being scammed out of money.

If the ticket is fair, eg you did not pay for parking, you will not be able to win a case disputing it.

But if you believe it was unfairly given out, you can dispute a ticket to avoid the fee, which is generally £100.

A simple way to do this is to write to the landowner of the car park, eg the shopping centre or supermarket, who employs the parking firm to maintain the car park.

It may be willing to intervene on your behalf to cancel the ticket, particularly if it has a reputation that it wants to protect.

If this does not work, you will need to gather evidence to support your case, such as why you think the ticket was unfair.

Evidence should be from the time, so make sure you act as fast as possible once you get the unfair ticket.

Once you have evidence gathered, you should appeal through an official trade body process.

StevoWilliamsover a year ago

My wife and I got a parking ticket from Parking Eye (got mine in the post over a month later) for apparently going 26 minutes over a 90 minute allowance at an Aldi car park in Liverpool when doing our Christmas food shopping. It was very busy, we were doing a much larger shop than usual (and I'm slow at shopping at the best of times) and we had to stop and take some time out because the baby was kicking off because it needed breastfeeding and there was nowhere to stop and sit down in store. We've put in an appeal on these grounds but will be writing to Aldi to see if they can quash the ticket, if the appeal is not upheld. Maybe I should just do it anyway now.

StevoWilliamsover a year ago

Oh, and one of the stupidest things is that it was in a non-town centre Surburban area where on-street parking around there is FREE! Totally ridiculous.

SarahYatesover a year ago

Hi - exact same thing happened to me a few years ago in Southampton. I still had the receipt, so I think I either emailed a scanned copy with a letter, or posted it, can't remember. But they accepted it, as it had the time stamp on it...and it was an EXTREMELY loooong reciept, so they could tell we had probably been in there over 90mins! Good luck with your appeal, I am sure you will be fine 😁

StevoWilliamsover a year ago

Hi SarahYates! We didn't have the receipt but did pay by card so had proof we'd been shopping in Aldi at least, so sent that. But they have quashed the fine on appeal thank goodness. Maybe they could see it was a big shop or maybe they took into consideration the break in shopping to breastfeed the baby. It could even be the signage was woeful but whatever the reason thankfully the appeal worked. Yay!

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