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I’ve received a parking ticket from a private company

Shopping centres, supermarkets and some private residential estates are classed as private land and sometimes the owners of the land will employ the services of a private company to manage their land or car parks.

When you park on private land or private car parks there will normally be a sign displayed which should include details of;

  • How long you can park for whether for free or for a cost
  • How much it will cost you to park (this is usually an hourly rate)
  • What the charge will be if you don’t pay the correct amount or stay longer than allowed.

By parking on the land you’re entering into a contract with the landowner and agreeing to the rules

displayed on the sign, these are the terms and conditions of the contract.

If you then stay longer than allowed or longer than you paid for, then the landowner or management company could issue you with a PCN (parking charge notice).

What can I do?

Pay the charge

If you agree that you breached the terms and the charge if valid then you may wish to pay charge and most companies will give you a discount if you pay within 14 days.

Appeal

If you don’t agree that the charge is valid then you can appeal directly to the management company on the one of the following grounds;

  • The signs were not clearly displayed or the information on them was misleading, if this was the case then you may be able to argue that the terms are unenforceable.
  • You don’t believe that the charge is reasonable. Check if the company is a member of the British Parking Association or the International Parking Community who both recommend that charges should not exceed £100.
  • You were not the driver of the car at the time it was parked. There’s no law in Scotland that states the registered keeper of the car is automatically liable for a parking ticket. You are also under no obligation to disclose the details of the driver at the time.
  • You could also appeal the charge if you’re elderly or have a medical condition that means it will take you longer to buy a ticket or return to your car or there was a good reason for you overstaying for example you had taken ill.

How do I appeal?

Firstly, contact the management company and advise then that you wish to appeal the charge. Make the grounds for your appeal clear and provide as much evidence as possible to back this up. You can send your appeal in writing although most companies will have their own process which may include appealing online. The companies appeals process should be outlined on the original PCN that is sent to you.

At this stage you can also contact the store or owner of the land to ask them to withdraw the charge.

If your appeal is rejected, then ask if the company is willing to go through the IAS (Independent Appeals Service). If they are then you can submit your appeal directly to the IAS through their website.

Last updated: 28 March 2019

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